Wednesday, August 14, 2013

ISP "server bans" seem to be controversial; maybe they just want "businesses" to pay more

It may not be particularly well known that standard ISP terms of service with major telecomm companies, at least when they are residential contracts, ban the customer’s use of his service to run “servers”.

It’s a little bit soft and ambiguous.  Would ordinary P2P be banned (a computer will run both client-side and server-side methods)?  What about a tinkerer who is just curious and wants to learn how to do it?  (A coworker ran a server on a 386 machine in his apartment around 1994 and taught himself OOP and Java, rode the job market and now rolls in multiple six figure incomes.  He used to berate me for “astonishing lack of curiosity”.

My first site ( was hosted from 1997-2001 on a small server farm in a man’s home in Maryland;  I don’t know whether it could have violated such a ban.

Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an article by Dan Auerbach about Google Fiber’s ban, which is prettu standard on the industry.  EFF calls it a violation of the spirit of network neutrality. 

Actually, though, my experience is that companies offer “business plans” that would allow servers (and perhaps more prompt customer service in case of outages.  And shared hosting companies often offer dedicated server hosting, with the understanding that the customer may be serving applications to customers himself.  

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