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What is an Uptime Guarantee

Published on 11/10/2010 by

And how to tell if your host is living up to it

All hosts today offer an uptime guarantee.  An uptime guarantee is essentially a promise that web hosting companies make to you in which they vow to keep your website online for a certain percentage of time each month.  It’s quite common for hosts today to offer 99.9% uptime guarantees, but what does that really mean?

The specifics of uptime guarantees

Uptime guarantees are a way to measure the reliability of service that web hosting companies provide.  When hosts don’t measure up to their uptime guarantee, you may be compensated according to their Terms of Service agreement.

How much allowable downtime do guarantees give hosts?  The chart below details exactly how much monthly downtime your web hosting company can have without breaking their guarantee.

Uptime Guarantee

Allowable Downtime

99.5% uptime

3 hours, 36 minutes

99.8% uptime

1 hour, 26 minutes

99.9% uptime

43 minutes

99.99% uptime

4 minutes

Keeping tabs on your web hosting company

It’s a little known secret in the web hosting industry that your hosting company is not responsible for notifying you of server downtime or for automatically compensating you.  For that reason, it’s important that you take charge of monitoring your own website’s uptime by employing a free uptime monitor like Basic State.

What to do if your host doesn’t measure up

If your web hosting company’s downtime exceeds that of their uptime guarantee, it’s time to open the lines of communication.  Follow these steps to ensure a speedy refund:

  1. Contact your web hosting company by email or by using their online help desk.
  2. Inform them of the results of your uptime monitor and attach copies of the report.
  3. Specify how you would like to be compensated.

Why you should never choose a host by their uptime guarantee

Web hosting uptime guarantees look impressive.  When a host promises to keep your website online 99.99% of the time, you have a certain amount of confidence in that.  But remember, uptime guarantees don’t protect your website against downtime. 

Instead of putting your faith in an uptime guarantee, ask potential hosts to supply you with the results of their own uptime monitors.  Many hosts display this information on their websites, but some do not.  Confident web hosting companies will have no trouble sharing this information with you.

As always, the only surefire way to guarantee you’ll be happy with your web hosting company and their uptime guarantee is to read quality web hosting reviews and choose a host who has proven track record of reliability.