What does your hosting company’s SLA really mean?

In the business of computer hosting and management services, the standard for performance is the Service Level Agreement (SLA).  All prominent hosting companies offer a SLA which details the responsibilities of the hosting provider and the uptime guarantee a customer can expect, holding the service provider to a standard for performance agreed to by both parties.  Generally, if a hosting provider experiences a significant amount of downtime (an event or events exceeding what they guarantee their customers in the SLA), a customer would then be eligible for a service credit.

Many hosting companies, even larger very reputable companies such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, advertise what sounds like a pretty good SLA of 99.95% uptime.  At first read, this looks like a high level of service with negligible downtime for customers, however, when one actually calculates what 99.95% uptime equates to in terms of down time, we see that the SLA holds the service provider to a server availability which allows up to 21 minutes of downtime during any given month before they would be required to issue an SLA credit to their customers.

At InnoScale, we are so confident in our infrastructure, with both hardware and software redundancy built in, that we are able to offer a 99.999% uptime guarantee.  When you do the calculations, you will find that this equates to an SLA uptime guarantee allowing no more than 26 seconds per month of service interruption.  When you are choosing a hosting company and see an uptime guarantee of 99.999%, compared to 99.95%, keep in mind that there is over 20 minutes difference between the two. If your website presence and email is critical to your business, choosing a host with a higher level of service guarantee (SLA) will ensure that your business is in good hands and says a lot about the confidence of the host that you choose.