Last week a horrible thing happened in the World Wide Web. One of the largest hosting providers experienced an extended outage. Perhaps you heard about it.
Of course, outages can and do occur in all hosting companies. Usually they are small - the one last week was huge. I have often said that it is amazing to me that the World Wide Web functions at the level of reliability it does. In this particular case, the hosting provider that experienced the outage is one who provides ‘low cost’ hosting for hundreds of thousands of websites.
It is no wonder that this happened and is certain to happen again. Think about it – As I am writing this post, I checked what they offer on their website and found that for only $4.95 a month a customer can purchase a hosting plan that offers unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage. There is another company (that actually runs on the same network, and experienced the same outage) that offers the same for only $3.96 a month. Really? 4 bucks a month?
After the outage occured I went to a forum and read some of the comments of some of their customers. They were livid, like they couldn't believe this happened to them. I wanted to say to them “What did you expect?”
That is the point that I hope is taken by this post.
I would never say that ours or any service is uninterruptable. But reliability has its price, and that price is not 4 bucks. It is expensive to have enough equipment, qualified technicians, backups, disaster recovery, and support staff to operate a reliable hosting company. This is exactly why we went with Rackspace many years ago. It costs more but it is worth it to us and it is right for our clients.
Exactly one week later the same company is down again. It is not pretty to read the hosting forums right now.