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Performance Tracking  > 2007 Tax Websites

Websitepulse 2007 Tax Performance & Uptime Report Summary

With a few exceptions, the majority of the leading tax-related online destinations offered uninterrupted and consistently reliable services to the late e-filers over the last three weeks prior to April 26th. The report deadline was changed twice as a result of the IRS decisions to extend the filing period for those affected by the April 16 storms in the Northeast.

For the purpose of this Performance Report, WebSitePulse measures not only the performance of the websites home pages, but typically measures a complete web transaction representative for the End Users' interactions with a website. The Reports measure Uptime and Response Time as the most important metrics for the availability and the reliability of any web-based operation, critical for the End Users' overall online experience. Measurements of the multi-step online transactions are made every 15 minutes, simultaneously from 3 different monitoring locations.

WebSitePulse advanced monitoring system has automated, built-in false alarm prevention and error verification controls that ensure the reliability of the measurement results. Also, in case of detected errors, WebSitePulse experts and engineers are available 24/7 to analyze the data, and to recommend additional actions to better understand and explain the malfunctions.

The overall performance of the monitored tax websites demonstrated their preparedness to meet the challenges of the expected increase in web traffic near the end of the 2007 tax season.

Irs.gov led the group with 100% uptime and the lowest average response time for the entire reported period - April 5th - April 26th. Eight of the monitored websites functioned without any interruptions. The downtime for most of the other six websites resulted only from brief disruptions. Usually, some online transactions steps did not respond for a short period of time, and therefore the entire transaction was considered as "failed".

The website that experienced the most serious problems was LibertyTax.com. Three times the website was unavailable for considerably long periods of time: almost two hours on April 17th, when the only thing displayed on the website was "500 Internal Server Error"; more than 15 hours on April 21st, again with the "500 Internal Server Error" message, and more than 9 hours on April 23rd, this time with failed domain name servers. These incidents put LibertyTax.com as the worst performer in the report. Please check the Report Highlights for all registered incidents during this report.

There were also other incidents where we detected websites with substantial periods of websites downtime. In the morning hours of April 10th, TaxSlayer.com displayed "500 internal server error" message, and later a "System Maintenance" message appeared for a total for 2 hours. Also on April 10th, Esmarttax.com was unaccessible for 30 minutes in the afternoon.

Even though a multitude of factors are playing role for the overall online Customers' experience, WebSitePulse strongly believes that availability and response times are among the most critical factors and are directly correlated to the End Users' decisions and behavior online.

The summarized numbers and averages for the entire monitoring period are shown in the tables below:

Average Response times for the whole period
#TargetSan Francisco, CAChicago, ILWashington, DCAvg. resp. time

Average Uptime for the whole period
#TargetSan Francisco, CAChicago, ILWashington, DCAvg. uptime

Best regards, and takeITeasy™ with WebSitePulse™

Iavor Marinoff, CEO

The 2007 Tax Reports reflect a complete web transaction, representative for the End Users' interactions with a website. The reporting period covers the dates between April 05 and April 26, 2007. Performance and availability measurements are made for a typical multi-step web transaction at 15 minute monitoring interval, every day between the hours of 6AM and 3AM EST. Between 3AM and 6AM is the time when a scheduled maintenance most likely will be performed by IT staff and that is why we automatically suspend the monitoring process during this time every day. The WebSitePulse application monitoring service is used to collect data and to create the reports.
The steps in each transaction are comparable for all websites, and reflect the real online user and tax e-filer experience. The simultaneous monitoring is performed from 3 US-based locations of the WebSitePulse monitoring network: San Francisco, CA, Chicago, IL, and Washington, DC. In case of a detected malfunction or unavailability, the system performs automated error verification from 3 independent resources and only after the above procedure is performed and has returned consistent results, the detected error is confirmed, recorded, and included in the daily performance reports. In these cases, an advanced WebSitePulse exclusive feature comes into play - Forced Monitoring -, which automatically switches to a 3 minute monitoring interval for increased accuracy.

About WebSitePulse:
WebSitePulse is a leading provider of global, independent, and objective availability and performance monitoring of web sites, servers, network components, web applications, e-business- and email round-trip transactions.

For more information about this report please contact:
George T., CTO
phone: 1-407-380-1600

WebSitePulse launched the Performance and Uptime Reports program to keep the general public and the Internet community informed about the performance of specific websites and the challenges their webmasters, owners and operators are facing on a daily basis, especially when the web traffic intensifies due to some special events through the year. Some of the most popular web destinations, related to each particular event, are selected for the purpose of the Reports, and data from their performance measurements is made available on the WebSitePulse public website.

With the intention to broadly disseminate this information for the benefit of the Internet community, we encourage the use of this information without prior approval and under the following Terms and Conditions:
  • WebSitePulse should be referred as the "Source" of the information;
  • WebSitePulse should be acknowledged as the owner of the copyrights of the information in the Reports;
  • The texts of the Reports could be changed or altered to better suit the needs and the style of the publisher without prior notice to WebSitePulse. However, the integrity and the meaning of the information should be preserved;

The Data from the performance measurements cannot be changed or manipulated and should be used "as is".