Twitter Isn’t the Most Reliable Social Network, but it is Improving

As all Twitter veterans know, the fail whale is not an uncommon sighting. Twitter has had its fair share of downtime over the years. But despite the fact that it is still below average when it comes to homepage availability, its engineering team has done a great job of responding to a rapidly expanding user-base and improving its up time.

Web performance management company AlertSite, a SmartBear company, took a look at the leading social networks’ homepage availability for Q1, and found Twitter to be lacking – but not by much.

They monitored the homepages of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and MySpace from 12 difference US locations between January and March 2011. These sites were compared across two broad categories: the availability of their homepages and the average response times. As you’d expect if you’ve been on Twitter for any length of time, it isn’t the most reliable network, but it is making improvements.

As you can see from the graph above, Twitter is second last in terms of homepage availability. The only social media site worse off is MySpace. However, achieving over 99% availability, especially during its massive growth over the past year, is not something to sneeze at. Those who have been on Twitter for over a year will remember that it wasn’t always this way: the fail whale was almost like a virtual pet you couldn’t escape from, and while we don’t have the numbers, we can bet that Twitter didn’t come close to 99% homepage availability two years ago.

The average response time is another performance metric that Twitter falls below on – but again, not by much. Sure, next to Facebook’s .75, Twitter’s 2.59 response time seems unbearably slow, but compare that to MySpace’s 5.60 time and Twitter doesn’t look so bad. In fact, Twitter is only .17 below the average on this metric.

As AlertSite notes, Twitter has grown by leaps and bounds these past few years, and has come out of its growing pains phase admirably. While it still might not be the most reliable social network out there, it is improving its availability and might just make it into the top 3 one day.