Uptime SLA versus Downtime

Is there really a difference?

In the world of hosting, uptime is widely promoted to potential customers, and rightfully so.  If you are about to make an entrance into the online community, investing in a company that promises high uptime is paramount. Lost time equates to potentially losing sales, and no one likes losing money.

So the question is how do you compare between various uptime guarantees? A quick search reveals that Company A offers 99.5% Uptime Guarantee, Company B offers 99.9% Uptime Guarantee and Company C offers 100% Uptime Guarantee. It is important to know the differences behind these claims and the specifics behind a company’s Service Level Agreements (SLA).

To fully understand SLA, it is important to note the numbers that formulate the uptime percentage.    There are 8,760 hours in a calendar year.  Therefore, if Company A offers 99.5% Uptime SLA, the company can have roughly 44 hours of network downtime before you, the customer, is compensated. That is roughly two days, which would be horrible if Murphy’s Law kicked in (anything that can go wrong, does). Now with Company B, 99.9% seems great because you are looking at only about nine hours of downtime. A full business day; however, it could be still be quite costly. No one can predict every possible event that will impact one’s network; therefore, these companies make guarantees that provide a little “breathing” room for these unplanned events.

We are left with Company C, who offered a 100% Uptime Guarantee.  The company does recognize that unplanned events happen and that there are circumstances outside of everyone’s control.  The company does, however, promises that if the network does go down that there will be immediate compensation for the downtime period.  This is the very focus behind a company’s commitment to customer service. Company C recognizes your uptime is crucial to your business, and is ready to provide the support you need to be successful.

So when selecting a company to host your site or manage your servers, make sure you select a company that values you, the customer.



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