What Does an SLA Or Uptime Guarantee Mean For Your VPS?
Av Andrew Mailer
More and more businesses are migrating to the internet in hopes of attracting additional clients, you may be looking to do so yourself, and when these businesses go looking for internet exposure, they must first find a hosting company.
But the hosting companies all are in the business of finding new clients too and one way they attract new business is through their uptime guarantee or SLA. The uptime guarantee is a way of advertising how often your hosting servers are off line, put another way, it is how often the content on the web hosting servers is inaccessible to the public, your clients.
The term uptime guarantee is a little ambiguous. The term really means “how much downtime is acceptable”. The figures presented also tell a story, one large web hosting provider advertises their uptime at 99.9%, what they are really telling you is that out of a normal month, their service maybe off line for as much as 43.2 minutes. Advertisers who advertise a 99.5% uptime permit their service to be off line for as much as 216 minutes per month. The advertisers who advertise a 99.99% up time however, are advertising their service may only be inaccessible for 4.32 minutes per month.
Now you must be thinking
Surely the better the figure the more reliable the provider, and correspondingly the more money you have to pay
And to an extent you are right, but this isn’t the whole picture.
The basis of the uptime guarantee is that your site will be up 99.9% (or whatever figure the company provides) or you will be compensated for potential loss. It is critical that you read the fine print because when a company does not provide compensation for down time, then the “upptid” is a mere marketing ploy. For example; if you purchase hosting with a company and your website is off line for three days out of the month, then it was down about 10% of the time. The hosting company should not bill you for the downtime, however, most companies will play off as if nothing had occurred unless you request the compensation for the time lost due to downtime.
But in today’s world, internet links are faster and computers are more powerful than ever
I hear you saying to yourself,
Surely there must be some way to have your information available online 100% of the time
But that is just not the case; let’s look at what factors play into uptime and down time. The biggest factor in determining how stable a hosting company is going to be is their hardware and software configuration. It is undisputed that some operating systems such as FreeBSD and Linux are more stable operators over the long run than some alternatives. Also, the stability of their internet service provider plays a large role in how things work out for the hosting company. The stability of the internet linkup, that being the vital backbone in a webhosts operation, is crucial. Because of this, many large hosting providers will use fiber linkups which are less prone to failure and provide a higher throughput than their copper counterparts. The final part of the uptime equation has to do with the web hosting company itself or the data center they have engaged to host their physical servers and your precious data. Have they taken safeguards against common problems – wear and tear on hardware, power outages, severe thunderstorms, and malicious computer users? These are all problems that plague service providers of all sorts but are particularly relevant to large internet facing companies.
When figuring which web hosting company you choose for your VPS, don’t only consider the brand name, cost and the numbers and statistics they throw around. Read the fine print to see what their numbers mean and if they are as stable and sound as their marketing copy describes. Following this precautions may just keep your business online.
Remember: Your company’s image is in the hands of your hosting provider, if they go down they can take your reputation with them, so be careful and make sure you understand what you are buying before you commit to it.
Andrew Mailer is a Web Developer, Systems Admin and all round geeky guy bringing you information and advice on web hosting:-)
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