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Article: Uptime Guarantees

Compare and Consider Uptime Guarantees

Host 1 ( — Offers a 99.5% uptime guarantee. They automatically apply any earned credits to your account if the server is not up 99.5% for any given month. The host calculates the downtime by the minute and reports every minute of downtime publicly to all of its users and the net at large. In the event the server has unscheduled downtime for more than .5% in any calendar month, you will get the credits promised whether you have firsthand knowledge about the downtime or not.

Host 2 — Offers a 99% guarantee. In order to receive the credit, you must submit a document detailing your web site's downtime in writing and this document must be verified by the host. The cost of monitoring their servers to be sure your site is up 99% of the time may be more than the refund is worth.

Host 3 — Offers a 99% uptime guarantee. To receive the guarantee, their servers must be down 5 consecutive hours. In other words, the host could be down 2 hours on Monday, 3 hours on Friday, and 4 hours on Sunday and you would not qualify for any automatic guarantee credits. They do, however, state that if you send them a documented list of downtime in writing and allow them to compare your findings with their logs and they match, then you will receive your credit.

Host 4 — Offers a 99.999% uptime guarantee. In order to receive the guarantee, you must first enter into a 'guarantee contract' with them. To be able to do this, you must go with one of the most expensive packages, in addition to purchasing extra features that will help your site to remain online more often than it normally would. In other words, to receive the 99.999% guarantee, it is going to cost you!

Host 5 — Offers a 100% uptime guarantee! Now this one is interesting, folks! With Host 5, if your site is down for more than ten minutes at a time (this allows for normal system reboots), they will credit you 25% of your bill! Like the others, you are required to submit documentation noting that you've found your site down for longer than ten minutes and they must be able to verify this with their logs. Here's the small print — "No more than two outages per month can be credited." Doh!

When you see a host advertising that they have an uptime guarantee, there are a few things to consider.

  1. NEVER assume their guarantee means your site will never be down! Things happen; computers aren't perfect, and problems may arise even with the best of hosts.

  2. ALWAYS verify exactly what the host means when they state the offer. Look around on their site to find the details, ask other site owners that are hosted by them if they honor the guarantee, and if the host does honor it, ask how many times a year it may be honored.

  3. Do not just depend on what each site owner tells you. Considering the various plans above, it's obvious that if the site owner is not monitoring their site 24/7/365, then they may not have a clue whether or not their site was down!

  4. For those hosts that require you to submit your own logs of the downtime, ask if while comparing your logs with theirs, will they also credit you for extra downtime you may not have realized but they found during the comparison?

  5. Once you have compiled the above, do they all add up? Meaning: If you have asked the host the same questions you asked some of the site owners that are hosting with them, did their answers match?

Do you really need an uptime guarantee anyway?

If the host has nothing to lose while your site is down, then their efficiency and speed in bringing the site back up may seriously lack. Putting their money where their mouth is makes the statement more important to uphold. An uptime guarantee may only mean a $5 refund for you, but if the host is refunding every site on the server $5 each (providing their guarantee would force them to do this) then it becomes much more important for the host to keep your site up regardless whether you know about it or not!

Try to assure you have an uptime guarantee while searching for your next host. While doing so, make sure the guarantee is actually what it seems to be. If it does not meet your requirements, email the host and ask them about it. If they are not willing to budge, then continue searching for one that does meet your needs.


If you're in the market for webhosting, we recommend FutureQuest for the absolute best hosting experience out there, or DreamHost for a solid, lower cost alternative.

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