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Is There Such a Thing as 100% Up-Time?

Is There Such a Thing as 100% Up-Time

When searching for web hosting providers, it is seen quite often – “100% Up-time Guarantee.” The premise behind the statement is that one’s web site will never be offline. Ever. On the surface, this sounds like a fantastic deal but in reality, it simply cannot be completely accurate. It’s a phrase that says one thing but truly means another.

What Exactly Is Up-time?

In a nutshell, up-time is the measure of time a system has been continuously up and running. The measurement is usually performed in what is called “nines.” For example, a web hosting provider that claims an up-time of 99.9% translates to one minute and twenty-six seconds total of time that their services are not up and running. Another web hosting provider might claim a 99.99% up-time – roughly translated, their services are down for nine seconds daily.

Of the many web hosts available, as well as the tools which track them, one site with a verified 100% up-time is DataPipe. This site has been monitored steadily since December 29, 2005. DataPipe is the exception rather than the rule.

How Can a Web Site Claim 100% Up-time?

A quick look at the Uptime site shows DreamHost, a web hosting provider claiming a 100% up-time guarantee, coming in at 99.548% for its overall up-time. A bit off of the claimed 100%. So, how can a web hosting provider claim this? Simple. By guaranteeing a refunded amount should a web site become unavailable for any reason.

DreamHost makes it very explicit – one must have had an outage of one’s web site as a result of a failure in their systems and this does not include any previously announced maintenance issues. It also does not include any coding or configuration errors on the part of the web site owner. Once this has been clearly established, web hosting account owners must report the outage and the company will credit a future invoice for the equivalent of one days hosting per each hour the web site in question was down.

So, what it boils down to in the case of DreamHost is not that the web hosting provider never has any up-time issues but rather that they will reimburse hosting account holders for any time their web site is down (for reasons not related to error or system maintenance).


When searching for a new web hosting provider, up-time is a great concern. No one wants to host their web site with a hosting provider that doesn’t have nearly perfect up-times. However, it’s simply impossible to predict a myriad of things that could occur to bring a web server to its proverbial knees – system overload, electrical failure, and complete power outages are a few uncontrollable variables that can work against any web server.

The important thing to keep in mind is that when one sees a 100% up-time guarantee, it doesn’t necessarily mean their web site will never go down. It simply means the web hosting provider is more than willing to reimburse their web hosting clients should something unforeseeable occur. Think of it as a safety net.

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