Web Hosting Terms of Service

Written on January 1, 2017. Updated on September 24, 2019.

Introduction

All web hosting plans include the great service you have come to expect from Steven Michael Fies (“Steve”) and his team at S.MICHAEL Creative Branding. Furthermore, your web hosting plans are the result of key partnerships between Steve and major global companies like WP Engine, SiteGround, and Kinsta. Your web hosting plan will be a business-grade solution that is fast, reliable, and scalable.

Steve designed his web hosting plans after building many websites, and realizing the almost universal need for customers to access a business-grade solution with key features like routine WordPress version updates and cybersecurity protection.

To that end, your plan was designed end-to-end to include everything Steve wants for his own websites: fast and secure accessibility, malware and cybersecurity features, and improved site speed and performance.

Your plan was also designed to include convenience features like quarterly version updates for WordPress, giving you the peace of mind that your site will always be up-to-date, and initial email setup to make sure you hit the ground running. There are some limitations to keep in mind, however.

Plan Limitations

WordPress updates, plugin updates, and theme updates are provided quarterly when they are routine. For purposes of your web hosting plan, updates are considered routine when they are quick, minor by nature, and they do not break or affect the appearance or functionality of your website. Updates to WordPress, plugins, and/or themes that break or affect the appearance or functionality of your website are considered non-routine, and will require your advance approval of fees to perform extended updates and related maintenance.

Furthermore, the routine quarterly updates mentioned in the previous paragraph are strictly limited to updating the behind-the-scenes code when new versions of WordPress, plugins, and/or themes become available. These quarterly updates do not include any visible front-end updates to the website or its content or structure, such as with any updates or requests made by you as the client. Any and all updates requested by you will require your advance approval of fees and will be subject to availability. Furthermore, S.MICHAEL Creative Branding reserves the right to decline client-requested updates and shall not be obligated as your web hosting provider to perform ongoing web design, web development, or any other related or unrelated services.

Initial email setup includes up to five (5) accounts for a single domain, either directly on your server or through Zoho Mail or GSuite in the case of optimized WordPress plans. Zoho Mail has a free plan available, but you may incur extra charges if you require features on one of their upgraded plans. Likewise, GSuite (formerly “Google Apps”) currently charges $5/user/month for their email and apps services. Prices are subject to change and these fees shall be paid directly to the third parties by the client all cases unless otherwise negotiated.

Tier 1 plans (“Done For You”) include up to 2GB local storage, 10K monthly visitors, and up to 100GB data transfer. Additional visits are just $2.50 per thousand, and up to 10GB of additional local storage can be granted for an additional $2.50 per 1GB per month.

Tier 2 plans (“Max Performance”) include up to 20GB local storage, 50K monthly visitors, and 1TB data transfer. Unlimited additional storage and data transfer are available for an extra fee by switching to a customized plan suited to your needs, to be negotiated with Steve and/or his team at S.MICHAEL Creative Branding.

Tier 3 plans (“The Rolls Royce”) include up to 100GB local storage, 100K monthly visitors, and unlimited data transfer. Additional visits are just $1 per thousand and additional storage can be made available upon request for an extra fee, to be negotiated with Steve and/or his team at S.MICHAEL Creative Branding.

General Disclaimers

No web host can offer 100% uptime. Even plans that costs thousands of dollars per month and utilize load-balancing technology to distribute web traffic across multiple cloned servers fail sometimes. S.MICHAEL Creative Branding cannot offer a 100% uptime guarantee, nor that your site will be available and accessible at any given time by any given person using any given device, computer, or system.

None of these web hosting plans include website support and maintenance beyond the limited quarterly updates specified above. All of your requests for support, updates, and/or other work will be billable under your agreement with Steve and/or S.MICHAEL Creative Branding at the full hourly rate agreed upon for such services. Furthermore, Steve and/or S.MICHAEL Creative Branding reserves the right to decline your requests for support, updates, and/or other work for any reason. Acting as your web hosting provider shall not obligate Steve and/or S.MICHAEL Creative Branding to perform or provide any other additional services, work, or deliverables.

