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Paid Hosting? May 5, 2011

Posted by ismywebsite in general.

I’ve had a lot of time to think and I’m very frustrated because I’m the only one willing to work for free. And even now I have to afford my schooling and save up for life. I love helping you all, and I’d rather offer a great service than do it for free. I just wanted to get the general thoughts on offering paid hosting under the .com, leaving the free as whatever version 5 the developers are working hard to release under the .net.

Pricing would be:
$0.01 for your first website for the first month. (Basically a free trial.)
$4.98 for each month after.

As a bonus for people with multiple websites, each additional website would be $1 cheaper, to a minimum of $0.38/mo (which makes you an unlimited reseller effectively). So:

$3.98/mo for the second website.
$2.98/mo for the third.
$1.98/mo for the fourth.
$0.98/mo for the fifth.
$0.38/mo for every additional website.

In addition, when you purchase hosting or pay your monthly bill, you get IsMyWebsite $. These are 10% of your bill. So if you paid $4.98, then you get $0.50 in IsMyWebsite $. You can spend these to save on or outright buy anything new like hosting, domains, or servers. Just a little bonus for your loyalty. 🙂

The .net would still remain open as free hosting, and Nick, John, Cassidy, and Brendan have done a great job developing it so you should be able to still get the same quality of hosting there. So far the people I’ve talked to have said they’d be all for my paid hosting (and in fact this was never really my idea to begin with). But what do you think?



1. *facepalm* - May 5, 2011

*facepalm* Terrible Idea

2. Marc - May 5, 2011

As long there is still a free version, I’m fine with it.
However, what will it offer more?

3. NickoCP - May 5, 2011

What would be the extra benefits when using the paid version?

And would you have to pay in USD? Coz the exchange rates are appalling these days.

4. March - May 6, 2011

I’ve always been fine with working for free, and I do remember a meeting where we all agreed that IMW should remain free. Perhaps it is time for you to start taking a percentage of the ad revenue again: I think you deserve it.

Also, like Marc and Nicko said, what benefits would the paid version offer?

5. daglock - May 6, 2011

Would all are accounts be transfered to the new free version or would we have to do that manually?

6. Matheus (Reallifegame) - May 6, 2011

What about having an paid version where the packages (like upgrades) have an bonus, for example:

+ Starter Package
Free: 100MB space / 1000MB transfer
Paid: 250MB space / 2500MB transfer

+ Improving Package
Free: 500MB space / 5000MB transfer
Paid: 1250MB space / 12500MB transfer

Also, another alternative is that you could use the “paid” hosting just as an option to the credits invoice, so everytime you donate to IMW, you would have an $ balance and an credits balance, you can buy credits with $, but not $ with credits, you can use both to pay invoices, buy services, etc…

7. Arman Husain - May 6, 2011

I did not find any other place to post this because IMW is apparently down, so my apologies me for posting in the wrong place. This is what happens when I attempt to login:

Warning: include_once(c/Log.php) [function.include-once]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/ab5250/public_html/index.php on line 199

Warning: include_once() [function.include]: Failed opening ‘c/Log.php’ for inclusion (include_path=’.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php’) in /home/ab5250/public_html/index.php on line 199

Fatal error: Class ‘Log’ not found in /home/ab5250/public_html/c/base/UserBase.php on line 953

Its very sad and unexpected and I am leaving IMW for showing such poor stability. This is not the first time either. I have tried to reach a lot of IMW staff but apparently all of them were to busy to attend to the problem. Yes Matt, you should try to make a payment system. At least you don’t have to make the absurd claim that your free hosting can be better than a paid host. Reliability is a top priority when it comes down to web hosting and IMW greatly lacks it.

8. ismywebsite - May 6, 2011


The simple truth is that I’m almost a month behind on the support of the free version, and I don’t have tools to go any faster, nor allow anyone else to help.

The development team decided the best course of action was to scrap 8 months of work and start from scratch, causing everyone to wait at minimum a month. It’s now been a month and their new version is not yet done. I cannot code then AND do the support as well AND manage all the servers. There’s just too much to do. I also have a summer job that takes a lot of energy.

