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Will You Agree for your data to be sold in exchange for a truly free hosting account?

Tobby

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There is a stigma with using free hosting services. I have tested a few of them and most are truly awful.

The barrier for building websites is truly broken down now. I feel the barrier to seamlessly hosting and launching your basic MVP should be totally broken down too.

Nothing is free so if a truly seamless and free hosting platform exist, something should be exchanged for it. If this exist, would you be interested in trying this out?
 
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For me, definitely no. Which free hosting service did you try? Free shared hosting like 000webhost is and always will be awful. Some static hosting like Vercel, Netlify and GitHub offer useful free tiers.

I hope I don’t sound too privileged to say that even for a couple of $ a month you can get a reasonable shared package and for $5 a DO droplet powerful enough for most small websites that using free hosting with all its risks and drawbacks just doesn’t make sense.

What ‘data’ would you expect would be harvested? You can’t harvest user data without their consent, that is highly illegal in the EU, California and more. I can’t see a limited amount of data agreed to by an admin to be of any value compared to worthwhile server costs.
 
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For me, definitely no. Which free hosting service did you try? Free shared hosting like 000webhost is and always will be awful. Some static hosting like Vercel, Netlify and GitHub offer useful free tiers.

I hope I don’t sound too privileged to say that even for a couple of $ a month you can get a reasonable shared package and for $5 a DO droplet powerful enough for most small websites that using free hosting with all its risks and drawbacks just doesn’t make sense.

What ‘data’ would you expect would be harvested? You can’t harvest user data without their consent, that is highly illegal in the EU, California and more. I can’t see a limited amount of data agreed to by an admin to be of any value compared to worthwhile server costs.
I agree with Adam!
Hetzner Cloud starts with 3€ for a small but powerful enough VM.
If you don't need dynamic servers - use static pages and host on netlify or one of the others named by Adam.

For me there wasn't any better/cheaper time for MVPs than now! 🤔
 

Tobby

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For me, definitely no. Which free hosting service did you try? Free shared hosting like 000webhost is and always will be awful. Some static hosting like Vercel, Netlify and GitHub offer useful free tiers.

I hope I don’t sound too privileged to say that even for a couple of $ a month you can get a reasonable shared package and for $5 a DO droplet powerful enough for most small websites that using free hosting with all its risks and drawbacks just doesn’t make sense.

What ‘data’ would you expect would be harvested? You can’t harvest user data without their consent, that is highly illegal in the EU, California and more. I can’t see a limited amount of data agreed to by an admin to be of any value compared to worthwhile server costs.
Thanks Adam.

Well, while your points are truly legit, I still feel perhaps something is missing. While other free hosting platforms are awful, I was hoping to capitalise on their drawbacks. There was once a company I knew of with free hosting and an exceptional customer support! It doesn't feel like you are using a free product with how they handle their clients. The company got acquired and the new parent company decided to cancel the free plans. Lol. Perhaps, it was getting too expensive I guess.

While you have a point that it isn't that expensive to get a shared hosting plan today, trust me when I say it's still very much a serious expense for people in other parts of the world. I have had a few people reach out to me specifically asking for this. I wouldn't know what to be exchanged for this aside money so I figured the closest is selling their data despite the fact that I don't know how this truly works..lol.

And of course, this will be clearly stated in the terms if this exist. While this might not be attractive to you or alot of other "not to sound like you are privileged" hahaha, everyone still tend to appreciate a free launch from time to time
 
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Adam

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Thanks Adam.

Well, while your points are truly legit, I still feel perhaps something is missing. While other free hosting platforms are awful, I was hoping to capitalise on their drawbacks. There was once a company I knew of with free hosting and an exceptional customer support! It doesn't feel like you are using a free product with how they handle their clients. The company got acquired and the new parent company decided to cancel the free plans. Lol. Perhaps, it was getting too expensive I guess.

While you have a point that it isn't that expensive to get a shared hosting plan today, trust me when I say it's still very much a serious expense for people in other parts of the world. I have had a few people reach out to me specifically asking for this. I wouldn't know what to be exchanged for this aside money so I figured the closest is selling their data despite the fact that I don't know how this truly works..lol.

And of course, this will be clearly stated in the terms if this exist. While this might not be attractive to you or alot of other "not to sound like you are privileged" hahaha, everyone still tend to appreciate a free launch from time to time
That's fair, definitely appreciate the pricing around the world varies a lot in terms of purchasing power. However, I would also expect that in countries where the purchasing power is a lot lower that any harvested data would also be worth less to buyers since data is usually used to sell products and therefore has to align with the potential profits. Perhaps I am being very unimaginative, would love to hear from some others on this!

A noble problem to solve though and would love for you to figure out a great way to handle it! :)
 
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Tobby

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I agree with Adam!
Hetzner Cloud starts with 3€ for a small but powerful enough VM.
If you don't need dynamic servers - use static pages and host on netlify or one of the others named by Adam.

