Backups Marketed but not Upheld, who's the fault for the lack of backup? Provider vs Customer

host4go

Member
Verified Provider
Hi guys,

This has been a recurring topic at WHT, and I am guessing here to (probably less as this forum is mostly VPS oriented).

My stance on this matter is that when a provider sells a hosting plan that is supposed to include daily/weekly/monthly/whatever cycle backups, this provider should actually do the backups and not blame the customers for not doing them themselves. manually.

At WHT the general consensus amongst providers seems to be that it´s the customer blame for not having backups.

The usual scenario being:

  • - Sales Page. Daily Backups on our super edgy wonderful rainbow created servers
  • - TOS. We'll we don't really feel like we should be concerned with the backup
-- The day a backup is needed comes --

  • - Customer: "Please restore my website using your latest backup"
  • - Provider: "oops, there's no backup"
  • - Customer: "none at all? weren't you uppoed to keep X backups?"
  • - Provider: "no, it´s your fault for not doing backups, if the data matters to you, back it up".
-- A small percentage of customers will find WHT and complaint --

  • Customer posts a negative review
  • Suppliers gang up on customers about how this is their fault

What's your take on this?
 

telephone

New Member
It's very simple. If you advertise it, then you provide it. A customer shouldn't have to question every word of an advertisement to check whether it's true or false. Not to mention, the provider would be in a shit load of trouble for false advertising (in the majority of the world) if they weren't selling online (the wild west).

On the flip side, yes if the data is that important and is making you $XXXX a day, then you'd be stupid not to backup your data. But your provider should still uphold their end of the deal in case your backups are ever lost or corrupted.
 
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KuJoe

Well-Known Member
Verified Provider
Relying on a provider for backups is the worst thing anybody can do. Period. There is no guarantee the backups will be what you need when you need it. Most providers keep backups for hardware failure and that's it. I would say at least 50% of the restores I do for clients are just restores of the corrupt data they need a backup of. I've never seen a provider guarantee backups before (read the TOS to be sure) but I have seen a provider spend tens of thousands of dollars a month to create unrecoverable backups for 6+ months and lose terabytes of customer data in one night.

Bottom line, if your data is important back it up. If you cannot hold the data in your hands right this second and the same data in your hands right now is not also hundreds of miles away then the data is not important to you at all.
 

MannDude

Just a dude
vpsBoard Founder
Moderator
Providers who advertise it most certainly should provide it, and I would even go as far as to test them by request a backup or restore for a dev server or something along those lines before putting anything production worthy on it.

But still, make your own off site backups.
 

drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
There are lots of folks FALSE ADVERTISING.  As usual, a practice that pi$$es me off.

No different lying about backups is than say lying about server specs, pretend RAID, non existent staff, etc.

But, sometimes provider backups are being ran and for whatever technical reason aren't valid / good backups.  Or some other horror happens where data somehow is overwritten.

Companies should provide snapshots to customers.  Customers should build into their cost and work heap an offsite backup location for their own safe keeping.

Any customer who goes and loses more than a day or two of their data doesn't deserve to be in business. 

Any provider who advertises backups then mass faceplants needs to fire workers and reconsider what they are doing for a living.

Data integrity and security trump nearly everything else and are essential elements to being a provider.  Backups are one of the pillars behind this... Otherwise 75% of shops wouldn't be pushing such in their marketing and site content.
 

DomainBop

Dormant VPSB Pathogen
Quote said:
  • The usual scenario being:
  • - Sales Page. Daily Backups on our super edgy wonderful rainbow created servers
  • - TOS. We'll we don't really feel like we should be concerned with the backup
If the customer values their data they should be making backups BUT if the host advertised backups and didn't actually provide them the host is breaking the law by engaging in false advertising (and should be reported to their state attorney general and the FTC) . If the customer lost data because the host lied and wasn't backing up customers' data (i.e. the host broke the law by engaging in false advertising) , the customer would have a valid case for filing a lawsuit and winning.

