The extremely low cost of hosting LISNews


The good news is, thanks to super generous LISNewsterz LISNews is as good as paid for through the end of the year. The bad news is, of course, that leaves us with an infinite number of other years to pay for. There's really no way I can possibly thank everyone for their generosity, especially those of you who sent me a check or cash. Also thanks to everyone who paypaled money and everyone who just clicked a google ad. I've tried to send a thank you email to everyone I could identify, hopefully you got yours, if not, thanks, and sorry I missed you. Adding up the paypal donations, checks, and cash (yes, a few brave souls sent me cash) I've received just over $1500 out of the $1620 it'll cost for 9 months of hosting I was hoping to pay for. Unless there are almost no clicks (clicks=$$!!) on the google ads for the remainder of the year, the server is paid for. So, now what? I'm looking for feedback and ideas on what to do next. More below...First, background for those of you that haven't been following along, if you have been following along, just skip down a bit.

LISNews is sitting, alone, on a $180/month server, something I really can't afford so for the first time since I started LISNews almost 5 years ago I asked for some help in paying the LISNews bills. For a few years LISNews sat on a big shared (Sun OS) server at Pegasus Web Technologies. We eventually out grew that server (more accurately they threatened to throw us off because we were too busy). So in December of 2002, I moved it to a dedicated server. The idea was I'd host LISNews, and to help defray the cost, sell space to a few other folks to cover as much of the $180 a month as I could. That idea did actually work, the server pays for itself, that is the amount others paid for hosting paid for the cost of the server, but that's about it, it doesn't really cover my time, which is, at this point, fine. So, a few months ago I bought (rented is the more accurate term) a new server (Red Hate Enterprise) because the operating system on the old server (Red Hat 7.3) had reached the end of life from Red Hat, which means no more official Red Hat updates. The new server should have updates for a few years to come, so I shouldn't need to make any more moves for quite awhile, which is great, because the move was a royal pain, and took way too long to finish. So, I moved everyone from the old server, to the new, except us, LISNews was, and is still running on the old server. It turns out Slashcode does not play nice with Apache2, RHEL, the new mod_perl, and whatever else is on there. I love LISNews, it's been a big part of my life longer than my wife, my house, my car, my job, and just about everything else, but I needed to draw the line somewhere and ask for help in paying for the site. My goal was to raise enough money (by just asking for donations from the LISNews readership) to pay for the second server for the remainder of this year (9 months counting April @$180 a month, that's $1620) and just leave LISNews sit on it's own server, which is where Slashcode really likes to be anyways (does not play well with others). Maybe by the end of the year there'll be some updates to Slashcode and I can easily move it over to LISHost, or maybe I can just leave it be, and try to raise enough money to again pay for the server next year.

So that's where we are now. The way I look at it, we're all set until the end of '04, but what to do come January? What are my options?

  • I can ditch LISNews all together. I've had a good run, but this damn thing sure takes up all my very limited free time. Maybe someone will buy me out and take over?
  • I can find some place that will host a Slashcode site and just leave all the sysadmin stuff to someone else, and just focus on writing and posting to the site.
  • I can leave it the way it is, and ask for financial support again next year, and keep my fingers crossed that will pay for things.
  • I can try and move it to the other server. That's about as likely as me winning the lottery for a number of reasons I won't get into here, I'll just say Slashcode doesn't play well with others.
  • I can look for a place with a spare server and some bandwidth that's willing to host the site and baby-sit the server for nothing.

That's about all I can come up with. If you've got a better idea I'd love to hear it. At this point any or all 5 seem like possible options. Since it's only August, I've got plenty of time to think about it, and you have plenty of time to let me know what you think.



(to the tune of Strawberry Fields)...
LIS NEWS forever..LIS News forever..LIS News forever...
It's a great source of news, information and opinion (sometimes a bit more than we bargained for) for so many in the library field. Thank you for all you've done, and keep the ball rolling!

You all know I'm still wet behind ears here, actually I haven't even been officially baptised into MLS world, yet - however, I'd be pleased to donate towards the upkeep of this wonderful and newsworthy site.

Just one newbie question: where are these Google ads, etc, that we're supposed to click on?

I'm sure there's a reason why you don't have a link to Amazon - confict of interest somehow? It's a pretty common way of making a bit of money off of books sales if one enters through the linked site. I'm sure you've already discussed this but thought I'd throw it out to be sure.

Yellow boxes

����� over there

Silly me! Thanks. :-D

No reason I avoided Amazon really. That just seems like one of those things that would never get used, and slow the pages down. But of course I could be wrong. Haven't really thought about it
Thanks for the idea.

I use Amazon a great deal - and right now I always make it a point to go through another website that I'm involved with. I don't know what the percentage is that you'd make, but you might want to check into it. I know it's helped this site in its quest to make ends meet. If you'd like, I can ask the owner of this other site for some feedback, of course so much depends upon "the numbers" - as they say.

P.S. Would you mind putting me out of my misery and letting me know which code to use in order to create a hyperlink? Appreciate it!

If you can avoid it, don't use an Amazon link. Greedy greedy company, keeping all of the marbles. Use booksense>, it supports the indies, and libraries are indies, each unique and each in support of their individual communities.

Thanks for your link. Never heard of this organization before - I'll have to check it out.

They are a coalition of the 1100 (approx.) independent bookstores across the US trying to maintain their strength and survival in the face of the big boxes & Amazon. Kind of a David v. Goliath type of thing. Support the indies!>.

Shouldn't there be somewhere out there a benevolent library-related corporate sponsor who would agree to a hands-off approach to lisnews but pay the server bills in return for acknowledgement on the page? Seems like there ought to be someone out there.

If there is such a benevolent corporate sponsor, I'm sure several of us would love to know about it/them!

There is of course a nice benevolent non-corporate sponsor, Librarin Web>, that is happy to host things for cheap.

LISNews is a very needy site though.

If there is a benevolent library-related corporate sponsor they haven't contacted me. Trouble is LISNews is not something that can just be dropped onto a small server in someone's office, it doesn't need a cluster of servers or anything crazy, it just needs more than a small quiet static site would need.

Great idea, and one that I'd like to pursue, just not sure where to turn for that one.

Yes, but possibly someone wouldn't mind paying to have it where it is now...

Please post ye olde mailing address for those of us in the checks based economy. NParker

LISNews without just wouldn't be the same.

I'd be willing to volunteer my programming skills & time if that would help keep you!