Announcements Changes

Changes are Coming: Mail/DNS Prices, Free Accounts, and Spam Filtering

UPDATE (December 4, 2016): The next update to the account control center will remove free Secondary DNS and add the “Basic” paid service level. Existing DNS zones won’t be disabled at this time, but no changes will be allowed to them unless you have a paid account.

We’re going to be making some major changes this year to our classic Mail and DNS services. This only affects Mail and DNS, so if you’re a colocation or transport or transit (internet access) customer you can skip this.

First off, we understand that change is generally disliked, but in the long term this will help us continue our tradition of high quality and dependability. Because of the way we do things we’re proud to say that our mail services haven’t seen an outage since June 9, 2010, although we continue to strive for improvements. One of those improvements recently came in the form of a second colocation facility that gives us dual generators, dual UPS systems, and dual utility power feeds. Critical network equipment will be getting primary AC and secondary DC power for further redundancy. We will diversify some physical services between both facilities: i.e. mail/mail2 will be in separate facilities, as will ns1/ns2 and ns1-auth/ns2-auth.

So we’ll get big one out of the way first: a price increase. We will be raising base prices for all Mail and DNS account levels by 5%. Not today, but soon. If you’ve been thinking about changing your account level now is the time to lock in the current pricing. The increase will not apply to customers that continue to maintain their accounts per our price guarantee policy (Roller Network Mail and DNS services are price guaranteed for as long as the services associated with an account’s profile continue to be renewed on time), nor will any other pricing be affected.

Along the same line we will start enforcing usage levels in a more automated manner than we have in the past. We have a long history of being lenient when it comes to additional usage. Settings for this have been available in the control center for a few years now under My Account -> Account Preferences -> Usage Allowance Handling. Soon they will mean something.

And finally we’re planning to discontinue the free accounts. If you’re a free account holder we recommend upgrading now to lock in current pricing before the 5% increase. We understand there are other free services out there that you may want to move to, so we recommend looking in to that now if you don’t want to upgrade your Roller Network account, although we hope you’ll consider upgrading. A new “Basic” account level will be created that offers these features. This represents a savings over the current minimum paid account for users that don’t want any other features.

Why are we making these changes? Well, it primarily comes down to three things: upgrades, development, and spam filtering. For many years now our spam filtering has been admittedly less than adequate as various community-based projects have slowly changed into paid subscription services. Most of them offer a “free” tier for end users, but as a service provider we don’t qualify for that. Our current pricing model simply does not allow us to afford their subscription costs. We previously touched on this in our post about dropping support for Spamhaus and our trial with Cloudmark Authority last year. Before that we’ve also dropped other well-known lists like SURBL and URIBL for similar reasons.

We’ve decided to bring Cloudmark Authority into our system. The response during the trial last year was mostly positive, although it did generate some complaints about being too aggressive. We intend to fix that by making it a separate module in our system instead of part of SpamAssassin. The trial was performed with SpamAssassin because doing so required minimal effort to test. Separate integration will allow separate control over Cloudmark’s engine and finally bring a managed filtering option to our mail services.

Updates will be posted to the Newspipe as specific things mentioned in this post happen, so stay tuned for more.