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Shared Hosting and Site Downtime

Shared Hosting and Site Downtime

If you’ve signed up for a shared hosting account for your website, there is a chance it could experience downtime from time to time. Despite a 99.9% uptime guarantee most web hosts provide, there is no 100% assurance that your website will not suffer downtime. It is an issue every webmaster is concerned about because it affects traffic and sales. But what are the factors affecting shared hosting downtime?

Types of Downtime

website downtime

At the basic level there are two main types of downtime:

Unplanned Downtime – As the name suggests, this type of downtime, occurs when your site crashes without any warning. There could be any number of reasons behind unplanned downtime. Some of these causes include hardware failure because of software issues, faulty components, human errors or natural disasters. In case of this type of downtime, reputable web hosts will inform you through message or social media updates.
Planned Downtime – This type of downtime occurs whenever there is routine maintenance or upgrades in process. In this case you will receive an advance alert notification from your web host.

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What is Uptime?

uptime connection

Uptime is the opposite of downtime, and refers to the amount of time a server is available and up. Uptime is defined as servers having power, connectivity to the Internet, and being responsive to a ping. It is extremely important to check the uptime of a shared hosting service before you sign them up. The better the uptime, the better will be your website’s traffic and sales.

Uptime is indicated in percentage, which refers to the percentage of time a website is going to be available. Reliable web hosts will have emergency plans in place to deal with downtime and to ensure that the uptime never falls.

But what does this percentage really mean?

  • 99.9% uptime > 1 hour downtime in a month at max.
  • 99.95% uptime > 30 mins downtime in a month at max.
  • 99.99% uptime > 5 mins downtime in a month at max.

No web hosting company will have 100% uptime in the long run. They may have 0% downtime for a few months, but sooner or later something is bound to happen. There are simply too many factors involved (networks, power, equipment failure, software issues, human error, etc).

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Maintenance isn’t included in uptime numbers. When hosting companies calculate uptime, they usually don’t include downtime caused by planned maintenance. This means that if a web hosting company says it guarantees a 99.9% uptime, it means 99.9% uptime minus the maintenance.

Factors Affecting Uptime

There are two main factors that affect the uptime of your shared hosting plan – hardware and software. Hardware has the most crucial effect on:

  • Speed
  • Storage Capacity
  • Performance
  • Reliability

Make sure to consider these factors before you choose any web hosting service.

Hardware Configuration

server hardware configuration

The main aspects of hardware that affect uptime include storage medium, infrastructure, number of CPUs, and the communications provided by ISP.

If the web host runs on a high capacity infrastructure, it will be capable of handling high traffic surges. It will also be future proof for expansion. If you choose a host that has reliable and high capacity hardware infrastructure, you will be investing in the future of your website.

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Software Configuration

computer code

While hardware has a major effect on uptime, even software can make some impact. It will also have an effect on performance and speed. The main aspects of software configuration that influence your website’s performance include the operating system, programming, versions and releases.

If the code has been properly written, it can help improve the uptime. In such a case the software will have proper contingency systems for dealing with potential issues. Make sure that the web host also updates its software versions so that the bugs from the previous versions are regularly fixed.

Uptime is crucial to your website’s success. So make sure to choose a shared hosting service that follows all the standard procedures for ensuring the highest-possible uptime.

No one will protect you against downtime or compensate you for lost business. To find a really good host, rely on reviews and ratings – not the figures in the uptime guarantee.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.

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