What is the ‘uptime guarantee’ of web hosting providers?

Uptime Guarantee
Uptime Guarantee

We all want our websites to be up and running 100% of the time. If our website experiences downtime, we may lose potential customers. For example, if a potential customer visits our website but finds it inaccessible or unable to load, it can negatively impact their initial trust in us.

How do you measure the loss in such cases? It’s hard to quantify the potential loss when potential customers cannot quickly get an initial understanding of your company and consequently fail to respond to your emails. In today’s world, where B2B customer acquisition costs are high, nobody wants to lose potential customers due to such issues.

Therefore, the uptime of a website, which refers to the time it is operational and accessible online, should be considered a crucial factor when choosing a hosting service. That’s why many web hosting providers advertise an uptime guarantee on their official websites.

But can website owners monitor and track the uptime themselves? Do hosting providers really track and record the uptime of each user’s website? Do you think hosting providers proactively reach out to you when issues arise?

After all, when we choose a hosting provider, their promised or guaranteed uptime does influence our purchasing decision.

I remember a few years ago when one of my websites hosted on Bluehost experienced downtime and was inaccessible for a day. Bluehost didn’t notify me that my website was ‘offline,’ and I was surprised when I discovered it accidentally. I immediately contacted their customer support, submitted a support ticket, and requested assistance. It took a day for the website to be restored and accessible again.

Later, I conducted some research on the ‘uptime guarantee’ provided by hosting providers. I discovered some aspects that I hadn’t previously delved into or paid much attention to, and it shook my perception a bit.

Here’s the actual situation:

Significant variations in uptime guarantees!

While some hosting providers offer a 100% uptime guarantee on their product pages, others don’t provide any form of uptime guarantee at all!

In fact, some well-known web hosting companies don’t offer such guarantees for their services. This raised doubts for me when choosing a hosting provider. If I’m particularly interested in a hosting server product from a provider that doesn’t mention an uptime guarantee on their official website, I would first ask their customer support if they promise a certain level of uptime.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a definitive criterion for choosing a hosting provider. But for hosting service providers that interest me, I would contact them to understand why they don’t have an uptime guarantee while other providers do. If the response from the pre-sales customer support personnel makes sense and puts themselves in the service provider’s position, then I can at least understand it. It’s better than service providers who make empty promises.

Some web hosting providers claim a 99.9% uptime guarantee

At first glance, a 99.9% uptime seems impressive, right? After all, it’s nearly 100%!

But can we, as hosting users, obtain objective data on its actual performance?

For example, GoDaddy, as one of the globally renowned domain registrars, has a mixed reputation for its hosting products. It claims a 99.9% uptime, but the actual user experience is far from satisfactory. The hosting quality can be considered quite poor. I have used GoDaddy’s hosting before, and the website would occasionally have issues and fail to load. The website was also hacked twice, indicating poor security.

I don’t trust GoDaddy’s claimed 99.9% uptime because I have firsthand experience. When I reviewed GoDaddy’s Terms & Conditions agreement on their official website, I quickly realized that their promises had no real effect. The agreement states that they are the ones who decide when the uptime falls below 99.9%, not the users. If your website crashes and fails to operate normally due to something ‘beyond GoDaddy’s control,’ you can only request a 5% deduction from the hosting fee for that month as compensation. Moreover, you must use that compensation amount to purchase other products from GoDaddy, and you can’t get a refund or withdraw the funds.

In the end, what users truly care about is the actual uptime of their websites. The existence of a so-called guarantee or promise isn’t that important. Providers like GoDaddy, even if they offer guarantees, make them meaningless.

Not all uptime guarantees are worth much money!

What if they fail to deliver as promised?

A common clause in service provider guarantees is that if they fail to meet a certain uptime level in a specific month, you have the right to request the highest discount when making the next payment, which typically amounts to 5% off the next month’s fee.

Imagine this: If a user pays $5 per month and then discovers that the uptime was only 90% for that month, they would have the right to enjoy a discount of $0.25 on the next bill…

With such minimal compensation, hosting service providers have little incentive to ensure they meet theirpromised uptime guarantee. The potential loss experienced by website owners due to downtime far exceeds the small discount offered as compensation.

Planned server maintenance-induced downtime is usually not counted as ‘downtime.

In the understanding of many web hosting service providers, there seem to be two different types of downtime: ‘regular downtime’ and ‘downtime caused by maintenance updates.’ If the hosting service provider notifies users in advance of scheduled maintenance downtime, it is usually excluded from the time the website is expected to be online.

The problem is that some service providers frequently perform maintenance updates throughout the year, causing the website to be inaccessible at any given time. Isn’t that a problem?

When a website experiences a failure, most hosting service providers actually make no effort to contact the user.

Many hosting service providers don’t even notify you when your website experiences an issue. In fact, some hosting companies may not even be aware that a customer’s website is experiencing problems.

If they fail to meet the guaranteed service level, many hosting providers do not openly offer any form of compensation to the users.

The most surprising issue is that many web hosting service providers do not implement any type of uptime monitoring.

If a shared hosting provider cannot guarantee a certain level of uptime, it can be understood that they actually don’t care about monitoring it.

So what about hosting providers that offer a certain level of uptime guarantee? Do they monitor the uptime data for each user’s website? If they don’t know the uptime of a site, how do they determine if they have met the promised service level?

Surprisingly, many web hosting providers do not perform any form of uptime monitoring. Many hosting providers only use the guarantee of 99.9% uptime as a marketing tactic to attract new customers, without making any effort to ensure that the promised uptime is achieved!

It sounds like many hosting providers are unreliable. How can we identify a good hosting service provider?

After discussing all of the above, you may wonder how to choose a hosting service provider that actually delivers reliable uptime.

In fact, the primary requirement for a web hosting service is stable and sustainable accessibility. The ability for your website to be accessed smoothly anytime, anywhere is the most important aspect. Security, website page loading speed, and ease of use are also important. These are the main requirements when purchasing hosting. As for whether the advertising claims of hosting providers are true and reliable, we can only judge for ourselves.

Some hosting service providers have a good reputation for quality, but they may not publicly advertise the level of uptime they guarantee. Therefore, what is more important is our own experience as users, the overall experience of the hosting service provider, and how much trust we have in them.

Trust is also built gradually. From the experience of using the hosting provider, such as the user-friendliness of the control panel, beginner guides, completeness of the help center and community, speed and quality of after-sales consultation, efficiency of technical problem resolution, hosting space access speed and stability, and whether the service provider’s notification emails are timely and thoughtful…

You can monitor the uptime of your hosting server yourself.

Here we haven’t talked about WordPress plugin installation yet, but let me first explain how to monitor the uptime data performance of your website.

For shared hosting, VPS, or cloud server users, you can use third-party monitoring platforms like https://uptimerobot.com or the Powie’s Uptime Robot Plugin for WordPress. This plugin will monitor and record the uptime of your website.

Take matters into your own hands and monitor your website’s uptime without relying on the hosting service provider for monitoring and statistics.


In conclusion, this article discusses the issue of website uptime in great detail, but most novice website builders may not pay much attention to website uptime. As you gain more experience in building websites, you will understand that this aspect is still very important, and at least some understanding is necessary.

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