Terms of Service
Web hosting t&cs don't normally give you the really important information you need, but we will try to give you the information we think you need, here goes...
We are not a traditional web hosting company nor a traditional web design company, we are are company which provides a managed sitebuilder service which includes web hosting.
Since we are not a web hosting company, we host our dedicated servers in a state-of-the-art data centre on the main hub for high-speed UK internet traffic via a web hosting company called www.unitedhosting.co.uk - this is a UK based company whose servers are UK-based. We, and our clients in turn, are bound by the web hosting t&cs of unitedhosting, which can be found at:
These are pretty much standard web hosting terms and include such things as you're not allowed to host material which you don't own either the copyright, I.P., permission or license to (e.g. illegal music downloads), nor pornographic material, etc. Aside from the obvious material that is not allowed on websites, we also like to consider ourselves as an ethical company, and as such we also do not allow sites offering material that might be borderline legal, depending on interpretation, but still unethical. We reserve the right to refuse to take on any new client for any reason.
The important facts about our service are:
To minimise client tie-in in the unlikely event of a client wanting to move away from our service, we grant a single site licence to clients who have been with us, or who have paid us, for 12 months, so that the client can take a static HTML copy of their final website (using tools such as HTTrack) to host the site elsewhere. A static HTML website copy will not have any content management features or other server-side features such as email forms processing, and can only be edited using a web design package, it could however be migrated into another content management system by a web development company. We can also provide an open source ecommerce system database backup and images directory backup for clients who wish to move towards their own semi-bespoke open source ecommerce system in the future. The licence we grant for leaving clients is a single site licence meaning it is only applies to their website, they cannot make copies for resale, and since the website is still based on our design layouts we cannot transfer copyright of these layouts, merely a licence to use the layout (otherwise leaving clients could prevent other existing clients from using our layouts if they owned copyright).
2. The awebapart.com sitebuilder service provides a layout-based customisable website service. This is different to a fully bespoke custom web design you may get from a traditional web designer where you have more control over the site's look and features (normally at a higher cost), and our service is priced lower accordingly. As such there are limitations to work within, the web design is not fully customisable, only customisable to a certain extent, an extent which we feel should meet the needs of most businesses. A 'web design' link is placed at the bottom of all sitebuilder sites, which links to our site, and this is not customisable. For these reasons, we offer a try before you buy service, so you can be assured that it is customisable enough for your needs. We are however, always open to client feedback on ways we can improve the service.
Since a website is viewed in a web browser, we provide websites which are compatible with most modern popular desktop PC browsers, from IE6 upwards, and a few smartphone mobile browsers offering a similar desktop browsing experience (e.g. iPhone, Android), but this does not make our websites compatible with every single browser in the market, especially older browsers (e.g. IE5) or other mobile phone browsers. This website service is designed for popular desktop browsers first and foremost, with the added benefit that the website might work on smartphone's that offer a desktop like browsing experiences.
3. Payment is yearly upfront (£250+VAT per annum), after you are happy with the working prototype (we recommend that you try before you buy). There is no minimum contract, we hope clients will stay with us because they like our service. If you decide to leave after say 6 months we will happily refund a remaining part of the service cost based on a pro-rata calculation which considers both months remaining and support costs to date. Future pricing for new clients may go up or down depending on the market, and future pricing for existing clients may also go up and down, however future pricing for any client, new or existing, will not go up any more than the standard UK rate of inflation, and if general prices for new clients are lowered below prices for existing clients, then the existing clients will be moved onto the better deal too. This is our price guarantee.
4. You can keep your domain at any domain name registrar, as long as your registrar has the ability to point the domain at our servers, either through nameservers, or WWW A records. We recommend that you keep in control of your domain name by purchasing and registering the domain name yourself at established domain registrars such as www.123-reg.co.uk - that is why we do not include a free domain name with our service (a .co.uk domain only costs £2.79 per year). Whilst we do not purchase the domain name, we can and often advise our clients on the selection of an appropriate domain name that will provide the most benefit in terms of branding and search engine optimisation and to avoid any legal issues with other companies owning similar names.
5. Primary support is via email as this is the most effective way of providing a documented, in writing, support service where information, advice and instruction is clear and can be remembered and referred to again in the future (telephone conversations are easily forgot or misinterpreted, and/or unnecessarily repeated). Secondary/emergency support is via telephone, however during busy periods, emergency periods, or times of maximum capacity it is not realistic to expect to get through to a live person, since as a small company offering a budget service we do not have banks of support staff or an outsourced call centre. Messages can be left and service announcements heard via the automated telephone service, but email support is the preferred, more practical, more effective, and recommended route. Clients who contact us via telephone for non emergency issues will be directed to email support.
Support is 9:00am to 5:30pm normal UK business working days, via email and telephone (local number 01933 - Wellingborough, Northants). This doesn't mean that we don't cover times outside this, just that we don't guarantee it. We usually respond to requests within 24hrs, urgent problems we obviously try to address sooner. Clients going through VARs (Value Added Resellers) should not be contacting us directly, they should be contacting their VAR. Since our goal is to minimise the running costs of our operation in order to pass on low costs of service to our clients, our telephone operation is for incoming client calls only. Please do not leave messages expecting us to ring you back, especially to mobile numbers, as we do not do this (we only get back in contact with clients via email).
