Exactly How Much Website Downtime Is Acceptable?

So you have set yourself up with a website monitoring service and you always know the moment your website goes down. You have your failsafes in place and you diligently go to work to get your site back up and ready for the public as soon as possible. A week later, you get another alert that your site has gone down, notified by your trusted website monitoring partner. Again you go to work to do what you can to minimize the downtime and mitigate the damage. The question is, when do you need to consider taking a more drastic approach to control your downtime, such as moving to a different hosting provider or upgrading your servers? How much downtime is acceptable? Of course the knee-jerk reaction is to state that no amount of downtime is acceptable, but that is akin to saying that the world should be a perfect place. Yes, in a perfect world there would be no downtime. In a perfect world 0 downtime would be the gold standard, but we don’t live in a perfect world. So when determining how much downtime is acceptable, we have to be realistic in our expectations.

So How Much Downtime Before You Decide Enough Is Enough?

So exactly how much downtime is acceptable when your website monitoring service is notifying you of repeated episodes of downtime? It is possible to get close to zero unplanned downtime if you plan properly, but sometimes your site has to go offline for things like maintenance and upgrades. Even teams that have all of the possible resources at their fingertips and the most expertise cannot promise or even provide zero downtime over a long period of time. Let’s take Google, for example. It is a given that the Internet giant would work diligently to minimize its website downtime. Yet in 2012, Google was down for a whole 10 minutes. How much did that 10 minutes cost the Internet giant? About $750,000. Obviously, if there was a way to achieve 0 downtime, Google would have done it and saved themselves three-quarters of a million dollars. So how much downtime is actually acceptable for your website? Most companies strive for 99.9 percent uptime. That equates to 8 hours and 45 minutes of website downtime per year, but by putting certain practices into place you may actually be able to achieve 99.99 percent uptime, which equates to less than an hour of downtime each year. Next week, we will discuss what those practices are and how you can reduce your downtime to a bare minimum, hopefully achieving a rate of 99.99 percent uptime for your online business.