Terms of Business - Before March 2018
1. Service Level Agreement
We don’t think you should have to consider the procedure for what goes wrong when you choose a hosting provider — our reputation ought to precede us. However, over the years we have had some demand to create a firmer Service Level Agreement, and these terms represent a clarification of our existing practice — the way we put things right if they go wrong.
- “Bytemark”, “we”, “Us”, “our” means Bytemark Limited, Novus Business Park, Opus Avenue, York YO26 6BL, trading as “Bytemark Hosting”.
- “Service” means any hosting or connectivity service offered by Bytemark, including but not limited to Virtual Machines, BigV/Cloud Servers, Dedicated Hosts or ADSL connectivity.
- “Customer”, “you”, “your” means you, the person or persons in whose name(s) a service is maintained by Bytemark.
- “Technical contact” means a person or persons nominated by the Customer with whom Bytemark can discuss all matters of a technical nature relating to the Service.
- “Network” means the combined functionality of all routing, switching, cabling equipment and interconnect agreements under Bytemark’s ownership or control.
- “Bootable” in the context of a hosting service means that the host in question has the ability to start up and run its normal functions — hosting web sites, receiving email or whatever other function the service has been set up to provide for the customer.
- “Working hours” means 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, excluding English bank holidays (see the BERR web site for the full list).
Service Level Agreement (standard)
This document describes the standard level of service that all hosting customers can expect from Bytemark. It attempts to quantify the levels of service that all hosting customers can expect, and the remedies we offer if we fail to provide service at those levels.
There are absolutely no circumstances in which Bytemark will:
- Guarantee a remedy for a single failure to meet this service-level agreement that exceed either a refund of 1/12th of a fee paid for annual hosting for an affected service, or a full monthly fee if the service is paid for monthly. This is referred to a as the “maximum monthly refund”.
- 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. Bytemark will always advise the customer on contingencies to the best of our abilities.
Unless stated in a supplementary service level agreement, Bytemark offers no guarantees on the correct functioning of software installed on any hosting product, and it is entirely the customer’s responsibility to maintain such software. This includes all standard security updates.
Bytemark temporarily suspends all guaranteed service levels for customers who have not settled invoices within the agreed terms.
You can expect our core network to be available 100% of the time — that is to say that our infrastructure will provide two-way traffic from any other properly-routed internet IPv4 address, to the IPv4 addresses allocated to your hosting product(s). ADSL tails are not considered part of our core network, and are subject to a separate part of this SLA (given below).
We acknowledge that anything less than 100% is a lapse in the service level that you expect. On request we will refund 10% of the maximum monthly refund for every full 30-minute period that the network connectivity falls below this figure, accumulated during any consecutive 30-day period.
We exclude from this guarantee lapses in service where Bytemark cannot communicate with IPv4 addresses from other organisations that are not properly routed at the time of the lapse; the following causes are some examples of where some global IPv4 addresses will end up as “improperly-routed” and excluded from our guarantee:
- another organisation misconfiguring its peering arrangements with Bytemark, causing its IPv4 addresses to become unroutable as a result
- failure or major changes in routing by a global “tier 1” transit provider, even where Bytemark are not direct customers of said provider
- misconfiguration of a hosting product by the customer (as detailed below)
No guaranteed service level is offered for connectivity to IPv6 addresses, as we do not feel that the global IPv6 network is reliable enough to offer such guarantees.
Hosting products (general)
All our guarantees on hosting are conditional on the customer’s hosting product being properly configured and maintained. Specifically this means that:
- Bytemark 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 smooth running of our network
- your hosting product should not be “thrashing” (i.e. the system constantly using swap during normal operation)
- your hosting product should be completely under your control, and not have been compromised by a third party
- your hosting product should not be blocked from responding to ICMP pings over its network interface
If any problems arise with your hosting as a result of your hosting product not being maintained correctly, Bytemark cannot guarantee any particular availability or performance.
We may also need to perform maintenance on your hosting which we consider essential to the ongoing reliability of our network or hosting platforms, which we will attempt to warn you about at least 7 days in advance. Such maintenance is excluded from any guarantees of uptime where the customer has been warned 7 days in advance.
