Although your brick-and-mortar business may have routine 9-to-5 hours of operation, your online presence is open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year — or it should be, if you’ve signed up for web hosting with a reliable uptime guarantee.
Business owners in 2020 likely know they need a website. Even if you’re a small operation or only cater to locals, you still need a virtual storefront to bolster the success of your business’s physical location. Having a website means exposure to a broader pool of potential customers or clients; it helps you establish credibility in your field, and people trust businesses with an online presence other than a Facebook page and a Yelp listing.
Anything short of 100% uptime not only means a drop in traffic but revenue loss as well. You wouldn’t randomly close your doors during peak business hours, would you? Downtime costs you, so web hosting providers offer uptime guarantees to assure you of their service and reliability. Let’s take a look at some of the best rates out there and who offers them.
99.9% Uptime Guarantee (Industry Standard)
Any host worth its salt is going to offer a minimum uptime guarantee of 99.9%. Anything less is hardly a promise to be proud of, and most of the top shared hosts boast 99.9% uptime rates. This equates to roughly 10 minutes of downtime each week or about 43 minutes in 30 days.
Because of the increased competition at this level of hosting, services with a 99.9% uptime guarantee are extremely affordable. These hosts match the quality and reliability with attractive price tags for the wide range of features that come free of charge. Take a look at our reviews of some of the most popular options:
- $0.01 for the first month, then $5 monthly after
- NO contracts and NO sudden price increases
- Unlimited storage space, data transfers, and email
- Register a new domain for $1.99 with most plans
- 99.9% uptime and price-lock guarantee
- Get started on InterServer now.
- FREE BoldGrid site builder and templates
- FREE website, domain, and cPanel migrations
- FREE SSD storage makes your site load up to 20x faster!
- FREE security suite including SSL and hack protection
- Unlimited bandwidth and email accounts
- Get started on InMotion now.
- Get 62% off by buying 36 months up front
- Unmetered disk space & bandwidth
- Unlimited email addresses & free SSL certificate
- One-click WordPress install & free blog tools
- Free 1-year domain registration on select plans
- Get started on HostGator now.
99.99% Uptime Guarantee (Above Average)
Pushing the hosting industry status quo for reliability are the hosts with 99.99% uptime rate guarantees. These providers assure their customers’ sites will experience no more than about a minute of downtime in a seven-day time span, or a hair over four minutes in a 30-day stretch. Hosts with these guarantees are few and far between, as most either stick with the status quo or go all in on high availability (with five nines or better).
Network Solutions, or NetSol, is a member of the Endurance International Group (EIG), parent company to some of the most well-known names in web hosting, including iPage and Bluehost. Network Solutions is one of the few EIG brands to guarantee 99.99% uptime to its customers, and NetSol users enjoy 24/7 expert support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Dozens of 1-click installations for popular apps
- FREE domain name from a longtime registrar
- Extensive support for programming languages
- Virtually unlimited email accounts
- Ample disk space and unlimited data transfers
- Get started on Network Solutions.
99.999% Uptime Guarantee (Superb SLA)
And here we have the rate hosting experts say to strive for — “five nines or better,” as folks often say. This supreme uptime rate slices the aforementioned downtime rates in half — 30 times over. Few hosts have the chutzpah or the physical infrastructure capacity to pledge this level of availability, but it is most commonly found in dedicated and virtual server plans.
InMotion Hosting is known for its market-leading hardware, performance-enhancing SSD storage, and ultra-reliable expert support. The host’s dedicated servers come with the added benefit of an industry-leading uptime guarantee. The company assures 99.9% uptime across all hosting plans, and dedicated server customers enjoy 99.999% net uptime, thanks to the redundant-switching network design of InMotion’s Smart Routing™ technology.
- FREE server management and security updates
- 1-on-1 time with a server administrator
- 99.999% uptime via Smart Routing™ technology
- Tier 1 network with redundant bandwidth
- Up to 44% OFF for HostingAdvice readers
- Get started on InMotion now.
99.9999% Uptime Guarantee (Rare and Really Reliable)
It’s worth noting that uptime guarantees may not include scheduled downtime for maintenance, or there could be other caveats. Even the most reliable hosts may only make this pledge on certain plans, and most providers can only pull it off with strategic datacenter locations.
