How to Stay in Control of Cloud Sites Resource Costs (Overages)

Managing costs is paramount in any business, and unforeseen resource costs in the form of Cloud Sites bandwidth, compute cycles and/or storage can affect a business’s bottom line. One benefit of Cloud Sites is the ability of the service to grow as your websites need resources. However, when that growth causes the account to surpass your resource allocation, it could be a bittersweet surprise. That is, your business and website traffic is booming, but your costs are going up. This article is meant to help you plan ahead to maintain and possibly reduce resource allocation costs within your Cloud Sites plan.

Monitoring

The first line of defense is monitoring for these increases. The Cloud Sites control panel report (Your Account > Reports) provides a running total of an account’s usage against its allocation (gathered over each day and updated on the page every 48 hours). Clicking on the different tabs in the “Usage Totals by Account & Sub Account” table sorts the information in ascending or descending order, providing visibility on present usage. Catching unexpected growth before account allocations are exceeded can prevent overage costs.

Reports

When usage is expected to increase, such as the kickoff of a major advertisement campaign, the Reports page can help gauge usage changes. If the increase is unexpected, then more research is necessary. While the Cloud Sites support staff is always willing to help, there are several tools you, as our customer, can leverage to determine the “why”. For example, raw logs can be turned on via the General Settings page of your site and provide information about site visitors and what URLs were accessed. Here’s a handy article – Enabling raw logging for a Cloud Sites website.

Benchmarking

When you search for “webpage testing tools”, you get results such as webpagetest.org and gtmetrix.com. These examples can provide flowcharts of processes and URL calls as well. Analyzing these sources of data can help pinpoint which site processes drive compute cycles and bandwidth usage.

Though this list is not exhaustive for some common contributors to high overage costs, these use cases are good categories to compare to your use case and watch for.

  • Serving large files including videos, music or large images. For example, an 18MB file, if accessed just 1000 times, can generate 18GB of bandwidth. Better choices would be to place those videos and images on CDN or a free video service like youtube or vimeo.
  • Content code using full URL calls back to the site. When code uses a URL call (for example: http://www.mydomain.com/folder/filename), it sends traffic out of the infrastructure and then back into the infrastructure thru the load balancers, causing needless increases in compute cycles. Instead, the use of relative paths (for example /folder/filename) prevents the traffic from exiting the local infrastructure.
  • Brute force attacks against unprotect contact forms or logins. Malicious attacks often target login and contact forms in order to penetrate a site. Repeated, constant attacks on unprotected sites drive up compute cycles as the infrastructure processes each attempt. Many plugins are available to provide contact form and login protection and can mitigate the processing of illegitimate traffic. Captchas are very popular for addressing this threat.
  • Malicious code injected into the Content Management System (CMS). Out of date CMSs are a favorite target of malicious attacks. Vulnerabilities in a CMS are often well publicized on the internet, and once that vulnerability is exploited, the site processes can be exploited by the attacker. These exploits often include use of bandwidth, storage or system compute cycles which can increase customer costs. Enabling automatic CMS upgrades or implementing patches immediately upon release protect the site and overall account from being exploited.

Each business has its own unique style, requirements, and challenges. In some cases, due to website code, high traffic or heavy image use, overages are expected. However, if you aren’t expecting overages, they can come as an unpleasant surprise. We understand how impactful overages could be to your company, and so, we are here to guide you and possibly find the root cause of your overages.

As always, if you need assistance, our support team is happy to help and can be reached 24/7 via chat, phone or ticket.