Donations-for-Web-Hosting Program                          Home Up         


Due to increasing stress on the server, it's become necessary to look at upgrade options.  Since the site's inception, all costs have been borne completely out of my own pocket: software, web host, domain registry, etc (not even including the number of man-hours invested, but we won't go there).  I'd estimate these costs at several thousand dollars over the site's six-year history.  Unfortunately, the cost of upgrading to and maintaining the next-level server is prohibitive without some form of support.

The easiest solution is to start hosting advertisements or banners (or even worse, going to a fee-based website), which I've rejected outright.  I continue to stand by my promise to not clutter the site with unnecessary distractions, or to require anyone to pay for access to all or part of the site.  As long as I'm able, The Acaeum will remain free to use in its entirety.

Therefore, the only viable option is to ask for donations.  However, the problem with donations is three-fold:

  • Many sites ask for donations.  Few get any.  The simple reason being, all of us are used to the free access of information the Internet provides.  Myself included.

  • Donations also carry with them the (implicit) expectation of something in return.  In the case of this site, donators would expect site updates to be regular, and/or "customer service" (response to questions, etc) to be prompt -- "after all, I paid for this!"  Without a dedicated site administrator (believe it or not, I have a regular, real-world job, as well as regular social and family commitments!), this is unfortunately impossible.

  • Donations are usually a one-time event.  What happens next month, when the server fees are again due?

The solution, I think, is to offer you something in return for your donation.  Rather than empty promises of massive site updates and expanded functionality -- which probably will happen anyway, but I don't want to be beholden to that promise -- the idea is to give you something concrete that you can use right now.  That something is your own web space & e-mail.


What You Get

Upon receipt of your donation, the following will be granted to you for one year based on the amount (in US currency):

  • $20   =  100MB server space, 5GB bandwidth usage per month

  • $30   =  250MB server space, 10GB bandwidth usage per month

  • $40   =  500MB server space, 15GB bandwidth usage per month

  • $50   =  1GB server space, 20GB bandwidth usage per month

  • $60   =  1.5GB server space, 20GB bandwidth usage per month

  • $75   =  2GB server space, 20GB bandwidth usage per month

  • $125 =  4GB server space, 20GB bandwidth usage per month

  • If you require more space or bandwidth, please contact me at webmaster@acaeum.com to discuss

Additionally, all donators of at least $20 will receive the following:

  • An "acaeum.com" e-mail address -- yourname@acaeum.com . This can be either downloaded via a POP3 mail program (Outlook Express, etc), or forwarded to another e-mail address of your choice.  This address is already equipped with the Spam Assassin filter, which will cut out around 85% of the spam mail sent through it

  • The option to either register your domain name and have your site hosted by us (see below), or receive a free subdomain on our servers (yoursite.acaeum.com)

  • Control panel for your website, allowing you full control over e-mail addresses, subaccounts, passwords, etc

  • Unlimited e-mail addresses -- yourname@yoursite.com , etc (or if you have a subdomain, it'll be yourname@yoursite.acaeum.com ).  All of which can be either downloaded via a POP3 mail program (Outlook Express, etc), accessed via webmail, or forwarded elsewhere

  • Spam Assassin e-mail filter -- a server-based Beysian filter which is incredibly competent in screening out spam.  Set the threshold anywhere from aggressive to passive

  • FTP access, MySQL databases, auto responders, Frontpage extensions, statistics reports, phpBB bulletin board software, etc.  Basically, everything you need to set up the website you want

If you want your own domain name, you can register your domain through many different registrars (I recommend www.1and1.com , which will register your domain for $6/yr), or I will register your domain through my provider at cost (currently $10.95/yr). Whichever way you do it is up to you.  If you do *not* register a domain, you'll be stuck with a subdomain name of The Acaeum -- i.e., "yoursite.acaeum.com".  Not very pretty, but it can save you some money if you don't care.

A donation grants you the above benefits for a period of one year from receipt of the donation.  All benefits are optional -- if you don't want web space, or an Acaeum e-mail address, that's completely up to you -- though they will still be accessible to you for one year.  Any and all benefits are also transferable to anyone you choose, at your discretion, for a period of one year.

At the conclusion of your one-year period, you will receive an e-mail requesting a further donation.  Should you choose not to do so, your account(s) will be closed after suitable warning.  Any files that you wish to retain should be copied to your home computer before that time.


Benefits to Doing This

  • Your own space on the web -- and a substantial chunk at that! (the entire Acaeum site, right now, fits on about 150MB, and uses around 8GB of bandwidth per month... that's with roughly 2500 pictures and over 30,000 hits each month!).  You could host pictures, your personal family web site, whatever you like, at a fraction of the cost of any other provider out there.  You can even host files, as long as you don't exceed your monthly bandwidth quota or host illegal files.

  • No pop-up advertisements or other annoyances.  Many cheap web host providers are able to provide (most of) the services above at the price they do because they inundate you with pop-up ads, mandatory banners, etc (or they're on a very slow server).  Not so here.  The difference being, I'm not out to make money on this -- I'm simply looking to break even, so I can provide the functionality The Acaeum deserves without breaking my pocketbook.

  • Our server is very fast -- it accesses an Internet backbone via an OC-192 connection provided by Verizon, and is physically located at the Equinix Data Center in Chicago, IL.  99.5% uptime is guaranteed.  Without exception, other web hosts in this price bracket are on a much slower connection.

  • Even if you don't care about web space, you still get unlimited e-mail addresses under your domain name.  These e-mail inboxes can be downloaded into your mail program, forwarded to other e-mail addresses (i.e., all mail to yourname@yoursite.com could forward automatically to yourname@yahoo.com), and/or accessed through webmail, so you can check it on the road as easily as you do Hotmail or Yahoo.

  • An "acaeum.com" e-mail address!  Impress your friends.

  • Most importantly -- you're donating to a good cause.  How much enjoyment do you get from The Acaeum -- both the main site and the forum?  If you're a frequent visitor, ask yourself how much it would matter to you if the site were down.

Frankly, I think this is a win-win situation for all of us. I'll be able to continue to offer this website on a faster, bigger server, for minimal cost.  You'll be able to support this site, and get your own website in the process, for a truly trivial amount per year.

Lastly, it should be clear that this offer is open to anyone, not just Acaeum members.  If your uncle wants a no-hassle, fast, cheap web host, this will do perfectly.


How to Donate

Before donating, please read our Terms of Service.  Acceptance of any of the benefits of donation indicates your agreement to abide by the TOS.

Donations will currently be accepted through PayPal.  When I receive your donation, I'll forward you further details of how to access your web space, setup e-mail addresses, etc.

Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!

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