What Is Uptime? How Do I Prevent Downtime?

Running an online website presents daily challenges from responding to customer emails to creating new webpages. Managing your websites uptime should be your top priority to ensure your website doesn’t go offline. Optimising your website to increase uptime will lead to more reliable hosting environment.

What Is Uptime?

Uptime is the amount of time a machine has been in operation without failure resulting in downtime. In terms of webhosting, uptime is the period of time in which your web server has successfully loaded your website upon request without fail. The results? Faster websites with more reliable loading webpages for your visitors.

What Is Downtime?

Downtime is the total amount of time a machine has not been in operation for. In short this means your website will not load for anyone. This has major negative impacts on small and large businesses.

Why Is Uptime Important & What Are The Negatives To Downtime?

Your Website Is Always Online

Maintaining uptime guarantees when users require, your website will load. This impacts User Trust. Ideally, a website should be online 24/7/365  to get maximum views and to build trust with users. Users may view websites that randomly disappear and reappear due to downtime as highly suspicious – decreasing any trust for your brands.

How does this affect Conversion rate?

Uptime heavily impacts your conversion rates. For example: A user browsing your e-commerce store may find products they want to purchase. The user then decides they want to check out in three hours’ time. Upon returning to check out the user expects the website to load as normal. Maintaining uptime guarantees smart hosting, upon returning the website will load allowing the user to purchase the selected products. However, if the webserver is experiencing downtime, upon return the website will not load for the user. This leaves an impression that your website no longer exists as the user is unaware there is an issue.

With downtime potential customer may then forget about your brand and purchase the product elsewhere.

In fact, you risk missing out on conversions with an unexpected outage. On average, unexpected outages cost Fortune 1,000 companies an estimated $1.5 – $2.5 Billion a year in lost revenue. Take Google as an example, in 2010 revenue generated was $29.32 Billion. In the same year, for every minute of downtime Google faced, it lost over $55,000 in potential revenue. Maintaining uptime prevents you from losing potential revenue. For more tips on boosting conversion rate check out this article, 7 Tips Proven To Boost Your Conversion Rates.

Search Result Ranking

When a user requires specific information, they generate a search query within a search engine. A search engine scans 1000’s of websites to produce a list of related content for users to select from. Search engines rely on repeat business so aim to provide the best results. Therefore, search engines look for related content on a fast website to ensure their clients are satisfied. Website’s with poor uptime will have a reduced chance of appearing in search results due to being unreliable. If your website has been offline for a prolonged period of time you risk being flagged as a dead link. Search engines will not rank unreliable websites or dead links as this will damage their reputation. To ensure your website appears in search results you must maintain high uptime.

How Do I Work Out My Websites Uptime?

Calculating your website’s uptime as a percentage indicates to you how reliable your fast hosting is and how often you experience unwanted outages. First monitor your website for a 24-hour period (86,400 Seconds). For example, if your website was down for 5 minutes (300 Seconds) you would do the following:

Total Seconds Of Downtime (300 Seconds) Divided By Monitor Time (86,400) = 0.0034

Then, Multiply by 10 = (0.34 as a percentage)

Your Uptime Percentage would be:  100% - 0.34% = 99.66%

The majority of hosting providers offer 99% Uptime however this results in a potential 5 days of downtime per year. However it is possible to find hosting providers like this one which offers smart hosting that strives to guarantee 100% Uptime for your service ensuring your website runs 24/7/365. Furthermore it is worth noting that downtime is not always a direct result of bad hosting. It will be due to one of the issues that we will outline in the section below. We recommend familiarising yourself with key practises that reduce the risk of errors that can cause downtime.

How to Optimise your Website’s Uptime

To reduce the risk of unwanted disruptions it is important to optimise uptime. This can be done by following these simple steps when starting with website hosting.

Secure Your Website

Malware and viruses are a major risk to any website’s security. If your website becomes infected, you may be required to disconnect to prevent more damage. By securing your website properly you reduce this risk and increase uptime. To learn about securing your website view our DIY Website Safety Checklist!

Configure Software and Applications

Installing software and applications is a great way to improve your websites performance. Some software may require configuring in order to run correctly. Failing to configure software may result in errors that can cause unexpected interruptions to your website.

Selecting The Correct Hosting Plan

There are multiple hosting options for you to select from. It is important when selecting a plan to pick one with enough processing power and bandwidth to keep up with traffic you receive. This guarantees fast hosting resulting in a fast website. If a server cannot keep up with traffic, connections to the site will slow down. At some point the server will become overloaded and risks freezing resulting in a blackout. To learn about servers and different hosting options click here.

Select A Good Hosting Provider

There is an endless supply of hosting providers for you to pick from. It is important to select a reliable hosting provider with good reviews in order to guarantee fast hosting. Many hosting providers fail to maintain their hardware and neglect the performance of their servers. This is due to not having a technical team who monitor servers and actively replace hardware when required. Unfortunately, this leads to reduced speeds for clients and higher risks for uncontrollable downtime.

Common Causes Of Downtime?

When your website goes down it can be extremely frustrating not only for you but your visitors. Understanding common reasons as to why websites go down increases the speed in which you can resolve the issues. Let’s take a look of some of these issues below.

DDOS Attacks

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack can slow down or halt your website for a long period of time. In April 2018 the UK National Crime Agency highlighted DDOS attacks as a leading threat against online businesses. A DDOS Attack works by flooding your server with large packets. While the server is busy processing the DDOS packets it cannot process packets from actual users making the website unusable.

Data Loss

For a website to run on a webserver you require certain files. These files can be removed either by a malicious program/person or as an accident. To re-launch your website theses files need to be replaced. This can take a significant amount of time to reproduce the file. Having a backup will greatly reduce the time taken to restore as you can reload the missing file from your backup instead. It is recommended to backup your website daily to ensure in a situation like this you can fix the issue fast in order to resume your service.

Increase In Traffic

If you have a temporary spike in traffic to your website your webserver might struggle to cope. Connections will begin to gradually slow as traffic increases leading to your webserver becoming overloaded. Your webserver may freeze if overloaded for a long time. If you see a regular increase in traffic we recommend that you consider upgrading your hosting plan to one with more resourses better suited to your website’s needs. This allows your upgraded server to cope with the traffic increasing uptime. Learn about tracking your traffic today!

Issues With Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is an extremely cost-effective way to host your website, however other users can affect your websites performance. On shared hosting you share server resources. Therefore, if one user receives a DDOS attack or an increase in traffic, this can affect your site resulting in potential downtime. To eliminate this risk it is recommended to host using VPS hosting.