All S.MICHAEL web hosting plans include a firewall for cybersecurity protection. However, S.MICHAEL Creative Branding cannot absolutely guarantee your site will not be hacked or compromised. There are many factors outside of our control that make it impossible to provide a blanket guarantee. Similar to how no web host can guarantee 100% uptime, no web host can guarantee their servers are 100% hack-proof.

As a customer, you are expected to use strong passwords and tightly control user-access to your website(s), because weak passwords are easily brute-force cracked and anyone with access to your website has the potential to login and change, modify, and erase your data or use our servers for illicit purposes. By signing up for web hosting with S.MICHAEL Creative Branding, you accept sole liability for any illicit activity that occurs on our servers as the result of negligence or usage of weak passwords.

Finally, like with any web hosting plan, you as the customer are solely responsible for the time and cost of backing up, moving, and/or migrating your data in the event you cancel your web hosting plan with S.MICHAEL Creative Branding. The backups and maintenance provided while you are subscribed to your web hosting plan with S.MICHAEL Creative Branding will no longer be available if and when you cancel your service. Furthermore, your website and its corresponding data will be automatically and permanently deleted if you do not independently back up, move, and/or migrate your website and its corresponding data to another server prior to the cancellation of your web hosting plan with S.MICHAEL Creative Branding.

You can expect a migration or change of web host to require approximately +/- 10 hours of billable time from a professional web developer should you hire someone to perform this function for you, although every situation is different. S.MICHAEL Creative Branding reserves the right to quote this work on a case-by-case basis should you decide to move or migrate your website(s), if you elect to hire S.MICHAEL Creative Branding to perform this work. S.MICHAEL Creative Branding shall not have an obligation, however, to quote or perform this work on your behalf.

Your web hosting plan with S.MICHAEL Creative Branding will be cancelled immediately if you submit a written request confirming your cancellation. Your web hosting plan with S.MICHAEL Creative Branding will be also cancelled automatically if you fail to remit payment for more than thirty (30) calendar days after your bill is due.

CANCELLATION OF YOUR WEB HOSTING PLAN MEANS YOUR WEB HOSTING SERVICE WILL BE SUSPENDED IMMEDIATELY AND YOUR WEBSITE PERMANENTLY DELETED ALONG WITH ALL OF ITS DATA. UNLESS YOU INDEPENDENTLY MOVE YOUR WEBSITE ELSEWHERE AND/OR CREATE A BACKUP OF YOUR WEBSITE (AND/OR ITS DATA) IN ADVANCE OF CANCELLATION, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR WEBSITE AND ITS DATA FOREVER AND IT WILL NOT BE RECOVERABLE.

S.MICHAEL Creative Branding’s web hosting plans and services are provided as white glove services. This means S.MICHAEL Creative Branding manages the server and its interfaces on your behalf, allowing you to focus on your business while Steve handles the technical stuff behind the scenes. For that matter, S.MICHAEL Creative Branding shall retain exclusive access and control to back-end server architecture, control panels, SSH / SFTP / FTP / phpMyAdmin access, and related user interfaces for the duration of your Web Hosting Plan.

In some cases, S.MICHAEL Creative Branding may also configure and administer Domain Registrar, Nameserver, and/or DNS configuration services for you as the client. Whether or not this applies in your situation, you will always retain ownership of your Domain Name (your “dot com” web address) along with the ability to specify or update its corresponding Nameservers and/or DNS settings at any time, unless otherwise specified in a separate agreement or contract between S.MICHAEL Creative Branding and you as the client. You are highly encouraged to speak with S.MICHAEL Creative Branding before making any such updates or specifications, however, because they can disrupt your Web Hosting Service and any other third party systems or applications you may have connected to your Domain Name.

You as the client are solely responsible for providing S.MICHAEL Creative Branding with any and all technical information, specifications, and related configuration settings for any third-party systems or applications that are connected to your Domain Name and/or that may be affected by DNS changes prior to commencing your Web Hosting Services. Failure to provide the aforementioned information may result in such systems or applications being temporarily or permanently disconnected, and may result in temporary or permanent data loss within those systems and applications.

