How Often Is Your Website Going Down?It's a tough job finding a hosting provider that is reliable these days, really tough. I've talked to numerous people about what hosts they use and I get a similar answer much of the time "They are the best, my site never goes down". I follow that up with "How do you know? What tools are you using to monitor that?" followed by blank stares. The reality is this, your host is not going to call you every time there is an outage on your website, and there is a very good chance your website is going down multiple times a week and you just don't know (Usually only a few minutes, but that's more than enough to lose a sale). So what can you do about it?
Luckily there are a few services that you can use to monitor the uptime of your website, and for free! I personally use Pingdom Free and Uptime Robot to monitor my website. I figure if I have two services that let me know such things, I have a better chance of knowing if it's a real issue. Both these services also offer paid services that give you more frequent checking and some additional services, but if you just want to know when you website goes down and get a report, these are both great. Pingdom Free (And paid) does offer more than Uptime Robot, but it's price point is also higher.
Not only will both free services let you know when your websites go down, but they will also give you Response times for your website. While Uptime Robot only gives you the last 24 hours, you can choose larger intervals with Pingdom. Response times are important when you're trying to speed up your website. When you can actually see these times drop during testing, you know that things are working. If they go up or remain the same, you need to check something else.
The biggest thing to remember is that if you get a notification that your website is down, that you go and check if it actually is or not. I have run into more than one host who won't let you use a monitoring service to get Uptime Guarantee refunds, so it's important that you talk to support every time you get a notification and confirm your website is down. If you host multiple websites on the same server, check a couple of them at least.
If you're running a business, you should be running at least one of these services. Downtime is lost sales, lost visitors and if they're not going to you... they're going to somebody else.