CloudEndure Report: 89% of the Top 100K Sites Struggled With Downtime in Q3 2016

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Study showed 79% of top 100,000 sites had 99.9% availability or greater, and Fortune 1000 companies fared slightly better — with 83% of their sites available 99.9% or more during the third quarter.

For the third time this year, CloudEndure has published results that illustrate how effectively top companies and organizations handle website availability. This quarter’s numbers revealed that the top websites had more downtime than earlier this year.

In order to produce these results, CloudEndure tracked the 100,000 most visited websites in the U.S. – a list that includes favorites like YouTube, Amazon, Twitter, and PayPal – as ranked by the audience measurement service Quantcast. Utilizing a tracking engine that our in-house developers created, we closely monitored the top 100,000 websites 24/7 throughout the entire third quarter of 2016.

Thanks to these reliable numbers, we learned that fewer websites were able to achieve 99.99% (or “four nines”) availability than in the last fiscal quarter (more on that in just a bit). We also discovered that the crème de la crème, the sites of Fortune 1000 companies, had trouble maintaining their availability this quarter. Whereas in the second quarter of 2016, 51% of Fortune 1000 company sites had zero downtime, this past quarter only 19% had zero downtime.

Availability Breakdown by CloudEndure

In the second quarter of 2016, CloudEndure found that 41% of the most visited websites had 99.99% (or “four nines”) availability or better. In the third quarter, only 34% achieved “four nines.” That’s right: Despite the advancements in disaster recovery technologies, in just one fiscal quarter, the number of organizations with a high mark of availability decreased significantly. “Four nines” is an average of 13.4 minutes of downtime in the quarter, and would represent 52.56 minutes of downtime if stretched through the year.

Probably because there was a decrease in organizations hitting “four nines” or better, the percentage of those achieving 99.9% (or “three nines”) availability increased. Last quarter, 41% of them achieved “three nines.” In the third quarter, 45% hit “three nines.” Over the course of a year, that’s an average of only 8.76 hours of downtime.

There was also a slight decrease in the percentage of websites that had no downtime. In the second fiscal quarter, 14% of the 100,000 most visited websites had no downtime whatsoever; in the third quarter, 11% were able to hit the gold standard of availability. (On the flip side, this means 89% of the top 100,000 sites had some amount of downtime.)

Not everyone could boast of no downtime, or even “three nines.” CloudEndure’s tracking engine revealed that 20% of the top 100,000 sites achieved only 99% (“two nines”) availability, which is up from 17% in the second quarter. In the third quarter, just as in the previous one, 1% of the top 100,000 websites had even greater struggles than 99% availability: They reached only 90% (“one nine”) availability – which means those relatively few sites were down, on average, nine days over the quarter, an amazing average of 36.5 days of downtime over the course of a full year.  

Availability Goals of Popular Companies Are Common

Earlier this year, CloudEndure surveyed 141 directors, CIOs, and managers of large, small, and mid-sized companies to get their thoughts on downtime, migration, and other cloud computing functions.

The 2017 Disaster Recovery Survey showed that a vast majority of organizations (74%) had a service availability goal of 99.9% or better. Our review of the top Quantcast sites in the third quarter of 2016 showed that 79% of the most visited websites in the U.S. indeed achieved this goal. That was a vast improvement from the first quarter of this year when the standard was met by 70% of the sites.

If you’re interested in seeing how downtime plays out over the course of three months and a year, here is a chart that explains it all:

Availability % Downtime per year Downtime per quarter
90% (“one nine”) 36.5 days 9 days
99% (“two nines”) 3.65 days 21.6 hours
99.9% (“three nines”) 8.76 hours 2.2 hours
99.99 (“four nines”) 52.56 minutes 13.4 minutes
99.999% (“five nines”) 5.26 minutes 1.3 minutes
99.9999% (“six nines”) 31.5 seconds 7.7 seconds


A Remarkable 30% of the Top 1,000 Websites Had No Downtime

CloudEndure reviewed the availability of the top websites within the top 100,000 website list – the favorites among the favorites. We wanted to see if the 1,000 most visited sites also had achieved better availability than the rest of the pack. As we saw in the second quarter, these 1,000 sites once again outperformed the rest of the bunch.

Indeed, 30% of the top 1,000 websites had no downtime at all in Q3 2016. This demonstrates that the more views a website attracts, the company or organization behind it is working harder to prevent downtime.

Want to see how your company’s disaster recovery strategy measures up to that of over 140 other companies?