Website availability refers to the access that people can have to a website when they enter the URL of it in their browser, and the site shows itself as expected. This term availability is related to the uptime of a website, which is related to the uptime of web servers.

Usually, the availability of a webpage is expressed as a percentage: a Service Report could say monthly thata a website was 99.99% available in a month. The 0.01% represents the moments, about 20 minutes when the webpage could not be reached by visitors during that month. This is called a 20-minute downtime.

If the downtime was planned or not, is quite different. The maintenance is necessary in every system, so the owner of the webpage should plan its website’s availability. Most of the time, a scheduled maintenance on a website is not taken into consideration when calculating the uptime percentage. Yet, if you want a 99.99% of availability, you need to know that you only count to 4.32 minutes in a month for maintenance. Hosting Services

Is website availability the same as website performance?

Nor performing can be the same as not available, first, it is important to show what not performing is. This is translated into the seconds a page should take to load, or the webpages used to measure performance. It is obvious that a simple webpage cannot be compared to a complex search one.

Factors influencing performance and availability

Which factors impact website availability? After describing what the term website availability means, it is important to review the factors influencing it. The uptime percentage of a website can be influenced by some factors, planned or unplanned. For example, planned maintenance; all the changes and fixes on the website, planned maintenance on the software patches or memory upgrades

Secondly, there are plenty of un-planned factors, for example an attack on the website, a failure within the hardware and software, natural disasters. It is important to have a good hosting provider, which will have systems in place to reduce these risks.

Also, the integrations with other systems or vendors can impact a website’s availability. The web development has made great changes over the last years, creating a lot of great services available.

Adobe TypeKit is an example of this kind of service: it integrates good-looking fonts on the website. When people use TypeKit on their website, they need to be aware that their website can become less available if TypeKit becomes unavailable. So, it is important to think before starting integrating.

Measuring the availability of your website

Measuring your website availability gives an insight into the uptime and downtime, planned or unplanned and can help to improve it. It will depend on your hosting provider. There are some that might need to check the availability by themselves, and compare the figures with the ones delivered by the hosting company.

It is necessary to know whether your website is down or not, yet knowing the causes of the downtime is not the task of a customer.

When a problem occurs and the operator talks to external hosting partners, “all lights are green” is often the response. Servers may be up and running, but that is not a guarantee that everything is working as it should.

A website is available, or “up”, when visitors can visit the URL and the website looks like it should. Clear and simple. Yet a lot of factors can lower that availability. Often people encounter requests for a high percentage of availability, while it is clear no one has thought into how realistic those demands are. Putting the percentage into actual minutes will help people realize that what they are asking might not be practical.

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