What is Ideal Average Uptime for a Website?

A website with 99 percent uptime means that it’s down about 15 minutes a day and nearly four days each year. That’s not acceptable for most businesses, but luckily most sectors come in higher that that.

The industry standard is 99.9 percent uptime for retail companies. That equates to about 8.76 hours per year and just below two minutes per day.

This is referred to as high availability and comes from a system design based on three principles. First, eliminating single points of failure so that if one component fails, the entire system does not shut down.

Second, websites need reliable crossover. In multithreaded systems, or multitasking systems, this can be a single point of failure, so website providers must be able to close this specific loophole to ensure the website remains running.

And finally, providers need to detect failures as they occur. If the previous two principles are followed then the user should not see failure, but maintenance must be done to ensure systems run properly.

What is Average?

While 99.9 percent is seen as the standard, it is one that is not always met. In 2012, a study of 130 major U.S. retailers found that 45 percent had website uptime that fell below the industry standard. That number even included downtime between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., assuming it was scheduled maintenance.

Some of the brands that performed poorly were American Eagle, Idea, and Sam’s Club. It’s hard to pick out exact reasons why this is happening, but it mostly comes down to preparation. With the proper safeguards in place, websites should be able to minimize downtime thanks to failover procedures and redundancy.

When a website fails, it can sometimes be because of a massive system failure such as when Amazon Web Services had an outage in 2015 that took several sites offline. When an organization like that, that provides the backbone of sites for hundreds of customers, all the planning in the world will not help.

What companies need to do is ensure that they have the steps in place to eliminate the sometimes-minor glitches and errors that cause sites to crash. The only time a site really should be down is during major incidents like the AWS crash or for scheduled maintenance. While 99.9 percent seems like a lot, it is the minimum that companies should aim for even if they don’t always hit it.

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