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British Business suffers from misleading web hosting contracts

Qube Networks called for an industry Code of Conduct to address contract practices of some web hosting companies in the UK.

Qube says British businesses are being ripped-off by web hosting contracts which claim to offer high levels of managed service but in reality deliver lower levels of service at expensive rates.

Excessive charging for bandwidth and meaningless service level agreements are the charges laid at the door of some of the UK's leading managed service web hosting companies.

Unfair practices identified by Qube Networks include:

The great bandwidth con: Where managed hosting providers still charge on a per giga byte, per month basis. This can work out 3 times more expensive than a modern pay as you go model.

Meaningless Service Level Agreements (SLA): Customers are being let down when their service is interrupted. Instead of proactively managing your web presence, many SLA's only kick in when the customer alerts the service provider. The SLA clock doesn't even start to tick, until you call them, raise a trouble ticket, and the support team accepts that trouble ticket.

"It is scandalous that so called managed service hosting companies are getting away with this," said Polly Arrowsmith, Qube Network's managing director. "Many customers are unaware of the charges and service levels they can expect because their contracts are so misleading. Unfortunately, it is only when something goes wrong that they realise the mistake they have made."

Arrowsmith called for an industry Code of Conduct to govern the contract practices of managed service hosting companies in the UK.

"The industry should be building its reputation by providing co-location and managed services of the highest standards," said Arrowsmith. "The sooner we begin to get the industry's house in order the better and an industry Code of Conduct is the first step in that change."

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.