Ben has been working full-time for more than a year now (since 3/1/23). He's decided to stop running the hosting as a 'for-profit' venture (which, to be clear, it never really was; more of a way to simplify Ben's web design and development services). Given his current full-time job, hosting has become a bit of a burden. However, to keep things going for friends and family, he's introducing a new plan. The idea is to wrap up the old business, send out final invoices, and cover hosting until the end of January 2024. If the new approach doesn't suit your needs, Ben kindly suggests looking for an alternative hosting service. He's happy to help with content and registration transfers and discuss the transition period.
The new 'friendly community hosting' plan...
Looking ahead, Ben wants to keep the hosting going in a simple, sustainable and friendly way. To achieve this, his requirements are:
- Simple administration and low stress
- Low expectations
To meet these needs, the plan is to:
- Share the cost
- Send invoices once a year, automatically
- Encourage everyone to set up a standing order for payment
- Understand that costs may vary, and the price may gradually increase each year
- Clarify that Ben won't be handling upgrades or comprehensive support anymore. While he'll still assist with website issues or hosting problems as a friend, it won't be at a business-level service.
- Hosting (website and email)
- The server holding websites and email accounts
- Domain name registration (whatever-your-website's-name-is.tld)
- The price varies based on the Top-Level Domain (TLD) chosen, e.g., .co.uk
- SSL certificates
- These secure your website's connection, advisable for avoiding concerns and improving SEO. While not mandatory, it's recommended.
What are Ben's costs?
Ben's hosting fees are paid monthly in dollars, totaling around £450 per year. The service he uses is NameCheap's Galaxy hosting, which includes premium DNS, a dedicated IP, and a UK server location. Additionally, he covers most people's domain name costs at the same rate he incurs, and for some, SSL certificates are purchased with a nominal installation fee.
How much will you pay, and what's included in the new plan?
The cost depends on the number of websites on Ben's server. Currently, there are about 40 active sites. He expects this number to decrease. To continue hosting with this service, you have until the end of January to express your interest. Ben will then determine the annual price based on the number of participants, sending out invoices in February. If, for instance, the count reduces to 20 websites, the approximate payment breakdown is:
- £22.50 per year (Your 'share' equals the total cost for hosting for the year £450/20 websites on the server)
- + Domain registration fee
- The same as before, approximately £7.50 per year for a .co.uk, and individuals who manage their domain registration separately are welcome.
- + SSL (including installation)
- £15 per year if desired, with Ben handling the installation.
This expenditure doesn't add up to anything significant. However, if you have additional requests, a gesture of appreciation (money, wine, whiskey) is welcome. While Ben prefers not to charge for his time, he is committed to maintaining the service as long as there is sufficient interest from friends and family to benefit from the economies of scale. He may not undertake extensive upgrades, maintenance, or development in the future, but basic tweaks or assistance with NameCheap support queries will be offered.
What if you have only an email account and no website? Or your web address just forwards to another place (such as wix/squarespace)
For domains exclusively managing email without a website, a simple £10 fee is proposed.
How many sites can you host, or what if a website is substantial?
If you have more than one site, rather than doubling the hosting fee, an additional half is suggested for each extra site. Currently, there is a maximum limit of 100 sites on Ben's hosting account, with an approaching 60% usage of the maximum file capacity. To ensure fair use, this service is intended for non-huge sites. While there haven't been issues yet, if a site consumes a disproportionate amount of resources, you may be asked to migrate to your own hosting account. This policy doesn't currently apply to any hosted sites, but if a site is exceptionally large, contributing a double 'share' may be suggested to maintain fairness.
What if you join and decide to stop later?
It's perfectly fine to drop out, but refunds for the paid year won't be offered.
What if Ben decides to close his account later?
If Ben decides to close the account due to insufficient interest, rising costs, or other sustainability concerns, he aims to provide approximately 3 months' notice.
What does Ben pay towards this?
Ben hopes not to pay for hosting, covering his 'share' as a thank-you for organizing it within the community. If Ben has domains and websites, he won't charge himself; his contribution is considered gratitude from the community.
Yes, please! I'd love to be a member of Ben's friendly web hosting community - how do I sign up?
What if this new arrangement doesn't suit me?
If you need 'proper' support beyond informal assistance, it might be time to consider engaging a new website service. You can search for "local website design services", or if your site is built on Drupal, consider searching for "Drupal local website design services" for upgrades and maintenance.