Service Level Agreement

How we work together

Introduction

This document describes the minimum level of service that all customers can expect from the hosting services and the remedies we offer if we fail to provide services at these levels.

There are absolutely no circumstances in which Uniqu will:

  1. Guarantee a remedy for a single or cumulative failure(s) to meet this service level agreement that exceeds a refund of 1/5th of the total annual fees paid for an affected service.
  2. Accept responsibility for consequential damages as a failure to meet the terms of this service level agreement. It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that the consequences of any such failure are foreseen, and a suitable backup plan in place where there may be financial consequences of a failure.  When requested to, we will always advise the customer on contingencies to the best of our abilities.
  3. Guarantee any aspect of operation including, but not limited to, reliability and functionality, of a third-party developed web site solution such as a content management system, shopping cart system, CRM and so on.
  4. Warrant that any customer services are 100% secure from intrusion or malicious attack.  Attacks may include compromising a web site through SQL injection, via malicious payloads over HTTP or via other methods such as control panel vulnerabilities.  Uniqu endeavours to provide secure systems at all times. However, where a specific risk has been identified by the customer, or where a hosting account or virtual server has been compromised in any way, support in such instances is chargeable at the current hourly rate. Upon discovering a compromised service, the customer is obligated to notify us, either by telephone or via email at support@uniqu.uk

We advocate automated updating of software on virtual servers – especially security patches from the operating system vendor or community.  However, unless stated in a supplementary service level agreement, Uniqu offers no guarantees on the correct functioning of any software installed on any hosting services. If the ability to update software is available to the customer on a virtual server service, it is entirely the customer’s responsibility to maintain such software. This includes all standard security updates.  All shared hosting accounts on the hosting services are backed by automated updates whenever possible.

Uniqu temporarily suspends all guaranteed service levels for customers who have not settled invoices within the agreed terms.

Core network and power

Our core network connectivity is supplied via multiple redundant links, over various carriers’ networks.  Due to the provision of this incresed resiliance, a potential fluctuation is introduced when network data must switch transit paths and re-route accordingly.  There are many possible causes for why this may occur.  We therefore guarantee 99% uptime for network connectivity.  Our network partners utilise the latest technologies and techniques for core network provision to keep any affects of re-routing to an absolute minimum, using the BGR4+ routing protocol and, in general, re-routing network paths is seamless.

Network access that falls below 99% is a lapse in the service level that you can expect.  We measure 99% uptime on a monthly basis (1% downtime == 30 days x 24 hours == 7.2 hours or 432 minutes).  Any service where downtime exceeding this figure during a consecutive 30 day period is recorded entitles the customer to a service credit.  In such a case, on request we will credit the account of the affected service. The credit offered is 10% of the cost of the current service period for quarterly-billed accounts or 2.5% of the cost of the current service period for yearly-billed accounts.   This will be reflected on the next invoice.  Service credit entitlements can extend up to, but will never exceed, 20% of the yearly chargeable amount for each service.

Excluded from this guarantee are lapses in service where the hosting services network cannot communicate with IPv4 addresses from other organisations that are not properly routed at the time of the lapse.  The following causes are examples of where some global IPv4 addresses will end up as “improperly-routed” and are excluded from our guarantee:

  1. failure or major changes in routing by a global “tier 1” transit provider, even where Uniqu is not a direct customer of such a provider
  2. a failure with DNS resolution, either where DNS records are improperly set or DNS services supplied anywhere on the internet are at fault
  3. misconfiguration of a hosting product by the customer

Guaranteed network service levels exclude connectivity to IPv6 addresses, as IPv6 is not adopted reliably enough globally.

Power to our equipment in-rack is provided with N+1 redundancy at a minimum.  Customers should therefore experience 100% uptime for both power and network connectivity, but this is only supplied on a “best endeavours” basis.

All hosting services

Our service level guarantees are subject to the customer’s service being properly configured and maintained.  In particular:

  1. Uniqu must have a Technical Contact available – either the customer or another party nominated by the customer, to make minor configuration changes at our request which may be necessary to facilitate the continued smooth running of our systems and network.
  2. your hosting service should not be constantly consuming more memory than is allocated to it, resulting in the system requiring the use of swap (disk paging) during normal operation.
  3. your hosting service should be completely under your control, and not have been compromised by a third party.
  4. your hosting service should not be blocked from responding to ICMP pings over its network interface.
  5. your hosting service should allow status monitoring through its firewall from a designated network address/range operated by Uniqu.

If any problems arise with your hosting as a result of your hosting service not being maintained correctly, Uniqu cannot guarantee any particular availability or performance.

From time to time, we may also need to perform maintenance on hosting services which are essential to their continued operation.  When such maintenance is required, we will attempt to notify the customer 5 working days in advance.  Such maintenance is excluded from any guarantees of uptime where the customer has been notified accordingly.

Virtual Server supplementary conditions & guidelines

Your virtual server enjoys the benefits of the virtualisation strategy – namely, increased resiliance to failure, lower costs and comparable performance with a dedicated server.  Virtual servers can also be migrated from one physical server to another, in the case where a hardware fault on the physical server cannot be rectified without shutting down the machine.

Your virtual server should run trouble-free for 100% of the time.  However, it is not an infinite resource, and disk space and memory limitations will mean than only a certain number of services can run from the server before its resources are exhausted.  In this situation, the virtual server will slow down as it struggles to allocate enough memory to service all the processes running on it (web server, mail server, ftp server, spamassassin and so on).

If the virtual server is not overloaded, there is unlikely to be any issue.  However, upon observing any performance degradation, the customer should initially inspect the System Information page to determine if “Real memory” or “Local disk space” meters are high.  If “Virtual memory” is used and registering significantly on the graph (around 10% or over) then the customer should immediately contact the hosting services to discuss options.

To maintain services at their best performance level, occassionally we will need to perform maintenance requiring stopping the virtual server or moving customers’ data, normally taking around 2 minutes per GiB of storage used for each virtual machine.  Uniqu will endeavour to warn customers of such outages between 1 to 7 days in advance, but the customer must acknowledge that this is not always possible in the event of sudden hardware problems.  It is our intention to only perform routine maintenance of this type once every three years, as part of an ongoing hardware cycling strategy.

As virtual servers still require the resources of physical hardware, Uniqu will endeavour to detect hardware failures through various external checks on its servers.  While we check for all key failure points, a hardware failure could occur which is initially undetectable, originally was not scanned for, or which is simply beyond measurement or control.  The customer acknowledges that in such a situation, Uniqu cannnot be held liable for events beyond its reasonable control.  Unscheduled downtime for this reason will be compensated for using the same calculation as described in the “Core Network and Power” section within the SLA.

Service Level Agreement for Legacy Plesk installations

This supplementary agreement applies to customers who utilise the Plesk control panel on their virtual server, for whom Uniqu will provide limited assistance in maintaining.

Uniqu expects that customers with Plesk will only control their hosting product through the Plesk interface, and not use the supplied root login details to make any significant alterations to the software setup. Any modifications made to a system running Plesk are at a customer’s own risk and may jeapordise Uniqu’s ability to provide software support.

Within these exceptions, Uniqu guarantees to do the following on the customer’s behalf:

  1. maintain the correct licensing status such that the server continues to function for all future versions of Plesk;
  2. advise on and assist the customer in performing major operations such as upgrades and migrations to Virtualmin;
  3. fix any minor setup issues caused by the Plesk software itself.

Customers using Plesk remain completely responsible for the software that they have installed using the control panel, and must take steps to ensure the security of their server when installing any new application on their server.

Uniqu will assist with any configuration or setup problems with Plesk, and may occasionally choose to ask the vendor to help with a particular problem where we suspect a fault with the Plesk software itself. We rely on the vendor to solve such problems for us, and where this proves necessary the customer may need to wait for an unforeseen length of time to see a resolution to a particular problem.

Additional support provided by Uniqu with regard to Plesk-related issues is chargeable at the standard support rate.

Fully Managed Service Level – Supplementary Agreement

This supplementary agreement applies to customers who pay a monthly, quarterly or yearly management fee to Uniqu for additional support services in conjunction with one or more hosting or virtual server services. It is intended to support one or more application(s) which run across one or more hosting products, and which will be the focus of Uniqu’s concern.

Customers who have agreed a fully managed service with Uniqu should expect that Uniqu will charge an additional, recurring fee, to be negotiated and agreed depending on the application(s).  This will be on the projected hours required per month and number of hosting services to which this applies.  Accordingly, Uniqu’s support engineers will be required to “sign in” to the relavent systems periodically, perform the required level of inspection, reporting and/or analysis and advise internally if any additional or preventative actions are required, in order to maintain system health.

Uniqu reserves the right to charge accordingly for where additional work “over budget” is required in order to maintain the application(s) of concern.  We will endeavour to warn customers where such work is necessary in order to keep their application(s) running smoothly.

Uniqu will advise the customer as to the service level they can expect from their machine, and will endeavour to document the “worst case” scenario when it comes to hardware failure. Uniqu will always advise customers where a given set of operational or budgetary constraints from the customer may result in a particularly undesirable failure case.

Last updated 06 June 2013

Unique knowledge, universal application:

Get our newsletter, and stay in the loop.

Subscribe

Serious Servers

Get speed, security and support, with our superb web hosting.

Engage

Creative Solutions

Have a problem, and no-one else can help? You should hire.. us!

Explore

Get Trading

Interested in ecommerce? Consult with us before making a costly mistake.

Expand

Be Unique. Be Universal. Be You.

Uniqu is a full-stack digital agency, providing design, development, hosting and support. Our holistic view on your digital communications means users can engage with your services and identify with your branding.