Uptime Statistics Defined

Constantly monitoring a selected web host can be beneficial for ensuring uptime and verifying their advertised guaranteed uptime percentage. There are many reported network statistics from the monitoring services that relate to uptime. The most important statistics include check period, last checked (in minutes), checked since, monitor status, number of checks, number of outages, number of failed checks, uptime percentage, average response time, DNS lookup time and 1k page download time.

Additionally, more advanced statistics include full page download time, and link and image validation responses. Many monitoring services are accommodating to those without technical savvy or without an information technology department to analyze the data.
To gather these statistics, the monitoring service is generally reviewing:

  • The HTTP server which delivers web site pages
  • The HTTPS server for secure areas on the web site as well as using a secure server
  • The FTP server which provides downloadable files on the web site
  • SMTP and POP3 servers to ensure the movement of incoming and outgoing mail

By focusing on these primary areas, web monitoring services have the opportunity to gather statistics from a well rounded area thus improving statistical accuracy for an enhanced user experience.

Basic Monitoring Statistics
The check period or monitoring period statistic within an uptime monitoring service report is simply how often the network is checked for uptime. Most services offer a diversity of intervals for specific needs. Many provide checks every 1/5/15/30/60 minutes depending on the need.

The last checked value is how long ago (in minutes) the uptime monitoring service checked the monitored web hosting company. This value will change based on the check period selection. The checked since reports the date when the monitoring service began following the web hosting company.

The monitor status relays that the web hosting company is currently up and functional. Within the monitor status statistic are generally three categories, number of checks, number of outages and failed checks. These are some of the most important numbers available in the uptime monitoring report.

Number of checks refers to the total amount of times the monitoring service has checked the web hosting company as operating. Number of outages relays the amount of times the hosting company’s servers have been down and unavailable. Finally, a failed check indicates that some type of error occurred and cannot connect to the host. This doesn’t mean the site is down; the system simply has some type of error.

Uptime percentage is the percentage of time the system is up, running and functional. This is probably the most important statistic available as it displays whether the web host is consistent with their uptime guarantee. If they advertise a percentage of 95% and they’re only running 93%, this metric will reveal the discrepancy.

Average response time is the amount of time it takes for the uptime monitoring service to receive a response from the requested web host. This is crucial in that it tells the speed of the response from the servers. The smaller the number, the quicker that network is moving.
DNS lookup time is the amount of time it takes to look up a server’s internet protocol (IP) address. DNS stands for domain name system which maps hostnames to IP addresses. Browser’s cannot download anything from the hostname until the DNS lookup completes. Therefore, a quicker DNS lookup time means quicker web page loading which improves uptime.

Finally, 1k page download time is the amount of time it takes to download a 1kb web page from the host. Once again the less amount of time it takes to download a 1kb page, the quicker the servers are to load web pages. Uptime is affected by this as it improves user connectivity. A page not downloading indicates that the hosting server is down and cannot be used thus affecting all web sites attached to that server.

Advanced Monitoring Statistics
Full page download time is similar to 1k page download time in that they’re both the amount of time it takes to download a page. Since most modern web pages are greater than 1kb, this statistic is more accurate in reviewing page loading times and is a good test for server uptime. Again, if no response is received, the host’s server is not functional.

Link and image validating statistics uncover links and images that are broken indicating that they cannot connect to the server or the server failed. Since most web pages include both links and images, this is a critical measurement statistic. 

With these numerous checks that are performed by uptime monitoring services, the common trend is time. The more often servers are functional, the more often web pages on that server can be viewed. The quicker the response times, the faster loading from the browser to the server will occur. These are all important statistics that need to be utilized to verify the web hosting company is living up to its expectations.

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