According to research released today by 1&1 Internet Ltd, www.1and1.co.uk, a global leader amongst web hosting providers, British Internet users still suffer as a result of numerous website gripes. In an era when consumers rely on around-the-clock e-commerce and e-banking, more of Britons than ever are being frustrated by websites that are faulty or taken off-line during the night for maintenance to be performed. A key finding is that 38 per cent of consumers have decided to avoid a company in the future as a result of finding a faulty website. Some 44 per cent of Britons are more critical towards website errors today than they were 5 years ago. As a result, 1&1 advises UK firms that choosing a fast and robust hosting provider has never been so important.
1&1’s ‘British Web Survey’(1) of 1500 consumers finds that 71 per cent of UK web users are still regularly inconvenienced by faulty websites. Over half (59 per cent) see large variations in the reliability of the websites which they use. The data suggests that only 1 in 4 consumers recognise improvements since 1&1 last conducted the study exactly 5 years ago. Britain’s Top 5 ‘Common Website Faults’ as found by web users are:
1. Slow running websites (71 per cent)
2. Websites down for maintenance (49 per cent)
3. Web addresses that lead nowhere (44 per cent)
4. Online orders that freeze (44 per cent)
5. Broken website pages (42 per cent)
Website faults such as these have led more than 1 in 3 (38 per cent) to decide not to use a company again as a result of its faulty website. Frustrations with a business website have led 72 per cent of web users to abandon a company website for a competitor’s. Whilst most website owners aim to schedule maintenance and upgrades at times as to minimise disruption, it appears this has done little to appease almost half of consumers (49 per cent), who feel regularly inconvenienced by the issue.
Interestingly, most respondents (42 per cent) believe that websites for small and large companies are equivalent in terms of frequency of errors. 44 per cent of Britons are more critical towards website errors today than they were 5 years ago. During that time, 39 per cent believe that they have become better able to judge whether a website contains faults. 1 in 3 Britons report that they regularly feel anger, worry or stress as a result of using a faulty website. The most worrisome aspect is doubts over whether an online transaction has been completed properly, with 44 per cent having been affected.
“Oliver Mauss, CEO 1&1 Internet Ltd., said “Unreliable websites continue to reflect badly upon businesses of all types and sizes. It is clear that when faced with a faulty or off-line website, consumers will turn elsewhere. Perhaps more surprising is the proportion that will be unwilling to return. With this in mind, businesses must ensure their websites are well designed, have robust functionality, and benefit from the most reliable and high-speed web hosting infrastructure available to them”.
1&1 web hosting uses geo-redundancy to help enhance the reliability of its customers’ websites. All data and processes are mirrored and operated synchronously in different data centres. If there should be any unexpected problems at one of the locations, such as an electricity or server blackout, all upcoming exercises are automatically taken over by the other data centre – meaning maximum protection from downtime. 1&1 carries out updates and planned maintenance work without any disturbance to servers by switching between the two identical platforms. Thus, 1&1 websites will not become unavailable as a result of hosting maintenance.
Graham Jones, Internet Psychologist, advises, “Users of your web site are less likely to return if your site breaks or doesn’t work properly. People get frustrated by slow loading and by the addition of technologies that work only in certain circumstances. If you have shopping carts or other “add-on” services, test them and test them again to be sure they cannot break or cause problems. Similarly, if you have forms – make sure they work”.
It appears that British websites are ‘middle of the league’ with regard to website faults. Spain is most affected, with 75 per cent encountering faults, whilst Germany fares better with only 61 per cent. Britain suffers most from websites being down for maintenance. In terms of readiness to reject a business because of a faulty or off-line website, the Americans lead at 58 per cent, followed by the Spanish at 39 per cent and the Germans are most forgiving at only 16 per cent.
1&1 web hosting packages, available from £2.99/month+VAT, also benefit from super-fast 280 Gbit/sec connectivity via the company’s own global backbone. Recent research commissioned by 1&1 concluded that consumers appreciate faster business websites.
As a global leader among web hosts, 1&1 is well placed to deliver a high quality service to its customers. The company currently holds over 11 million customer contracts worldwide and manages 11 million domain names. For more information visit the website at www.1and1.co.uk