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Disk usage explained

Hard disc - disc usageWeb servers, the machines that your account is stored on, all use disk space. The account that stores your email and website comes with a standard amount of disk space included for free. A standard Softflare Hosting Account, for example, comes with 10GB of free space.

If you see an item on your annual renewal invoice marked Excess Disk Usage, this page explains what this charge is and why you are seeing it on your invoice.

Having said that, most of our customers will never have an excess disk usage charge. Based on over a decade of records, 10GB is much more than the vast majority of clients will ever use.

How is my Disk Usage calculated?

The amount of disk space in use in excess of your free allocation is calculated by the server at the time of renewal billing. Historically, we know that this is highly unlikely, even though it includes all of the disk space used by:

  • your website or ftp space (if you have them)
  • your email on the server (whether POP or IMAP)
  • your website logs (more website hits create larger logfiles)

The server then calculates the total disk space used and breaks this up into 1GB* units. Here is an example:

  • a standard Softflare Hosting Account gives you a massive 10GB of free disk space*
  • if your total disk usage comes to 9,927MB you will not be charged any extra (because, being 9.9GB, it is under 10GB)
  • if the total used comes to 11,470MB, this is 1,470MB more than 10GB
  • 1,470MB, rounded up or down as appropriate, (in this casqe, down) equals 1GB, hence one 1GB units
  • each unit up to 5 units over your free 10GB is charged at £99/unit, hence you would be charged £99 for the quarter, shown on your invoice as Excess Disk Usage
  • excess disk usage is then charged on a sliding scale as shown in the table a little further down

Once you start to use a great deal of disk space (more than in the example shown above), disk usage is charged on a sliding scale (as is normal when you buy things in bulk) based on the number of 1GB units your account uses. In the example below, the client has used 2GB over the free 10GB allowance:

Excess Disk Usage Calculator

Excess disk usage is not an ’over-use’ penalty and does not constitute in any way abuse of your account (subject to our standard terms and conditions). You are perfectly entitled to use as much space as you need on your account. It is simply a charge levied due to your use of your account over and above the terms of your contract with Softflare.

If you have any questions about your disk usage please contact your Account Manager.

*to keep calculations simple, for invoicing purposes, we define 1GB as 1000MB

How can I minimise my Disk Usage charge?

Nobody should have to pay more than necessary. Therefore here are a number of steps you can take to minimise your bills:

  • make sure you are not using your webspace to store large numbers of images or documents that really shouldn’t be up there. Store them on your own hard disk and delete them from the server
  • if you are using POP for email, make sure the leave a copy on the server option is unchecked, and always backup the downloaded e-mail to your hard disk. Better still, back it up to popular removeable media such as external USB media
  • if you are using IMAP for email, use your e-mail software’s local folders to store messages that are ’archive’ in nature, so that only those messages that are ’current’ remain on the server

For some people, especially those who travel, email is critical, as is their use of IMAP. For these people there is no real solution other than to pay the Disk Usage charge. However, if you are a serious business traveller we very much doubt that the equivalent of an additional £4.25 a month is going to be an issue!

A Final Reminder!

We are not responsible for your data. "Your data" includes your website if hosted on our servers, any database you have working in conjunction with your website, and all of your email (whether POP or IMAP) if you leave it on our servers.  

Therefore, backing up your data up should be an essential part of your business strategy.

If you choose to delete those messages, files or folders that are taking up so much space on the server, remember to download them first to your hard disk (if they are not already there) and...

backup, backup, backup!

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