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Max3000
02-25-2006, 10:42 PM
Hi Guys

I'm hoping someone can help me better understand this:

The server package I signed up for includes 2000Gb
data transfer a month. In The 8 months I've been with this server host I have never exceed 190Gb in any month. That to me, is less than 10% of what I am allowed.

Now here's the bit I don't understand. My server host has sent me a bill for over $1800.00 stating that it is for additional bandwidth. Yet, according to DA, I've used less than 180GB every month including current.

Here is the email they sent me:----

Your server with IPs xxx.xxx.xxx has been using 99.90mbps at peak. We have had to "cap" your bandwidth to 10mbps pending you immediately paying for the EXTREME bandwidth you are using

We also suggest you purchase the Hybrid plan. The pricing system for “Hybrid” bandwidth is tiered and allows you to buy bandwidth as you need in increments of 10mbps. Each cluster of 10mbps purchased is $200USD/month additional plus a $100USD/month fee to remove the cap. If you need the full 100mbps, the price is $1000USD/month. This is actually cheaper than having to buy it in increments if you need more than 80mbps.

To give a point of comparison, “Extreme” bandwidth would cost you approximately $6500USD/month for 100mbps.

We cannot keep your server capped at 10mbps for any significant duration of time. If you do not respond within five working days starting today, your server will be disconnected.


Bandwidth charts available here:
http://bandwidth.calpop.com
SWITCH NAME: sw130s42
PORT : 0/9
PASSWORD: “squid”

BANDWIDTH OVERAGES: 28.07mbps -- Please pay $65 X 28.07 = $1824.55

Pricing & plan details can be found at http://www.calpop.com

-----------end email ------------------------

I tried to get a better understanding of this from my host but am not getting any reply. So if anyone here understands this stuff, I would very much appreciciate some help in understanding how this stuff works.

Many Thanks :-)

Larry

jmstacey
02-26-2006, 12:22 PM
It looks like that letter was meant for the server administrator. Are you the admin of this server? Do you have root access?

Max3000
02-26-2006, 01:12 PM
Yep its my server, I am the admin and I have root access.
Its my first server and obviously, I have a lot to learn.

Cheers :-)

rocketcity
02-27-2006, 07:04 AM
Although people often use these terms interchangeably, there is a slight difference. Data transfer is all of the information transferred from your web site to your visitor's computer; bandwidth is the capacity for this transfer.

You can visualize data transfer as the number of cars on a highway, and bandwidth the number of lanes. While bandwidth remains fixed, your data transfer will ebb and flow, depending on how many visitors you have, how many people are using your site, and how complex your site is.

Your host is biling you for the extra bandwidth being used above what is allocated for your hosting plan, not for data transfer.

In looking at the graph that your host provides you with, you can track what your averages for bandwidth are. Also note that billing for this bandwidth appears to be based on the 95th percentile rule. For more information on 95th percentile see this site http://www.seanadams.com/95/ **NOTE, I have no affiliation with this site. Got results from Google**

That being said, check with your host and find out what your actual bandwidth limit is and consider upgrading plans or find another host. ;)

Max3000
02-27-2006, 08:28 AM
Thank you for the info. That helps alot.
Much appreciated :-)


Larry

nobaloney
02-28-2006, 07:03 PM
All that said, if you really haven't used more than 190 Gigabytes of data transit in a month, then your average has been .57 mbps (megabits per second) for the month.

And yet they're calling it 1.59 mbps.

Can that be true? Yes.

Do you understand 95% percentile billing?

This is a simplification of how it's done, but accurate enough for you to understand what they're doing, and how and why:

On the monthly scale they're measuring every two hours. One 30 day month will therefore contain 360 measuring points. They'll throw out the top 5% of those measuring points, 18 of them.

After they throw out the top 18 they'll look at the next highest number. That's what they'll charge you for. It's usually significantly higher than the average.

Is this fair? Although it seems impossible that it may be fair, depending on how much they charge for their traffic, it probably is. After all, they have to pay for a wide enough pipe to cover your peak usage.

That said, it's usually more than you expect; I hope those folk at CalPOP told you all the details.

Based on the graphs they're showing you it appears they're billing you for your inbound traffic plus your outbound traffic. While lots of providers do that, it may just be added profit for them; if they're using standard telco-provided lines (as most colo centers do) they're using anything from T-3 to OC192 connections. And they pay for the highest bandwidth in either direction; the bandwdith in the other direction is free. (Cable companies and ethernet bandwidth providers do charge for the total bandwidth in both directions but very few data centers use them.) Looking at CalPOPs network, they use both ethernet and telco-line providers, but they use their own fiber to connect (my recollection is they're only a few doors away from MAE WEST), so they should be paying only for the highest direction.

What's interesting to me is that the majority of your traffic is inbound. It's probably because you get more email than you serve webpages. You seem to have huge inbound spikes at between 6am and 7am; that's probably a lot of inbound spam, as that's when inbound spam generally comes in so it'll be right there on the users' desktops in the morning when they arrive at work.

Are you running SpamBlocker? If not, then you probably should; it blocks a lot of email, and that means significantly less inbound traffic.

They're currently advertising UNMETERED transit of 3000 GB (with a capital B); that means 3,000 Gigabyes per month. You're using, according to their own records, only bout 600 Gigabytes per month. So the key is did they tell you that you had 2000 GB (with a capital B) of transit or not?

If they didn't tell you the traffic was unmetered, then did they tell you 2000 GB (with a capital B)? That should mean Gigabytes per month. Gb generally means gigabits per second, normally shown as 2000 gpbs. But that's NOT what they're charging you, because their records show you used only 2.11 megabits per second.