So my first priority would be paid client support, followed by development. The current team would maintain the free version on .net, on a few conditions I haven’t fully decided yet.

Aside from that, I plan to make the paid version unlimited or rather, as much as you need within reason. I am also reserving one server exclusively for paid hosting. If you’re on Node 8 now, you can remain, but there will not be any new free clients created there. Nodes 1, 3, 5, and 6 have notably lower uptime (though still decent) and would be used exclusively for free clients. Free clients could be moved to Nodes 2, 4, or 7 as they grew or needed additional stability.

So to answer your question:
– Dedicated support. No waiting weeks for responses.
– No waiting forever to activate a new website.
– A better server with what’s been 99.99% uptime.
– You can also resell the hosting. I’ll have a panel up soon. It’s cheaper than a lot of resellers and better quality.


I expect that I will use mainly USD$ because that is a more universal currency (being as the USA is the dominant economic superpower at the moment).

A lot of decent hosting I see now for $10-$15, so I expect this is a really good price for the stability and level of support I’d be offering.


I’m told they will all be done for you. If you have an older account, though, you’ll be completely out of luck, as development considers those ~10,000 people some kind of deadweight.


250Mb is so small compared to the offerings of other hosts. Also, the general reaction by the paid community (and businesses especially) to the ‘stages’ system has been accepting at best. Apparently, a seasoned professional doesn’t like being given criteria on how to run their business (who would have though?) So that’s why I’ve ditched that system in the paid version. I hope the developers would still use it in the free version, but do a better job of it then I did. If not, I guess there wont be any stages to guide new webmasters and I can do nothing about that.

Well, the truth about this is that people don’t associate credits with cash. They don’t think ‘ooh I’ve got the equivalent of $15’. No, for the most part, they say ‘ah I’ve got 3,000 of these things…’. The credit system also went under due in part to exploits that exist mainly because of rushed coding (which all comes back to having to do everything myself and/or deal with volunteers who seem to want to encrypt their coding and build what doesn’t really need to be built).

So the new idea I think is a lot easier. IsMyWebsite $ are like a gift card you can use on anything new. So if you want a new website, it pays your first bill. If you buy a new domain, it pays the first year. You can also use it as a discount on that purchase. Every time you buy anything or pay your monthly/yearly bills 10% of that goes into your IsMyWebsite $. IsMyWebsite $ are stored in dollars, and not some other currency with an exchange rate of 1:200.

I hoped that helped you understand it all. I can’t see what else there is left to try here, and this is the single only way anyone has ever made a success with a free hosting – by using it to sell paid hosting. I’ve had a lot of successes but for the amount of work they take, it’s just not worth it. I’d rather have a paid service I could give to people who needed and appreciate it, then something which is free and hundreds of people getting frustrated when I can’t provide for them.

9. Kenneth Tsang - May 7, 2011

@Matt: I know you are really frustrated at the moment – but do you know what has happened to IMW recently? Did someone delete files in the backend? Also, the sites on Node 1 has been suspended :S

Marc - May 7, 2011

Node 5 websites too apparently.

10. daglock - May 7, 2011

@ismywebsite my account is only a year old.

@marc my account is suspended to on node 5 😐

11. Matheus (Reallifegame) - May 7, 2011

@ismywebsite: You could opt to sell paid hosting as VPS, as it will have lots of better features, would be an option for people who need to expand even more (like root access, etc)…

12. Bryan Bartlett - May 7, 2011


I personally think you have done an amazing job ever since i joined here. If you are concentrating soley on the paid side, then I support that 100%. Id much rather deal with you than a mod ive not developed a rwpritore with.

I am unable to access my servers via the ISW frontend, but all my stuff still works and im able to access them directly at least.

Just let me know if I need to worry about any migrations. Thanks

13. Deltik - May 7, 2011

@Kenneth: Matt refused to pay the bills for some nodes.

14. Marc - May 7, 2011

@Deltik: Are there backups?

