Clarification time!

It’s time to shed some light and clarification on some of the things we do here.

Lately, we’ve gotten some feedback that people are getting our message and wanting to start a website which is excellent. The more people that start their own website means less centralization underneath the banner of a major conglomerate. Especially to those who choose a local or small web provider that gives you superior service versus the complete ambivalence of sites such as GoDaddy. Now for those who are interested in how we got into the blogging business, we have an article talking about how trials and tribulations from a shared hosting provider that only gave us 25MB of web space to the present time. We even have another article talking about how to start a blog right. This article mostly discusses the time frame and research it took to get where we are today.

Read on if you wish to know more.

In the beginning.

A bunch of teenage kids got together with the five elements: Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, and Cheetos.

Yes, the guy that had the spirit ring misplaced it and instead just put a badly shaped Cheetos he found in a bag around his finger hoping that none of the others would notice and also felt that spirit should be in oneself and not embued by creatures from the ethereal realm.

He was wrong.

By their powers combined it made a horrible atrocity invoking a brand new eldritch horror that ravaged the coast of lake superior halting free sport fishing and high-speed Canadian tobacco/liquor boat runs. In turn, the actions of those teenagers crashed the entire economy of the upper peninsula. No lives were lost but binge drinking increased by twelvefold. There was a haze of 80’s retro wave music playing and the U.P. banded together to take care of this problem once and for all.

Wait. No! That’s not the story we needed to talk about.

Restart.

Blog of S-Config Article Title Screen.

Ah! Yes, about this website. The very reason why this entry exists and where all of the data that is being plastered onto your screen is coming from. We’re going to limit this clarification to this domain because our previous article explains the evolution of how we got to this domain rather nicely. This is to explain that none of what we did here happened overnight by any stretch of the imagination.

Shared hosting.

AnubianHost-Title.On the 20th of October 2012, we registered the domain for this site with Anubianhost. At this time the website was hosted on their shared hosting services otherwise known as their “Scarab plan”  as they had an Egyptian theme to most of their account names. It is now known today as their “Starter” plan. Anubianhost also upgraded the amount of space from 8GB of space to 10GB of space as well as bandwidth increases per month.  150GB of bandwidth per month is a LOT for a starting blog! It would mean that your traffic would have to reach levels of million-plus users per month. So don’t let the bandwidth limitation fool you.

Cost.

At the time the monthly price of about $4.95(USD) per month.

There is also an $11.00(USD)/yr domain registration and finally, the $7.50(USD)/yr ID protect fee.

10 percent promotion applied at the time thus by yearly rate went from $53.46(USD) to $40.09(USD) per year- This lasted for multiple years unlike most web providers that only give you the discount for the first year and that’s it.

Grand total per year was $58.59(USD) per year and we got a website that didn’t suck or take forever to load like the overwhelmed servers at BlueHost and GoDaddy. There are people in America who pay more for their cable services PER MONTH versus the cost of starting a website for an entire year.

Reasons.

The original reason for purchasing web-space is consolidation. Upon starting my blog we simply transferred all of our articles and entries from Furaffinity, LiveJournal, MySpace, and my ancient services from ExecPC over to this shared hosting plan. Every time I saw a pop-up banner appear or ads show up it made me hate those providers more. That they are effectively using my data as exploitation. As explained in our previous blog it was also a comment that an administrator of a very popular site indirectly said to me. That data is expensive, and you should go host it yourself. To which we did!

We ultimately wanted better control over our own data. More importantly, we were not afraid to put in the work/time/money to make sure this happens.

Privacy concerns.

For those who have read my site, we tend to be very hateful towards large corporations and how they take your information only to exploit you later. Some of them have gotten so large that they don’t deserve the level of power they have over the populace. However, when you are hosting data on the internet you have to share your personal information with others. The good news to this is you get to pick and choose who that personal information goes to and are not given an illusion of choice like you would with the big-box companies.

The WebHost provider.

The first party that you must share information with is your web hosting provider. There’s no way around this. Even if you managed to convince the telecom industry to run a fiber line directly to your house the information about you is stored in their database. Just like paying your internet bill, electrical, housing,  basic information of who you are is required to do business. Now for those who want to run a ToR service, there are places online that accept bitcoin anonymously to host your data.  But one must ask if all they care about is getting your crypto then how reliable or trustworthy are such individuals?

Understand that this is a business transaction between us and Anubainhost. We wanted to host data, they have space to host that data. Anubianhost does not own said data and they could remove us off of their services at any time for any reason. Just as we could move our website to a new provider. We’ve chosen Anubianhost because they were not Christian Luddites like Bluehost were saying bad words like “FUCK” would get your whole site taken down. Nor do they sell our personal information to third parties. Anubainhost also has this policy in particular because they are artist-friendly (DeviantArt, Furaffinity, etc) and creative expression is important to them just as it is important to us. Thus, if we drew a bunch of penises on our site like a bunch of 8-year-olds. As long as we put up a disclaimer. Good to go!

The guys that control the domain itself.

The second party that you must share information with is ICANN. Which are the guys that register domains so you the reader are not typing in IP addresses like https://192.168.0.1/index.html as an example. This is to maintain sanity and reasonable levels of accountability. ICANN has been around since the beginning of the internet and not once have they divulged the information of those behind the domain names to anyone.