My guess is that what they're really doing (possibly without telling you) is converting that 2000 GB per month to a certain speed line, and charging you for the times you go over. So they've probably given you approximately 6 mbps (which is about 2000 GB per month if used to full capacity all month).

As you see, there were plenty of times when you spiked well over 6 mbps.

However their own numbers say that 95th percentile was never over 2.11 mbps, even the figured the most expensive way.

Is 6mbps per second viable for you? It should be. We pay much more for 6mbps per second of bandwidth than they charge for their most expensive advertised server. While I don't give out our exact numbers I can say that we manage many servers, and each one uses significantly less.

As to why they can't limit you to 10 mbps; my guess is they don't want to. I've never seen a server you couldn't set for only 10mbps.

So I'd say you have a good argument against them.

However you should make sure you have good backups before you start arguing.

I'm not guaranteeing I have the math right; I use an onscreen calculator without a paper trail. You should probably check my numbers before using them in an argument.

If you decide to argue with them and you mention my name (I'm not suggesting you do or you don't) you may find that someone there remembers my name. Quite some time ago they tried to sell me on moving to their data center. I didn't ever see them as a viable option.

Looking toward the future you may want to work with a company that offers you a price based on how much data you move, not on megabits per second.

Jeff

Max3000
02-28-2006, 08:33 PM
Thanks Jeff for the detailed reply. This makes things a bit clearer to me.

calpop told me when I signed up that I would have 2000+GB
(with capital B) of data transfer per month. They didin't mention anything about unmetered etc, though they did mention 95% percentile in the fine print of the TOS but there was very little detail. They also said they had a 100Mbps connection. They didn't say we couldn't use it. Not that I would need anywhere near that much anyway.

I just looked at their site and I noticed they have changed all that on their website in the last week to "3,300+GB Unmetered" and have most likely changed the fine print in the TOS as well.

perhaps they are using me as a test case. They never had bandwidth monitors I could access before or if they did they never told me about it. All I have to go by is DA. This really is just another incident in a long list of problems I've had with calpop.com

The first server I had with them kept crashing and DA never worked properly. I had a another guy look at it and he said DA was not installed correctly. Long story short - I couldn't get calpop to fix the problem so I had to get them to cancel the server and replace it with one that worked. Problem is that while I still only have one server with them, they are billing my credit card for two, despite my requests for them to stop.

They don't answer support emails or their online support ticket system. When I phone them, they give excuses and say they will call back, but never do.

All this is why I'm moving to a new provider, this time with a fully managed server which hopefully will keep me safer until I can learn how to do all this myself.

One question though. I found some files in the server temp folders. I checked other posts on the forum and now realise my server has been hacked. Could this account for the bandwidth spikes??

I use spamassasin because I do recieve a lot of spam. I did a survey of my clients before I enabled spamassasin a month ago and from that I found the server was getting around 1,000 spam emails collectively a day prior to enabling spamassasin. Is spamblocker like spamassin or does it perform differently??

Bottom line, I will argue the bill with calpop, but I will still move to a new server provider. This time however, and thanks to your help and others in this forum, I will have a lot more questions to ask a new provider before I sign up. I just hope calpop doesn't shut me down before I get my clients moved - will keep my fingers crossed on that one.

Thanks again & best regards

Larry
http://www.titaninternet.com.au

nobaloney
02-28-2006, 08:50 PM
Originally posted by Max3000
Thanks Jeff for the detailed reply. This makes things a bit clearer to me.
You're welcome.

calpop told me when I signed up that I would have 2000+GB
(with capital B) of data transfer per month. They didin't mention anything about unmetered etc, though they did mention 95% percentile in the fine print of the TOS but there was very little detail.
Typical of many hosting companies. The devil is in the details.

They also said they had a 100Mbps connection. They didn't say we couldn't use it. Not that I would need anywhere near that much anyway.
You don't. We don't use near it, and we have approximately 75 servers in our data center.

I just looked at their site and I noticed they have changed all that on their website in the last week to "3,300+Gb Unmetered" and have most likely changed the fine print in the TOS as well.
I'd be surprised if they did. Really. I bet it's all still there.

perhaps they are using me as a test case.
I doubt it.

They never had bandwidth monitors I could access before or if they did they never told me about it.
They never told you.

All I have to go by is DA.
If you've read these forums then you know you can't really go by DA; it leaves out a lot (a limitation of how DA measures).

This really is just another incident in a long list of problems I've had with calpop.com
Contact me by email or phone if you'd like. I just looked for your phone number to call but can't find it.

The first server I had with them kept crashing and DA never worked properly. I had a another guy look at it and he said DA was not installed correctly. Long story short - I couldn't get calpop to fix the problem so I had to get them to cancel the server and replace it with one that worked. Problem is that while I still only have one server with them, they are billing my credit card for two, despite my requests for them to stop.
Again no comment.

One question though. I found some files in the server temp folders. I checked other posts on the forum and now realise my server has been hacked. Could this account for the bandwidth spikes??
Possibly; you do have daily spikes at about noon.

I use spamassasin because I do recieve a lot of spam. I did a survey of my clients before I enabled spamassasin and from that I found the server was getting around 1,000 spam emails collectively a day prior to enabling spamassasin. Is spamblocker like spamassin or does it perform differently??
With SpamAssassin all those emails still make it onto the server. With SpamBlocker the spam doesn't get onto the server; it doesn't use your bandwidth. Remember, though; I'm prejudiced; I wrote SpamBlocker.

Bottom line, I will argue the bill with calpop, but I will still move to a new server provider. This time however, and thanks to your help and others in this forum, I will have a lot more questions to ask a new provider before I sign up. I just hope calpop doesn't shut me down before I get my clients moved - will keep my fingers crossed on that one.
And make backups. Reseller level is best, but you should have at least one system backup as well.

Jeff