Hardware fails.
Websites get hacked.
People make mistakes.

These are facts, and all can result in website or email downtime.

In some cases, some scheduled downtime is necessary to prevent other problems.  For example, when a new kernel (the bridge between applications and the actual data processing done at the hardware level) is released, we install it. This requires a server reboot, but keeps the system running at top performance and prevents potential security exploits.

Just this week, our automated and manual log monitoring processes uncovered indication that a drive failure was imminent. We replaced the drive BEFORE it failed. Because of some minor complications, this required two short reboots (downtime).

A provider’s claim of “99% uptime,” sounds very impressive until you do the math; it means your site could be offline for over 87 hours per year! Even 99.9% uptime – the industry standard bragging number – means your service is down almost 9 hours per year.

Worse, did you know the uptime statistics many hosts cite relate only to network accessibility and power to the server? This means the most common causes of downtime, those that occur at the server level (denial of service attacks, hacking/spam related issues, hardware failures, and planned maintenance) are not included. In other words, real website downtime is always more than these claims indicate.

And what happens when the uptime promise is broken? Well, if you can prove the downtime occurred, you can put in a request for service credit – typically a prorated portion of your monthly hosting fee. Unfortunately, your website or email being down is a problem that a small refund doesn’t fix. It’s really not even worth your time to request it.

Instead of hype and bogus claims, here is what BlueChannel offers:

  • Committed to uptime – We don’t cram thousands of sites on one physical machine.  We build enterprise-class servers that use redundant hardware and stable operating systems, keep them patched, host them at a world-class data center, and keep spare parts and emergency protocols handy.
  • Honest uptime statistics – When last computed across all client machines, BlueChannel has exceeded 99.9566% uptime (as recorded by our third-party monitoring service Alertra.com).  This 11 hours of actual downtime over the past three years includes scheduled reboots and maintenance – downtime other providers remove from their stats.
  • 24/7 multi-contact monitoringAlertra.com monitors our systems.  When problems occur, US-based employees, typically including owners of BlueChannel, work to address the issue within minutes. One owner, Mick, lives within a half mile from the data center!
  • Downtime updates to Twitter – With any provider, problems will and do occur.  When low-cost provider GoDaddy had massive downtime from 11 a.m. MDT to 5 p.m. MDT on  Monday, September 10th, they issued generic statements after-the-fact.  When BlueChannel planned for minor downtime last night, we posted updates in real time on Twitter.
  • No-hassle service termination – Even if you’ve prepaid for a year, if you are EVER unhappy with your service, we’ll give you a prorated refund and help you transfer your site to a new web host. If it’s in the first 6 months of service, we’ll refund everything you’ve paid to date.

Uptime is important, but don’t believe the marketing hype.  Go with a provider who is committed to uptime,  and also honest and available during inevitable downtime.