• The migration to this new platform is complete, but there are a lot of details to sort out. If you find something that needs to be fixed make a post in this thread. Thank you for your patience!

AF costs

Awani

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Costs
  • Hosting 60 USD per year
  • URL 100 USD per year
  • Reserve 15 USD per year (will stack to support future tech support and add-ons)
Total cost: 175 USD per year​

site.png

This is 364 USD per year (VAT I get refunded so that can be ignored).

The hosting cunts fucking massively increased the costs. I complained and they said the initial cost was just to attract new customers. They had not been clear it would increase. Fucking bastards.

I can downgrade the hosting but we have "too much backed-up" thus we cannot downgrade. I am looking into deleting back-ups that we don't need, so that the hosting can fit a cheaper plan.

New budgets:

Costs without downgrade
  • Hosting 60 USD 364 per year
  • URL 100 USD per year
  • Reserve 15 11 USD per year (will stack to support future tech support and add-ons)
Total cost: 475 USD per year / 40 USD per month​
Costs with downgrade
  • Hosting 60 USD 276 per year
  • URL 100 USD per year
  • Reserve 15 24 USD per year (will stack to support future tech support and add-ons)
Total cost: 400 USD per year / 33 USD per month​
I'm so mad now I don't have a plan... I certainly don't have time to move the site currently. I will let this simmer for a while, but I wanted to be transparent because it involves us all in some way. The costs are very high when it concerns hosting as far as I know. Fucking cunts.

It's a very busy period for me now, but I will have to investigate further and try and find a cheaper hosting etc.
 

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The $100 a year “URL” line item raises an eyebrow.

“http://www.AlchemyForums.com” is a URL
“https://AlchemyForums.com/index.php” is a URL
Etc.

A website can have many unique URLs in play as part of being in production.

However in precise & typically used IT language, there are no required annual or monthly “URL” service fees associated with a website.

“AlchemyForums.com” is a Domain Name

In precise IT language, a Domain Name is registered for an initial fee, and requires renewal every year.

Anything over $9.15 per year for a .com Domain Name is money padding a pocket.

Reference:

Depending on some variables not outlined in the above (storage fees, type of hosting plan, support, etc) the Hosting line item may or may not be a concern.

For example: I’m currently working on budgeting for launching a website, and based on needs estimating $30 per month ($360 annually) for hosting.

Anyway, back to the “URL” line item fee of $100…

Given whats in front of us, it doesn’t seem out of line to recommend moving the Domain registration to a different registrar. At the very least this “URL” line item should be explained in detail, as if it truly exists to address the Domain registration annual renewal alone, there has been a massive over-payment going back likely for some time.

The savings of $90 a year via moving to a Domain registrar that charges fairly can be done rather easily, and independently of where the website is hosted. And done right, it can be performed without any down time.

Let me know if you’d like to chat offline. I’m happy to lend a hand.
 

Awani

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I just call it URL... I will look into it. Thanks for the tip.
 

Awani

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So you would say the hosting cost is within reason?

I can add the host is technically very skilled, although we have to pay extra if they need to do anything.
 

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So you would say the hosting cost is within reason?

I can add the host is technically very skilled, although we have to pay extra if they need to do anything.

Hard to say, there’s lots of variables that affect price.

Without seeing a breakdown of exactly what is in their scope of service, invoices , and understanding what you’re key needs are, I can just make educated guesses & ask some questions.

For example:

1 - How much storage space for the live site?

2 - How much storage space for backups?

3 - How much traffic on average?

4 - Have they specified the type of hosting being delivered? (shared host, VPS, dedicated) & server specs? (RAM, CPU, Disk type, NIC type & bandwidth)

5 - Is it managed or unmanaged hosting? For example, who takes care of essential Operating System / Firewall / Security updates on the server? And if they handle that, to confirm: they charge extra for that? How much?

6 - Do they handle the installation / upgrades / support for the Forum specific software (XenForo)? If yes, what do they charge for such work?

7 - Is this an actual company, or one individual?

8 - What kinda support SLA are they committing to? For example: if something on the server breaks & support is needed, do they get back to you simply when they can, or say within 1h during the week, within 4h if over the weekend, etc.

The above helps to understand more about what’s in play.

But if you want to know what my gut reaction was right away (upon seeing that $100 “URL” line item): someone is being taken advantage of.

If I was involved with this at a decision making level, I’d now want to see with my own eyes how they exactly word their invoices / fees.

Essentially what I’ve heard thus far gives me the impression they are used to dealing with people without much tech experience, and are willing to take advantage of their position.
 

Awani

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I have a fairly good tech level, but my weakness comes with website backoffice stuff. I will return with more information.

I did call then scammers and requested a manager, because first year was so cheap. Going from 60 to 150 could be fine, but the increase was a bit too much.

I always call it URL instead of domain… I think that’s just erroneous semantics on my part.
 

Lakshmana

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I would get a "server" computer and just host it myself.
 

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I have a fairly good tech level, but my weakness comes with website backoffice stuff. I will return with more information.

I did call then scammers and requested a manager, because first year was so cheap. Going from 60 to 150 could be fine, but the increase was a bit too much.

