Many web hosting companies tout their reliability with uptime guarantees of 99%, 99.9%, or even 100%. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean your website is never going to go down. The recent problems for customers of Network Solutions are a prime example. According to InformationWeek.com, Network Solutions (owned by web.com) has had three outages in the last few months. The latest incident involved both a DNS infrastructure problem and an email outage.
While uptime guarantees can be impressive, the truth is that problems do occur in the real world. And although you can’t be sure that your site will be available 100% of the time, I believe the real test of a reliable web hosting company is whether there are reoccurring downtime issues and how well customers are kept informed of what’s going on. Over the years, I’ve hosted sites with InMotion, iPage, Bluehost, Web Hosting Hub, and others—never experiencing any major outages. I also have many domains at Go Daddy and have been very satisfied.
Looking at a couple of specific examples, InMotion Hosting recently upgraded their network and server environments resulting in their ability to reach 99.999% availability. But again, that’s just a number. The real proof is in the pudding—or in this case in my own experiences with InMotion. They have always provided great service and as I stated, I’ve not experienced problems with uptimes in all the years I’ve been a customer.
In the case of iPage, prior to the last couple of months, I never experienced downtime problems with my sites there. Recently, there have been some attempted attacks toward some iPage customers. However, iPage has immediately identified the issues and most important, have kept customers informed of the situation with status updates while resolving any difficulties.
Getting back to the Network Solutions situation, according to the InformationWeek.com article, the biggest complaint customers had is that were not being given any real updates. They were not being informed as to what exactly was causing the problems or when the issues would be resolved. I found it very interesting that one organization was so upset with the situation that they planned to move all of their domains to Go Daddy. Is this a case of the grass looking greener on the other side of the fence? I don’t think so. Although Go Daddy has sometimes been the target of unhappy customers themselves in the past, as I wrote earlier, I haven’t experienced any problems. In fact, I’m happy to say that indeed most of the established web hosting companies do a very credible job in keeping your website and email available. Yes, there are exceptions–but again, the key is not having to deal with constantly recurring downtimes and making sure you’re kept well-informed of any issues.