Website Availability Looks Promising for Top 100K Sites in Q1 2017

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The Q1 2017 downtime report found that 44% of the top 100,000 websites in the United States achieved at least four-nines availability — a 15% increase compared to Q4 2016.

This past quarter, CloudEndure continued to track the effectiveness of business continuity and disaster recovery for the 100,000 most-visited sites in the United States.

To gain insight into top websites such as Wikipedia, Etsy, Netflix, Amazon, and many more, we combine Quantcast’s audience measurement service with our own tracking engine, which monitors the top 100,000 websites 24/7 throughout the quarter.

In Q1 2017, a few of our key findings were:

  • More top websites achieved zero downtime (17%) than any quarter in the past 12 months
  • 63% of the top websites reached 99.9% (36%) or 99.99% (27%) availability
  • 93% of the top 1,000 websites had at least 99.99% availability

A closer look at the changes in downtime findings between quarters shows important trends in how the most-visited websites are approaching availability.

Before we start comparing this quarter’s downtime report to past findings, you can download the Disaster Recovery Survey Report for more information about industry standards for business continuity and disaster recovery.

Download the 2017 Disaster Recovery Survey Report to start benchmarking your DR plans against those of your industry peers.

Read on to see how the top websites made strides to improve availability compared to the tough times in Q3 and Q4 2016.

A Quick Reference to Translate “Nines” Into Downtime

Downtime (both planned and unplanned) happens for even the most-visited websites — but with the right cloud-based disaster recovery solution, you can maintain business continuity in the face of outages.

In a perfect world, our downtime report would find that 100% of websites experience zero downtime each quarter. However, the reality is that each company has its own goals in mind to balance cost-efficiency and specific percentages of availability.

Each quarter, we include this chart as a quick reference to translate each “nine” of availability into tangible downtime and give you a better idea of how the top 100,000 websites are faring.

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

With this table in mind, let’s take a look at how website availability improved between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017.

The Upward Trend of Website Availability

The percentage of websites achieving three-nines availability dropped from 48% in Q4 2016 to 36% in Q1 2017 — but that change led to significant increases in websites reaching availability of four nines or better.

Whereas Q4 2016 saw just 18% of the top 100,000 websites reach four-nines availability, 27% hit the mark in Q1 2017. Better yet, the percentage of companies experiencing zero downtime increased from 11% in Q4 2016 to 17% in Q1 2017.

Find out if your industry peers are meeting their business continuity goals.

The bright outlook for website availability carried over into improvements for Fortune 1000 sites as well.

In the past, three-nines availability was considered an achievement. However, four-nines availability is quickly becoming the industry standard — especially for Fortune 1000 sites.

In Q1 2017, 48% of Fortune 1000 sites reached four-nines or better availability. This is a significant increase from the 35% that achieved the same website availability in Q4 2016. However, having the resources of a Fortune 1000 company doesn’t necessarily result in the highest standard of website availability.

The top 1,000 most-visited websites overall achieved much higher availability than Fortune 1000 sites in Q1 2017. An impressive 65% of the top 1,000 sites reached four nines or better availability, which was a 16% increase compared to Q4 2016. With 36% of these top 1,000 websites seeing zero downtime, it’s clear that business continuity plans are improving.

Over the past two years that we’ve been tracking website availability data, our observations have often been about continued struggles for top sites. However, the top 100,000 websites are starting 2017 off right with much-needed availability improvements. Now, they just need to keep trending in the right direction.

Don’t Leave Website Availability to Random Circumstances

It’s important to note one of the main reasons why sites experienced such problems with availability in Q4 2016.

One major DDoS attack against a network of IoT devices took many of the world’s most reliable websites down for hours. With the quarterly difference between three-nines and four-nines availability being just about 2 hours, it’s no surprise that Q4 2016 was a struggle.

But external circumstances like cyber attacks are the exact reason why these sites should be spending more time strategizing for disaster recovery and business continuity. You never know when the next unexpected outage will occur, so to keep website availability trending upward, businesses must prepare themselves.

We’ll see next quarter if the top 100,000 websites can maintain this kind of performance throughout Q2 2017.

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