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Home / Business Contracts / Hosting Agreement

What is a Hosting Agreement?

A hosting agreement is a legal contract signed between a web hosting service provider and a customer to display a webpage or a website on the internet to visitors.

For example, if you have a website (e.g. a standard business type website, a blog, an e-commerce platform etc) you want people to be able to see your website. To do this you need to have your website hosted somewhere, so you buy a hosting service, which hosts your website and this allows your website content to be shown/ delivered to your audience.

Web hosting services allow you to store those website files on the hosts computers (servers) and then direct website visitors to content of those files when they click on your website.

So lets say you have fishing blog. As you should. Your content that you have written on your fishing blog (or photographs, videos etc) are kept on the hosting service provider’s servers. When a website visitor visits your website and clicks on the relevant page, this visitor connects to the server to see the content.

The main obligation of the hosting service provider is to provide the web-hosting to the customer. However, there can be also ancillary services that could be set out in the contract which the website host might be willing to offer.

These include:

  • Control panels;
  • Email services;
  • Domain name services;
  • SSL certificates;
  • FTP access;
  • WordPress support.

What sort of clauses should be in a hosting agreement?

The definition of the hosting service: The contract should clearly determine the service: What is the bandwidth offered? What is the storage capacity (100 or 150 GB)?

Ancillary Services – Besides the web hosting, you may also buy extra services such as SSL Certificate or WordPress support.

Money-back guarantee – Some hosting services agreements state that the customer can end the contract and get his money back after a certain period of time passes(such as 30 days) This is just like a trial period.

Service Suspension –  The service provider does not have unlimited amount of computer power and space to store your files and your data. Therefore, the agreement usually set a limit on the storage such as 25 GB storage right. Once you reach this limit the service can be suspended and you may have to buy additional space. You should negotiate this rate depending on your needs.

Refusal of service –  Can the service provider refuse to provide service to you if you have a bad reputation or history with not making payments? It is important to clearly decide on circumstances where the service can be refused.

Website backups – You publish plenty of content on your website and hold your customer data as they register for your site or subscribe to your newsletters. This data and content is vital to your business. Therefore, it makes sense to require a long storage for this valuable data.

Security – The website hosting provider must promise to take necessary measures to protect the website from any security threats.

Fees – You can agree on a yearly fixed price or a monthly payment schedule which can be renewed each month.

Ownership of content – Who owns the website content such as photos and writings?

Limitation of Liability – If there was an interruption or error in the service and this resulted in losses to you, will the service provider be responsible?

Availability of the website – What if the website did not function properly and you lost some of your visitors? You can include a provision in your contract stating that you will receive a free use for one month if the service is unavailable for a certain period (such as 2 days in one month)

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