15. @Nde - May 7, 2011

As name says IsMyWebsite, I think it should be free. Matt you can earn through advertising packages. Guys use advertising and you will be paid for it.

We still love to know if IsMyWesite would be free or not.

16. mr glasses - May 7, 2011

As someone already said, I’m fine with IMW offering paid hosting as long as some sort of free hosting is still available.

17. Deltik - May 7, 2011

@Marc: Probably not…

18. ismywebsite - May 7, 2011


If anyone would like to foot the $120/mo bills to keep this service running then please be my guest. This month I have made about $5.00 in advertising and $0.00 in donations. In order for advertising to work as something effective, it takes an active commitment on the part of clients to place it, and to place it effectively.

As past experience has shown, clients are unwilling to do this themselves, without being shown what is necessary or worked with one on one. Numerous solutions have been tried, including enforcing rules via suspensions and messaging offenders, which takes a lot of time of someone to go through and find them all. The latest system was to keep track of earnings and credit clients accordingly, however I ran out of time and motivation to build it, being as all my time would be wasted. The Advisor system was also supposed to help encourage this, however it never got created either.

All in all there is really nothing I can do. My code is inadequate, and incomplete, and the only version being actively worked on by anyone else is completely hidden from me. I am not allowed to see the code, nor the finished product. In fact, there is some question if I’ll even be allowed to demo it with the first batch of clients. I realize that they are perfectly correct that I am resistant to unexplained and disagreeable changes, however this kind of treatment is not justifiable.

My decision at the moment is to take this project back over myself. I’ve given the development team their promised amount of time to complete the project, and they’re not finished. They say it will be shortly, but have nothing to show for it. Clients are suffering now.

Why paid?

Firstly, all of you CAN pay. Someone pays for your internet connection. To say that person would be unwilling or unable to send money even across the seas in order that you could get decent web hosting is insane. If anyone can PROVE to me that this is truly their case, and they are in fact providing something of value, then of course I’d still provide the full deal paid hosting to them for free.

Now, we’ve established two basic facts. (1) All of you should be able to pay, and if not then 90-95%, and (2) advertising is not a viable option without significant effort. The ROI is extremely low.

In fact, the entire reason advertising works is because some percentage of you do in fact buy something from those advertisers. Those advertisers advertise because they make more in sales then it costs them to advertise. So therefore, overall, you must spend more than I earn through advertising, overall, always.

There is also a huge consumerist movement against advertising. I don’t fully understand it, but people are adding ad blockers, deliberately avoiding looking at anything commercial, etc… People seem to have this large problem with advertising on their site, no matter what it is. And I don’t want to force something on anyone which they clearly don’t want.

It’s really tough for me to say, but it’s time to move on. I can’t pull something from nothing. Instead I am losing my life chasing an impossible goal. This host goes up, then comes crashing down, then over and over and over again. To achieve sustainable upwards growth, and truly achieve my goal of enabling everyone to receive quality web hosting, I cannot work for nothing.

Every day, you find some pennies on the ground. I ask for nothing more than this from each of you. It is my goal that each and every one of you will find a way to transition to a new paid, higher-quality service, which meets your needs and your budget. I am tired of providing a service below what should be provided, and what I know we are all capable of creating.

19. cblair91 - May 8, 2011

Will there be a linkage between the credits system and the $credits system… E.g. can we buy credits with the $ balance, and vice versa.

20. Jack - May 8, 2011

Just get our f***ing websites back, thats all we ask! We were given the option to advertise and the people who do (myself) still get suspended! We go every day in and out of a non working advertising system, credits don’t work and yet we are working on version 5, get your shit together first and then advance.

J,R,D, Ltd - May 8, 2011

There’s no reason to have an attitude like that. It is aggravating when a website goes down but there is no reason for foul language.

