Web Hosting Uptime

(Ping! Zine) – The question often arises from web hosting customers: ”How is the reliability and uptime of my web hosting company?”. Obviously, if you are paying your hard earned cash for a hosting account, you want to know that you are getting a high availability solution. This is doubly true of you have a virtual server or dedicated server behind your website. So how do you go about quantifying the uptime and reliability of your web host? Here are two methods you can use.

1. Check your hosting provider’s performance on independent monitoring website netcraft.com. The company checks the uptime of its monitored hosting providers in 15 minute samples and rank orders then in a reatime list available here: http://uptime.netcraft.com/perf/reports/Hosters. This methodology is limited to the 41 web hosts that Netcraft currently monitors. Additionally, as pointed out by Netcraft rated UK dedicated server host 34SP.com, since Netcraft operates performance collectors at London/DXI Networks, New York/New York Internet, Pennsylvania/INetU-2, Virginia/Rackspace, San Jose/Datapipe, Peer1/Vancouver, Phoenix/GoDaddy, Italy/Aruba and Hostway/Romania – those companies have an advantage. Netcraft itself notes on the data table, ”Companies located in the US have an advantage over companies in the rest of the world as more of the collectors are located there”. The data is valuable in judging web hosting network performance however as it is independent of any of the hosting providers measured.

2. Use the free or paid website monitoring service at Alertra.com. Here’s how Alertra describes its services on its website, ”Our website monitor service goes beyond simple web monitoring and server pings by checking shared and dedicated server availability, performance and security externally from our worldwide network of monitoring stations located in carrier-class data centers.” In other words, you can type in a website address into the ‘spotcheck’ box on the upper right of the Alertra homepage and see whether the site is functioning, and also how long it takes the site to load from various spots around the globe. For example – here’s the results returned when I typed in Google.com:

Location Result Size Time
Atlanta USA OK 11.7 0.03
Orlando USA OK 11.7 0.09
Hong Kong CHN OK 10.9 0.09
London GBR OK 11.8 0.1
Los Angeles USA OK 11.6 0.11
Chicago USA OK 10.7 0.12
Oklahoma City USA OK 11.6 0.14
Joplin USA OK 10.8 0.22
Frankfurt DEU OK 11.7 0.29
Sydney AUS OK 11.6 0.33
Las Vegas USA OK 10.8 0.35
Shanghai CHN OK 12.8 0.59

Since Google is viewed as a very fast and reliable website, these are probably a ”best case scenario” for the response times. As can be seen in the results, even Shanghai, China loaded in about half a second. Domestic locations loaded the Google.com homepage in tenths of a second. That’s extremely fast and reliable. Don’t believe it? Just input your own website into the Alertra spotcheck box and compare it.

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