A few days ago I woke up and it was evident my hosting provider was having some major problems. My sites were all down and I wasn’t getting any new email. I eventually got an instant message from a friend that emails to me were bouncing. I contacted my hosting provider, but, got no response for about 12 hours.
When I finally did hear back, I got news that the hard disc in the server server where my account was located had crashed. To make matters worse, their “backup scheme” was, apparently, to duplicate the data on a second disc on the same machine and when the tech went to restore the data he accidentally formatted both discs. All data gone. For me this wasn’t catastrophic because I run a complete backup of all of my websites and databases every night (downloading the backup to my personal PC), so, I only lost about a day on my sites (and it was a weekend day with almost no new data).
After pinging support a second time, they finally got me the new login information for my account, I reconfigured my account, and restored my files and database and everything was back up and running in about 30 minutes. Total downtime (that I am aware of) was about 15 hours – they probably wasted a lot of that time stressing about what to do (who knows).
Remember: keep your data (and websites and databases) backed up, and store the backups as far as possible from the machine in question.