21. Bryan Bartlett - May 8, 2011

Get a hold of me at valareos@gmsil.com

As owner/Director of Draconrouge Family PTY LTD and a long time supporter of IMW, i will be willing to subsidize the hosting costs each month. this should free you up to get things fixed.
for the rest of you, you should be ashamed. here is a service that is better than anything you can buy anywhere. try finding what you use now anywhere for the same price that ismywebsite is offering

you cant tell me you are all so cheap that you can not afford 20 a year for hosting

22. Bryan Bartlett - May 8, 2011
23. Jack - May 8, 2011

Fine, but were there backups

24. Bryan Bartlett - May 8, 2011

120 CAD has been sent to the Ismywebsite donation page.

Matt, As soon as you can, get a hold of me either via
email: valareos@gmail.com
Yahoo: valareos
MSN: valareos@tpon.net
AIM: valareos

For everyone else… as I said, i am willing to fund the IMW servers. I will get with Matt and Co and work on whats needed to bring down nodes back online. I ask for your patience. Once we get some sort of agreement, we will keep you updated.

For those worried about their site.. most of the time if it says “suspended” the files and links are all still there. Web hosters usually keep it suspended for a while before deleting them allowing people to catch up on bills.

Give a bit of time

25. ismywebsite - May 8, 2011

Thanks Bryan, but I really am not sure it’s a solution to just transfer the burden to you.

The greatest debt is not my money but my time. If I moved forward, I would say the journey was worthwhile, but I keep running into roadblocks. Sometimes the only path around them is down, and sometimes it leads in circles. Lately I can’t even see a path.

If anyone has a plan, which doesn’t include starting from scratch and locking me out from everything, then please share it. Otherwise, maybe it is time I’m not part of the free hosting. If you can’t afford to pay, then get a job. If you need me to hire you, that may be doable. Find a resume template online, and send me a resume.

26. Bryan Bartlett - May 8, 2011

Here is my plan. And for the other Admins, pay heed.

I am willing to be the financial backer for the entire ismywebsite set. But that will only be on offer if Matt is in charge of the team. This is his project. Any attempt to reinvent the ismywebsite is, in my opinion, a theft of Intellectual Property.

Here is my plan.

I pay to keep the servers running. We continue to allow free websites, but no longer accept new members until everything is fixed. This gives us some breathing room

2. Development of V5 will continue on the http://www.ismywebsite.net server on its own node. http://www.ismywebsite.com will run the V4 at the last stable run. This means putting the files back to Matt’s last build. Right now, it appears to me that your other admins are doing fixes on the LIVE server, hence our broken pages in the overview.

The http://www.ismywebsite.net will continue to develop the V5 as the development server. This allows the other admins to do the rework without inteferaring with the current build on .com

Now.. the .com will remain free until the .net has been completed. Once that point has been reached, the .net can offer free, set service. This means that EVERY account has a set storage, bandwidth, databases, ect. THere is no growing on websites from this set amount. It will also be required to have advertisement placed on it as ismywebsite once required. Those wishing to migrate to this service will be helped in transfering their website over to the free service nodes.

27. Jack - May 8, 2011

Anyone else noticing major SQL errors? When do you think the sites will be unsuspended? Matt, maybe offer VPS hosting? Lower free hosting to smaller privledges? Thx Bryan for all your help towards IMW, its greatly appreciated by the community.

28. ismywebsite - May 8, 2011

The major SQL errors are because the site is being recoded to match what the developers wont find confusing. Once I finish all the changes it will function again.

29. Jack - May 9, 2011

Do you have a time estimate to when we will get our sites unsespended

30. Matheus (Reallifegame) - May 9, 2011

I support Jack’s idea about VPS, lots of clients were requesting that on forums, and I’m an guy supporting IMW since 2009, with AD’s set-up and running.
If the problem is time, why don’t make an team of people to help you on management, like, after you end your study, you may start working on IMW as your own business, with their help…

31. mr glasses - May 9, 2011

I’ll piggy-back off of what Matheus said.

The goal here is to find a sustainable source of income and at the same time, move IsMyWebsite forward. The current methods, Ads and donations, have been empirically shown to fail at this task. If we look at other companies that have sustainable revenue streams, we see that they offer paid services. Thus, we can reasonably conclude that IMW must offer some sort of paid service to maintain financial stability.

