Bandwidth used "this month" means the amount of measured bandwidth you have used since the start of the current calendar month. This is limited, based on your service level; see our pricing table . If used up, you will not be able to send/receive mails from/to your account; you can, however, purchase more bandwidth and disk quota. See Billing for details. The disk usage per folder and quota usage are always up to date; the bandwidth usage is updated every hour.
Bandwidth is used when initiating any of the following:
Download of a message or attachment through IMAP, POP, or the web: uses up the amount of bandwidth taken to transmit that message to your computer
Sending a message to anyone: uses up the amount of bandwidth taken to transmit that message to one remote server, multiplied by the number of message recipients; also see "Size mismatch" section below
Queuing a message on FastMail to be sent using SMTP or the web: uses up the amount of bandwidth taken to transmit that message to the server
Receiving a message into your mailbox, either through receiving an email, copying a message from another IMAP account, or retrieving a message from an external account via POP Links: uses up the amount of bandwidth taken to transmit that message to our server
The following are known limits with bandwidth monitoring:
Sending to multiple people on one host sends only one message, but we count multiple
Moving between IMAP accounts on FastMail doesn't use external bandwidth, but we count it
Cancelling a download of a large message does not use the bandwidth of downloading that entire message, but we count it all
Creating an archive uses the bandwidth of the uncompressed messages/attachments, rather than the compressed size
We don't count many things that utilise bandwidth, like HTML pages and IMAP headers
A typical text-only email is something like 10KB in size. With 40MB, you could send/receive 4,000 text-only emails before you use up your quota!
On the other hand, sending an email with a 1MB attachment to 10 people through the web interface will take:
1MB to upload the attachment to the server
1.33MB (encoded size - see "Size Mismatch" below) * 10 = 13.3MB
This totals 14.4MB, which is quite a significant chunk of the 40MB allocated to a guest account.
If you regularly need to send large emails to many recipients, we recommend two main options:
Upload the attachment to your FastMail File Storage or to any web site, and send a hyperlink to the file storage/web site instead
Use a mailing list provider so you only need to send one email, and it's automatically forwarded to all the recipeints you nominate
A list of web hosting companies can be found here .
A list of mailing list hosting companies can be found here .
Currently, sending email from one FastMail user to another (or yourself) counts against bandwidth quotas. This is a limitation of the tracking and routing system that we have in place at the moment and is something we'd like to change at some point. This limitation only applies to actually emailing; moving messages between folders using IMAP or the web has no such problems. The real issue here is that currently when you send yourself a message it actually goes through our ethernet card, and our provider charges us for it - we need to make it so that these packets use the local network interface instead so that we don't charge you and they don't charge us!
Of course if you use an email client on your PC it will always count, because the message is transferred over the internet from your PC to us.
Keep an eye out for the size of any attachments you add to emails, and avoid sending large attachments, especially to lots of people. If you do need to send a large file to lots of people, upload it to a free web-space provider and send a link to the file instead.
Compress any attachments before you attach them to your email. The most common method is 'zip' compression. You can get WinZip, a free Windows based compression program, at http://www.winzip.com .
Consider using your ISP's SMTP server (if you're not using the web interface). Since this doesn't involve FastMail at all when sending an email, it doesn't count towards any FastMail bandwidth.
If 40MB doesn't sound like much to you, well, let's say you receive:
20 small text/html (15k) emails a day
6 medium html/attachment (200k) emails a week
2 large attachment (2M) emails a month
That works out to 30*20*15k + 4*6*200k + 2*2000k = 17.8M a month in receiving the email, and a similar amount in downloading email, which is still under the 40Mb a month for a guest account. So 40Mb is actually completely reasonable for the average email user.
If you're using more than 40Mb a month, then you're probably more than a casual email user, so one of our paid subscription levels would probably be better for your needs.
Bandwidth included in your membership doesn't carry forward to the next month. However, if you purchase extra bandwidth, it is spent only when going over quota in a month, and it carries forward until it is used up.
Say I'm a Lite level user. Lite level users get 160MB of bandwidth each month. We calculate bandwidth usage from the 1st of each month. Lets say you open your account on Jan 1. If you only use 150MB in January, there is no problem. No excess bandwidth is required. However, the unused portion (10MB) is not rolled over to the next month (February); e. g., next month you only have 160MB of bandwidth again.
If you use over 160MB of bandwidth in February, you have to purchase additional bandwidth to read/receive emails. So say you buy 250MB. If you use 180MB in a February, we'll take the excess 20MB (180MB used - 160MB allotted for each month) from the 250MB you purchased, leaving 230MB. This 230MB will roll over each month. If in March, you only use 150MB again, you'll still have 230MB of excess bandwidth available. If however you use over 160MB again in March, we'll again take the excess from the 230MB you still have available.
The actual subtraction occurs at the end of each calendar month, not immediately when it's used.
Say you have an email that says it has a 3MB attachment, but it's using 4M of quota space. Why? This occurs because of the way internet email works. Basically, email is an old standard from many, many years ago that originally started as purely text data. Over time, as people wanted to send attachments and the like, they updated the standard to include them, but also tried to keep it backward compatible so older email systems wouldn't "break" the messages.
To this end, any attachment added to an email is usually encoded into a form called "base64". In this system, each group of 3 binary bytes is encoded into 4 ASCII characters. This means a couple of things:
All characters in emails are always ASCII so existing systems are not confused or broken
Any binary attachments are expanded by 1/3 (33% bigger, so 30k becomes 40k, etc.)
Our IMAP server stores emails in their original form, so any emails with attachments will be about a third bigger than the actual size of the attachments when you download them. The sizes reported on the mailbox screen, and the totals reported on the resource usage screen are of the original email as it's stored in our server.
If you get a message saying you're using lots of quota space, but you don't see why, chances are you use an IMAP client. Basically, when you delete an email in an IMAP client, it doesn't actually delete the email - it only marks it for deletion. To actually delete the email, you have to "purge" or "expunge" the folder. So you probably currently have several "deleted but not purged" items in some of your folders. These "zombie" messages still contribute towards your quota.
Depending on the setup of your IMAP software, these zombie messages may or may not appear. For instance, in Outlook Express, go to the View menu, select Current View and make sure the "Show deleted messages" option has a tick next to it. This should show the zombie messages as "crossed out".
The easiest way to get rid of all these messages is to use the "Purge deleted" option in the Do Action menu on the Mailbox screen. Note that you have to repeat this for all the folders.
Alternatively, you can purge from one folder at a time in your email client by clicking on the 'Purge' or 'Expunge' button. See Email Software/Access, Troubleshooting for more information.
The web-interface does not suffer from this zombie message problem because it automatically purges the mailbox each time you delete a message.