Service Level Agreement

SLA stands for service-level agreement, which is broadly defined as the portion of a service contract wherein the service is formally defined and detailed. In a web hosting context, credible hosting companies will offer an SLA that details their downtime and uptime policies, and clearly delineate the means of compensating clients if service levels fall below the figures specified in the SLA.

In their SLA, hosting companies will often specify power service availability, website accessibility, customer service response times, technical support response times and specify the amount of notice that will be provided to clients with respect to any scheduled downtime for network maintenance or infrastructure upgrades.

Service-level agreements also specify the remedies available to clients if the hosting company fails to meet its obligations under the SLA, as well as set limits on client compensation and specify conditions under which the hosting company might not be held responsible for downtime or other issues that would cause the hosting provider to be out of conformance with its SLA. An SLA also frequently offers a termination clause in the case of chronic service interruptions, allowing hosting clients a means to terminate a contract early without incurring a penalty.