Hosting Ideas

I have a lot of excess capacity on this server.  The ‘basic’ hosting industry is shot to hell: $3 for 100 GB of disk space and unlimited bandwidth might be considered expensive. (It goes without saying that they won’t actually let you use that much.)

But here are a few markets that aren’t touched on enough:

  • Personal selling and hand-holding to businesses that don’t have websites. Three thoughts here:
    • $50 a month is a normal business expenses. Someone who comes and talks to them and gets them their very own domain name? That’s practically a bargain! I bet their credit card processing bill is at least five times as much, and that their phone bill is at least twice as much.
    • The type of sites I’m talking would be static content, and wouldn’t even need to be updated more than a few times a year.
    • Keeping a live mirror on another server would be awesome, and it’s something almost no one does.
    • Web design (and product photography!) could be offered for additional costs.
  • Hosted services. There are people out there who want a blog and their own domain. $5 a month is entirely reasonable and in the “Why not?” category of expenses. But they’d get nothing but access to their own WP blog and some space to upload posted files. They couldn’t set it up themselves, which would permit a few things:
    • Security: they’ll all be running the most up-to-date version.
    • Caching: Default WordPress gets 4 hits per second after rigorous benchmarking. Unsurprisingly, many ‘untuned’ servers go down very quickly when they get linked to. I don’t know if I’d survive digg, but I can at least improve things.
    • Convenience for the customer!
    • Theoretically, reduced disk access if I could install it once and have everyone else work off symlinks. This is probably more trouble than it’s worth in practice.
  • ‘Personal’ wikis. I keep a MediaWiki install for my class notes. It also now houses my to-do list, a wishlist, and a list of gift ideas, among with various other thoughts. It’s an incredibly handy way to set things up. Plus, by virtue of being a personal wiki, it’s not going to get a lot of traffic. Again, something like $5 a month.

I don’t have the energy or time right now to aggressively pursue these. But I think all 3 would work pretty well.

3 thoughts on “Hosting Ideas

  1. Well these ideas have some competition already. For the first one take a look at and I think your prices are high. There are hosted blog and wiki sites out there. A number of the blog hosts let you use your own domain.
    I find the wiki sites a bit of a pain but free is free. What I would like is the ability to set up private wikis which while the free services do offer private wikis for a modest fee, well, somehow they bother me. I can’t quite put my finger on why though.

  2. That’s the whole point — I want high prices! Several reasons for it, too:

    (a) High prices = more money. (Well, of course, it’s really price * quantity, but I’m taking low quantity as a given regardless of price.)

    (b) Nickel-and-dimer hosting customers tend to be the people you want to avoid anyway. The hosts in those markets are the ones who have horror stories about getting flooded with “omg my website is down i am going to sue you!!!111” e-mails. I don’t want to go there.

    (c) My favorite thing ever: high prices imply high value / high quality. It’s not true, but many people implicitly believe it, sometimes at a level they don’t even understand. Would you want to trust your business to a free site? I wouldn’t. Does paying $50 actually mean it’s any better? Nope. But will people think it is? Yup.

    Hosted blogs and wikis are definitely nothing new. But I think it’s a smaller market than the general hosting market. And yes, there are free ones for both. But to bring a domain or subdomain to it, and to have no ads? That’s not as common.

    I don’t quite follow your point about the hosted wiki, though.

  3. I find the hosted wiki sites annoying. Maybe it is the design. Maybe it is the whole sort of attitude around getting a private site. I’m just not sure. Somehow there is too much friction associated with working with them. I think what you are talking about is charging more to reduce the friction. I’d pay for that.

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