I’ve been thinking a lot about the hosting I’ve been doing for the past five or six months, and I’d really like to expand it further. I take a lot of pride in what I do, but I see areas where things could improve, too.
- Currently I’m hosting about two dozen blogs. I’d certainly like to be able to host more than that, but the current server package I pay for is starting to have some growing pains. Offering a paid service would let me upgrade the server, and would allow me to continue to host other blogs freely for those bloggers who would choose not to purchase hosting.
- Moving to the new server package would give me the ability to offer new features that I can’t afford to do today, like cPanel to allow users to manage their site (if they wanted to) or Fantastico (if they wanted to install forums or host another blog, etc)
- Seeing as I’d be doing a paid service, I’d be willing to expand it out further to stuff not strictly related to gaming/WoW. I’d still be caveating it with no illegal materials/file hosting, but otherwise, I’d be open to hosting a wider variety of sites, not even strictly limited to blogs, but could also host general websites, guild forums, etc.
- I’d be able to offer email service. Technically I can do that on my current servers (though few have asked), but it hasn’t been worth adding the extra load onto my server.
- I’d be able to do more stuff in an automated fashion, which would give me a faster response time. Setting up new blogs, subdomains, all that stuff would become a much faster process for me, allowing me to help less tech-savvy bloggers much, much easier.
- I’d be able to properly use the Cloudflare CDN - more or less what this means is that images and similar files get scattered out to distributed “content servers” worldwide which allows a website to be served much faster than it normally would be if everything was kept on the single server - and more importantly, this is a completely invisible and pretty much pain-free process for both me AND any bloggers I’d host.
So I guess more or less, offering paid hosting lets me get more good things for everyone, and in theory hopefully means I could stop feeling bad about having to send out emails trying to solicit donations from the people I’m currently hosting. Currently I’ve covered approximately 80% of all the server costs since I started hosting websites about six months ago.
I’m not complaining about that - I can afford to do this, and if I couldn’t, I wouldn’t be offering the service. However, offering a paid service would allow me to do even more than I am today, which is something I’m keenly interested in.
So here’s my thinking:
- $40 a year or $4 per month (EDIT: Based on feedback, I’ve changed pricing from $20 year/$2 per month - apparently some people thought I was undervaluing my support)
- Domain name is not included
- 5GB of disk space
- 50GB of bandwidth
- Access to cPanel to configure FTP accounts, email accounts, subdomains, etc.
- Unlimited FTP accounts, email accounts, MySQL Databases (though all count against disk space)
- Same level of support I provide today - as much or as little help as you need to make your job as a blogger as simple as possible. I offer handling the transfer process from other hosts, plugin/theme/site software updating, backups, all that stuff, so you’re free to do what you want - blog and produce content.
Now, I realize that there are a plethora of corporate hosts who can offer more disk space, more bandwidth, etc. for roughly the same amount of money, or a slightly larger cost. Going with them, you’d also get the benefit of the fact that they’re obviously an already well established company, they have millions of users, etc.
Why go with me then?
Well, the main reason I can think of as a selling point (which is admittedly also a weak point to some degree) is that if you have a problem, you know who’s going to be fixing it - i.e., me. I take pride in my work, and while I cannot put words in anyone’s mouths, I believe that my support provided to all of the bloggers and Mumble servers I currently host stands by this - I will bend over backwards and work late hours to ensure your site is online and functioning to the best degree I can possibly manage.
I truly enjoy my day job as a business programmer, but one thing that it does not grant me is the feeling that I am truly helping people. Doing this service has given me that feeling - and you may scoff and say that I’m inflating my own ego because all I’m doing are hosting a bunch of gaming blogs and not solving world hunger or anything, but the point is that I am doing the best I can to make life easier for people so they can pay attention to what it is that they actually want to do, and for me, that feels good. When I see comments from my bloggers on Twitter praising how fast or helpful I am in solving their problems, it makes my day better.
So I want feedback - please tweet me @Vitaemachina what you think about this - whether or not you think you’d use a service like this, if you think my pricing is too high/too low, or that I’m crazy for even trying to do this - tell me honestly.
If your thoughts veer towards the verbose, and Twitter’s not the proper vehicle for your vociferous support (or vacillating disinterest), you may also certainly email me at the usual address of jadissa AT vitaemachina DOT com.
Either way, thanks for taking your time reading this!