So far, we have two proposed paid service: paid web-hosting and paid VPS hosting. But, many IMW clients also want a free web-hosting service to continue under IMW. If IMW wants to meet the demands of its clients and avoid drowning in red ink, the company must offer both free web-hosting and some sort of paid service. Now we must ask, “Which paid service should IMW offer?”

The company could offer paid web-hosting. However, If both a free version of IMW website hosting and a paid version exist, one might ask “why bother paying?” A great number of IMW clients don’t have giant websites and don’t need the extra bells and whistles that the paid hosting would offer. So, paid website hosting would attract a minimal number of clients.

The second option is to offer a VPS service. Unlike offering paid hosting, offering a VPS service would provide a desirable service that free-web hosting would not compete against. The two services don’t compete because a VPS offers great deal of functionality that web-hosting does not and can not offer. For example, a VPS can run home-brewed applications, whereas web-hosting can not. These feature differences, that aren’t artificially created, are why some search for a VPS without even looking at web-hosting services. So, at steal-of-a-deal prices, the IMW VPS service could become incredibly popular among IMW clients. Since IMW has never offered a VPS service before, it could move the company forward and draw in new clients that wouldn’t have considered IMW before.

IsMyWebsite could opt to take the third option by trying to offer free web-hosting, paid-web hosting and a VPS service all at once. This might work to some degree, but both the free-web hosting and the VPS hosting would compete against the paid web hosting for clients. In the end, only a tiny number of clients would use the paid web hosting. Since a paid web-hosting system would require yet another IsMyWebsite system to be coded, it probably isn’t worth the time it would take to set such a system up.

IMW is at a crossroads. Because the current methods of generating income are failing, some major change must be made. The free web-hosting and VPS combination is the most desirable solution because it would generate a significant amount of income, is not self-defeating, would attract new clients and would move the company in a new direction.

Matheus (Reallifegame) - May 9, 2011

I agree with you man, I wonder is too much clients would pay for paid hosting when their main idea of coming to IMW is free hosting…

32. ismywebsite - May 9, 2011

I realize there are a few people who legitimately would not be able to pay, yet value their website. For these people, they could be hired into the project with certain obligations they must perform.

Another option may be to create a job board and people could pay to have freelance jobs done. The payment would come from a individual or business who needed a job done and go towards their hosting.

I’m still not opposed to using AdSense. That has worked in some cases, however problems with the sheer volume of accounts has prevented providing the necessary support to those customers. It doesn’t help not to have development help, and now that the hosting is paid, I can actually hire the developers and set the expectations.

For all others, I imagine there will still be a free version on the .net. I’m not sure who will manage and run it, however it wouldn’t be me. I may drop by from time to time, but I certainly do not see any purpose in postponing the eventual events that happen sooner or later, when I can’t do any job here. This host must be something that can sustain itself, or simply put, it will die. Sooner or later every child must grow up and leave home.

Jack - May 9, 2011

When will the sites be unsuspended?

Matheus (Reallifegame) - May 9, 2011

@ismywebsite: I just don’t understand why you still wanting to make .net free, it’s just another expense!
1) Count that .net and .com are 2 domains, you can start by cutting .net and having only .com…
2) You could also cut-off the forums, nobody uses them and you’re paying an IPB license for nobody use, this could be integrated directly in IMW5.0…
3) The job board is an good idea, if all we receive go to our IMW account USD balance, and we can withdraw it or use it for paying bills at any time…
4) You could, instead of doing all this mess of nodes, buy an dedicated server, so you would have direct access to the server itself and fully management for it (instead of calling companies on sundays waiting their 1-day response), also, this could cut the costs in part.
5) Another time, I’m mentioning this: You can sell VPS, lots of clients want it.
The main feature of IMW is “Free PHP And MySQL Hosting With CPanel”, yet, you can sell both paid and free hosting PLUS VPS hosting, that I’m sure that VPS one lots of people would buy…

33. Bryan Bartlett - May 9, 2011

Jack, what is your website? they should be already unsuspended. have you actually checked?