I always call it URL instead of domain… I think that’s just erroneous semantics on my part.

For the short term, I think the low hanging fruit is first addressing the domain registration line item. For cost, but as I think about it, perhaps also for ownership.

If they are charging that kind of money to maintain the domain registration it might be the case that they hold the domain under their control. Meaning AF doesn’t technically have any direct ownership of the domain. If that’s the case, that’s not a safe way to operate (for AF) and big reason to get it out of their hands.

They can then technically charge whatever they want, or worst case, should they go out of business then it creates a big mess to deal with.

The solution to all that would be asking the current host for access to the domains DNS records, documenting them, opening a free account with Cloudflare.com, and then in basic terms following this process:


That saves $90 a year, rather easily, without dealing with the complexities of a full site migration between web hosts. Whether it be to another hosting company, or as @Lakshmana offers, going the self hosting path.
 

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I would get a "server" computer and just host it myself.

Certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

* Reliable power
* Reliable & sufficient symmetrical (& static IP enabled) Internet bandwidth
* Some elements of fault tolerance (UPS power, and a RAID disk array, at least)

…key considerations in such a situation.

Besides of course an available resource competent in managing a firewall, DNS, & linux system management.

A few years ago I would have raised my hand to volunteer, but presently the mission of health & staying afloat are all consuming my present existence.

For now, critiquing & weighing in on IT matters at a high level are I think easy enough for me to offer.
 

Awani

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The domain is elsewhere. I own it.

Hosting myself is not possible and I want it to be with a company. The advantage is that an individual can go rogue but a company you can place demands on. They won’t go silent or delete out of spite.
 

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The domain is elsewhere. I own it.

Hosting myself is not possible and I want it to be with a company. The advantage is that an individual can go rogue but a company you can place demands on. They won’t go silent or delete out of spite.

Sound reasons.

So if you have control over the domain, are paying for ongoing domain renewals independent of the webhost, then frankly I’m at a loss why they are charging a “URL” fee, period.

I would ask for clarification as to what exactly is being provided for that line item. At the moment it would appear redundant; besides excessive.
 

Lakshmana

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They are charging you for imaginary things basically.
 

Awani

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Forget URL. It’s just what I call domain fee.
 

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Forget URL. It’s just what I call domain fee.

The domain fee should only be paid once per year, and only to one vendor.

If you are paying it direct to a registrar (my understanding based on recent info), then the web-host has no business charging for it, let alone $100.
 

Awani

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Good catch guys. Thanks.

The host didn't charge for domain... but the domain guys did charge for stuff that, upon closer inspection, we did not need at all.

New domain fee cost: 25 USD

That's 75 USD saved!

As for the hosting it includes:
  • Unlimited Websites
  • 20 GB Web Space
  • ~ 100,000 Visits Monthly
  • Unmetered Traffic
  • Free SSL
  • Daily Backup
  • Free CDN
  • FreeEmail
  • Enhanced Security
  • EcommerceEnabled
  • WP-CLI and SSH
  • ManagedWordPress
  • Out-of-the-box Caching
  • Unlimited Databases
  • 100% renewable energy match
  • And a bunch of other things we don't really need
The cheaper hosting version can only handle 200 000 nodes and currently we have 250 000... but that is because we have a lot of old useless back-ups. I haven't dared deleting these without sitting down with peace of mind, because errors cannot be made.

The cheaper plan has the same stuff, but this is lowered:
  • 1 Website
  • 10 GB Web Space
  • ~ 10,000 Visits Monthly
Thoughts? If I get the nodes down below 200 000 I think the above in RED is enough. The host says it doesn't help us grow, but I told them we don't want to grow. It's not that kind of site.

If so, the new budget is:

Costs with downgrade
  • Hosting 276 per year
  • Domain 25 USD per year
  • Reserve 14 USD per year (will stack to support future tech support and add-ons)
Total cost: 315 USD per year / 26 USD per month

It's still 140 USD more than I thought, but 160 USD cheaper than if we did nothing to remedy this. So I guess it's a win.

I mean we really only need 300 USD... but I know it's good to stack a little extra for upgrades and tech support and stuff like that.
 

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Cool.

Though for some reason I’m still curious where and how that $100 line item came from, as it now has mysteriously exited the picture.

Hey, maybe I’ve earned an honorary badge of Patron, for helping to sniff out a noteworthy cost savings 🤓

Anyway, so the proposed downgrade of the hosting configuration… the three things that come to mind relate to included visitor traffic, storage space & “nodes”.

What exactly is being referred to as “nodes”?

The quantity of “nodes” (think a term error, as nodes in precise terminology would more so relate to unique endpoints connecting to the site) comes up in the context of hundred of thousands, and relating somehow to historical backups.

By nodes, are we perhaps referencing point in time snapshots (that facilitate data restoration)?

Next, what has been described as existing currently is an allotment of 100k visitors monthly, and 20gb of space.

What has been proposed is a reduction in capacity to 10k of monthly visitors & 10gb of storage.

As long as current actual usage falls well below those proposed new values, then ya that’s not a bad call. But someone should make sure by first pulling a report that tracks what’s being used at present.

