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I have my website hosted with a hosting provider and they have recently had a serious outage. So at the moment it is at 48 hours and counting where I can't access email, http or ftp. I'm obviously pretty annoyed and I'm wondering how normal a thing this is? I'd always thought that hosting providers sold themselves on 99.8% up time and other metrics of that nature and my assumption was that a good host would just NOT have something like this happen. I am paying for the hosting and the company is supposed to be on the upper side of prestige.

So my question is: Is this as terrible a failure as I think it is and should I change hosting providers?

EDIT: Additional Info

  • Outage was transparently documented on their website and email list
  • Reason given: "Backup restoration in progress"
  • Responded to support requests regarding it promptly (if just to mollify)
  • Don't have an SLA, just on shared hosting
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What is the company ? –  Jonathan Rioux Jan 26 '11 at 23:33
    
What are the terms of your SLA? –  LukeR Jan 26 '11 at 23:34
    
Company is AussieHQ in Australia (www.aussiehq.com.au), and I don't have an SLA and can't find any documented uptime guarantee. –  radman Jan 26 '11 at 23:53

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are some things to consider in all of this.

  • Why did the outage happen? (Is it just your server that was hosed or their entire datacenter? If it was a larger outage, like a whole datacenter or their entire WAN connection, then you should be less forgiving. If it was a single node, then maybe you can be less austere in your judgement.)
  • What has been done to prefent it from happening again? (Hopefully something is being done differently.)
  • Was there transparency with the host during this outage? (This is a big one. If you don't know the answer to the above questions, then immediately find a new host.)
  • Does it violate agreed upon SLAs? (If there are no SLAs or they're suspiciously low [95% uptime] then leave immediately. Keep in mind that two days out of a year technically does not violate a reasonable SLA of 98% uptime even though two consecutive days is excruciating.)
  • Do you even have an account type that has an SLA? (If it's just a low end shared host, you probably won't have an SLA and thus are getting what you paid for. VPSs should have better service, though.)
  • What can you get out of it to make the trouble worth your while? (If the outage was specific to a single device, the host is taking steps to prevent it from happening in the future, they were transparent about the process and they have a decent SLA [98% or better] that was clearly violated then see what you are offered for the trouble. Perhaps it's worth staying if they're otherwise a good host and are continually improving... and you get a few months free.)

Also know that it's not enough to just tell a host that you've lost productivity. You need to be taking measured samples of data that is important to you so that you can bring your own data to the table. In many instances, you have to prove to a hosted provider that you've lost revenue to be able to capitalize on repayment promises. If you have no data of your own, you're at the mercy of the provider's data which has its own interests in mind. They won't just take your word for it that "I've lost money because of this!".

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2 days out of the year is 99.4% uptime.. but 2 days in a row.. I'd look for another. The fact of life is that a lot of web hosting companies are run by someone with a spare $100 a month to try to make a business

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1  
You get what you pay for. My cheapest hosting is $20/month (that's for a non-critical site...), which is what, 10 times more expensive than hostgator? That $20/month gives me a virtual webserver on a mirrored cluster. Downtime 0% in the last 4 years. –  DutchUncle Jan 26 '11 at 23:52
    
i'm actually paying $25 p/m ... –  radman Jan 27 '11 at 5:07
    
Then Wesley's answer is the right one all right :-) They should be able to deliver for that price. –  DutchUncle Jan 27 '11 at 18:21

First, normal hosters should have an uptime guarantee. Check for this and maybe you can be refunded for the downtime.

Second, as soon as your contract is finished, you should seriously look for another hoster.

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