Website Uptime vs Downtime: What’s the Difference?

Have you ever wondered about what the difference is between uptime and downtime? Well, you aren’t alone – there are so many people with the same question. 

Luckily, we are here to help you understand and hopefully help you in the long run. Whether you’re a business that’s simply wondering why it’s important, or a website owner curious to find out what causes downtime, we’ve got you covered.

Definition of Website Uptime

If you have never heard of website uptime or downtime, then this is the place you need to be. 

Website uptime is the amount of time that a website is operating and that others can access it without any interruptions. It’s normally measured in a percentage over a specific time, such as a month or year. During this time, the website is online and working properly. Having a high uptime percentage shows that a website is reliable and constantly available for visitors. 

On the other hand, a high percentage of website downtime leads users to feel frustrated. For this very reason, website uptime is essential for every website owner.

Definition of Website Downtime

Website downtime is the period during which a website isn’t accessible to users or not functioning properly. It is the opposite of website uptime and it happens when a website experiences any technical issues. This can include server problems, maintenance, or other disruptions that usually stop users from getting access to the site. Downtime leads to a loss of traffic and it can damage a website’s reputation. This isn’t always the case, though. Sometimes websites can have scheduled downtime and website owners normally warn their users beforehand.

What Causes Downtime?

Because experiencing website downtime (that’s not scheduled) can ruin a website’s reputation, it’s important to know what causes it. Here are a few issues that can contribute to website downtime:

Server Issues:

Sometimes the server that’s hosting a website can have hardware failures, software glitches, or overload, resulting in downtime. For this very reason, it’s key to have a reliable server hosting your website, even if it will cost a pretty penny.

Network Outages:

We have all experienced this pesky problem when visiting a website at one point or another. Issues with the network connection can include disruptions in internet service or problems with the data center’s network infrastructure. These can cause a website to experience website downtime.

Maintenance and Updates:

One good reason (if not, the only good reason) to have website downtime is for scheduled maintenance. This is temporary downtime to update and upgrade the website or even the server.

Cyber attacks:

Cyber attacks affect around 94 people a day. This is when cyber criminals breach the security of a website. They also attack using a DDoS attack, which causes downtime that’s specifically aimed to disrupt traffic or the website server. 

Another common cyber attack is hacking. While we’ve only listed 3 examples of cyber attacks, there are many other types that may threaten a website. Be sure to do your best to protect your website from all forms of cyber attacks as best as you can.

Domain Name System (DNS) Issues:

Problems with the DNS, such as incorrect configurations, DNS propagation delays, or DNS server failures, can prevent users from accessing the website.

Traffic Spikes:

Sometimes a website can experience a sudden increase in website traffic. This can be the result of a viral campaign or promotional event. As great as more website traffic may sound, it can overload the server and lead to downtime if developers haven’t prepared for it.

Human Error:

Human error is a challenge that every website and business owner has to face from time to time. Bugs, coding errors, or software conflicts inside the website’s code can cause crashes and downtime. That is why developers must test the code before the website is live. Website admin mistakes can include misconfigurations, accidental deletions, or errors in updates, that can cause downtime.

James Anthony Froude once said,” Instruction does not prevent wasted time or mistakes, and mistakes themselves are often the best teachers of all.” 

The Impact of Downtime on Websites

Loss of Revenue:

If you have ever had a question and needed an answer, Google is often the first place that you look to. However, maybe this time you can’t find what you’re looking for. You click on a promising website only to find you can’t gain access or view any images. This is how website downtime can result in a direct loss of revenue. This is very concerning for e-commerce websites, online businesses, and other platforms that rely on website traffic for sales. During downtime, customers can’t make purchases, leading to missed opportunities for income.

Decreased User Experience:

We all know that as a visitor of a website, downtime decreases the positive feeling we get when we experience the website. When we see error messages, slow loading times, or complete unavailability of the website, we are less likely to return and try again later. When we’re frustrated and dissatisfied, we develop a negative view of the brand. So, we look for services or products elsewhere.

Damage to Brand Reputation:

Frequent or long periods of downtime can damage a company’s reputation and credibility. Customers will see the business as unreliable or unprofessional. This is very common, especially if they return and encounter consistent issues accessing the website. This negative perception can impact the trust and loyalty that customers have in the long term.

SEO Impact:

Website downtime can also have an impact on search engine rankings. If search engine crawlers repeatedly encounter downtime when trying to index a site, it can affect the website’s visibility. A low rank means a decrease in organic traffic and less online website visibility. All the time and effort spent on SEO best practices will be undone if Google pushes your site further out of the public’s eye.

Customer Trust and Loyalty:

Downtime can break customer trust and loyalty. Customers expect websites to be available and accessible whenever they try to click on them. If they aren’t and experience this problem more than once, they lose trust in the brand and choose the brand’s competitors instead. Downtime has a direct and significantly negative impact on the user experience of your website.

Why should you monitor your website uptime?

There’s value in website monitoring. We have explained that (and how) website downtime can affect your business in many more ways than one. With website downtime causing a loss of not only your revenue but also your reputation, it’s safe to say that investing in a good uptime monitoring tool like Tethered is key to your website’s success. 

You should be the first one to know if your website goes down, not your customers! So, take control of your business’s future by continuously monitoring its website’s performance indicators.

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