Hosting products (Cloud Servers)
These conditions are specific to hosting on our Cloud Servers platform.
You can expect your Cloud Servers to be available for 100% of the time — that is to say that once you start a virtual machine running, it won’t stop running due to hardware faults.
If there is a failure of a Cloud Server, providing the customer’s machine was “properly configured” at the time of a failure, Bytemark will refund 10% of hosting fees for every full hour that it is down or unreachable. We define “down or unreachable” as either the system not running at all, or running slowly enough that a static web fetch of 5KB or less, or a one-line SSH banner return takes more than 20 seconds to return.
You can also expect that the Cloud Servers API will be available 100% of the time, that is to say you should be able to issue requests to create, delete or alter the specification of virtual machines at any time.
If there is a failure of the Cloud Servers API, we will refund 10% of your Cloud Server fees for every full hour that the service remains unavailable, or returning server errors.
Hosting products (virtual machine)
These conditions are specific to hosting on our Virtual Machine platform.
You can expect our virtual machine platform to be available for 100% of the time — that is to say that once running, it won’t stop running due to hardware faults.
However we may occasionally need to perform maintenance that will involve stopping or moving customers data, which can incur 30-90 minutes of down time for each virtual machine. Bytemark will endeavour to warn customers of such outages up to 3 days in advance, but the customer must acknowledge that this is not always possible in the event of sudden hardware problems.
If there is a failure of the service, providing the customer’s VM was “properly configured” at the time of a failure, Bytemark will refund 10% of hosting fees for every full hour that it is down or unreachable. We define “down or unreachable” as either the system not running at all, or running slowly enough that a static web fetch of 5KB or less, or a one-line SSH banner return takes more than 20 seconds to return.
Hosting products (dedicated server)
These conditions apply to customers who rent a dedicated server from Bytemark.
You can expect your dedicated host to be available for 100% of the time unless it has suffered a hardware failure. If your host suffers a hardware failure which brings down your hosting completely, you can expect Bytemark to repair or replace the faulty part within 4 hours of your reporting it to us.
If the hardware failure is not remedied within the stated times, we will refund 10% of your maximum monthly refund for every hour or part-hour that the host is not in a bootable state, up to a maximum of 100%.
Service Level Agreement (Plesk)
This supplementary agreement applies to customers who pay a premium for the Plesk control panel on their hosting product, for whom Bytemark will offer some limited assistance in installing and maintaining it.
Bytemark 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 impact or complete remove Bytemark’s ability to provide software support.
Within these exceptions, Bytemark guarantee to do the following on the customer’s behalf:
- maintain the correct licensing status such that the server continues to function for all future versions of Plesk;
- advise on, and assist the customer in performing major operations such as upgrades and migrations
- up to once every three months, perform some minor maintenance on the customer’s behalf which are not covered by the Plesk interface such as:
- editing php.ini
- clearing a mail queue
- fixing DNS inconsistencies
- applying system-level security updates
- fix any minor setup issues caused by the Plesk software itself
Customers using Plesk remain completely responsible for the software that they install, and must take steps to ensure the security of their server when installing any new application on their server.
Bytemark 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 3-4 working days to see a resolution to a particular problem.
2. Acceptable Usage Policy
This policy applies to your usage of any hosting within, or connectivity to, Bytemark’s network.
Customers contravening these policies may face their services’ temporary or permanent disconnection. We always endeavour to warn customers who may have inadvertently contravened the policy. Only where we suspect deliberate contravention, or where severe network abuse is involved, you may be cut off without notice.
Here is the policy:
- The customer may not use, or permit use of any service for any purpose which contravenes the laws of the United Kingdom.
- The customer may not use, or permit use of any service for network abuse: the bulk sending of any kind of unsolicited network traffic, including but not limited to email, ICQ/AIM/MSN messages or newsgroup postings.
- The customer may not use any service for the hosting or promotion of any software or services designed for network abuse.
- The customer is entirely responsible for any activity conducted on any service, and must take steps to ensure that anyone to whom access is granted will not breach this AUP in turn.
- The customer agrees by subscribing to a service, that the customer will fully indemnify us against any claims for loss or damage by any third party in respect of activities conducted on any service under the customer’s control.
