In March 2007 there were 51.3 million active websites according to Netcraft. The average downtime for a website in March was 1 hour and 59 minutes, based on a selection of over 2,000 websites monitored by Pingdom GIGRIB.
If you put those two numbers together, you get a pretty amazing figure. Those 51.3 million websites as a whole were down 4,239,375 days. That’s over 11,614 years of website downtime in March alone. That many years ago humans were still in the Stone Age, learning the basics of farming, and the last Ice Age was under way.
Image: Stonehenge was erected 4,000 years ago. Compare that to 11,000 years.
In a 31-day month like March, 1 hour and 59 minutes equals 99.73% uptime. That is fine for something non-critical, but it could be an expensive affair for a commercial website. It should also be noted that since this is an average number, some websites have no downtime at all, while others have a lot more. It’s also interesting to note that many web hosting companies offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which is the equivalent of 44 minutes of downtime in a month. Websites on average are obviously not reaching these uptime numbers.
Even though 0.27% of downtime may seem like a relatively small number, it becomes huge when you look at the whole picture, i.e. the entire internet. Even a small improvement in overall uptime of websites on the internet would have a big impact overall.
It’s hard to put a price tag on downtime. For some websites it simply doesn’t matter, and for some it’s a disaster. However, 4.2 million days of downtime in just a month should leave a significant financial mark. Over a year that would mean a total of more than 50 million days of downtime.
About the survey
To estimate the total website downtime of the internet you need two values: the total number of actual websites, and the average downtime for a website.
The number of active websites is from Netcraft’s March 2007 web server survey.
The average website downtime is from GIGRIB. It monitors a good mix of sites from around the world that should be representative of the general website types, including news sites, blogs, corporate websites, simple private homepages, community sites, etc. A selection of more than 2,000 websites from GIGRIB was used to calculate the average downtime for a website in March.
GIGRIB defines downtime as when a website does not respond, or takes more than 30 seconds to respond. HTTP error codes (404, 5xx, etc) also count as down.