How Much Will Downtime Really Cost Your Website?

We’ve discussed in past posts that website downtime can and will cost your company money. The question is, just how much will your planned downtime cost you? While “experts” may give you simple ways of analyzing how much downtime costs, such as taking your total profits over the course of a month, dividing it by the number of days in the month and then hours in the day and then calculating that to determine how much an hour of downtime will cost you, the truth is that your site probably doesn’t do the same amount of business all day long. Knowing how much downtime costs you at different points in the day will help you better understand how much downtime is really costing you and will help you better plan for planned website outages.

Calculate Your Busiest Time for Sales

The first thing you need to do is some analytical work. Which hours of the day are busiest for your website? Do you make the most sales from 11 AM to 5PM? From 2PM to 6PM? You need to understand which hours of the day your business spikes. Then take those hours and add up the sales made during those hours over the course of a month. Then take that number and divide it by the number of days in a month. Then divide that by the number of peak hours you calculated and divide that by 60. That is how much your website profits per minute, on average, during your business’s peak hours.

For example, let’s say that you added up your business’s sales for peak hours during the month and divided it by 30 (the number of days in that month) and came to a total of $1,200. That means that on any given day your website is profiting $1,200 during your peak hours, on average. Now, for example, let’s say your peak hours were from 4PM to 7PM. That means you would divide that $1,200 by three (because your average three hours of peak sales per day). That brings you to $400 per hour in peak hour profits. Then divide that by 60. This means that each minute of downtime is costing you approximately $6.70 during your peak hours for sales. Remember, this is a conservative estimate. Also remember that while $6.70 may not seem like a lot of money, if your site is down for 1.5hours during this period you just lost $600.

Scheduling Planned Downtime around Peak Hours

The key here is to schedule any planned downtime around your website’s peak business hours. If you do the least amount of business between the hours of 11 PM and 1 AM, that is when you want to schedule your downtime. Not all downtime costs the same and the key in minimizing lost profits is planning your website downtime for the times when your site has the least amount of traffic and/or the least amount of sales. Only then can you be sure you’re not losing out on any more profits than you have to.