 If the provider advertises daily backups on their website or in their offer it doesn't matter if their TOS says something completely different than what the ad copy said.  Legally they need to provide what they advertised.

Quote said:
I've never seen a provider guarantee backups before (read the TOS to be sure) 
I've seen plenty of providers who  falsely advertise backups and other things that they don't (or can't) actually provide (example: all of the ads with guaranteed 99.9%/100% uptime when the reality is closer to 95%/96%/97% for many of these providers).

Quote said:
- A small percentage of customers will find WHT and complaint --

  • Customer posts a negative review
  • Suppliers gang up on customers about how this is their fault
Quote said:
Bottom line, if your data is important back it up. If you cannot hold the data in your hands right this second and the same data in your hands right now is not also hundreds of miles away then the data is not important to you at all.
Bottom line, saying "if you don't make your own backups the data isn't important to you" is irrelevant if the host engaged in false advertising by falsely advertising daily backups.  If the host advertised daily backups and wasn't actually making daily backups they are legally liable if there was data loss and no amount of hobbyproviders on WHT rushing to the hosts' defense and trying to blame the customer for not making backups is going to remove that liability.  Bottom line: you advertise something, you need to provide it.

Quote said:
Not to mention, the provider would be in a shit load of trouble for false advertising (in the majority of the world) if they weren't selling online (the wild west).
Online has nothing to do with it.  The reason that more web hosts don't get nailed for false advertising is their size.   The vast majority of web hosting businesses (and especially the ones that engage in false advertising) are tiny.  It's not really worth it for the feds to go after a business that is making less than the median household income (and in many cases less than what a minimum wage earner earns)
 

KeithVP

New Member
If you advertise backups, then you should be able to provide it. No ifs, no buts. It's one thing if the customer asks "restore your latest available backup," and another if they say "restore my site to how it was an hour ago."
 

WSWD

Active Member
Verified Provider
I would say at least 50% of the restores I do for clients are just restores of the corrupt data they need a backup of.
This!  By the time most clients find out they need a backup, their corrupted data has already been copied over to the backup.  Sometimes we have to go back a week or so to try to find them a suitable backup, and sometimes even that has already been corrupted.  This is especially true with VPS.  With shared hosting, clients usually screw up a database or delete an important file, so that's an easy fix.  

If your data is important to you, keep your own backup. 
 

willie

Active Member
Some hosts do backups only for their own use, i.e. if the hard drive crashes or there's some other failure at the host side, they use the backup to restore it.  But if a customer deletes their own file by accident and wants it back, the host tells the customer to use their own backup.  That's happened to me. 
 
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TurnkeyInternet

Active Member
Verified Provider
Backups are a real investment, often only larger companies can consistently do 'well' with because of the enormous costs to have many backups nodes, archive nodes, and more.  It adds up when doing it 'right' (having redundant backups, multiple copies of the backups, staff to audit/verify backups routinely).   Even in the best of cases the data can be non-restorable for a number of reasons (disk image backups like on vps platforms for instance are very tempermental due to being a single loop back/file device backup of the entire vps so a few bytes of data corrupted kills it all in some cases).

That said - a reasonable balance is to offer a premium (pay) upgrade to high grade backups of whatever service you are offering, that INCULDES a user web interface so the client can control, monitor AND BE RESPONSIBLE for their own backups.  This should be in addition to whatever internal 'disaster recovery' backup the provider has underlying (depending on policy you may or may not let clients pay or get access to these for free on a whim if they wish to roll back due to their own user error).  But the premium upgrade option, empowers the customer and gives them access to monitor, alert, and keep track all the time of their own backups.  Manages expecations nicely and fairly.
 

Tyler

Active Member
Many companies will advertise it, but their TOS mentions that the backups are not guaranteed to work. They're often "best effort". Whether that's fair or not... well, it's the status quo, and you can certainly try to change it. You just better have the backups.
 

mojeda

New Member
Both people are at fault.

It is the fault of the provider for selling a product that includes automatic backups and not delivering.

It's the fault of the client for solely trusting said company to do their backups for them.
 
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