Over the years our reliance upon the internet for nearly aspect of our life has increased tenfold. Whether it is staying connected via email, tweets, Facebook updates, downloading text documents, or just browsing the web, a large portion of our lives has moved from the physical to the digital world. Because of this, we rely heavily on good data speeds from our internet service providers (ISP), and expect near perfect uptime from our favorite websites. So when sites start to move slow, or doesn't load at all, how do you know it's them, not you?
While not all sites provide a single page dedicated to the uptime of their site, some do. In fact, Google not only provides a status dashboard for google.com, but for many of its other sites and features as well. If you are a heavy Gmail, Google Calendar, or even Google Docs user, you may want to save this site to your bookmarks. It not only tells you when issues are found, but also when they are fixed, as well as what percentage of users were affected.
Twitter, a company that has been plagued by down time in the past has a great sub-domain called status.twitter.com. In true Twitter style, there is a stream of updates that give a short but informative status about various service issues that may be occurring. They also do a great job - like Google - at being transparent and letting users know what they are working on and when it gets fixed.
Since not all sites provide this valuable uptime information in a easy to find and understand manner, other third party solutions have emerged. One service, Down Right Now, provides a constant feed of some of the most used sites on the web. It not only lists the site, but also the last service disruption.
There's also Amazon Web Services Service Health Dashboard, which is totally relevant when sites like Reddit, Quora, Formspring, FourSquare, and Hootsuite go down, like many of us have noticed in the last day or so. Apparently, cloud computing sometimes can result in a bad storm of downtime and getting a weather report can help.
If you can't find what you are looking for on one of these sites, then check out DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com. This useful website allows users to type in any url and find out if the site is actually down for everyone or - as the name suggests - just you. While it doesn't provide the insight that some of the other sites have, DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com will work for any site you can find. So next time your favorite online websites won't load, you can quickly diagnose the problem.