- For Virtual Machines only: the customer acknowledges that their use of their Virtual Machine affects some other users, and must agree to terminate, at Bytemark’s request, any activities which we deem to be degrading to the service that Bytemark provides its other customers.
3. Billing Terms & Conditions
Bytemark delivers invoices by email to the customer for periods of service in advance, and expects them to be paid within 5 working days unless otherwise agreed in writing.
We may cut off or restrict access to services without warning in the following situations which the customer should take special care to avoid:
- if the customer does not pay an invoice on time
- if the customer’s email address bounces critical messages from Bytemark, or otherwise malfunctioning (particularly if it is marking Bytemark’s emails as spam)
- if a hosting product is causing damage or causing a nuisance to other networks
Bytemark will generally attempt to warn customers in advance of cutting customers off but the customer must be aware that it is their responsibility to avoid these situations, and Bytemark will not take responsibility for the consequences of acting in the above situations.
Customers should expect to receive an emailed receipt for every payment they have made, and are strongly advised to contact Bytemark if they do not receive a receipt for a payment that they have made within 14 days.
Customers must monitor the bandwidth used by the services operating on their account, and must pay for any excess fees due. Bytemark will notify customers in the event of excess fees becoming due, and may, if no suitable arrangements have been put in place in advance, restrict or limit the bandwidth available to a hosting product if the customer has not signalled their expectation of excess bandwidth fees. However Bytemark do not guarantee any limit of liability, and customers must be prepared to pay for the full volume of traffic to and from their hosting products’ designated IP addresses.
Unless otherwise stated, all cancellations require 7 days notice.
4. Privacy Statement
Bytemark is a company that respects privacy of, and ownership of data. This privacy statement explains what data we hold, and for what purposes we use those data.
We need to collect information about you in order to make sure you’re billed correctly: your name, postal address, email address and phone numbers. Where you are an individual rather than a company, this will be classified as personal information under the UK Data Protection Act.
We use this information for the following purposes:
- to send invoices.
- to contact you about billing or technical issues.
- to verify your details where we suspect fraudulent use of our services.
We may also send you emails about major new service announcements (fewer than four per year).
We will provide an opt-out should strictly non-essential emails become more frequent than this.
Disc images behind your hosting
As a customer with a private hosting arrangement, we take strenuous effort to ensure that only you can access the disc images backing your hosting products.
We will not give these images to any other party without thoroughly confirming the request (and its consequences) with you by email.
The only exception to this policy is when Bytemark are presented with a legitimate court order. In this instance we have notable exceptions to this policy:
- we may have to provide some of all your data to law enforcement authorities without informing you, and
- we may have to make your hosting products unavailable to you while we perform this operation.
Where this occurs, we guarantee that:
- we will only comply with the letter of any order, filtering and removing extraneous data.
- we will inform you of the order as soon as we can after making your discs unavailable, or immediately after we have provided the data.
The reason that we must do this in secret is because by informing you of information that you may not want us to release, you might choose to delete the information we’ve been requested to retrieve. That deletion would risk putting Bytemark in contempt of court, and leave its directors open to prosecution.
Prospective employees’ data
Bytemark’s careers site provides prospective employees with a way to apply for positions at the company.
The first two stages of our job application process is intentionally anonymous, so we should not be in receipt of any personally-identifiable information until the third and final stage.
During the first two stages, we may use your phone number to contact you for the purposes of offering interviews and employment. We will permanently delete any data through a texted request.
Unsuccessful applications will be kept for no longer than 6 months after the applicants have been notified of our decision to not move forward with the hiring process.
In the event that we wish to keep an application for future reference (e.g., in case we wish to consider the applicant for another post in the future), we will notify the applicant that their application data will be kept on file for up to one year. We will comply with any request by applicants to not have their details retained.
We use common web analytics and tracking in order to ensure that users get access to the right information and promote our products. Such tracking includes, but is not limited to Google Analytics, open source analytics platform Piwik and Twitter Ads.
We use tools that respect ‘Do Not Track’ as far as possible and we encourage users to satisfy themselves about the way their browsing activity may be tracked by any party and cookies that are placed on their computer. All above tracking tools offer simple ways to opt-out of any data collection.