Quotas and Overcharges.

The following information-document should provide answers to your questions regarding over-usage charges (if have previously been billed for over-usage) or in future may be billed for domain-traffic and e-mail-hosting over-usage.

Please let us know, should you require more details regarding the following FAQ;

Q1: What is ITcontact's policy regarding traffic usage?

All ITcontact account-plans come with a predetermined traffic quota, as for example the Entry-level account has a traffic quota of 300 MB per month, while the Master account, has a traffic quota of 5000 (5GB) MB per month. We monitor all accounts and bill R0.22 for each MB of traffic exceeded (when exceeded for that month). If your company have never been billed for “over-usage” you are still within the threshold limits.

It is also important to note that your traffic usage could change from month to month. Should you exceed your allocated monthly traffic quota, ITcontact will invoice you for the over-usage at a rate of R0.22 per 1MB.

Q3: What is ITcontact's breakdown of billable traffic?

It is important to note that although traffic can be generated elsewhere, ITcontact only monitors the following kinds of traffic consumption:WWW Traffic (also known as ‘http' or ‘website' traffic): This is traffic generated during the transfer of web pages to the viewers of your website. SMTP Traffic: Traffic generated during transfer of emails to the server. POP3 Traffic: Traffic generated during transfer of emails from the server to your email account(s). FTP Traffic: Traffic generated during the transfer of files to your FTP Account.

Q4: What are the common reasons for high traffic usage?

1.Over-usage caused by WWW (http) traffic:

Traffic generated by Search Engines: While it is well-known that search engines direct Internet users to your site by indexing your website, there are some web spiders (the tool used by search engines to crawl through your site) that incorrectly process the links on your web pages, which could result in the same page being loaded repeatedly. In extreme cases this can lead to unexpectedly high traffic. If this is a concern, you may contact our support team to forward you AWStats that will give you a clear indication, if a specific Search Engine is drastically increasing your traffic usage.

Should this be the case, ITcontact has a Search Engine Filter tool which gives you the option to either allow or disallow all search engine traffic from your website, giving you greater control in managing your web-site traffic usage.

Website Downloads: Making use of website downloads and applications i.e. MP3 files, will escalate your traffic usage as this encourages visitors to download the application again and again and again, increasing your traffic usage. Should you wish to control your traffic usage, it is advisable that you remove the download link. However, it is important to note that this could result in fewer hits on your site.

2.Over-usage caused by POP3 (receiving mail) traffic:

It is advisable to ensure that your mail client (i.e. Outlook & Outlook Express) does not keep a copy of mail on the server when downloading your mail as this could accumulate unnecessary additional traffic. In order to ascertain this, check under your mail client settings and make the appropriate adjustments to the settings or consult our support-team.
Worm-viruses and Trojans can radically increase mail traffic, so does SPAM.

3.Over–usage caused by SMTP (sending mail) traffic:

Be aware that if, you send large volumes of mail through the ITcontact network, this will generate SMTP traffic. A solution would be to use the SMTP server (outgoing mail server) of your existing ISP (in the case of Telkom-ADSL, use Telkom’s SMTP server, or I-Burst use smtp.iburst.co.za).

4.Anonymous FTP Access:

Traffic can be generated by giving public FTP access to a dedicated directory in your account, where content can be viewed and downloaded.

Note: If high-traffic is generated by e-mail on your domain, you will be contacted by ITcontact support and you will be given a few options to reduce the mail-traffic on your domain. An option is available to host your website and mail-services via ITcontact in Europe or the US, which is currently less expensive per MB (mail traffic and web-traffic).

Transferring your account to a remote-location is also an option, if your website's target market is predominantly international.

Q5: How do I effectively manage my traffic usage?

There are three options available to you:

1. Upgrade to a higher account.

Upgrading to a higher account will provide you with an increased traffic quota. Please note that should you decide to upgrade your account, you will be charged a small once-off upgrade fee.

2. Move your hosting account to International hosting option.

ITcontact makes it possible for you to host your account in Europe or the US. Should your account remain on the same package, your monthly fee will remain unchanged. At times, slower responses are to be expected from international servers, due to dependancy upon international bandwidth and 3rd party line operators.

3. Upgrade to a dedicated server.

Upgrading to one of ITcontact’s dedicated server options, will provide you with a higher traffic allowance while at the same time reducing the traffic over-usage charge to R0.15 per MB.

Alternatively, you may choose not to make any changes. In which case, ITcontact will invoice you for additional traffic at a rate of R0.22/MB.

Q6: How are traffic over-usage charges calculated?

The charge for traffic usage for each MB over the monthly allowance is R0.22/MB for all ITcontact's Shared Hosting plans.

Q7: How will you be billed for traffic over-usage?

ITcontact will keep a running tally of its non-monthly clients’ traffic and disk space over-usage costs. Should the Rand value of the over-usage exceed the R75 threshold, you will be notified and invoiced for the total amount the following month. Should the combined over-usage for traffic and disk space remain below the R75 threshold, we will wait until such a time that it exceeds the threshold before invoicing you.

Q8: Why is traffic over-usage more expensive on shared hosting accounts (22c per MB) when compared to ITcontact's dedicated offering (15c per MB)?

ITcontact's co-location and dedicated packages are premium products where the cost of traffic has already been calculated into each individual product. In contrast, the traffic cost for our shared hosting has been spread across the individual products knowing that the majority of our clients will rarely ever use their full quota. For those clients who exceed their quota, they are charged the full traffic cost per MB, which in SA terms is the lowest shared hosting cost per MB for the quality of service received.

Q9: What is ITcontact's billing period for traffic over-usage?

The traffic usage billing period runs from the 15th of the previous month to the 14th of the current month. This is to coincide with our month-end billing process.

Q10: Some hosting companies offer "unlimited" data transfer. Why doesn't ITcontact?

We would advise you to be weary of promises with regards to 'unlimited' or 'unmetered' traffic/ data transfer. First, it is technically impossible for a web server to transfer an unlimited (or infinite) amount of data. The limits of how much usage a hosting company will tolerate are typically hidden in the fine print.

Secondly, services that offer unlimited data transfer tend to attract a large percentage of high-usage customers. These can be websites with large file downloads or applications that can slow down a Web server and its network connections. By clearly defining traffic limits, ITcontact is able to monitor and control server usage closely to make sure processor loads are low and the client's website operates with optimum performance.

ITcontact has created its hosting packages for best possible performance to meet the majority of our clients' requirements. You know exactly what you are getting for your money, and we are able to provide the best possible performance and value for all of our clients.

Q11: Why is traffic so much more expensive in South Africa when compared to international hosting companies?

There are various factors contributing to the high cost of bandwidth in South Africa, a lack of competition in the current market being the main one. This has kept local bandwidth cost comparatively high. However, current deregulation in the market will see a gradual and improved change in the cost of bandwidth, amongst other things.

ITcontact, due to its high traffic volumes and corresponding cost margins, is able to provide cost-effective hosting packages that are hard to match elsewhere in the local market.

Q12: What will happen if I don't pay for my traffic over-usage?

Should clients refuse to pay for their traffic over-usage, ITcontact will be forced to take corrective action and restrict access to your website, or give you the option to upgrade your current account. Should you instruct us Not to upgrade your account, your website / mail-services will be suspended and visitors won't be able to view your web pages. This is a last resort and something that ITcontact would action only once all other avenues have been exhausted.