In order to keep our service running optimally for all clients we operate a fair use policy where support is concerned. Fair use means sensible usage which is appropriate for most clients, and to protect our service to these clients we have to implement this fair use policy to stop the odd client excessively using our resources. Fair use is support for just one person within the cilent organisation administering the client website. Fair use does not include excessive support usage, exceeding what we deem to be reasonable levels of support for a small business client, with basic PC and web familiarity, using a service from us set at our pricing level, or support requests for services or software outside of our remit (e.g. broadband supplier, PC software, learning to use the PC and web, payment processor, etc.).
Support is only available for paid up clients.
6. We state a 99.9% uptime policy. This is based on our experience from 2005 to date, and is merely a statement of past fact, it is not a future guarantee. Where something as complex as the internet, hardware and software is involved nothing can be 100% guaranteed not even 99.9% guaranteed. This, coupled with an ever-increasing threat of spam and hacker attacks, and even force majeure, compounds the issue further. Some things can go wrong which make your website unavailable. Problems we have experienced so far include:
6.1 Previous hosting company before we moved to United Hosting. Network problems at the UK internet infrastructure or web host end which we have no control over, the worst downtime for this we have experience so far was a 2 hour Monday afternoon period in 2006, although after this our hosting providers put measures in place to avoid this particular problem in the future.
6.2 Previous hosting company before we moved to United Hosting. Server catastrophic hardware failure in April 2009, where the server's motherboard died. This resulted in a day's downtime on a Tuesday, whilst a new server was setup and site backups were restored.
6.3 Previous hosting company before we moved to United Hosting. Server spam attack in May 2009, which required emergency firewall measures to be put in place which resulted in a 2 hour downtime on a Monday lunchtime.
6.4 Previous hosting company before we moved to United Hosting. Server primary hard disk replacement in June 2009, which was done overnight and resulted in a 2 hour downtime
6.5 From time to time, parts of the UK internet infrastructure can become unavailable, routers go down or need to be reset, and this can mean that some users using some broadband suppliers cannot connect to the websites, whereas other users can. This does not mean that the server is down for everyone, and this can usually be verified by sites like www.downorisitjustme.com
As you may notice, 2009 has not been a good year compared to previous uneventful years, and as such, and because of the increasing threat of botnet spam, we are planning on moving to a different hosting supplier in the summer with a better infrastructure in place (better spam handling, more regular backups, increased monitoring, etc).
We currently have weekly off-site backups in place but will be increasing this to daily after we move hosting suppliers in the summer. Ecommerce clients can also backup their own database on a more regular basis, when daily orders are coming in.
When your site is unavailable for short amounts of time, the internet email system as a whole is designed to deal with the fact that servers are sometimes unavailable and busy, most email servers will queue up emails and try sending them on again later, retrying a few times before bouncing messages back. But things do go wrong, and it would be unrealistic of us to offer 100.00% uptime. We do not offer any compensation, nor are we liable, for loss of client business during any downtime period. However if downtime periods occur beyond the 0.1% downtime per month we will consider the disruption caused to each client on a case by case basis and take into account when the downtime occurred and the cause of the downtime, to see if we should refund an appropriate amount up to the amount the client has paid for the base cost of the service for that month.
7. Our dedicated servers are currently hosted in the www.unitedhosting.co.uk data centre. In the future we may also make use of other high performance UK data centres. Websites are hosted on our own performance monitored and performance adjusted dedicated servers. To maximise performance, page load times and reliability we place no more than 50-100 websites on each server, and we do not allow any client to upload and run their own server side code.
8. 20 GB per month bandwidth allowance (this should be enough for most businesses, and it is there to stop anyone trying to set up the next high bandwidth youtube.com video site). Bandwidth is for client's use only and is not available for resale or sub-letting.
9. 2MB maximum website file upload limit, this means that you cannot upload videos or pdfs or images to the website which are greater than 2MB. This is a current limit although we may increase this in future (up to 5MB, since the latest 9 MegaPixel prosumer digital cameras are now producing 2.5MB files). For larger files we suggest using a specialist fileserver/download service, e.g. fileburst.com, the files hosted at fileburst can be linked to from your website hosted with us (e.g. www.instantmagictricks.com uses this setup). Clients cannot upload their own server-side scripts (e.g. php files), these are neither necessary nor appropriate for a sitebuilder managed service and there is always a small chance that this could compromise our server integrity (we operate a service which has higher levels of integrity and security than typical shared hosting plans from hosting companies because of this fact that we do not allow any client to upload server-side scripts).
10. You get up to 10 POP3 email accounts. Email accounts are for client's use only and are not available for resale or sub-letting.
11. By using our service, clients are agreeing to these terms and conditions.
12. Since our service is a continually improving one, from time to time these terms and conditions will change, either to improve them just for clarification, or to incorporate terms for new services added. Clients will be notified of any major changes to these terms and conditions.
If you have any more specific questions, or if you currently have any specific/unusual webhosting features then please contact us.