A good way to gain an appreciation for what it means to have a reliable web host is to think long and hard about the consequences of poor reliability. Seemingly small differences in the uptime percentage of a web hosting service can have a disproportionate effect on your business, which in turn affects your livelihood. One important measure of reliability is uptime which is the percentage of time that the server that hosts your site is up. This also equates to the percentage of time that your website is up.
An uptime of 98% seems like a very high number. Getting a 98% score on a test at school is great news but is quite the opposite if the score measures your web hosting uptime. That two percent downtime means your website is offline for at least one week a year. We say “at least” because your site can also be “effectively” offline through problems that have nothing to do with your server. Databases, for example, can do funny things sometimes. Some plugins used in content management systems can cause severe problems, and so forth.
If a person’s annual income of $100,000 depends on his website, then a 2% downtime means $2000 of lost income. The same situation for a company that nets one million dollars a year, means a loss of $20,000 annually.
The downtime figure isn’t the only cause of unreliability. A website that loads too slowly, will have a similar effect as one that is down. No one is going to stick around if there is a long wait every time a link is clicked on your site. Besides the direct monetary effect from lost sales, the damage is compounded in other ways. Customers who are unable to make their purchases from your site may take their business elsewhere and may not come back again. Losing repeat customers isn’t good for business.
If other businesses use you as a vendor and rely on being able to make purchases off your site, then downtime on your site can have ripple effects on the operations of other businesses. If you are reselling hosting to other businesses via a reseller account with your hosting provider, then downtime costs every one of your clients money. Downtime for thirty of your clients that make significant incomes from their sites adds up to a lot of lost money, and potentially lost clients for you.
Depending on your particular situation, downtime can also damage your reputation. Loss of reputation is very meaningful, particularly if you’re a B2B business.
Having a good understanding of the costs of choosing the wrong hosting provider is important because your hosting service is literally the foundation upon which your online business rests. If you have any questions about choosing the right web hosting service, please contact us.