For me there wasn't any better/cheaper time for MVPs than now! 🤔
It could be much more cheaper. 😅
 

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That's fair, definitely appreciate the pricing around the world varies a lot in terms of purchasing power. However, I would also expect that in countries where the purchasing power is a lot lower that any harvested data would also be worth less to buyers since data is usually used to sell products and therefore has to align with the potential profits. Perhaps I am being very unimaginative, would love to hear from some others on this!

A noble problem to solve though and would love for you to figure out a great way to handle it! :)
Very interesting angle as regards the value of the data being collected. Will appreciate to hear from other too!
 

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It could be much more cheaper. 😅
I know that there are parts of the world where 5$ is like a full month salary.
But I would be interested - what would be a possible pricetag for a hobby or MVP hosting?
0.50$ 0.10$ 0.05$ 0.01$ ?

I could think about a funding/donation based project!?
Let's say US/EU based devs can donate a VM - a fixed fee, a custom donation or a real server via a software you have to install - for example a docker image.
And devs in need for a free/cheap hosting can create an account and get a slot on the shared cluster.

Just as an idea - I mean how many west world/privileged devs pay for a 5$ DO they never use, or keep domains because of a crazy saturday night idea. Nothing is wrong with it, but primary right now there's also a movement in tech to support minorities. If you could help a child, PoC or poor dev in need to get an idea running or similar by buying one coffee less per month - why not!?
An idea would also be something like sponsorship portal. Devs can put in a description of the idea, what they need and why they can't pay it themselves and others can check these ideas and sponsor them. Possibly connections over the whole project get build like this.

Make them pay with their data feels like exploiting them. Is it their fault that they got born in the "wrong" part of the world? It feels like: 5$ DO = all your private data, 10$ DO = your first born child, 15$ DO = all your organs.

I have absolutely no idea if this would be easy/possible with docker, swarm, kubernetes ...
But in my head it sounds good - having several different sized VMs all over the world, a VM cluster software (Docker?) on all of them and the customers can upload docker images that will run (limited in resources) on this cluster.
Docker would/should also be good to prevent one app accessing another one!?
 
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I know that there are parts of the world where 5$ is like a full month salary.
But I would be interested - what would be a possible pricetag for a hobby or MVP hosting?
0.50$ 0.10$ 0.05$ 0.01$ ?

I could think about a funding/donation based project!?
Let's say US/EU based devs can donate a VM - a fixed fee, a custom donation or a real server via a software you have to install - for example a docker image.
And devs in need for a free/cheap hosting can create an account and get a slot on the shared cluster.

Just as an idea - I mean how many west world/privileged devs pay for a 5$ DO they never use, or keep domains because of a crazy saturday night idea. Nothing is wrong with it, but primary right now there's also a movement in tech to support minorities. If you could help a child, PoC or poor dev in need to get an idea running or similar by buying one coffee less per month - why not!?
An idea would also be something like sponsorship portal. Devs can put in a description of the idea, what they need and why they can't pay it themselves and others can check these ideas and sponsor them. Possibly connections over the whole project get build like this.

Make them pay with their data feels like exploiting them. Is it their fault that they got born in the "wrong" part of the world? It feels like: 5$ DO = all your private data, 10$ DO = your first born child, 15$ DO = all your organs.
I think this is the best answer. There are lots of schemes like this that I have seen with laptop donations but I haven't seen one with a little pot of money for digital resources. I really can't imagine how data harvesting would be sustainable, effective or ethical.

I wonder if a hosting company where you bought a package but could 'donate' a chunk of your unused resources to a pool that can be tapped in to by bootstrapped devs. Would be a unique selling point which hosts definitely need as well as a great cause.

In terms of little boots getting started, my favourite hosting company recently launched Katapult which is a bit like DO that starts you with £100 free credit which means about 9 months of free service on a 1 CPU/3GB memory cloud server: https://katapult.io/pricing/. AWS do free credits and DO also often have some kind of $50 - $100 promo to get people started.
 
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I think this is the best answer. There are lots of schemes like this that I have seen with laptop donations but I haven't seen one with a little pot of money for digital resources. I really can't imagine how data harvesting would be sustainable, effective or ethical.

I wonder if a hosting company where you bought a package but could 'donate' a chunk of your unused resources to a pool that can be tapped in to by bootstrapped devs. Would be a unique selling point which hosts definitely need as well as a great cause.

In terms of little boots getting started, my favourite hosting company recently launched Katapult which is a bit like DO that starts you with £100 free credit which means about 9 months of free service on a 1 CPU/3GB memory cloud server: https://katapult.io/pricing/. AWS do free credits and DO also often have some kind of $50 - $100 promo to get people started.
I think a solution powered by a bit of custom software installable by server provider would be great. I could buy a 3€ Hetzner Cloud Server and put it in. A dev owning a full grown bare metal could donate 50% of it and so on. Even the real providers could integrate it and offer plans like: buy your VM-medium and donate a VM-micro.
 
