Fair use policies are fairly common among internet services providers and they exist to ensure a high quality of service for all customers.
In the case of a broadband supplier, they are to prevent a small minority of users from over-consuming bandwidth and slowing down the collective resources that other customers must share.
Because of the way that we operate our hosting service, we don't need to worry too much about bandwidth, but we do need to keep one eye on the amount of server space that our customers use.
This can quickly grow out of control if high resolution photos are routinely uploaded. The same is true of PDF documents, if they not saved or exported in the correct manner.
For this reason, we apply a generous storage quota for every website, suitable for the school size, and as a loyalty reward, we increase this amount every year.
This natural increase ensures that a school is unlikely to outgrow their quota.
Extra storage is cheap and costs only £5 per GB per year. But like anything else, this can start to add up over time.
There is a but!
Self-hosted video is a different matter, and is not included in the quota because it has the potential to consume huge amounts of storage space and can also require intensive processing which can slow down a server.
So whilst we do support self-hosted video, we apply an annual 'excess' rate of £5 per Gigabyte per year for all video storage. 'Excess' invoices are raised once per year and can come as a surprise. It is recommended that you review your video storage needs annually.
Public and private videos hosted on YouTube or Vimeo are natively supported by our platform at no additional cost.
How big is a one minute high definition video?
Most modern smart phones are capable of shooting high definition (HD) video and increasingly they work at 4K resololution.
A one minute HD video requires approximately 150MB of storage. So 10 minutes of HD video requires at least 1.5GB of permanent storage space. 4K video requires 4 times as much space again.
Moreover. For every video that is uploaded, multiple copies of it are automatically generated, to cater for different screen sizes and bandwidth situations. The eventual storage requirement will therefore be greater than that of the original upload.
What is meant by high resolution photos?
Modern cameras and mobile phones usually work at a resolution of between 72 and 144 ppi (pixels per inch). This pixel density displays good pictures on any screen size.
Occasionally we have found that higher resolution photos of 300ppi or higher get uploaded. Such pictures are of a quality that a professional photographer would need for large format printing.
Whilst this is not a problem for the odd picture. It can become a issue when all photographs are of such high resolution.
What's the story with PDF files?
PDF files are designed to be lightweight and portable. That's the whole point of them. (PDF means Portable Document Format).
When exporting a PDF from Word or another program, there is a usually a setting to preserve 'editability'. This setting adds enormously to the file size. Usually there is no need to enable this setting as the original document is editable by default.
We have seen PDF files that should be less than 1 megabyte in size, weigh in at over 30MB. Once again, this not a problem here and there, but if every file is ediable, server space is quickly eaten up.