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Service Level Agreement (Website Hosting)


Businesses often seek to procure the services of other businesses and may do so for a variety of reasons. In certain cases, a simple service agreement is all that is required – particularly where the services in question are to be provided over a short term. In other cases however, a long term relationship is required and inherent in the nature of such relationships is the need for consistency. Put another way, the client needs the service provider’s work to be a constant known quantity. This applies particularly to services of which continuity is an essential component. Website hosting is particularly relevant in such cases.

The data protection provisions in this document have been reviewed and updated for Brexit. References to data protection legislation have been updated with reference to the UK GDPR.

As part of this update, a new optional clause and schedule, designed to assist in compliance with the Network & Information Systems Regulations (NIS Regulations) 2018, have also been added.

This Website Hosting Service Level Agreement addresses both the services to be provided by the service provider to the client and the levels (or performance requirements) to which those services must be provided. In so doing, the service provider’s consistent provision of services is incentivised (and its failure to do so disincentivised by way of penalties).

Service levels in this agreement may be enforced in one of two ways through the selection of appropriate options within the document. One method is biased in favour of the client, the other in favour of the service provider. Service levels are based on “uptime” vs. “downtime”. Downtime is where the management of service levels comes in. Downtime which lasts for a given period or more (this time period is defined by you) results in a discount for the client. How this downtime is measured affects the bias. In one case, the downtime is measured internally by the service provider; and in the other, irrespective of how long the downtime actually is, it only starts from the contract’s perspective when the service provider receives a message (a “support ticket” in the agreement) from the client informing them of the same.

Penalties for failing to meet the service levels under this agreement take the form of discounts which are to be applied to the client’s (usually monthly) fee payments. In addition to discounts, the client is given the right to terminate the agreement if the total downtime over a given period (again, defined by you) exceeds a particular figure.

Several exceptions to downtime are provided for within the template and you are free to add more of your own. Examples of such exceptions include scheduled maintenance (of which the client should be informed in advance) and events that are beyond the service provider’s control (such as ISP failures).

The hosting service itself along with the fees payable therefore is defined in a schedule. This allows you to apply the same basic agreement to multiple transactions with different clients and different hosting packages. When completing this schedule, provide as much detail as possible. A full specification of the hosting package should be included, as should full details of fees and payments. When complete, this document should constitute a “manual” of sorts; that is – a complete reference for both parties which should provide the details necessary for both parties to fulfil their obligations.

Optional phrases / clauses are enclosed in square brackets. These should be read carefully and selected so as to be compatible with one another. Unused options should be removed from the document.

This Website Hosting Service Level Agreement contains the following clauses:

1. Definitions and Interpretation
2. Term of Agreement
3. Service Provider’s Obligations
4. Client’s Obligations
5. Fees, Payment and Records
6. Provision of the Hosting Services
7. Service Levels
8. Scheduled Service Downtime
9. Service and Performance Monitoring
10. Confidentiality
11. Intellectual Property Rights
12. Termination
13. Post-Termination Provisions
14. Liability and Indemnity
15. Force Majeure
16. Data Protection
17. Data Processing
18. [Network and Information Systems Security]
19. Nature of the Agreement
20. Severance
21. Relationship of the Parties
22. Notices
23. Law and Jurisdiction

and the following schedule:

1. Hosting Package & Fees
2. Data Processing
3. [Service Provider's Network and Information Security Systems]

This document is in open format. Either enter the requisite details in the highlighted fields or adjust the wording to suit your purposes.

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