In an effort to attract customers in a competitive environment, many cloud hosting providers are guaranteeing 100-percent uptime. In some cases, providers leave room for error by offering a 99.99-percent uptime guarantee. But what do these promises mean? Can you count on your servers never going down?
The word “guarantee” throws many professionals off. Traditionally in business, when something is guaranteed, that means a consumer receives a refund or free services if the promise isn’t delivered. But many businesses have found that isn’t necessarily the case in cloud services. So what does that guarantee mean?
“We’ll Make Every Effort”
As one site pointed out, a 99.99-percent uptime guarantee means your site could be down or your files could be inaccessible for as much as 5 minutes of downtime per month. Some businesses go lower to offer only a 99-percent guarantee, meaning your site could be down as much as seven hours per month.
If a provider offers a 100-percent guarantee, it’s important that you carefully scrutinize the fine print before signing. What will the process be if there is an outage? Does the service provider exclude circumstances beyond its control? If so, what circumstances are covered and how often do those circumstances occur? A data center that is subject to frequent outages may not be the best choice for your business anyway.
One thing about an uptime guarantee is that you have to catch it to know it’s hasn’t been provided. Unless you personally witness the outage, you may be relying on customer complaints and employee reports, rather than witnessing it firsthand. When you report it to your provider, that provider should be able to provide a report showing the guaranteed uptime was provided.
One of the best ways to guarantee you’re choosing the right hosting provider is to ask for an outage history to determine if uptime is at the level you expect. Once you have this report, you can choose the best service for your business with the knowledge you’ve chosen a provider that will keep your servers running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.