What is an SLA?
A Service Level Agreement (SLA) sets out the obligations of your hosting provider in providing the service that you, as the customer, are paying for. It should detail what availability is to be provided, and importantly, what the penalties are if your hosting provider does not meet the SLA.
At its core, an SLA should provide an assurance to you as the customer that the service you are paying for will be availabile when you need it.
Evaluating an SLA
When choosing a hosting provider, consider what your tolerance of outages (“downtime”) are and ensure your host is able to supply a service meeting your needs. Typically, this is expressed as a percentage like “99%” or “99.99%” – the higher the percentage, the less downtime is permitted – usually with a price to match.
Be wary of providers who simply state on their site “SLA: 99.9%” without specifying what is covered and what is not, and be particularly wary if a provider does not detail the penalty for non-compliance.
You may encounter some providers who treat an SLA as a goal rather than a requirement, with no penalties in place. In this case the SLA is meaningless – if in doubt, ask the provider for more details.
Expert Web Media SLA
At Expert Web Media, we know the availability of your site is important to you. Its important to us too, since we host a number of our own websites on our cloud infrastructure. In creating our SLA, we wanted to guaranty a level of service that is suitable for most customers and will provide an assurance that your site’s availability is important.
What is covered?
We guarantee that our datacentre network and virtual server environment will be availabile 99.9% of the time in a given month, excluding scheduled maintenance.
- Datacentre network means the Expert Web Media network from our outbound port to the datacentre’s internet links, through to the ethernet port on your cloud hardware. It also includes the storage network.
- Virtual server environment means the hardware and software running on our host servers – that is, everything required for your cloud server to be running.
What is not covered?
- Network outages that occur past the edge of our Expert Web Media network at the datacentre. We think this is fair, as we have no control over the availability of outside networks.
- Individual applications or services (such as SSH and HTTP) on your cloud server are not covered because Expert Web Media is an unmanaged service. If you reconfigure or otherwise alter your cloud server you may inadvertently interrupt your user’s access to that application or service.
- The Expert Web Media website – including the mPanel web application – are not covered. Most customers once setup will rarely need to use the website, so we feel it is reasonable to exclude it from our guarantee.
What are the penalties?
99.9% means the maximum allowed downtime per month is 43 minutes.
If the availability of our datacenter network or virtual server environment is below 99.9% in a given month, we will credit your account with 5% of your monthly fee for each additional 30 minutes of downtime, up to 100% of your monthly fee for the affect server.
To provide an example: if our datacentre network or virtual server environment is unavailable for 120 minutes in the month, that is 77 minutes over our SLA. As that is two additional 30 minute periods, you would be entitled to a credit of 10%.
To receive an SLA credit, customers must contact support within 30 days and provide the following details:
- Hostname/s of affected server/s as displayed in CPanel
- Start of outage
- Duration of outage