Of hosting woes and hippy nerd commune servers
Grr, shame on me for getting cheap hosting again. For the most part, PHPWebHosting has been just fine - they give me SSH access to a shell, about 120MB of space, a few MySQL databases, and generally leave me alone for US$10 per month. But at this point, the leaving me alone bit isn't working out so well, since the server I'm on over there has had its main disk fill up regularly, thus bringing down all the sites hosted on it (including mine).
I'd joked a little while ago about getting myself an XServe and finding some affordable colocation. Now, though, I'm not laughing so much. I should probably just find another webhost, but it's tempting to have my own server.
In the past, I had a few friends at an ISP, so they let me stash a little linux server on their network for occasional favors. I miss that. Didn't cost me anything, and my impact on their network was negligible. Meanwhile, I had a stable, semi-reliable box on the net at which I could point a domain. Services could catch fire and other things could tank, and no one got hurt.
The problem now, though, is that shelling out for a server and colocation costs just to play around is a just a smidgen outside my budget. As I've pondered before, maybe I could actually host a money-making service on it with some of these hacks I'm percolating through.
On the other hand, a co-worker put the idea in my head that it might not be unreasonable to think that I could invite some tenants onto my server to share some of the cost. I figure I'd take the burden of buying & owning the server, but I'd like to spread the service cost out. I wouldn't want to make a profit, I'd just like to make a kind of nerd commune. It'd be nice if I could get the cost for everyone under US$10-15, though I imagine my cost would be higher given a server payment. If I could get mine below $40-50 a month, I think I'd be happy, though this seems like a pipe dream.
The devil being in the details, however, I don't really know how one would go about such a thing, considering service agreements and contracts and taxes and blah blah blah. I'm a financial moron, and I'm also certainly not into being a 24/7 available customer service rep, or to perform tech help. Basically, I'd like to run a server to host mad scientist experiments performed by a relatively small cadre of mad scientists who can mostly clean up after themselves. I'd like to run an IRC server, maybe a Jabber server, maybe a few random half-baked server ideas.
On the other other hand, is anyone out there doing this already and want a new tenant? :)