She Will Punish Them

New CDN service for Premium users

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TL;DR

We have recently enabled a new download location for Premium Members that can potentially increase download speeds for any users who might have slower speeds than expected with their Premium Membership. If you're a Premium Member and you think you should be getting faster speeds then please try the "CDN" download location, which now defaults to this new provider.


The long version

If you’ve had the (mis)fortune of taking the time to read my year in review post recently then you’ll be aware that we move a fair amount of data to our users - we estimate around 60PB per year - through our download servers.

We are also storing a large amount of data - we’ve just ticked over 40TB of mod files and this is increasing at around 1.5TB per month currently as the number of mods we host increases and the size of the mods authors are making are growing.

How we store and serve this amount of data on a budget is a challenge we're always tackling as we continue to provide a "free" service to our users. Free is in quotes because, as you know, there are ads on the site and these generate revenue used for paying for the services we provide. We don't sell user data or anything of that ilk, so our two revenue streams are straight-up advertising and Premium Memberships.

To help us manage our file serving needs we created our own mini-CDN, of sorts, a few years ago which uses bare-metal servers in 7 different locations around the world; Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Singapore. These servers are kitted out with NVMe drives and each server has 20gbps of connectivity. While we average around 25gbps of total traffic (across all our servers) on any given week, the recent Fallout Frontier release proved the servers could handle these theoretical maximums without a sweat as our Chicago server alone managed to briefly hit that 20gbps mark during the initial hours of the mod's release. This custom-built CDN system is significantly cheaper to own and run for us than any CDN services that are available online. The caveat to this is that while our users in North America, Europe and parts of Asia and Oceania will have good download speeds from our servers, users from other areas of the world can potentially have poorer download speeds especially if their local ISP's infrastructure has bad connectivity to our CDN.

In layman's terms, the difference between good connectivity and bad connectivity is like the difference between a good sat nav for your car and a bad sat nav. A good sat nav knows when you are travelling, when and where traffic can bottleneck at different times of the day, where any roadworks are, where any newly constructed roads are and will direct you from A to B in the most efficient way possible which will significantly decrease your travel time and increase the speed at which you get to your destination. A bad sat nav does not know any of these things and can potentially take you through horrific traffic conditions, road works, bottlenecks and not make use of the newly built roads meaning it can take you significantly longer to get to your destination. Thus, good connectivity ensures our data packets reach your PC in the most efficient, fastest way possible ensuring good download speeds. Bad connectivity can send our data packets via bad cabling, overloaded networks and a myriad of other negative networking issues meaning you get considerably slower download speeds.

To clarify, we do not cap our Premium service in any way, shape or form. Whatever speed a user gets from our download servers is the maximum uninhibited speed possible between our server and your computer - if it's slow, it's almost certainly because the traffic is not being routed well by either our ISP or your ISP but, unfortunately, that is not something we have control over to fix.

An example of this is here in the UK where on a basic 75Mbit home connection if I try to download from our CDN node in Los Angeles, some 5,400 miles away, I can reach download speeds of 6MB/second without any issues. However, some of our users in Brasilia, a similar distance to LA, will get far lower speeds than this to the same LA location. This is due to the connectivity between the ISPs in the UK compared to the connectivity of some ISPs in Brazil. Essentially, there is more cabling and better management of the network between North America and Europe than there is between North America and South America. Unfortunately, this is something which is completely out of our control. The solution to this problem is to hope and pray the connectivity between North America and Brazil improves (which involves major ISPs laying more cables to provide more bandwidth and/or for them to improve how they route their traffic) OR for us to requisition more servers that are more local to South America. However, hardware costs, data centre costs and bandwidth in many areas of the world can oftentimes be many magnitudes more expensive than it is in North America and Europe meaning it's not financially viable to do this. For example, the bandwidth costs with our provider to South America or Asia costs 223% more than it does from Europe. From Australia it's 312% more. Unfortunately it is simply not sustainable for us to set up additional nodes in these locations.

As our user base increases, so do the number of users who are becoming Premium Members, and it is becoming an increasingly sore spot for me that some users have not been getting good download speeds when paying for our Premium service, irrespective of whose fault it is.

To remedy this we recently decided to spend a not-insignificant sum of money on an additional CDN service specifically for Premium Members. The CDN we have settled on contains 51 download location nodes, considerably more than the 7 nodes within our home-made CDN. Node locations include 2 in South America, 3 in the Middle East and 15 in Asia and Oceania. You cannot pick the specific download location within this CDN, the CDN will pick the node nearest to you, however, our existing CDN locations are still available for you to choose if you so wish. While we would love to roll this out to normal users too it simply isn't financially viable, so our "old" CDN will remain the service used for non-Premium users (and any Premium Members who wish to use it).

To put it into perspective, we are predicting this new service will increase our file serving costs by 62% per year, and that's just serving Premium Members, so it is not a decision I have taken lightly, and it is not something that would have been possible until more recently as our user base has increased.

If your download location is currently set as the default "CDN" option then you are using our new download service. If you have previously manually set your download location (either in your site preferences or by manually selecting a download location from the download window on a file page) then you will need to choose the "CDN" option when you next attempt to download in order to access this new download service. This new service is for Premium Members only so if you are not a Premium Member you will not have access to these options.

As a part of this update, we are decommissioning the bare metal Signapore CDN node that we currently have (which was Premium-member only) and this should go down in a few week's time. The new CDN service we offer should provide as good as if not better speeds than this node for all our Premium Members in the Asia and Oceania areas and thus it's an added expense for no gain.

We put this new CDN service live last week and since doing so we have not received a single complaint about download speeds, which I'm naturally extremely happy about. I'd be interested to hear from any Premium Members who have seen an improvement in their download speeds on the site since our new service went live. If you're a Premium Member and you're still getting slower than acceptable speeds on our servers please read our help article and, if possible, provide us with the feedback requested via our forums so we can try and help you troubleshoot the issue.

Thank you for your support.

50 comments

  1. Thortok2000
    Thortok2000
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    Noticed this morning that the chicago server was giving download speeds about 40x faster than the 'CDN' selection. I have a premium account.
  2. YodaGamesLegends
    YodaGamesLegends
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    I love nexus, because even if you have a free account your download speeds are amazing!
  3. justus4justice
    justus4justice
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    I do worry quite a bit about Nexus's funding in the coming years given how quickly it's growing. Has anyone looked into how cost effective providing a merch store could be? I have a lifetime membership, but I wouldn't mind dropping some extra dollars for a spiffy Nexus-branded mug or hoodie.
    1. ozenglish
      ozenglish
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      Life member here too! I would be willing to get something like a mug or hoodie also.
  4. YuuhiShimabara
    YuuhiShimabara
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    • 1 posts
    • 1 kudos
    The download speed is now between 25 and 60 kB (kilobytes) per second.
    First noticed on March 1st, 2021.

    Before your last changes, I was getting 6MB (mega bytes) per second.

    I've tried all of the Nexus download locations with no success.

    6MB / s is the maximum download speed for my internet connection and I have no issues with other websites.

    If you need to create a new pricing model, please let me know.
    I never seriously expected a lifetime one-time payment account.
  5. deanoman
    deanoman
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    Thanks so much for the new CDN option, it solves all my Nexus download issues (very slow speed and frequent download cancels).

    Now I get full line speed often and no downloads cancelled yet here in Australia.

    Nice work Nexus!
  6. Mipasa
    Mipasa
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    • 758 posts
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    Did some testing today, the old cdn was fast around 1.5 minut per 3 gb, (which is still slow compared to steam where I can use my 1000/1000 maxed out)
    Now its 3 min per 3gb on the new cdn
    Tried Paris and Amsterdam and got it down to 2  min per 3 gb.
    It's ok i guess, or at least I can live with it .
  7. SteveB88
    SteveB88
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    Nexus is still a problem in China. Although we can access it here, the downloads are painfully slow given that the premium users are getting a Singapore server and the free users have to download from Amsterdam or Prague. Although I suspect the GFW might be making the issue worse. 

    I did read that Cloudflare have done a deal with Baidu in China to host their content on the mainland. I hope that the guys at Nexus can take advantage of that and give a further boost to Asia users. 

    I would love to pay for Nexus but sadly it's only in paypal and they don't accept my Chinese credit card. Alas, we don't have Paypal in China. 

    Still, keep up the good work guys, one day I hope I can contribute towards the service. 

    Sorry for the double post. I refreshed the page after it timed out, seems it posted it twice. Thanks again
  8. SteveB88
    SteveB88
    • member
    • 317 posts
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    Nexus is still a problem in China. Although we can access it here, the downloads are painfully slow given that the premium users are getting a Singapore server and the free users have to download from Amsterdam or Prague. Although I suspect the GFW might be making the issue worse. 

    I did read that Cloudflare have done a deal with Baidu in China to host their content on the mainland. I hope that the guys at Nexus can take advantage of that and give a further boost to Asia users. 

    I would love to pay for Nexus but sadly it's only in paypal and they don't accept my Chinese credit card. Alas, we don't have Paypal in China. 

    Still, keep up the good work guys, one day I hope I can contribute towards the service. 
  9. vialaris632
    vialaris632
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    this all sounds fantastic and well put. 

    AFAIK both Brazil and Argentina have closed deals with some ISP and also Google to get more direct bandwidth from USA. Though the majority will be to improve google cloud services, it will also increase service and BW in general.
  10. OFSRazgriz
    OFSRazgriz
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    I almost feel guilty for not using the subscription model and buying the steal of deal lifetime option, but I too am living on a budget. You guys do excellent work and provide a service that is practically vital to the gaming community. Keep up the amazing work!
    1. TimeLemur6
      TimeLemur6
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      • 63 posts
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      Same. I'm glad they offer it (and haven't once regretted it), but I've probably cost at least the purchase price by now.
    2. quinnocent
      quinnocent
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      • 8 posts
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      I wouldn't feel bad about it.

      They probably wouldn't offer it unless, when taken in aggregate, lifetime subscription members put in more money than they take out.  People who buy it and use it a lot are probably factored into the pricing.

      Or it should work that way, anyway.  Sometimes things change over time?  If it's not working out that way, they should probably either end the program or up the cost.  If they're transparent about the fact that it no longer makes financial sense at the current price, I don't think anybody would blame them for raising the price.
    3. Rangeout
      Rangeout
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      It is a phenomenal site, but they collect a lot of data, you shouldn't feel too bad