Compare Uptime Guarantee Hosting
A generous uptime guarantee backed by reasonable terms of service is a good indication of a hosting provider who will work hard to keep your website online. Although uptime guarantees are common, they are not universal.
When reviewing a host’s uptime guarantee, be sure to pay attention to the guaranteed uptime percentage (99.9% should be the minimum), the refund amounts associated with excess downtime, and the incidents that are excluded from counting towards downtime.
We go into more detail below, but if you are in a rush, here are the five best uptime guarantee hosts:
- SiteGround – Great uptime performance and fast servers
- A2 Hosting
- InMotion Hosting
- WP Engine
How Did We Pick the Best Hosts for Uptime Guarantee?
We put together a list of the hosts that offer solid uptime guarantees backed by a strong SLA. Then we ranked this list to find the top uptime guarantee hosts.
Uptime Guarantee Hosting
What You’ll Learn
“Uptime guarantees” are featured in many web host’s marketing pitches. Not every “guarantee” is equal, though.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- How to assess your uptime needs
- How to navigate the pitfalls of hidden contractual terms
- How much uptime you actually need
- How uptime guarantees should affect your choice of web host
Why is Uptime Important?
You need your web host to keep your website available to visitors 24/7. That’s why it’s imperative to select a host with the best ability to keep your website up and running with minimal downtime.
Most hosts offer some kind of uptime guarantee to their clients, but those promises may not be as reassuring as they appear to be.
Uptime Is Critical to Your Site’s Success
Web hosting is a competitive market, and hosts offer a lot of perks and promises in order to stand out from the pack, from unlimited bandwidth to free domains. Many of these bonuses are helpful, but few of them are actually necessary.
But there is one common promise that could make or break your website: the uptime guarantee.
What Is An Uptime Guarantee?
An uptime guarantee is a pledge that your website will be up and accessible online for a certain percentage of the time. If not, you’re entitled to a refund. Many web hosts guarantee 99%, 99.9%, 99.99%, or even 100% uptime.
Uptime and Your Site’s Profitability
If you rely on your website for your business, whether through selling products or services or making money through affiliate sales or ad revenue, an uptime guarantee is one feature that could have a direct impact on your bottom line.
A website that can’t be accessed is a website that’s costing you money for every minute it’s down. A reliable host with high uptime is an essential part of building your online presence and a trusted brand.
What Types of Downtime Do IT Experts Fear?
In a survey of IT professionals done by Quorum, they identified their biggest fears, which included:
- Security threat (virus, malware, ransomware) – 53%
- Hardware failure – 20%
- Backup disk corruption – 11%
- Natural disaster – 10%
- Human error – 4%
- Power outage – 2%
Not All Uptime Guarantees Are Equal
Most hosts offer some degree of guaranteed uptime as part of their hosting package as a lure to potential customers. Whether or not you should trust that guarantee is up for debate.
Largest Downtime Cases
When Twitter or Facebook goes down, it impacts millions of users. Although your site may not be at that scale (yet!), there are always lessons to be learned from downtime cases that appear in the press.
|An internal issue||Several hours||2017|
|UK’s National Health Service||WannaCry ransomware||4 days||2017|
|Starbucks||Overnight technology update||Half a day||2017|
|Amazon AWS Cloud||Human error||4+ hours||2017|
|ASOS||Power outage||20 hours||2016|
|PokemonGo||Unexpected demand||Launch weekend||2016|
A Closer Look At Guaranteed Uptime
The most common level of guaranteed uptime mentioned in promotional materials is, by far, 99%.
This might sound like a nearly bulletproof level of uptime for your website, but once you crunch the numbers, the picture isn’t quite as rosy.
Mathematically, 99% Uptime Can Mean a Lot of Downtime
- Seven days per week breaks down to 10,080 minutes.
- Even at just 1% downtime, you’re looking at 108 minutes of potentially dead website time—nearly two hours per week.
Over the Course of a Year, You Could Lose Days
And keep in mind that some companies determine their uptime guarantees based on yearly totals, not by the week or month.
That means you’d need to have more than 3 days of downtime in a year before you can make a claim.
With Uptime, “Close” Doesn’t Cut It
As you can see, even though 99% to 99.9% host uptime might seem like a near-perfect grade, there is still a significant portion of downtime baked into that promise.
Plus, that percentage doesn’t include things like scheduled maintenance, which occurs when your host has to upgrade the servers or run a myriad of maintenance tests.
Read the Fine Print on Your SLA
Your service level agreement (SLA) will specify exactly what the reported server uptime guarantee actually covers.
In some cases, a host’s advertising will mention a 99.9% uptime guarantee, but in the fine print won’t actually specify what this guarantee entails.
Types of outages that aren’t typically covered by uptime SLAs:
- Scheduled maintenance
- Punitive downtime for terms of service violations
- Natural disasters like earthquakes or floods
- Acts of war, embargoes, riots, or sabotage
- Labor disputes or government acts
- Failure of the internet
- Infrastructure attacks, including denial of service (DDoS) or hacking
Sometimes Cashing in on the Guarantee Doesn’t Pay Off
Other hosts will offer account credit for a certain amount of uptime, but typically the monetary value is so limited it’s barely even worth the hassle of getting in touch with customer support.
“Downtime” May Not Mean What You Think
Even after those three days of downtime, making a claim may be more difficult than you imagine. Many hosting companies place strict limitations on what constitutes “downtime.”
