How many hosting companies do you think would post this to their blog?

We Are “Not” a Hosting Company

hosting company alternative

It’s important to remember that we are not a hosting company in the traditional sense. We are a web support company that strives to provide high-performance and secure hosting as part of our services to our clients.

A Little History

I have been involved in hosting clients’ websites for over 20 years. Those not working with websites from the late 1990s through even 2010s will never understand the level of instability that we dealt with.

Today technology is so incredibly stable; I find it amazing! Today outages of any substantial time are years apart for us. This is why I want to tell this story.

It’s All About Control for this Web Developer

As a developer, I am naturally inclined to control everything I can. It makes no sense to promise clients high-performing websites if I do not control the code and the entire hosting environment.

With this desire to have control over all aspects of a website, we started offering hosting as part of our web support and web maintenance packages over ten years ago.

Of course, it couldn’t be just another shared hosting plan; I had to build the best platform I could from top-tier infrastructure providers.

The Last Time Our Hosting Services Went Down

web hosting services outage

So anyway, the last time our hosting services went down was yesterday.

Website Outage Alerts Came Rolling In

Today at about 1:21 PM Eastern, I got my first alert of a down website, and then came a flood of alerts. Clearly, this was not just one of our sites but possibly an entire server.

As it turns out, it was an entire region! Our New York data center experienced a network issue at an upstream provider that caused outages for some clients whose sites were within this specific data center and on a certain subnet.

All said and done, the outage affected 16 websites we host. Not a lot by world standards but each one of those represents a client that only cares about one website, theirs.

FatLab currently maintains servers in New York, Miami, Atlanta, and Seattle.

68 Minutes = 95.41% Uptime for the Day

For about 68 minutes, we monitored the situation. We ensured that engineers were working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible before receiving the first alert that the websites had started to recover.

Why Would I Tell This Story?

website downtime what to do about it

Our excellent uptime record speaks for itself. It has been years since any website outage has affected so many sites (about 15 % of the total websites we are responsible for).

This is the Story I Want Told

As a company, we take pride in monitoring not only servers and networks but also individual websites.

Our goal is to offer unparalleled web support to our clients, not just typical hosting services.

What We Can and Can Not Guarantee

While we cannot guarantee websites will never experience downtime, we can assure our clients that we do everything in our power to identify and resolve any issues that may arise quickly.

It’s All About How We Monitor Our Client’s Websites

We monitor our client’s websites around the clock by checking them every 5 minutes from multiple locations around the U.S. and the world, especially for clients with an international audience.

In case of poor performance or a down website, we automatically verify the problem with a second and third location over the next few minutes. Once confirmed, we are promptly alerted (24/7).

With a five-minute testing and verification system, the absolute maximum time a website can have issues before we are notified is about 7 minutes.

Most Hosts Do Not Monitor Like This

99.99999999% Uptime is Smoke and Mirrors!

Sure many hosting companies boast 99.9999% uptime. However, I have an industry secret for you: This number almost never has anything to with your website but simply their network.

This literally means the server your site is on could be down for days, and the company could still legitimately claim 99.9999% uptime.

Downtime is About Action, Not Marketing BS

web server uptime

Those 99.9999% uptime hosting companies are not providing anything but an empty “suggestion” that your website will never go down.

They would never write a blog article about the last time they lost connectivity to some of their customers’ sites for an hour.

I Can Write this Article Because All of our Alert Systems Worked

We were fully aware of the situation before we got the first notice from a client.

We also proactively contacted those clients on affected servers and kept them current through 4 emails, the final message declaring the all-clear.

So I say it again; We cannot promise anyone their site will not go down. We, however, promise to do everything within our power to become aware of the situation as soon as possible, do everything we can to resolve the situation as soon as possible, and keep our clients up to date by the minute so no one is left in the dark.

The Not-So-Far Future

In the last month, we have started looking into new technologies that would allow us to offer a robust autoscaling and high-availability hosting solution. We expect to roll this out in the next few months.