My first on-line experiences were with bulletin boards back in the days of the BBC Micro and were very limited. Then, in July 1994 I became a Compuserve user. Broadband modems didn’t exist then and everything was done with dial-up connections.
From my diary: Saturday 10 February 1996
‘CompuServe Edinburgh have now got 28800 baud access.’ Apparently this was a major speed improvement but nevertheless it was really slow.
Tuesday 30 April 1996
The United Artists Cable Internet software arrived on floppy disks. In early May I started using Netscape, the first internet browser. Cable Internet was still dial-up and got taken over by Virgin Net in 1997. Virgin is still our service provider in 2016 though not my web host.
In January 1999 I signed up with Easynet. I created my first website with Easynet and my website grew over six years, and traffic grew and grew – but I still paid the same monthly amount. Easynet offered a domain name and ‘unlimited webspace’. I had to hold them to their word on the webspace, asking them every time I wanted another 50MB. Then they dumped Usenet altogether. This was a pity in more than one way because until then it was possible to engage their technical staff in conversation via the Easynet newsgroups. Fast forward to August 2016: My first website, abandoned by me all these years ago, still lives on on an Easynet server. I just had a nostalgic browse.
Netcetera: Feb 2005 – April 2005 A BRIEF, UNHAPPY FLIRTATION
Netcetera offered 1GB of space for GBP 60 + VAT, cheaper than Easynet. I naively believed that that was that; Easynet never mentioned traffic (bandwidth) – but a link on Netcetera’s site did state: ‘Additional Bandwidth for Shared Hosting On Usage per 1Mb £0.02/pm’. This information seemed pretty insignificant to me as I read the page. The word ‘bandwidth’ didn’t really register with me – as a former TV and electronics engineer I thought of single sideband RF, and as far as the internet was concerned I thought it was something to do with ‘fat pipes’.
To my cost I’ve discovered that bandwidth is the same as traffic, i.e. the number of MB or GB transferred or downloaded. Apparently I’m allowed 5GB of file transfers, whatever. In the month of March I exceeded this by 10.84GB. Obviously my site is popular. Everyone wants something for nothing and I give away much of my photographic efforts for free.
Netcetera charged my credit card GBP 260.85 for March’s traffic alone. They never told me they could or would do this. I disputed this payment with my credit card company, and following some correspondence including printouts of certain web pages, they told me I didn’t have to pay it.
Streamlinenet: May 2005
Streamlinenet were a bit more upfront with their facts and their site clearly stated: Unrestricted Visitor Bandwidth: Bandwidth (data transfer) is a measure of the amount of data transferred by your Website. For example if your Website is a total of 1mb and 1000 people view it in one month the bandwidth used for that month would be 1000mb (1Gb). If we cannot host your Website due to high bandwidth we will refund the entire hosting fee.
I’ve signed up for the UNLIMITED USER deal. Visiting the support page and searching for ‘unlimited’ yielded this Q & A:
When you say un-restricted (unlimited) bandwidth what does this actually mean?
We run very powerful servers and do not over populate them. Therefore we are able to maintain very high ratios of bandwidth. To give you some indication of the power our current top user is using 149GB of bandwidth per month.
I don’t envisage multiplying my bandwidth tenfold in the near future so I reckon I’ll settle down with this provider. Hopefully this will be henniker.scot’s home for a few years to come. I’m still happy with Streamlinenet. Bizarrely, Netcetera started following me on Twitter. I didn’t follow them back. I imagine their current staff probably didn’t work for the company in May 2005.
Streamlinenet were ok but got taken over by Fasthosts. They seemed to be more professional and had copious help on their website and in the user control panel. In June 2016 with their help I installed WordPress and started to build a more phone and tablet friendly website.
I ran into problems (largely of my own making) following a move to an upgraded server and they sorted it all out. Having worked in customer service for many years, the last few as an in-store Tech Guy at an Edinburgh branch of PC World, I have to say I’m really, really impressed with the service I was given. Monjessa Veloso persevered tirelessly to fix my WordPress problems. I’m so grateful. She and Fasthosts deserve all the praise I can give.