What Types of Downtime Don’t Count?
As a rule, downtime due to user error, such as bad code from an outsourced developer, doesn’t count. And usually, your host won’t owe you anything for scheduled downtime due to maintenance.
“As much as 50% of server downtime is caused by badly deployed patches.” Paul Burns, Technology Services Group, in an interview with TechRadar.
Check Your Contract
When it comes to uptime guarantees, it always pays to read the fine print.
Look closely at your contract terms, and you’ll notice language that’s usually associated more with insurance salesmen than your website hosts.
For example, standard clauses such as “force majeure” will limit your host’s liability for anything that happens outside their control, like those earthquakes and floods.
Pingdom is a popular tool for monitoring uptime.
Does Type of Hosting Matter?
Naturally, some types of hosting will have less downtime than others. More often, this is due to the hardware setup and overall demand on the servers than anything else.
Dedicated or VPS Hosting
For example, if you’re on a VPS plan, there’s going to be much less of a resource strain put on the servers.
You’ll still be subject to downtime that occurs during scheduled maintenance, but the chances of your site going offline due to a user error are going to be a lot less likely.
Another hosting option that’ll decrease the likelihood of downtime is cloud hosting.
Cloud hosting is similar to VPS hosting in that you’re borrowing the server resources of multiple physical servers. But, since you’re not dependent on any one physical server, the risk of downtime can be mitigated across the network.
Finally, if you’re planning on being a reseller host, getting real-life experience with your host’s average uptime is important.
You’ll want to be sure that you’re offering hosting that has a high uptime. Otherwise, be prepared to handle plenty of angry customer requests wondering why their sites have spent so much time offline.
Should You Choose a Host Based On Their Uptime Guarantee?
Any webmaster would love to find a host with actual guaranteed 100% uptime, but the truth is that there’s no way to make such a promise. Even the most ambitious guarantee is a flimsy shield against the effects of Murphy’s Law.
Uptime Guarantees Can’t Replace Lost Business
But that’s small comfort when you’re facing the consequences of downtime for your own site.
While an uptime guarantee will reimburse you for your hosting costs when your host fails to keep your website live, it still can’t compensate for the lost opportunities and income that result from that downtime.
Research Potential Host Reviews From Customers
Instead of relying on network uptime claims, your best bet is to uncover uptime data yourself through host reviews and customer claims.
This isn’t the most fail-safe option, but it might paint a more accurate picture you can use in your hosting search.
PROTIP: Monitor your site’s uptime regularly with a tool like Pingdom or UptimeRobot.
Uptime Shouldn’t Be Your Sole Deciding Factor
That’s why choosing a host based solely on their uptime guarantee isn’t a great idea.
Instead, look for a host with a solid reputation for customer service and support for the features your website needs, including offering a generous uptime guarantee. That’s the best way to ensure you won’t be left up in the air when your site goes down.
Hosting Providers With The Best Uptime Guarantees
It can be a pain trying to find out which hosts have the best uptime guarantees, because the fine print is sometimes difficult to find on their websites. So, I’ve shortlisted these three hosts which can help you narrow down your options quickly.
InMotion offers 99.99% uptime and is known for its cutting-edge server hardware and super-reliable support team. This uptime guarantee extends even farther to 99.999% with the dedicated hosting package and its smart routing technology.
In terms of the value you get for your money, InMotion Hosting is one of the best. Plus, if you’re transferring your site to InMotion, its team will transfer your site to one of its own servers during the switch, to avoid any unnecessary downtime.
If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly host that boasts solid uptime across the board, then consider HostGator. HostGator’s uptime guarantee is 99.9%, plus it’s backed up in the terms of service. So, if your server falls below 99.9% uptime, you can receive a one month credit on your account.
Plus, HostGator is great in that it can easily scale with you as your site grows, easily moving you from a shared plan up to a dedicated hosting package.
If you’re looking for a host that boasts the holy grail of 100% uptime at an affordable price, then DreamHost might be right for you. DreamHost’s servers are fully optimized to ensure the highest uptime possible, with built-in cooling features, energy backup generators, and 24/7 server monitoring.
If your site does go offline due to a failure in DreamHost’s servers, then you’ll be compensated for one free day of hosting for every hour your site is offline.
Why Does Hosting Downtime Happen At All?
In a perfect world, your website would be live 100% of the time. Unfortunately, although there are plenty of good web hosts out there, none of them are perfect.
When webmasters think of what causes downtime, the worst often comes to mind. But hackers armed with DDoS attacks aren’t the only thing to watch out for.
What Are the Main Causes of Downtime?
Downtime can also be caused by four main factors:
- Equipment failure: faulty hardware, software defects
- Operator error: bad code, accidental file deletion, unsecured experimentation
- Disasters: earthquakes, floods, fires
- Planned downtime: for maintenance, upgrades, etc.
With all these risks and possibilities, the question isn’t if your website will experience downtime, but when.
Luckily, most hosts have a backup generator or two in place to prevent excessive downtime when disaster strikes. It’s up to you to keep track of your website’s uptime, but it’s difficult to prepare for every event that could bring a server offline.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an uptime guarantee?
Who offers uptime guarantees?
How do I track my website uptime and downtime?
How much will I be refunded?
Should I choose my web hosting company based on their uptime guarantee?