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How to Verify the Uptime of a Web Hosting Company

Published on 5/9/2011 by

5 Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Website

Uptime is everything when it comes to web hosting. Defined as the amount of time a web hosting server is continually online, uptime is a measurement that you can’t afford to ignore when looking for a new hosting company. After all, no matter how groundbreakingly impressive your domain is, if it’s never online, it is absolutely worthless. How can you verify uptime claims of a web hosting company? Let’s find out.

Step 1:  Where is the host’s website?

As a general rule, most hosting companies have their website located on a completely different server from that of their clients. The reasoning is simple:   When customers’ sites go down, those paying clients still need a way to contact the hosting company to find out what’s going on and the host is down, too, there’s no way to do that. For that reason, hosts wisely choose to keep their website separate from that of their customers.

While this all makes perfect sense, it can also be very misleading. For example, hosts who have graphics that state “This website has been online for 388 days straight” are actually talking about their own website and not that of clients. As a potential customer, you’ll want to know the uptime of your host’s clients and not that of the hosting company.

Step 2:  Fact check uptime claims

Almost all hosting companies use a third party uptime monitoring service to keep tabs on their hosting servers and let them know when there’s a problem. Those results are often displayed on the homepage of hosting websites. You may notice a banner ad or graphic that says “Servers monitored by..” or something similar. You can fact check uptime claims by clicking on the banner ad and going directly to the monitoring service’s website. There, you should be able to verify the uptime claims by sorting through the host’s records. If there’s no such banner or uptime record on a host’s website, ask them which monitoring service they use and if you can see their current stats.

Step 3:  Verify testimonials

It’s not uncommon for happy customers to send letters of thanks and appreciation to their web hosts, who then post those letters on their website where they are used as customer testimonials. Such letters can be a very powerful and cost effective form of advertising. Unfortunately, it’s also not uncommon for companies to post fraudulent testimonials. Valid testimonials should include not only the thoughts of the poster, but also the writer’s URL. Check on each URL and make sure the website not only exists, but that is also hosted by the hosting company in question. If everything seems to be on the up and up, you can monitor those testimonial websites with a third party service over a set period of time to get an idea of the host’s current uptime.

Step 4:  Find actual customers

Sometimes the best place to learn the truth about any company is in everyday conversation. If you’re a member of a number of online forums, ask if anyone else is using the hosting company you’re interested in and what their experience has been. You’ll also find a number of customers on hosting forums like WebHostingTalk.com and HostingDiscussion.com.

Step 5:  Read hosting reviews

Hosting reviews written by customers and experts will give you the best and broadest insight into what a host is like day to day. Such reviews are fact-checked and validated before they are posted, so you’re always assured to be reading a current and accurate review, not an opinion piece.

Are you ready to find your next host? Start here!