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The most reliable (and unreliable) blogging services

Millions of people who blog don’t want to deal with hosting their blog themselves, so they use a blogging service instead. There are many things that factor into the choice of blogging service, but one of them should always be site reliability. After all, if people can’t access your blog, it won’t get read.

For this survey we have monitored the websites of nine blogging services for a period of four months to see how much downtime they have. The included services were Typepad, Blogger, WordPress.com, Blogster, Blog.com, Vox, Squarespace, Windows Live Spaces and LiveJournal.

As you can see, we included both “pure” blogging services, like Typepad and WordPress.com, as well as services such as LiveJournal and Windows Live Spaces that mix the blogging with other aspects of social media. Since we focused on blogging, we didn’t include any microblogging or lifestreaming services.

Uptime for blogging services, 10 Nov 2008 – 10 Mar 2009 (4 months)
Site Uptime % Downtime
Typepad 99,99% 14m
Blogger 99,99% 20m
WordPress.com 99,99% 20m
Windows Live Spaces 99,86% 4h 10m
Blogster 99,84% 4h 39m
Squarespace 99,82% 5h 13m
Vox 99,77% 6h 36m
LiveJournal 99,52% 13h 50m
Blog.com 98,75% 1d 12h 15m

The “big three” platforms dominate

If there is one thing that the results immediately show, it is that the “big three” blogging services, Typepad, WordPress.com and Blogger, stand in a league of their own when it comes to site availability. All three offer an impressive 99.99% uptime, which means that they will have no more than (approximately) four minutes of downtime per month on average.

We have previously shown that both Typepad and WordPress.com (not to be confused with the stand-alone WordPress software found at WordPress.org) are quite popular choices among the top bloggers. Typepad is used by 16 of the top 100 blogs, and WordPress.com is used by 5 of the top 100. Blogger is used by 3 of the top 100 blogs (one being the Official Google Blog). Their high reliability is no doubt one of the reasons they are popular.

One interesting thing to note is that two of the services included in this survey, Typepad and Vox, are from the same company (Six Apart), yet show very different availability. It is possible that Typepad has been given more internal resources than Vox (or simply has a totally different infrastructure), and this causes one platform to be more stable than the other.

Blog.com, the service that ended at the bottom in this test, did so largely due to having had a very problematic January.

(On a small side note, two of the services included here, LiveJournal and Windows Live Spaces, were also part of our 2008 social network downtime report.)

Conclusion

Judging by the results of this survey, the larger, more established blogging services have been able to leverage their resources to provide very stable platforms for their users. For example, WordPress.com has servers in three different data centers and Blogger has the massive resources of Google at its back. It isn’t easy for smaller companies to match that kind of setup.


Methodology and limitations

The test period was 10 Nov 2008 – 10 Mar 2009, i.e. 4 months. The sites were tested once every minute.

A site was considered down if it, from at least two different locations, could not be loaded within 30 seconds or returned an HTTP error code (5xx or 4xx).

It should be mentioned that a limitation of this survey is that we only monitored the home page of each service. The ideal way to perform this test would have been to monitor a large number of actual blogs on each platform and use that as a basis for calculating the uptime, but we felt that this was a bit outside the scope of this (admittedly quite small) survey.

That said, if the homepage can’t be loaded properly, the odds are that the blogs can’t either, so this survey will still give a decent indication of the site availability for these services.