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Perhaps when you were comparing web hosting plans among several hosting providers your decision was mixed on which hosting provider to choose until you saw uptime percentage guarantees like 99.5%, 99.9% or even 99.999%. Your mathematical intellect told you that the higher the percentage uptime, the higher the accessibility and reliability of your hosted web site will be.

But how did you verify this superior statistic? Is there some kind of monthly money back guarantee or price break if your site fails to pass the advertised percentage? How will you ever know if and when your web site goes down while you're at work or while you sleep? Do you expect the hosting provider to email you and tell you that the site was down and automatically credit your account? This is not likely going to happen. Maybe you should ask your web host provider exactly what this guarantee entitles you to and how you will be notified should this incident happen. You may be surprised at what they tell you.

Most web hosting providers will tell you that it is the customers responsibility to alert and challenge them on this matter and bring it before the Customer Support for proper billing compensation; if any! Now, you're asking yourself how do I enforce such a claim without the proper data and verification? A solution to the dilemma is usage of several web site uptime monitoring services. Uptime monitoring services vary in costs, statistical details, notification features, and time monitoring intervals. So depending on your objectives and level of statistical detail be sure to visit several web sites offering this kind of service and see for yourself what you get with each service.

What's the big deal anyway?

The importance of having reassurance that your web site is up as "guaranteed" by your web hosting provider is critical for some businesses that have an e-commerce web site. They can not afford to be down for 2 hrs during peak visitation and purchase periods or else revenue is lost - ouch! For others it may be the private investigator in them that is curious to know just how reliable their web hosting provider is.

For instance, a 99.5% uptime means that 0.5% downtime is allowed, which translates into approximately 7.2 minutes per day or 3.6 hours per month of downtime for your web site. Downtime is usually understood to be for server errors or related interruptions and not for scheduled maintenance or unexpected network outages beyond the providers control. However, if the server that you are hosting on accumulates excessive downtime for repairs/upgrades/etc.. then you might like to know this information and request either a new server or a refund; hence switch to a new web hosting provider.

At any rate, the use of a web site uptime monitoring service to provide the evidence needed in proving your case is crucial. Even if you're not compensated for excessive downtime at least you will know the facts and can make an informed decision on your course of action to resolve this dilemma. Do not take your web hosting provider's words and the HTML hype plastered all over their web site they sell you. Take time to contact them and ask questions before you trust them with your domain name and web site.

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