One of H-Sphere's biggest assets is that it provides fully
automated billing for credit card and check payment accounts. This
document provides a quick overview of all billing
features in H-Sphere.
Hosting resources and services are sold in plans, each
having its own price scheme. Plans operate with such concepts
as resources, prices, credit limit, free units, max units, etc.
Plans in H-Sphere can be commercial and free. Free plans
are typically used to host your corporate site or to disable
billing for any other reasons. Commercial plans require payments
by credit cards or checks. Commercial plans can allow trial
hosting for a limited period of time.
For the system to be able to charge customers for the resources
and services, each pay user should enter the information about credit
cards or check account. Such info is contained in user's billing
profile. One billing profile can be used for several accounts.
At the same time customers can have multiple billing profiles, but
only one active at a time. Trial users don't have billing profiles.
The system charges users three types of prices:
- Setup: only when a user purchases a resource.
- Recurrent: at the beginning of the billing period.
- Overlimit: for resources used beyond the booked amount
(e.g. disk space, traffic, etc.).
Prices are different between plans and billing periods.
Each plan includes a certain amount of free resources.
If need arises, users can buy more, until they reach the
maximum possible amount of resources they can have.
Usage of some resources, such as disk space and traffic, can be
controlled additionally by resource limits. Users can exceed a
resource limit, but every excess unit is charged at the overlimit price.
You can create many billing periods within a plan for customers
to choose from. Billing periods allow you to set discounts for each
individual price type - setup, recurrent, and overlimit. The bigger
billing period, the bigger the discount.
Crediting And Debiting Accounts
You can debit (take money from) and credit (put money to)
individual accounts. Accounts are mainly credited when you
receive check payments from customers or when payments are
refunded. Debiting accounts is used less often, usually
when you need to charge your customers an extra amount.
You can configure your system to debit accounts automatically
on regular basis for services that are not supported by
H-Sphere. For instance, you can use H-Sphere to collect
payments for antivirus protection that you offer outside
the control panel.
H-Sphere accumulates user fees up to a certain amount called credit limit.
When the credit limit is reached, credit card payment users
are charged, and check payment users are barred from buying more
resources. Credit limit is set at the plan level and is the same for
all accounts in this plan. However, you can enlarge credit limit
for individual accounts, and reset credit limit for all users
in the system in one go.
Actual use of traffic cannot be physically restricted, but can be regulated
by charging higher prices for excessive traffic consumption. At the beginning
of the billing period customers pay for traffic they expect to run up. If
they go over this pre-paid amount, they are charged for the excess gigabytes
at the usage (overlimit) rate at the end of each billing month.
When creating plans, you choose whether you want H-Sphere to
e-mail invoices to users immediately after they buy resources.
With e-mail invoicing on, customers will receive invoices for every
single bill entry, e.g. overlimit traffic. With e-mail invoicing off, customers
will get no invoices, even at the end of the billing period.
After signup, users can change this option for their accounts.
H-Sphere allows you to apply taxes, such as VAT, to customer
charges. Taxes are added to the summary invoice amounts.
If a customer decides to quit hosting and remove the account
after recurrent fees have been paid, he can get the money back
under two conditions. One is when a user claims money during
the Moneyback period which you can set for each plan.
In this case, the user gets back 100% of all payments, including
setup and recurrent fees. The other situation is when a user
gives up hosting services after the moneyback period has
expired. In this case, the user gets back only the recurrent
fee for the remaining part of the billing period adjusted for
the refund percentage. Overlimit and Setup fees are