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How often is online storage offline?

This is a survey of the uptime of 16 online storage services during June – Aug 2007, showing some striking differences in availability. The service with the best uptime only had five minutes of downtime in three months, while the service with the worst uptime had more than 66 hours of downtime during the same period.

It is becoming increasingly common to store and share files online, and there are a large number of websites that offer this service. Whether they are business documents, videos or images, once the files have been uploaded from your computer to the online storage service of your choice, your ability to share these files depends on the availability (uptime) of the service you are using.

Many of these storage services also offer paid options, often as online storage solutions for companies and advanced users. That makes it even more important that they have a very high availability. After all, a file storage solution is useless if you cannot access your files.

Ideally these services would be up and running and fully available 100% of the time so you can always access your files. However, this is not an ideal world and there are a lot of technical challenges for these services to provide a reliable website, including potential problems with servers and networks. This is not a unique problem to online storage services, but to all websites and services on the web.

The facts after 3 months of uptime monitoring

We collected a mixed list of online storage services, from well-known players like MegaUpload (the 15th most popular website in the world according to Alexa.com), SendSpace, YouSendIt and DropSend, etc, to various smaller alternatives. These were then monitored for three months, June through August. You can see the total downtime per website below for this three-month period in the diagram below:

Downtime for 16 online storage services
Above: Downtime in minutes for 16 online storage services. For more data, including a month-by-month breakdown, see the table at the bottom of this article.

As you can see from the diagram, the availability of these services vary enormously. The service with the worst uptime has 796 times more downtime than the service with the least downtime.

It is also clear, especially when looking at the monthly downtime numbers (available in the table below) that the difference from month to month can be significant. An excellent example is MyTempDir which had very good uptime both in June and July but ran into serious problems in August when their service was unavailable for hours on end, in one case 22 hours in just one day.

There is of course more to a service than just availability. Usability, support, download and upload speed, storage space, and many other factors should be considered when choosing an online storage solution, and also whether it is intended for private or corporate use. The numbers we provided in this survey are just one thing to factor in when (and if) you make a decision.

Survey data

For a monthly breakdown, here is a table with the monitoring results. The columns show downtime, i.e. when a website did not respond or gave an error.

Online storage services, downtime per month
Website June July August Total Avg monthly uptime
mailbigfile.com 5m 29s 0 0 5m 99,996%
gigasize.com 11m 50s 0 34m 16s 46m 99,965%
sendthisfile.com 16m 27s 33m 23s 9m 58s 59m 99,955%
megaupload.com 28m 35s 14m 7s 29m 45s 1h 12m 99,946%
megashares.com 1h 4m 1m 1s 10m 57s 1h 15m 99,943%
easy-share.com 0 19m 8s 60m 0s 1h 19m 99,940%
beamfile.com 5m 1h 45m 5m 1h 55m 99,913%
zupload.com 1h 15m 16m 18s 34m 22s 2h 5m 99,906%
yousendit.com 17m 24s 5m 4h 2m 4h 24m 99,801%
sendspace.com 2h 39m 2h 47m 29m 59s 5h 55m 99,732%
datataxi.com 11m 29s 6h 59m 2h 55m 10h 5m 99,543%
dropsend.com 6h 23m 4h 12m 24m 21s 10h 59m 99,503%
spread-it.com 19h 39m 3h 38m 2h 35m 25h 42m 98,836%
bigupload.com 1h 25m 31h 4m 13h 30m 45h 59m 97,917%
quicksharing.com 19h 26m 23h 59m 20h 21m 63h 46m 97,112%
mytempdir.com 10m 36s 5m 49s 66h 5m 66h 21m 96,995%

Excel with online storage uptime Excel file with the survey data.

Note: We (Pingdom) measured the availability (uptime) of the websites of these services. Download and upload performance of files and other functionality was not tested or monitored.

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