As a relative newomer to the web hosting industry, Hostwinds makes a major splash by promising a 99.9999% uptime guarantee — allowing for just 30 seconds of downtime each year. Coupled with all-SSD infrastructure and dozens of options for operating systems and other software configurations, Hostwinds provides advanced and ultra-reliable hosting solutions at a price point that is friendly to beginners, as well.
100% Uptime Guarantee (Best in Class!)
First we have the Holy Grail of uptime guarantees: the 100% availability promise. Only a small faction of web hosting providers will vow to keep your site online at all times or pay the price. This uptime guarantee is almost exclusively limited to dedicated, cloud, and virtual server plans, so you’ll notice price points and resources that match the high reliability.
One of our favorite hosts to recommend for service and support, Liquid Web delivers best-in-class hardware, expert support, and round-the-clock availability monitoring to back the 100% network uptime guarantee. Few hosts have the means to offer such a promise.
Liquid Web’s infrastructure offers custom confirmations, robust security, and meticulous backups conducted by the team. The company’s relentless efforts to keep your site(s) online are reflected in the host’s consistently exceptional Net Promoter Score (NPS), which translates to the likelihood of a customer recommending the services to a friend.
- Heroic Support® and fully managed hosting
- Linux or Windows options with Plesk or cPanel
- Industry leader in customer loyalty and NPS score
- Servers proven faster than AWS and Rackspace
- 100% uptime guarantee plus backups
- Get started on Liquid Web now.
No Uptime Guarantee: Bluehost
Bluehost is a staple in shared web hosting and regularly delivers the 99.9% uptime rate customers expect from popular hosts, but does not guarantee uptime rates or reliability. While Bluehost promises to try to resolve any issues within 15 minutes, extreme server pains may take longer to relieve.
That would be a major red flag for essentially any other hosting provider. Nevertheless, Bluehost is a trusted partner for millions of individuals, small business owners, and enterprise professionals. The hosting company is endorsed by the WordPress.org team, offers round-the-clock expert support, and is routinely recognized by the shared hosting community. We have no problem suggesting Bluehost as an option, so long as you aren’t expecting to enforce the regular uptime policies found elsewhere.
- FREE domain and SSL certificate
- 1-click WordPress installs
- Unlimited traffic and in-house support 24/7
- Usually $7.99/month, but our visitors get 63% off!
- Industry-leading hardware and uptime
- Get started on Bluehost now.
Uptime Guarantee Definition & Downtime Calculator
Bringing it back to the basics, uptime is the amount of time your website is online and accessible to the public. Naturally, you want this rate as close to 100% as possible. As such, hosting providers often offer an uptime guarantee to distinguish their service from that of competitors.
An uptime guarantee is your web host’s assurance your site will be online a certain percentage of a year. You can calculate how much cumulative downtime to expect for your site given a certain uptime rate, or see the highlights below. It’s generally understood that 99.9% uptime is a hosting industry standard, whereas five nines or better (99.999% and up) is the ideal.
- 99.9% uptime means your website may be down for a total of eight hours, 45 minutes, and 57 seconds each year.
- 99.99% uptime means your website may be down for a total of 52 minutes and 35.7 seconds each year.
- 99.999% uptime means your website may be down for a total of five minutes and 15.6 seconds each year.
- 99.9999% uptime means your website may be down for a total of 31.56 seconds per year.
- 100% uptime means your website is always online (be sure to read any SLA fine print!).
Some hosts offer a service-level agreement (SLA) with their promise of availability. In short, an SLA commits the host to a refund should a customer experience downtime in excess of the uptime guarantee. An SLA typically defines a minimum outage period to give the host time to detect the error, and then a host may credit you a certain percentage of your monthly fees for a month in which you experience more downtime than normal.
You can download a free example of a host SLA here.
Ensure Your Site is Virtually Never Down By Trusting a Reliable Host
Just as the owner of a much-loved local brunch spot wouldn’t abruptly lock the doors at 10 a.m. on a Sunday — denying paying customers access to Bloody Marys and hash browns — you can’t afford for your online store or professional site to go down.
Consider your web host a silent partner in your business. The team keeps the lights on and helps ensure things are running smoothly, but the brand is yours to foster and grow. Review servers and plans from the most reliable hosts of 2020 for more of the best uptime guarantees to get started!