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There is no “in the middle of the night” on the web

One of the best things about the web is that it’s global, but this can also be a great challenge for webmasters. When you want to do maintenance on your website, you have to keep in mind that it’s always daytime somewhere. As the saying goes, the web never sleeps.

Let’s take an example. 2 a.m. seems to be a pretty common time to initiate a service window where servers and other services are restarted or worked on. Assuming this is done at 2 a.m. in California, USA, what time is it elsewhere in the world?

    • 5 a.m. on the US East Coast.


    • 10 a.m. in Europe, for example UK.


    • 6 p.m. in China and Australia.


Always daytime somewhere on the web

As you can see, it may be in the middle of the night for you if you’re a California-based company, but the day is well under way in other parts of the world. Even just counting USA and Europe will leave you without dead time. There is no “in the middle of the night” on the web.

If your website targets for example English-speaking countries, you at least have USA, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand to think about. There are also numerous countries with English as a second language.

Make sure you can perform your upgrades and your maintenance as seamlessly as possible. Just shutting down the entire service really isn’t an alternative anymore.

If you absolutely have to shut down your entire service for a while, examine the visitor logs on your web servers and try to find a window where as few people as possible will be affected.

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  1. [...] The average downtime per month for these ten websites is around 40 minutes, which has to be considered to be within acceptable limits, even though zero downtime is of course preferred by users. After all, the web never sleeps. [...]

  2. [...] An interesting note here is that a service like Digg has plenty of international users, meaning that no matter when they take the service down, it will be daytime somewhere. No matter when they do it, users will be affected. As we have pointed out before, there simply is no “in the middle of the night” on the Internet. [...]

  3. [...] There is no “in the middle of the night” on the web – Some food for thought before the next time you perform maintenance on your international website. [...]