Reliability of internet hosts: A case study from the end user's perspective

M. Kalyanakrishnan, R. K. Iyer, J. U. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents the results of a reliability study on a set of nearly 100 popular Web sites done from an end user's perspective. The study attempts to address the following issues: (a) What is the (stationary) probability that a user's request to access a Web site succeeds? (b) On average, what percentage of Web sites remain accessible to the user at a given moment? (c) What are the major causes of access failures as seen by the user? (d) Typically, how long could a Web site be unavailable to the user? (e) What parameters could be used to quantitatively describe the behavior of a host on the Internet? Data for the study was acquired by periodically attempting to fetch an HTML file from each Web site and recording the outcome of such attempts. Analysis of the acquired data revealed: (i) Over 94% of the HTML file fetch requests succeed on average, (ii) Over 70% of the failures last less than 15 min (iii) Network-related outages account for over half of the failures, (iv) Network-related outages can potentially render more than 70% of the hosts inaccessible to the user, (v) Host-related failures tend to be of a shorter duration than failures that might involve the network, (vi) Network connectivity is good on average, with 93% of the sites being accessible at any given time, (vii) Mean Availability of the hosts is high (0.993). (viii) On average, a host remains unavailable to a user for about 2.5 days per year. However, the total downtimes exhibited by individual hosts varied from about 2 h per year to nearly 20 days per year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
JournalComputer Networks
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 14 1999


  • Availability
  • Downtimes
  • Failure modes
  • Internet
  • Measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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