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I have a shared hosting account with a 20GB monthly bandwidth limit. I have exceeded my monthly limit and according to my host my counter is never reset, they say they use a continuous 30 day counter.

So for example, I make payment on the 1st of each month, say I use 20GB in the last week of the month. My bandwidth counter is not reset on the 1st of the new month and my bandwidth will only become available in the last week of the new month.

Is this common practice by shared hosting companies?

Sounds a bit shady to me. Surely my counters should be reset on the 1st of every month when I make payment and 20GB of bandwidth should be available from the day payment is made?

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3 Answers 3

It makes no difference which day they reset it on as long as they reset it every month. It's not shady, it's just a little more confusing since most stats programs measure between the first of the month and the last day of the month. So unless your web host has configured a stats report that uses the same interval as their counter reset, what you see as your monthly bandwidth won't match up with what you're being billed by. But I'm sure they'll give you a report when they invoice you.

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I don't know what company you are using, but in my experience, most shared hosts that I've gone with give me unlimited bandwidth per month. Years ago, this would have made no sense, but today, it seems like common practice. The logic is this:

  1. They can fit more customers on one box/VM than they could a couple years ago
  2. More sites are built using database intensive CMSs, so if they have, say 20 GB of traffic a month, their site should lag enough for them to upgrade to our VPS hosting
  3. By assigning a number or cap to bandwidth offered per month (like they have in your case), they can get people that are excited about their product to wonder if that number is high enough for their awesome product's site and maybe up sell them to an unlimited VPS or dedicated box

My suggestion to you is this: Look at other companies or plans. If you're hitting that much traffic per month constantly (which is a very good thing!), it makes no sense for you to overpay for their hosting if their just going to overcharge you. Thousands of hosting companies offer shared hosting with unlimited storage and bandwidth at probably the same price that you're paying right now.

This may not be the answer you're looking for (I hate suggesting to dump everything that is working right now for something new), but this is a dollars and cents issue. If you had a cell phone plan with X number of text messages and you're a huge texting teen, would you rather continue paying the overage charge for the texts or go for the unlimited plan and save money?

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1  
Yea 20GB seems pretty low. There are unconfirmed reports that DreamHost lets you get up to 900GB or even 1TB of transfers per month without extra charges on their shared hosting plan. It'd be interesting to see what other "unlimited" plans actually offer, or if they're evaluated on a case-by-case basis. –  Lèse majesté Nov 22 '10 at 2:06
    
If you're transferring 1TB per month and not on at least a VPS, you are doing yourself a disservice. The amount of money you can make from ads with that many visitors would pay for it. Unless you're serving video, which I wouldn't do with shared hosting... –  Eli Gundry Nov 22 '10 at 3:46
    
Well, that's probably an extreme case, but that user was basically using DreamHost solely to host images. His dynamic content was hosted on a separate web host, which may have been a VPS plan. –  Lèse majesté Nov 22 '10 at 21:06

The most likely reason this is happening is because when you created an account with your hosting provider two things happened.

  1. Your information was inserted into an billing system
  2. Your website files and hosting data was created on the server

Both of these are in sync when they are first created, thus showing the correct information in your hosting panel (monthly bandwidth, etc.). The discrepancy is probably happening because you are paying the invoice before the full monthly cycle has been logged. When you pay your invoice the billing system knows that it has been paid but does not update your hosting account or your monthly due/reset date because if this date was being changed each month it would become easy to forget when to pay your bills.

I hope this helped.

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