Jack - May 9, 2011

Im not giving out my adress but it still says its suspended. Its node 5 addora.

Bryan Bartlett - May 9, 2011

ok. reason why they got suspended is IMW ran out of money. money from ads have dropped off (part of matts frustration.) Ive donated enough to pay the servers yesterday, and those servers were paid. This means the servers have to see that they recieved money, and then unsuspend the node account, which will auto unsuspend your sites (in theory). this means that its on their end at the moment, not ours. I will be checking up on it though. Give it 24 hours from now and we will see where it stands. I will be paying the monthly server bills until we can get IMW back to financial stability

34. Jack - May 9, 2011

Once my website is back, Im gonna put up so many more ads.

35. Jack - May 9, 2011

Fine, I will release the URL. modelme.org. Can someone please unsuspend it. Node 5 Addora

Bryan Bartlett - May 9, 2011

as i wrote above, the suspension is on the server side, not our side. I will do all I can to get it done asap

Jack - May 9, 2011

Thanks so much, do you know how long it may take to get me unsuspended.

Bryan Bartlett - May 9, 2011

I do know that some nodes had been coming back online as early as last night, so i dont think it should be long. if you dont have any luck after 24 hours, then send me an email to valareos@gmail.com and I will get on with the required people

36. ismywebsite - May 9, 2011

1) Count that .net and .com are 2 domains, you can start by cutting .net and having only .com…

For all the hassle I put in to get the .net (and I still can’t get my hands on the .org) I do think it’s worth $10/yr. The main site domains are a fixed cost. If I was to drop something it would first be free client domains (this is already not working) since those are proportional to growth, then the node domains, which are less proportional to growth.

It doesn’t matter if we host 1 or 1,000,000. The domain is a fixed cost. If we hosted 1,000,000 we would have maybe 5,000 server domains, but the free client domains would be around 20,000.

2) You could also cut-off the forums, nobody uses them and you’re paying an IPB license for nobody use, this could be integrated directly in IMW5.0…

Brendan pays for that. He’s also apparently building as part of v5 some custom forums, since I am in fact very sick of using other people’s software, which never does exactly what you want.

3) The job board is an good idea, if all we receive go to our IMW account USD balance, and we can withdraw it or use it for paying bills at any time…

Well I would have a minimum payout (probably $50), and I’m not fully sure how to set that up.

4) You could, instead of doing all this mess of nodes, buy an dedicated server, so you would have direct access to the server itself and fully management for it (instead of calling companies on sundays waiting their 1-day response), also, this could cut the costs in part.

Yes I get this a lot. It’s already been tried.

Personally, I think our providers do an excellent job and are very professional and helpful. With a dedicated server, you’d all be offline with all the data lost and not just suspended right now, and every one of you, not just some select servers. (They have all been paid now – thanks a lot Bryan.)

5) Another time, I’m mentioning this: You can sell VPS, lots of clients want it.

I’m not disagreeing with you on selling VPSes. It’s part of a plan I’ve had for a while. Unfortunately, I don’t think selling VPSes will fix the problems with the hosting.

The problem is not affording the servers – it’s affording a decent team to build, maintain, and support all the clients. Something like what we have now would be nice, except for the part about excluding me from everything and completely ignoring what I hear the clients want (something that works).

Matheus (Reallifegame) - May 9, 2011

Yes, I but if it’s being hard o manage an free hosting, with lots of volunteers, imagine an paid one, with lots of clients investing their cash…

37. Jack - May 9, 2011

Bryan, can you get on the people now?

38. Bryan Bartlett - May 9, 2011

Right, all of you holding on with baited breath, get those worms out of your mouth.

Ahem… All nodes should be up (thanks to those who put a giant foot up node 5’s bum) and the IMW portal pages is working again! Thanks for your hard work getting that back up and running Matt!

Matheus (Reallifegame) - May 10, 2011

Yea, let’s stop complaint agains Matt and use our hosting!

39. antivir2010 - July 12, 2011

@ismywebsite you still have me,

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