So, I asked a question now deleted, that included the Title "Pay as You Go Server". In hindsight, the wording was poor, and the question has been deleted. My intent for the question was 'How is it possible to run a Cloud/VPS server less than 24 hours a day?' There was a link to the provider's price calculator showing that this was possible.

The comments indicated that "billing" related questions are inappropriate for this site.

I did check the guidelines for what is acceptable questions for this stack exchange. I did not see anything on this page related to "Billing / Pricing / Costs" in the written published guidelines or the don't ask guidelines. I can understand why specifics on cost should be excluded from this site, but what are the groups actual guidelines on pricing discussions?

Do the current use/don't use guidelines for serverfault accurately identify the usage guidelines for pricing related questions?

  • If that question isn't explain google's billing practices to me, I guess I don't understand what it is at all. What do you want to know? Are you simply asking how it can be part of someone's business model to have a VPS that doesn't run the whole time?
    – MadHatter
    Jan 31, 2017 at 7:51
  • @MadHatter 1) I thought I was asking "How do you set up a server on the cloud that runs less than 24x7?" How is that possible? and 2) where on the ask or don't ask sites for serverfault.com does it say that questions about "billing practices" are not allowed? Its fine it if that is the rules, but please share the rules with the rest of us in WRITTEN FORMAT, ONLINE SOMEWHERE.
    – zipzit
    Jan 31, 2017 at 8:05
  • Slow down, hoss, I didn't say any such thing. I'm by no means sure your question's on-topic, but I'm still not entirely sure what you're asking. Are you now saying you want to know how one would technically set up a cloud server not to run 7x24?
    – MadHatter
    Jan 31, 2017 at 8:08
  • @MadHatter Yes, exactly. How is it possible to set up a server that runs less than 24 hours a day?
    – zipzit
    Jan 31, 2017 at 8:13
  • 7
    @zipzit Your tone is very aggressive and makes it hard to take you at face value. Especially if you claim we're wasting your time by not answering your question. It is our own personal time we invest here answering questions, nobody here has any obligation to you.
    – Reaces
    Jan 31, 2017 at 9:26

1 Answer 1


You say that the question you intended to ask was "How is it possible to set up a server that runs less than 24 hours a day?". It's not my job to speak for the community, but my gut feeling is that such a question would be on-topic for SF (I definitely have a concrete answer for it, since I do that very thing quite a lot).

To my mind, the problem is that your original question only asks that as a rhetorical flourish ("How does one even do that?"), and it asks a lot of other stuff that, at least to my mind, is definitely off-topic. This is because most of it relates to a commercial entity's billing practices and the oddities of Google Cloud's billing calculator (is not about ... working with a service provider's management interface)

In this specific case, if I were you, I'd delete my original question (before it accumulates any more close votes or downvotes) and ask a new, tightly-focussed one.

  • Good advice, and this answer definitely fits my question on ServerFault. Perhaps you intended it for there? But this answer doesn't address my question here on meta.. The question here on meta.serverfault is "Where on the ask or don't ask sites for serverfault.com does it say that questions about "billing practices" are not allowed? Please share the rules with the rest of us in WRITTEN FORMAT, ONLINE SOMEWHERE." Frankly I wrote this question on meta to get the guidelines updated so it was clear that billing related questions are off topic.
    – zipzit
    Jan 31, 2017 at 9:12
  • My answer is intended for here, as it addresses why your original question may be considered off-topic and whether or not this is documented. Follow the link above to see where "working with a service provider's management interface" is explicitly off-topic.
    – MadHatter
    Jan 31, 2017 at 9:13
  • Are you saying that to make a server run less than 24x7 involves heavy utilization of a specific system's management interface? I did not know that. I was responding here based on comments on the other site, all of which spoke about the issue as "pricing", "billing" or "sales" issues. But the confusion proves my point. Perhaps an update to the ask/don't ask guidelines is appropriate?
    – zipzit
    Jan 31, 2017 at 9:18
  • Please don't miss my point. Before I wrote my posting I checked both the ask/don't ask guidelines sites to verify my question was acceptable. I saw not a single thing about "pricing" "billing" or "sales" related issues. Had I seen that I would NOT have written the other question in the first place. I do appreciate your thoughtful input here.
    – zipzit
    Jan 31, 2017 at 9:21
  • No, I am not. I'm trying to be clear that if your original question had simply said How is it possible to set up a cloud server that runs less than 24 hours a day? we wouldn't be having this discussion. Your actual original question barely asks that, and asks a lot more off-topic stuff besides. Focussing on exactly why it's accumulating votes to close is really rather missing the point. I've been pretty clear about what I think you should do in order to get an answer to the question you claim to want to ask. What you do now is of course up to you, but I'm done debating minutiae.
    – MadHatter
    Jan 31, 2017 at 9:22
  • 4
    @zipzit I'm sure plenty of people here have configured servers to only run at peak time / provision and de-provision depending on load balancers and scheduled servers. Asking how that can be done would probably get an answer. But you need to be concise and stop trying to argue with people. Just try again with a narrower question and less confrontation.
    – Reaces
    Jan 31, 2017 at 9:27
  • @Reaces, MadHatter, Thank you. Your first sentence "configured servers to only run at peak time / provision and de-provision depending on load balancers and scheduled servers. " is very helpful in giving me appropriate lookup terms. So my original question is definitely not a fit. Its deleted. It will take me a day or two to resubmit.
    – zipzit
    Jan 31, 2017 at 10:03
  • 2
    @zipzit: Before you are asking another question, please note the following: Questions on Server Fault should be concerned with actual technical problems you face and they should be limited in scope so they can be answered in a short(ish) text. "How does automatic scaling works in general" wouldn't be welcome and "How do I do automatic scaling with EC2 and ELB" would be far too broad and would only be answerable with "RTFM".
    – Sven
    Jan 31, 2017 at 16:50
  • @Sven I think this might be one of those questions that, despite being broad, could attract very comprehensive answers. It is a topic a lot of us have been confronted with in the last few years, and have had to research. It is also something that can be answered broadly without needing to get into specifics that would cause the answer to bloat. If the question were asked I would pose to keep it open for a few days, see if it attracts enough attention.
    – Reaces
    Feb 1, 2017 at 8:05
  • @Reaces I'm not saying you're wrong about the utility of a general question, probably with a view to canonicalisation, but I'd much rather you wrote it. A really good specimen question seems much more likely to me to generate good canonical answers.
    – MadHatter
    Feb 7, 2017 at 11:58
  • @MadHatter After looking into it further, I think a canonical answer wouldn't be of much use. It would inevitably devolve into a bunch of links to pretty comprehensive articles written by the cloud providers. I'll just stick to closing the questions and adding a link to the relevant cloud providers primary documentation on the subject.
    – Reaces
    Feb 10, 2017 at 7:48
  • @Reaces you've clearly put some thought into that, for which I thank you, and I'm sure you're right.
    – MadHatter
    Feb 10, 2017 at 7:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .