If you are looking to sell your images online then you want your website to look good, be easy to navigate and above all be reliable. Given that the internet is ‘always on’ you want your website to be too.

I have been with SmugMug for the last couple of years and I love the flexibility that their system offers, quirks and all. Probably the biggest bug bear I have with them is reliability. There have been some pretty monstrous outages over the last couple of years and assurances were given that things would improve, so have they?

Some small print before we go further – SmugMug has three modes which we will refer to her as – Online, everything fully operable. Offline, websites unavailable or holding/error pages being shown. Read Only, websites viewable but interaction not possible, meaning you cant upload images or make changes and your customer can’t buy images.

SmugMug has a weekly maintenance window that they may or may not use where the site goes into read only mode while changes are made.

All the following images and their associated stat’s have been supplied by Pingdom with whom I have an account. The monitoring was against my website with SmugMug – HD Images

Small print over……

The following image shows ‘read only’ time, comparing 2009 performance with 2010.Taking the above into account this shows the amount of time that your site was online but you were unable to upload or make changes to it and your clients were unable to buy images.

Photography by Howard Draper

Total amount of Read Only time, comparison between 2009 & 2010

As can be seen the amount of read only time has more than doubled in 2010.

The next image shows the total offline time or downtime, again comparing 2009 with 2010.Your website would have not been visible during these times.

HDimages - Photography By Howard Draper

Total amount of Offline time, comparison between 2009 & 2010

As can be seem there is less downtime but its becoming more frequent.

Next lets look at response times, again comparing 2009 with 2010. The response time shows you how quickly SmugMug responded when asked to display your website.

HDimages - Photography by Howad Draper

Website response time, comparison between 2009 & 2010

The response time graph also shows that things have slowed down ever so slightly during 2010.

I started this blog off with reliability in mind and whilst I do still think in part things have become less reliable over at SmugMug due to the increase in read only time, I wonder how much of it is actually an availability issue.

By that I mean that while total offline time has reduced its become more frequent as have the read only times. Combine these two and the availability of your site to be fully used has decreased. Any reduction in availability has to be a bad thing especially when combined with a drip drip drip of routine unavailability.

So availability or reliability? I will let you decide.

Either way I am hoping that 2011 sees things improve 🙂