There are a few things website owners look for when choosing a web host—hours of operation, customer service, and how much uptime is guaranteed. The vast majority of web hosts guarantee uptime over 98 percent of the time and the great ones squeak in at above 99 percent. While fractions of a percentage might not seem like much to those not in the know, people are becoming more and more tech savvy. They know the difference between a dedicated and shared server and are willing to hunt down a web host that offers as close to 100 percent uptime as possible.
As a web host, you field calls from all kinds of customers from Luddites to those who used to be in the web hosting game. That means you need to be prepared (and prep your employees) for answering the big questions. And the big ones? They’re going to be around how much uptime you offer, what happens if you don’t deliver, and what your POA is when the server hits the fan.
Here are all the times uptime really matters and what you should be providing your clients:
- During Rush Hour
This means different things for different clients. For some, it’s Cyber Monday and for others it’s during the Superbowl. Maybe your client is a big name blogger and for them it’s the Oscars, cricket match overseas or wedding season that matters. Understand when the events take place that are most likely to overload niches and be prepared to soothe your callers’ worries.
- When a Game Gets an Upgrade
When the servers for World of Warcraft notoriously went down, gamers were enraged—and you don’t want to see them when they’re angry. Unable to game, they took to social media and message boards to let their wrath be known. If your client offers up a major game, you have to understand where they’re coming from. Gamers are going to blame them, not the host, when their virtual reality has an apocalypse.
- When a Business First Launches
As your callers are struggling to figure out Facebook for business and wooing investors, the last thing they want to worry about is their website “working.” Having as close to 100 percent uptime as possible for a new business is critical. They’re still building their client base, online reputation, and don’t want to miss out on a single client. As a web host, it’s your job to reassure them and offer the kind of support they’re not getting in other parts of their venture.
In 2010 Starbucks did this when they started offering Free Wifi at all their locations.
- When it’s a Financial or Security Company
People aren’t going to be very happy if they can’t access their bank’s website or if a security site seems to have issues. These types of “sensitive” niche industries require optimal uptime. Otherwise, it makes them look unprofessional or—worse—that they don’t have the capacity to keep their customers safe.
However, the reality is that absolutely any website or type of business deserves a lot of uptime even if it’s free hosting. Give your customers what they want, and they’ll ultimately return the favor.