Note: Regarding storage space, best to make sure a buffer of at least 25-33% of free space is maintained. Below that, best to lead the target and plan for a storage upgrade. Running a server with very low space is a dangerous practice.
 

Awani

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The domain guys had added hosting plans and emails and a bunch of other BS we don't need. I own a lot of domains, so I didn't notice it when it comes in a bundle. It was easy for this cost to "hide". I wouldn't have noticed if this issue hadn't come up. So it was a good thing.

As for the rest I will forward that to the hosts to answer.
 

ghetto alchemist

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For me, this thread brings up memories of the discussion about replacing the old forum with something more modern.
At that time you asked us what we thought, a clear majority asked for phpBB and then you totally ignored the response and went with your own unique decision anyway.
Nothing wrong with that course of action, but why ask if you're not going to listen to the reply?

Anyway...for what it's worth, since we're now on this current course I think should may as well stick to it.
IMO you ended up making a good decision and got a lot of things right with this new forum.
It looks great, and handles images perfectly, has far better formatting options, and allows for PM discussions between multiple people
There's also the other feature, which I think is great and which can always be implemented later, is the ability to vote for posts (which would eliminate the empty posts thanking people for their efforts and allow using search function to find the best posts, and it's an incentive for people to make valuable posts for the dopamine hit).
I think it's better to use the current more expensive plan, it works really well and allows space for the forum to continue growing in the future.

Obviously the higher cost is an issue, but I don't mind pitching in a bit of money for an annual contribution to help cover those costs.
I remember the response from a few members when we thought we might lose the forum before this recent upgrade, so I'm certain there'll be other members who'd feel the same as I do about kicking in a few dollars.
Maybe you can add a new level above "patron of the arts" that says "annual subscriber" or something similar to create a sort of badge of honor for those willing to make the extra financial commitment.
 

Awani

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I certainly did not ignore responses... that's incorrect. People also suggested Xenforo. I can't recall why this one was picked, but it won for some reason. Not everything happens in public.

Suggestion of perks have been discussed. We shall look into that. I think that's a good plan.

We appreciate any and all donations, but some have donated 5 dollars 5 years ago and others 25 dollars every year and they both have the same status. I don't think that's fair. So, yes that aspect need to be improved.

It's difficult because we want the "free" version to be as is and not lower the experience, so have to look into what "add-ons" could be used as a perk apart from the STATUS of having a higher contribution. Currently it's very commie, with everyone having the same status regardless of donation.

I really want everyone to feel it is their forum. Not my forum. That's why I think sharing the cost is important. Everyone can "own it" somewhat. I'm just, with the mods, a custodian of sorts. As a business model it is awful. :ROFLMAO: But some things we do for fun, and not money... although, ironically, the forum is all about trying to make that sweet gold.
 

Awani

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I was in the mountains skiing for the first time when the Exodus happend, and I am heading there to do the same thing again when this shit went down. Maybe I should stop skiing?
 

ghetto alchemist

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have to look into what "add-ons" could be used as a perk apart from the STATUS of having a higher contribution.
I'm thinking you could go with levels of annual subscription like they do in customer reward programs.
Eg: Ruby subscriber, Gold subscriber, Platinum subscriber depending on how much money is committed, and set the level of perks accordingly.
Or since this is an alchemy forum maybe "Green Lion Subscriber", "White Lion Subscriber", and "Red Lion Subscriber" is better.

You must already have some perks in mind, but there's a couple I can think of off-hand, not sure how easy or difficult to implement nor even if they're possible.
> extra space in the PM mailbox
> extra time allowed for editing posts
> making the ability to vote for posts a perk
I really want everyone to feel it is their forum. Not my forum. That's why I think sharing the cost is important. Everyone can "own it" somewhat. I'm just, with the mods, a custodian of sorts. As a business model it is awful. :ROFLMAO: But some things we do for fun, and not money... although, ironically, the forum is all about trying to make that sweet gold.
It is indeed everyone's forum.
I see it more as we're a bunch of rag-tag unkempt soldiers following an appointed captain (Like Mel Gibson in "The Patriot").
You were never voted in by the troops, but you're the best guy for the job anyway.
I can see that you always try to act fairly in all decisions you make WRT the forum, and I respect that.
You've given up a lot of time and energy into making the forum work over the years, and I deeply respect that too.

Basically I'm grateful for the way you've set the forum up, and what it's become after all these years.
I'm also looking forward to what it'll become in the future because we haven't stopped growing yet.
 

Awani

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Great. Thanks. We will look into it for sure.

Regarding that last bit… I have no idea what it could be. When it comes to drama I have zero patience and I do not remember any of them.
 

ghetto alchemist

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Regarding that last bit… I have no idea what it could be. When it comes to drama I have zero patience and I do not remember any of them.
I just deleted the line...lol.
Maybe one day if we're ever sitting together over a beer.....
 

elixirmixer

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If there's any repeating treand to be learnt from all of this, it's probably to just stop skiing.

The new site is beautiful. I haven't made a donation in a while but I will next time the Rise of Elixirmixer comes about.