Sept. 18 marks the day that free hosting is scheduled to end on Buzzword.Com, the server that houses 3,000 weblogs formerly published at Weblogs.Com.
After learning about the costs required to host the sites and the amount of activity on the server, I have changed those plans: All existing weblogs will be hosted for free, as long as they've been updated at least once in 2004. Defunct sites also can stay at the request of their publishers, and I'll be allowing new sites to join the server soon.
During the Weblogs.Com outage, dozens of people on the Web had strong opinions on free weblog hosting and the expenses related to such a deal. Here's some fodder for that debate.
The costs are lower than I anticipated and UserLand Software has made an extremely generous offer to become a sponsor of the server.
Buzzword.Com runs on a dedicated Super Celeron 2.4 Windows 2000 server at ServerMatrix that has been alloted 1200 gigabytes per month in bandwidth.
So far, the server's expenses have been $400 in one-time setup charges and $79 a month for hosting and backups, a monthly price so low I get verklempt thinking about it.
Buzzword.Com consumes around 40-50 gigabytes per month in bandwidth at present, so there's no costs related to usage. A yearly Frontier Manila license costs $1,099, putting the anticipated cost at $171 per month to keep the virtual lights on, excluding the costs of my time running the server.
Each site on Buzzword.Com will have a sponsor blogroll containing four links: Workbench, Buzzword News, Scripting News, and UserLand Software. I may sell a fifth link, hoping to bring my costs down to $0.
If some users don't like the sponsor links or outgrow the free server, which may happen as it becomes more active, I'm approaching Weblogger.Com about offering a deal that would allow users to keep their Buzzword.Com address, move their weblog data automatically to one of its servers, and take advantage of its added features.