[tor-relays] DigitalOcean bandwidth billing changes

mick mbm at rlogin.net
Wed May 2 16:17:06 UTC 2018

On Wed, 25 Apr 2018 14:15:35 +0000
Cody Logan <clpo13 at gmail.com> allegedly wrote:

> Regarding grandfathered accounts, section 3.7 of their terms of
> service is worth a closer look:
> “Subscribers of Grandfathered Accounts must NOT: (i) run Torrents for
> download or Seed Servers, TOR, or services that include content of an
> adult or pornographic nature [...] or otherwise circumvent the
> intended fair usage of free bandwidth by distributing it freely to
> others. Failure of Subscribers of Grandfathered Accounts to follow
> these terms will result in the revocation of their Accounts'
> grandfathered status.”
> https://www.digitalocean.com/legal/terms/


Following this I went back to Rafael Rosa, the Product Manager at
DigitalOcean who originally sent the email about the changes seeking
clarification. I also pointed him to the discussion here on this list
because I was unlikely to be the only one affected by the change. 

Following several emails Rafael kindly confirmed that so long as my
droplet was not the source of any "abuse" reported to DO by third
parties I could continue as is. By "abuse" RR meant hostile activity
such as port scanning. I pointed out that since my droplet was a
non-exit relay, then it would be unlikely to be the source of
such activity. RR did say however, that non "grandfathered" accounts
would in future automatically be billed for any over limit bandwidth
usage. I should also note here that exit relays are, by their nature,
likely to see activity which DO might categorise as abuse so any exit
relay operators using DO should take care.

Our correspondence is shown below. Rafael has kindly agreed that I may
share this with the list and I am grateful to him for that agreement. I
am also exceptionally grateful for the continued ability to provide my
Tor node to the community at its current usage level without
incurring the sort of financial penalty I could have expected.

My thanks to all at DO and to Rafael in particular for this.


-------------------------- correspondence --------------------------

RR original email


I’m Rafael Rosa, Product Manager at DigitalOcean. I want to share a
heartfelt thank you for being such a valued, long-time customer. As you
may know, we’ve made some updates to our bandwidth pricing plans 
<https://www.digitalocean.com/pricing/>. With gratitude for your
loyalty, we want to assure you that your account has been grandfathered
into your current pricing plan and you will not incur any charges for
bandwidth usage as long as you comply with the guidelines outlined in
section 3.7 of our Terms of Service

If you are interested in viewing your bandwidth usage, you can now
track usage in the billing page
<https://cloud.digitalocean.com/settings/billing> where Droplet data
transfer is updated daily. And if you’re curious to learn more about
the details of the bandwidth update, I encourage you to take a look at
this FAQ page

Happy Coding,

Rafael Rosa
Product Manager, DigitalOcean


Many thanks for this. However, I note that section 3.7 says, inter alia:

"Notwithstanding the foregoing, Subscribers of
Grandfathered Accounts must NOT: (i) run Torrents for download or Seed
Servers, TOR, or services that include content of an adult or
pornographic nature; (ii) resell services through their Account to
provide free bandwidth to other individuals;"

My droplet "roof.rlogin.net" is , and always has been, a Tor (not
"TOR") relay node.

Do I take it from section 3.7 that you will no longer permit that? If
so, I will need to move to another provider.


Sorry about the delay in replying. So, the current policy does have a
restriction on tor nodes, but we are not enforcing it automatically. As
long as we don't detect abuse it should be fine.

I hope this helps.


Many thanks for this, but with respect the answer is a little
ambiguous. Your policy statement at 3.7 of your ToS implies that any
bandwidth usage above that permitted wil be chargeable /regardless/ of
grandfather status if that bandwidth is "given away" to third parties
(such as through Tor). Yet you say here that you are "not enforcing
that automatically". How will I know if/when you do decide to enforce
that? And what do you define as "abuse"?

I am sure that you will understand that I need clarification because I
could potentially be hit with a severe financial penalty should you
choose to enforce the policy without my noticing. I appreciate that as
a $10.00 a month customer I am getting a phenomenally good deal and
fully accept that I may have to pay more in future (regardless of your
original offer back in 2013 of "free bandwidth forever" when I was
grandfathered in). If I have to throttle my Tor node to a particular
level of usage then I need to know what that "acceptable usage" level
would be.

I am not alone in this position. There is some discussion on the Tor
Relays mailing list (see the thread at
so some clarity would be very useful. I would like to be able to go
back the list with that clarity, but before doing so, I need to be
sure of my facts. 


Thanks for the pointer to the email thread. We usually look into abuse
when someone from the general public reports issues or we detect a
problem from our monitoring, like port scanning.

When that happens the user is notified and support have procedures to
handle the situation, but the exact details vary based on the complaint.

I can't predict if you will ever be reported, so the safest approach is
to keep you usage under the droplet limits, or at least keep an eye on
the usage.

Please understand we are trying to give a good deal for the customers
that have been with us for a long time. I don't know if that applies for
everybody on the email list.


Thanks for coming back so quickly.

Firstly, since my Tor node is not an exit, you are unlikely to see any
reportable hostile activity such as port scanning. Exits often see a
lot of that, and many providers don't like the flak they inevitably
(and understandably) get for that. So I guess I'm unlikely to be

BUT, if you are saying I need to keep my bandwidth usage under the
droplet limit, that implies one of two limits: 1TB (if I assume that
the max allowed for one droplet) ot 2TB (if I assume that I may
aggregate the usage of the two droplets I currently have, one of which
is hardly used at all). Either way, that is a huge drop from my
current average 20 TB of transfer.

So: are you saying now that I must stick to the droplet limits
regardless of the original offer of free bandwidth forever? I'm sorry
to have to press this point, but I need to know. As do others who may
be in my position.


If you are not reported, you can keep using as is. For
non-grandfathered users, they will be automatically billed when they
exceed the transfer limit, which is pooled across all droplets, which
in your example it would be 2TB.

------------------------- end correspondence -----------------------

Mick Morgan 
gpg fingerprint: FC23 3338 F664 5E66 876B  72C0 0A1F E60B 5BAD D312

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