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When "All You Can Eat' Is Not Really 'All You Can Eat' - Website Hosting

 
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Posted 12/04/2021   2:29 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add 51studebaker to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Rant about website hosting companies, false advertising, and costs.

Since the mid-1990s I have been involved with both developing and hosting websites. The hosting industry has, of course, greatly evolved over the decades into what we see today, a huge number of companies offering 'no brainer' tools to 'build a website in a few minutes'. Along with the ability to quickly build a website, they all also offer various hosting plans with discounts reminiscent of the old phone carrier long distance battles. Virtually every website site hosting company attracts and entices customers with 'unlimited' or 'unmetered' disk space and bandwidth. For example;


But talk about a bunch of BS. NONE of these companies actually provide a paying customer with unlimited or unmetered disk space or bandwidth. When you dig deeper into their Terms and Conditions it says that you have to comply with their 'Fair Use Policy'. Digging down into the 'Fair Use Policy" you will find that they absolutely will limit hard drive space and bandwidth. In fact, the Fair Use policies basically says that at any time and for any reason they might have, they can pull the plug on your website. So if they do not like your content, they can shut down your website. If they think they you have 'too many files', they can shut down your website. If they think your site is using too much bandwidth, they can shut down your website.

The plan that Stamp Smarter uses is a more expensive 'Pro' plan which the hosting company describes as 'unmetered' disk space but when you get your account it allocates only 100Gb to your account. They say, "if you need more hard drive space simply send a request for our customer service department". So Stamp Smarter site started with 100GB hard drive space. A few weeks ago the site content reached 95GB in size. There are a lot of files, over 1 million images files for example. There are a lot of PDF files (40GB) which are only accessed (downloaded) a few times a year in the Library. I contacted their Customer Service Department and inquired about getting another 20GB or so in disk space. Instead, they contacted me and told me the site is in violation of their Fair Use policy and unless I removed any of the 'old, archived email files' that were on my site they would shut down the site.

Huh? There are only two email accounts and no mail is kept on their servers at all (it is all automatically moved to my local computers and devices). After going back and forth it turned out that they meant the 'postal history' files in the Stamp Smarter library. I described to them what the site was and why these files were a part of the content of the site but they were firm, reduce the size of the site or they were taking it down. So I have moved some of the Library files to other servers at another company (at additional cost).

To be honest, there is no good solution for websites like Stamp Smarter; as a very large non-commercial website it does not fit any of the hosting plans. It could be moved to a dedicated server plan if I want to suck up $2k-$3k per year. If I am going to incur that kind of cost, I might as well build and implement a server in my house.
End of Rant.
Don
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Posted 12/04/2021   2:53 pm  Show Profile Check jamesg's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add jamesg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What's crazy is that 100GB, even on a unix server these days, should be next to nothing, with adequate pc drives available in the 14TB (Seagate) size for as little as $300! Maybe move the discussion "up the management chain" and talk about how out of date their disk expectations are? I remember when my first 300mb pc disk drive cost more than that!!
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Posted 12/04/2021   3:02 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Agreed. My first hard drive upgrade was $1000 and the drive was the size of a brick; I was upgrading my 8088 from 10MB to 20MB hard drive! Thought it was more space than I ever would need! LOL My current laptops all have 3TB in drive space, 100GB is nothing.

I did run it up the chain of command (3 levels) but no soap; they were more than happy to 'let' me move the site to another hosting company. I moved it 12 months ago, few noticed because I did it behind the scenes and cut it over to the new hosting company. It took me about 30-manhours to move it.
Don
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Posted 12/04/2021   3:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Feel for you Don.
Gee, my own Stamp database is nearing 95Gb

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Posted 12/04/2021   4:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
So if they do not like your content, they can shut down your website.

My comment is a tangent from your main point, but concerning the provision noted above, they don't really have a choice, because in some cases they could be facing a third-party lawsuit seeking substantial money damages, or a court order to take down the content, based on genuine IP infringement or, rarely, defamation claims.
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Posted 12/04/2021   4:46 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Understood, they all have pages of terms on how they handle content copyright infringements and of course other illegal situations. And I also understand why they would want to be able to shut you down on a simple file share. If someone shares a video file and half the internet starts downloading it (goes viral), it could bring down even Google's or AWS infrastructure.

But the way I read these things is that that have basically granted themselves 'God' rights and have no need to justify any reasoning they may have.
Don
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Posted 12/04/2021   4:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bobby131313 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don, check out LiquidWeb. That's where we are now. I am so happy with them it's unbelievable. Their support is top-notch. Ticket responses are less than 15 minutes.

The have this going right now for a dedicated....

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Posted 12/05/2021   05:06 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jbcev80 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Don

Under the circumstances building your own server seems the ideal solution. That way you control the content and what gets 'permanently' stored. However, there are a couple of things:
1. Uninterruptible power.
2. If you do go this route, make sure you have dual disks and RAID
software.
3. 24/7 support???

A plus would be the ability to add more disk if needed.
The whole thing would be expensive at the beginning.

Just some thoughts.

Jerry B
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Posted 12/05/2021   07:09 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tsmatx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Another option in between the spectrum of putting a server in your house, and a dedicated server, would be putting your own hardware in datacenter colocation. It costs about $80/month for unmetered 1Gbps bandwidth with redundant uplinks to internet backbone, redundant power (UPS and often backup generator), good physical security, remote management etc. You can get a very good one generation old rackmount server (e.g. 13th generation Dell PowerEdge) for around $1000 or less. The colo doesn't care about CPU usage, content, disk space--only power usage and bandwidth. Many dedicated server companies also offer colo service.

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