Impending account suspension due to (unwanted) bandwidth expansion package

First of all: thanks for such a great platform with lots of fantastic tools and the support for JAMStack!

I’m the creator of the open-source Nord project (GitHub repository), a relatively large project when measured by users, downloads, spreading across the www, bundling in other projects or stats like issues & PRs that could keep me busy for multiple years when I’d start to work on OSS full-time.

I wanted to mention this because this is part of the root cause for my problem: last month the project website exceeded the 100GB free bandwidth for the first time without me noticing it directly. The site was hit more frequently due to some more mentions across the web as usual, e.g. blog posts or publications on popular sites like HN (Hacker News), as the “winter time” is the reason why people start to watch out for “winterly” color themes.

Anyway, recently I started to get daily emails about an impending account suspension if I don’t add a payment method to my Netlify account to pay for the 55$ extra bandwidth package. This package was activated for my account without asking for confirmation which is, in my opinion, a no-go from a business perspective how to deal with customers! Sure, providing “free plans/tiers” is not something to be taken for granted and I’m very grateful that Netlify does and continue to do so, even after the company has grown, but automatically charging customers when they hit the free resources limits is anything but bad UX. I would had have been totally fine with pausing the service until the next payment circle starts, which resets the bandwidth, even when it means that my project site would have been down for some days. Now I’m left with a countdown for a permanent outage when not paying for this extra package from my personal wallet for a project that can be used by everyone for free while I even “pay” with a lot of lifeblood and free time to keep it running. I’ve been active in OSS 14+ years, so I know this feeling, but spending my personal money is a step I won’t go. There are some GitHub sponsors for my projects, but that’s not even remotely enough to cover the 55$ bill and these are meant to sponsor me in the first place.

Long story short: The countdown says “19 days” at the time of writing this and I notice the pressure that weighs on me right now to try to prevent the website and DNS to disappear into the abyss. I already roughly planned to migrate both to my personal Kubernetes clusters, but this is a “last resort plan” when everything goes wrong. I don’t want to miss many of the great Netlify features, including the CDN that makes sure everyone world-wide is able to use the website as fast as possible and not having to connect to my personal root-servers in Germany.

With that said, I’d like to escalate this topic to the Netlify support team in order to find a solution as fast as possible that makes both sides happy.

And yes, I’ve read the corresponding documentations about account suspension, billing (including FAQs and the pinned post in this forum) so I’m aware that this was documented somewhere, but not really highlighted really well during the first setup of my website.

When it is possible to quickly upgrade my account to Netify’s open source plan (subtracting the bandwidth from last month from the 1TB of December) I’d happily add the required reference link/badge to my website to solve this problem.

Please let me know if you need any additional information. I signed into this forum using my netlify account to I guess it should be easy for the support team to get my information like account ID etc.

Any kind of feedback would be very nice so that I can plan a migration for the next week if there is no way to resolve this topic.

Hey there, @arcticicestudio :wave:

Thanks so much for your patience here, and my apologies for the obstacle you have encountered. I have escalated your request to our Support Engineers and we will follow up on this thread as soon as possible.

1 Like

Heya @arcticicestudio and thanks for the extremely thorough write-up and for doing all of your homework before you posted. It is clear from your write-up that you did this and this makes you my favorite customer of the day :slight_smile:

We’ll be happy to upgrade you to open source! I’ve done so, and I think I managed to forgive the bill too but at any rate should it “resurrect” itself you can ping back here and we’ll forgive or refund it (again :P).

Re: your feedback on “non-opted-in charges”, our business’ goal is to keep your website online while you are on hackernews and the like. Yes, we could and should absolutely do better at setting that expectation at signup time, but could you tell me something - would you rather your site have suddenly gone down while it was on hacker news, or not? We made the latter assumption on your behalf, and on all of our customers’ behalf, that it would be worth money for you not to go down while you were popular, despite (as you correctly point out) not communicating it to you at all before it happened. Anyway, you have a far more generous bandwidth allocation going forward so hopefully it won’t be a problem again :slight_smile:


@hillary Thanks for the quick forwarding! :rocket:

@fool Thanks a lot! :tada:

I didn’t expect this to be resolved so quickly. The additional bandwidth will definitely be enough, even if the site suddenly gets more attention again.

I will add the badge and backref to my site(s) within the next days, not only to adhere to the OSS plan policies, but also to show what I have already said several times: Netlify is an excellent service and can only be recommended :smile:

I know the problem of support requests with insufficient information only too well and therefore always try to be a role model myself (and sometimes my semi-perfectionism is also practical :laughing:). Especially if there are sufficient, well-documented sources such as the docs, FAQs or (pinned) forum/blog/knowledge-base articles, which in most cases already cover the questions and problems of many users. But I also feel very honored for the praise :blush:

I totally agree with your feedback about the automatic upgrades and charges, but from a customer perspective I’d like to add that a little bit more control on a “use case based” basis would be good. What I mean in detail:

In my case it would have been fine if the site would have been down for some days because it is an open source project someone “hardly“ depends on, neither me nor the users. When the site is down users can still use the actual projects (color theme ports for various applications) and the documentations are also roughly available in the repositories and code itself. This might basically also applies to many other open source projects and my assumption is that many of them could not afford a payed extension when required. This is the point where either a “no automatic upgrades“ toggle per team (or maybe even site) could help. The default could be “on“ and changed to “off“ automatically as soon as a payment method gets added which indicates that the customer has plans to “get more advanced“. Accounts without a payment method but pending charges are something that affects the customer and Netlify too because both then either have to end their cooperation or try to resolve this through “communication ping-pong“.

For business use cases this should of course be handled like it is right now, but my assumption here is that no business will create an account and does leave the kind on “Starter“ afterwards but upgrades immediately. This way open source projects can be be “protected“ from drifting into financial problems while commercial/business cases can still be covered by the optimized way of letting Netlify decide to provide the best performance and availability as possible.

These are just my 2 cents, but I’m also absolutely aware of the fact that this problem was my fault and Netlify did nothing wrong but only ensured that the site keeps on running smoothly :smile:

I also have tasks on my (almost endless) task list to improve the sites performance by upgrading from the, way too outdated, Gatsby v2 to v5 and drastically reduce the size of assets like images to improve bandwidth usage and cache hit ratios.

Anyway, thanks again for this quick solution, the trust in my project(s) to upgrade them to the open source plan and of course the overall service since I discovered and started to use Netlify a few years ago :rocket:

I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and peaceful holidays in advance :christmas_tree: