H-Sphere Documentation Administrator Guide


Introduction to Billing


Related Docs:   Creating And Editing Plans

One of H-Sphere's biggest assets is that it provides fully automated billing for credit card payment accounts. It also supports other types of payments including check payments, web payment systems, wire transfers, etc. 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. In plan settings, the administrator needs to set:
- which resources will be available in the plan;
- prices, free units, and max units for each resource;
- credit limit, moneyback period, billing type, etc.
  More >>


Billing Types

Plans in H-Sphere can be commercial and free. Free plans are typically used to host your corporate site, use an external billing system, 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.   More >>


Trial Hosting

Trial hosting enables users to sign up for a plan and use it for a certain number of days without paying. If a trial user decides to continue and become a pay user, H-Sphere charges (1) for the resources that were purchased/used during the trial period and (2) recurrent fees for the next billing period. If a user decides to quit, the account gets suspended when the trial period ends.   More >>


Billing Profiles

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 and free accounts don't have billing profiles.   More >>



The system charges users three types of fees:

  • Setup: only when a user purchases a resource.
  • Recurrent: at the beginning of the billing period or billing month.
  • Overlimit: for resources used beyond the pre-paid limit (e.g. summary disk space usage, traffic, etc.).

Fees are calculated based on prices and billing periods.   More >>


Limiting Resources

You can include a certain amount of free resources in a plan. If need arises, users can get more, until they reach the maximum amount of resources you have allowed them to have. For instance, you can include 5 free mailboxes in the plan and allow users to have no more than 10 mailboxes.   More >>

Usage of some resources, such as disk space and traffic, can be controlled additionally by resource limits. A user can exceed a resource limit, but every excess unit is charged at the overlimit price. You can configure H-Sphere to send warnings and suspend accounts when users approach or exceed traffic or disk usage limit.   More >>


Billing periods

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.   More >>


Crediting Accounts

You can manually credit (put money to) individual accounts. Do this when you receive check or other non-credit-card payments from customers or when you need to refund a payment. These amounts are credited to the account balance, not credit cards.   More >>


Debiting Accounts

You can debit (take money from) individual accounts. Accounts are debited manually when you need to charge your customers extra amounts.

You can configure your system to debit accounts on regular basis for services offered outside H-Sphere, for instance, antivirus protection.   More >>


Credit Limit

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 raise credit limit for individual accounts, and reset credit limit for all users in the system in one go.   More >>



Actual use of traffic cannot be physically restricted, but can be regulated by charging higher prices for overlimit 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 limit, they are charged for the excess gigabytes at the overlimit rate at the end of each billing month regardless the duration of the billing period.   More >>


Disk Space

H-Sphere offers two approaches to paying for disk space. Disk Space Quota is used to charge users for booked disk space. Web, mail, and database resources take separate quotas within the same account. Disk quota can't be exceeded, but users can raise it if they need more disk space. Summary Disk Space is used to charge users for actually used disk space. With summary disk space, users can exceed disk space limit, and pay for excess megabytes at the overlimit rate at the end of each billing month regardless the duration of the billing period.   More >>


E-mailing Invoices

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. More >>



H-Sphere allows you to apply taxes, such as VAT, to customer charges. Taxes are added to the summary invoice amounts.   More >>

You can wave individual users from paying taxes. At signup, users enter tax exemption code, then you need to approve or reject it.   More >>



Starting with H-Sphere 2.4, you can apply promotions to plans. You can give a promo code to eligible users to offer them a discount. Or you can create an unnamed promotion that will apply to all accounts under this plan for a specified period of time, for instance the month before Christmas.   More >>


Billing Resellers

Resellers are charged for each individual unit of resources purchased or used by their customers. Every time the system creates a billing entry for a reseller's customer, it also creates a shadow billing entry for the reseller.   More >>


Suspending Debtors

You can set how many days your customers can stay in debt before they receive a negative balance warning, or get their account suspended or deleted.   More >>


Money Returns

On some account activities, such as quitting hosting, changing plans, or deleting paid resources, H-Sphere automatically returns recurrent charges by crediting customer's account balance. Refunds are calculated based on the moneyback period, refund percentage and the resource billing type. If a customer quits with positive balance, you need to send him the remaining amount by check.   More >>

Related Docs:   Creating And Editing Plans

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