Last modified: 21 Dec 2007
WARNING: This documentation covers Parallels H-Sphere versions up to 3.1. For the latest up-to-date Parallels H-Sphere documentation, please proceed to the
official Parallels site.
Understanding Billing Periods
Billing period determines how far in advance
recurrent fees for billing period resources are prepaid.
In addition to a 1 month billing period coming with each new hosting plan,
you can create multiple billing periods of different length
for your customers/resellers to choose from at signup or switch between later. This allows you to
configure pricing individually for each billing period.
Default and Actual Billing Periods. Base Prices
When you create a new hosting plan,
you can set prices and free units
for the one month default billing period. These are the base prices and free units
used in the calculation of actual prices and free units. When you have created a plan, you can
go ahead and create actual billing periods for it. Unlike the default billing period,
actual billing periods can be chosen by users. If you don't
set a price or free units for an actual billing period,
it will be calculated according to the corresponding
base prices/free units and discounts.
Monthly and Billing Period Resources
Accounting for such resources as traffic, disk usage, MySQL
and PGSQL quotas is determined not by billing periods as it is for the rest
by a billing month. Billing month equals the number of days in the billing
period divided by billing period duration in months. That's why these
resources are referred to as monthly resources as opposed to billing period resources.
Opening a New Billing Period/Month
A new billing period/month opens:
- when a new account is activated upon signup
or moderation, which makes it start differently for each individual account
- when the billing period closes
- on resuming suspended account after the end of the billing period
- on changing account's billing period
- on changing start billing date
On other events, the billing period doesn't close.
Creating and Configuring Actual Billing Periods
Each new hosting plan comes with 1 month billing period, but
you can create multiple actual billing periods.
To create or edit a billing period:
- Select Manage in the Plans menu.
- On the page that appears, click Settings for the hosting plan to edit.
- Make sure Billing is ON.
- In Payment Intervals, the Billing Configuration section, click
the Add icon if you want to create a new billing period,
or Edit icon next to the existing billing
period if you want to change its duration or discounts:
- Interval: the time unit used to measure billing period duration.
- Size: the number of such time units in this billing period.
Make sure it is set to a positive value, otherwise it will mess up billing
for accounts on this billing period.
- Setup D, Usage D, Recurrent D:
for different types of fees.
In H-Sphere billing periods cannot be deleted, but
you can change their duration. For instance, if you decide you don't
need your yearly billing period, you can change its duration to two months.
Warning: Don't change the duration of
a billing period if it has live accounts, as this will mess up billing
for them. Instead you can create an identical plan with the
same set of resources but different billing periods and move accounts
to this plan. Once you know you have no accounts under this billing
period, you can safely change its duration.
Changing Account's Billing Period
If there are more than one actual billing periods,
users can switch between them:
switching to a billing period
| than the time elapsed
from the beginning of the current billing period, the user is transferred to
a new billing period with the start date
|the same as of the one the he switches from.
For example, a 1 month billing period
starts on September 1. On September 15 a user switches to a 2 month billing
period. He is then transferred to a 2 month billing period with the start
date of September 1 and closure date of October 31.
|of the day he switches to a new billing period on.|
For example, a 2 month billing period starts on
September 1. On October
5 a user switches to a 1 month billing period. The current 2 month billing
period is interrupted, closed and a new billing period is open
with the start date of October 5 and closure date of
Refunds for the interrupted billing period are calculated as described
in refund formulas and substracted from
|new recurrent fees
prorated to the time remaining to a new billing
billing period closure.
|new recurrent fees for a new billing period.
| If the resulting amount is:
negative, the account balance is credited the difference;
- positive,the difference is charged as additional recurrent fee.
New billing period start date is set to the current date
on any billing period change for accounts whose
start billing period date was moved to the past and the
open billing period closes earlier than the current date. In such cases no refunds are issued
for the interrupted billing period.
Changing Billing Period Start Date
It is strongly recommended to avoid changing start billing date whenever possible, as
it greatly affects customer billing.
If you set the same billing date for many customers, the system may become overloaded on this billing day.
Changing the billing period start day doesn't change the length of the billing period.
To change the billing period length, refer to Creating and Editing Billing Periods.
To change billing period start date:
- Find account.
- Click the Date icon in the Billing column for this user.
- Enter the date you want this user billing period to start on.
- Click Submit.
When you shift the start billing date to the past:
- Current billing period and billing month are interrupted and forced to close.
- Usage fees (if any) are charged.
- Refunds (if any) are issued.
- A new billing period and billing month open.
- Recurrent fees for an open billing period and billing month are charged.
Thus, most likely, you will want to credit
the extra charged amount back to user's account.
* The recurrent charges for traffic and summary disk usage are
prorated to the period from the date the interrupted billing period
should have normally closed to the closure date of an open billing period.
Running into a negative balance upon opening a new billing period may
result in suspending or even deleting the account, because by this
date, the account is likely to have been in debt for more days than allowed in the
managing debtors control.
If you don't want the account to be automatically suspended, do either of the following:
(a) prior to moving start billing date back, credit the amount that is going to put
the account into a negative balance
(b) set the Outstanding balance date, User's Billing Info,
(available by clicking the User name in the Search result page) to the current date.
When you shift the start billing date forward:
- Current billing period and disk usage/traffic
month are interrupted and forced to close.
- Recurrent fees prepaid at the beginning of the interrupted billing period for billing period
resources are refunded.
Note: Recurrent fees prepaid at the beginning of the interrupted disk usage/traffic
month for monthly resources are not refunded.
* The refunds are prorated to the days remaining to the end of the
interrupted billing period and adjusted to the refund percentage.
- Usage fees for traffic/disk overlimit usage are accrued if any.
* Usage fees are calculated as follows:
Disk/traffic usage minus disk space/traffic free units prorated
to the days elapsed from the resource month start date multiply by usage price.
- Traffic and average summary disk usage are reset.
- A new billing period and disk usage/traffic month open .
- Absolute recurrent fees for billing period resources are accrued.
- If a start billing date is set further than the date the interrupted billing period
should have normally closed on, the user is accrued absolute recurrent fee for disk usage/traffic.
If not, the user is accrued the recurrent fee prorated to the period from the date
the interrupted billing period should have normally closed on to the closure date of the open billing period.
Shifting the start billing date forward, you create a gap between the billing periods.
The system does not charge the customer recurrent fees for the time gap.
Traffic and disk space used during this gap are tracked and taken
into consideration when usage is calculated at the end of the billing period.
If a user purchases some resources during the gap period,
the system will charge the recurrent fee for these resources.
However, it will calculate the price from the moment of purchase till
the end of the new billing period. Say, you close the current billing period on November 11 and set
the new starting date to December 1 (with a one month billing period.
This way, the user doesn't pay recurrent fees for the remaining days of November. Still, if a user
buys a resource on November 20, he/she will be charged the
recurrent fee for the interval of 40 days (November 20 - January 1).