Service Level Agreement (“SLA”)

S.MICHAEL Creative Branding provides an industry leading product, and is pleased to support it with this Service Level Agreement (“SLA”). This SLA is hereby incorporated into the Terms of Service, and made a part of it. The remedies set out in this SLA are Client’s sole and exclusive remedy for issues covered by the SLA.

We reserve the right to make changes to this SLA at any time at our sole discretion. If we make changes to this SLA, we will provide notice of such changes by revising the date at the top of this SLA. Your continued use of our Services following notification of changes will constitute your acceptance of such changes. Please periodically review this SLA and check for any updates.

S.MICHAEL Creative Branding provides a 99.9% uptime guarantee for the portions of the Web Hosting Service that must be operational in order for any Client Website hosted on our platform to be accessible over Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). This uptime guarantee does not include any systems, websites, or services external to S.MICHAEL Creative Branding, our website, SFTP access, or any other part of the Web Hosting Service which is not strictly necessary in order for Client Websites to remain accessible.

S.MICHAEL Creative Branding will not be liable for a breach of the Web Hosting Terms of Service nor for outages, downtime, or defective service in your web hosting plan; unless you give S.MICHAEL Creative Branding written notice within ten (10) days of the time you discover or ought to have discovered the breach, outage, downtime, or defective service. At its sole discretion, S.MICHAEL Creative Branding will either repair or re-perform such services (or the defective part), or credit or refund the price of such services at the pro rata rate of your web hosting plan that corresponds to the duration of the breach, outage, downtime, or defective service. These shall be your sole and exclusive remedies and S.MICHAEL Creative Branding’s entire liability for any breach of the Web Hosting Terms of Service or for outages, downtime, or defective service in your web hosting plan.

Downtime caused by any of the following circumstances, as determined at our sole discretion, shall not be eligible for SLA Credit:

  • Routine or scheduled maintenance performed at any time,
  • Emergency maintenance performed at any time,
  • Scheduled outages,
  • Force majeure events, including but not limited to, acts of nature (fire, flood, earthquake, storm, or other natural disaster), acts of war (invasion, hostilities, rebellion, revolution, insurrection, terrorist activities, and other hostile activities), actions taken by governments (sanction, blockage, embargo, and other governmental action), labour disputes (strike, lockout, or any similar dispute), failure of power sources, outages caused by external service providers, and any other event which we cannot reasonably anticipate, prevent, control, or avoid,
  • Traffic reaching a Client Website that exceeds the capabilities of the Client Website, the Client’s Web Hosting Plan, or Web Hosting Service,
  • Client breach of the Terms of Service or any other policies, terms, or agreements applicable to Client,
  • Client machine access problems,
  • Client authored code,
  • Changes to the Service by parties other than S.MICHAEL Creative Branding.

General

Unless otherwise agreed in a separate contract or written agreement between S.MICHAEL Creative Branding and you as the Client, all Web Hosting Plans and Web Hosting Services are provided on a month-to-month basis. This means neither you as the Client nor S.MICHAEL Creative Branding are obligated to continue the Web Hosting Plan or Web Hosting Service beyond the current month of service.

The date of your first Web Hosting Plan payment shall determine the monthly renewal date and billing period for your Web Hosting Services. For example, if you sign up on January 12th your monthly renewal and billing date is the 12th of each month thereafter, with each monthly payment covering through the 11th of the following month at 11:59pm Eastern Time. Please note that each monthly payment is non-refundable once made. Pro Rata refunds will not be given for Web Hosting Plans or Web Hosting Services that are cancelled mid-month.

In situations where this agreement is in conflict with your contract with Steve and/or Collaboration Enterprises LLC d.b.a. S.MICHAEL Creative Branding, your contract will control (and not these Terms of Service). Any and all disputes will be governed under the laws of the State of North Carolina and any legal remedies shall be pursued at the Wake County Courthouse located therein.