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This could be used to spin up a limited "VM" running alpine, debian, ubuntu or anything (choosable), adding SSH to it and allowing the user to run code in it. 🤔
But I bet that I get docker wrong - again. 🙈
Possibly @tom has n idea what could be a good approach for this? He's always my docker 🧙.
 

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Best thing would be a global Kubernetes cluster I think with many, many many many workers to spread the load and share decentralized resources. Even though this would be more of a „we try to stay online with an uptime of about 50%“ as it greatly depends on the people who are offering their resources which would it make less attractive for production systems as you‘d have to always worry if your eg. database will get through the night while you‘re sleeping. On the other hand introducing a scoring system based on uptime and availability could possibly conquer this 🤔 Interesting idea, very interesting!
 

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Best thing would be a global Kubernetes cluster I think with many, many many many workers to spread the load and share decentralized resources. Even though this would be more of a „we try to stay online with an uptime of about 50%“ as it greatly depends on the people who are offering their resources which would it make less attractive for production systems as you‘d have to always worry if your eg. database will get through the night while you‘re sleeping. On the other hand introducing a scoring system based on uptime and availability could possibly conquer this 🤔 Interesting idea, very interesting!
Interesting idea!
 

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we try to stay online with an uptime of about 50%
You mean because the host nodes could get offline? The typical problem that 2 VMs with 99% uptime each don't result in a better uptime but a worse - if I'm not too bad in math these two VMs would only provide a 98% total uptime. So every worker would reduce the total uptime by ~1% (the more the less each). Good point @tom ! 👍😱

So regarding uptime it would be better to provide the real host or/and split each real host into multiple but don't use multiple hosts for a single end-user VM/project.

So possibly easier and more stable would be the sponsorship idea. 🤔
 

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Ever since the GDPR came into effect, I have been reluctant to rely on any third party services. All of them will be vetted and judged based on their privacy policies and availability of data processing addendums. To me, a free service that sells my data is automatically disqualified.

Unfortunately the playing field for services that helps us developers has become harder to navigate.
 

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Not to be too forward or overly excited but I think perhaps this is a truly viable idea. How long would you think this will take to be built?
Setting up Kubernetes should be easy going when using the Digital Ocean service and wouldn't take longer than an hour I think. The thing that needs some more work is storage as this would need a distributed storage system that would need to have some sort of self healing feature for nodes that suddenly disappear. Or something like an S3 backup for files < 1mb in size from where we can restore them if a storage node goes offline.
Also the scoring system would need some manual work I think as I'm not sure if there already exists something like that.

Kubernetes itself already has a self healing feature built in for its containers, which brings them online on another, available host without much downtime if high availability is enabled. If we size the containers pretty small (1-5gb disk space + 512mb ram) it would be possible to not cause much downtime after all, though the amount of the projects that would experience downtime would be bigger.
Some sort of availability page with status, uptime and co would be a necessity. Does anyone remember Eggdrops? The IRC bots back in the days? Something like this here, but as an extended version including scoring based on reliability: https://www.eggheads.org/irc/uptime

If anyone is going to build something like that, a little note from where the idea came would be nice (or a small link to StickerRun to give credits 🤪)
 
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You mean because the host nodes could get offline? The typical problem that 2 VMs with 99% uptime each don't result in a better uptime but a worse - if I'm not too bad in math these two VMs would only provide a 98% total uptime. So every worker would reduce the total uptime by ~1% (the more the less each). Good point @tom ! 👍😱

So regarding uptime it would be better to provide the real host or/and split each real host into multiple but don't use multiple hosts for a single end-user VM/project.

So possibly easier and more stable would be the sponsorship idea. 🤔
Yes and no (somehow). As I said in my previous post, if we can get a nice scoring system up and running with self healing features, we'll be good to go. We'd need a pretty big master server for Kubernetes (and a few smaller ones that can jump in if the big one fails) that can handle all the possible traffic thats coming in and manage all the worker nodes. Also some sort of distributed storage system with self healing features.
If we could get that up and running, we could run a few smaller tests and then start offering it to a bigger amount of users.
One big thing is the security aspect featuring an incoming and outgoing firewall with request limiting to conquer abusers of our service. Also blocking all possible ports with possibility to allow them on single port base (has to be done by a member of the support team).

We'd also have to run multiple clusters to not hit any of the limitations of Kubernetes:
Code:
At v1.18, Kubernetes supports clusters with up to 5000 nodes. More specifically, we support configurations that meet all of the following criteria:

No more than 5000 nodes
No more than 150000 total pods
No more than 300000 total containers
No more than 100 pods per node
EDIT: This project would be a nice testing playground for Kubermatic for setting up and running kubernetes clusters.
 
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