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Protecting Technology with… Technology!

What to look for when considering free and hosted options for your site or blog

by Kate  |  2139 views  |  2 comments  |        Rate this now! 

I am sure you are all reading and keeping up with Mir’s horrific experience with her hosting site for her blogs! We all feel for you Mir!

While technology is fantastic, it can also be fleeting! It is still ultimately 1s and 0s and machine parts – all of which can disappear or break with out notice.

So what can we possibly do about it? Take precautions!

If you are hosting with a vendor and they hold all your content make sure they have all of the items listed below and can answer all of your questions to your satisfaction:

Backups: Mandatory!

  • At the very LEAST monthly full backups and weekly differential (changes)
  • What other backup methods (hardware/software/brand) are used?
  • How often have they had to restore from backups?
Disaster Recovery Plan/Business Continuity Plan: These are usually enacted when something major happens to the data center as a whole, affecting many or all customers.

  • What does it include?
  • When is it enacted?
  • What is the communication plan, when will I be notified of an issue?
Maintenance and Failures: These are inevitable and WILL happen – but you can be prepared!

  • What is the maintenance schedule?
  • Is there an outage window or do you fail over to a backup while you perform maintenance?
  • Will my site experience downtime?

Customer Service: Vital to your sanity! Generally if they are rude when you are asking the above questions or when setting up, this is not a good sign!

  • What are the SLAs (service level agreements) for support/maintenance/issue resolution?
  • What are the communication requirements (information included, frequency of communication) for support/maintenance/issue resolution?
  • What happens if the hard drive on the server where your information is stored becomes corrupted?
Not sure if you are hosting with a vendor? Check the agreements you ‘agreed’ to without reading (we all do it!). Hosting generally costs more because you are asking for a lot of the above features that you do not receive with free services like Blogger and flickr.

For example, if you have a blog on Blogger their Terms of Service clearly state that:

“You understand and agree that the Service is provided to you on an AS IS and AS AVAILABLE basis. Google disclaims all responsibility and liability for the availability, timeliness, security or reliability of the Service or any other client software. Google also reserves the right to modify, suspend or discontinue the Service with or without notice at any time and without any liability to you.”

Flickr has a similar requirement in their Terms of Service which is an across the board agreement for all Yahoo! products:

"YAHOO! AND ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, PARTNERS AND LICENSORS MAKE NO WARRANTY THAT (i) THE SERVICE WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS; (ii) THE SERVICE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, TIMELY, SECURE OR ERROR-FREE; (iii) THE RESULTS THAT MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE USE OF THE SERVICE WILL BE ACCURATE OR RELIABLE; (iv) THE QUALITY OF ANY PRODUCTS, SERVICES, INFORMATION OR OTHER MATERIAL PURCHASED OR OBTAINED BY YOU THROUGH THE SERVICE WILL MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS; AND (v) ANY ERRORS IN THE SOFTWARE WILL BE CORRECTED."

2 comments so far...

  • you are welcome! also thought it was good to just point out that you get what you pay for and free solutions dont make any promises LOL! back up! trust me! little hard drives arent expensive anymore and DVDs hold a LOT of data (like for pictures) :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kate on 9th November 2007

  • Great recommendations, Kate! I don't really need to use some of them at this point (although I guess I should back my blog posts up somewhere :-)), but good for future reference. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Florinda Pendley Vasquez on 9th November 2007

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