Summary time.

I’m sharing my personal information with a small business hosting web services and ICANN which is the oldest domain host registrar out there. Even though we have ID protection on our domain we are fully aware that would not stop a good detective/hacker from finding out who is really hosting this information. Just note that we don’t have to make it blatantly easy either.;)

We didn’t go through all of this to hide. We did all of this to make a statement as to how the internet should be. Which is data is presented and data is served. Without that information being obstructed by media groups that make the entire concept of web-page serving is inaccessible. And ultimately to make it safer for you the reader.

Fast forward to 2016.

We finally upgraded our site from the Scarab “Starter” package that Anubainhost had to the Anubis “Deluxe” package which respectively increased prices to $107.40(USD) per year. After a while of monitoring the bandwidth usage combined with wanting to sever ourselves from YouTube and Vimeo. We found encoding videos ate up space as well as bandwidth. It became necessary to have a little more bandwidth behind us so the place does not crash or time out.

Also, we added SSL to our site for obvious reasons. Which we purchased a wildcard SSL for about $48/yr.

Into the year 2017.

We upgrade again to the “Ultimate” package because we had about 20GB of content at the time and we were pushing around 330GB per month in terms of bandwidth usage. The cost was $155.70(USD) per year. There was not much to really report except that we were getting better and better with WordPress with our security, limiting how many plugins that were in use, doing backups. The site was bumping and moving along rather nicely. We underwent the terrible thing of changing WordPress themes as the old one was no longer in production anymore. The old theme due to lack of support from the developer as well as new exploits in the language that the developer used ended up with our site getting hacked once. That way super-fun but also informative. Stick with themes that the developer is always providing updates for. If you haven’t heard from that developer in a year. Might want to look into a new theme!

April 11th, 2018.

Was the point where Anubianhost offered VPS cloud services. Now the price to us was appealing and you get even more bandwidth doing it this way. We went with the “Starter” VPS plan because hey, 55GB of space and 2TB of bandwidth for about 3 bucks a month more. We skipped the “Lite” package because we wanted to run more services than just web-hosting. On top of this if you were to see how Linux services are distributed. You’ll quickly find out that your most processor/memory-consuming application is your virus checker or CLAM service. So, for those who have read this far. If you wish to host a static website that does not allow users to upload binaries to your site. Also, you have no intention of hosting e-mail where the internet could inject binaries that way. the lite package would be perfectly fine.

The “Starter” VPS package was $15.00(USD)/mo or $180.00(USD)/year.

To us, VPS is awesome because we can now do the following:

  • Host onion/Tor addresses
  • Change web-servers to Nginx and get HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 protocols going
  • Host a Shoutcast server.
  • Host an OpenSim plot of land.

Of course, we should note to you the reader that jumping from a shared hosting plan to a VPS is not the easiest transition in the world to do. We actually set aside a solid week to do the transition. On top of this, we bought the VPS 6-months prior to our Ultimate hosting plan expiring. We kept the shared hosting plan as just a backup in case everything we were about to do went sideways.

CPanel Menu.

Now, because of all of the stuff we’ve worked on with Raspberry Pi’s using Debian Linux shell was not a stranger to us. This is good because CPanel (pictured above) will not be waiting for us when we migrate over to a VPS. Of course, we could get CPanel installed onto a VPS if we wanted to pay an additional fee to the developers of that program. But we opted not to. Instead, take it as a challenge to simply do it ourselves.

In effect, you’re not just being an administrator of a WordPress site like how it is on a shared hosting plan. When you take on a VPS package you are also responsible for all of the programs that drive your server such as the firewall, name server, mail, virus checking, website, database management, the whole works! Yes, there’s software such as CPanel that can make it easy for you if you wish to pay for it. We didn’t because we are comfortable with shell and thus could tell CPanel to pound sand.;)

With a VPS, YOU are the server administrator, your web hosting provider is the one that lets you access said server slice for you to control. If you go into other providers of VPS hosting you’ll see in their TOS the restrictions of speech and pornographic images disappear because you are on a dedicated IP and thus, you will not impact neighboring websites like you would on a shared plan.

October 30th, 2020.

About a year ago we upgraded once again from the “Starter” VPS to the “Deluxe” VPS for $28/mo+2/mo for the datacenter to perform periodic backups. So, $360(USD)/year. This is mostly our preference because instead of my computer having to process and create all of the WebP/AVIF/JXL files, we let the server do it via a cron.daily job. Having 2 processors instead of one helps with tasks beyond web-hosting such as if we wanted to start up a dedicated gaming server. Or, if we want to run other optimization scripts in the background without affecting the performance of the website.

It should be noted that because of how much we’ve optimized our images combined with the newer browsers actually embracing newer technology the bandwidth usage has actually dropped over time to around 200GB/month.

Final thoughts.

Over the course of 9 years, we’ve gone from spending around $60(USD)/year to $400(USD)+ a year. In part, this is also because we’re receiving donations that offset a lot of the cost. Now to answer the question which we know we’ll get:

You could get the same service “X” times cheaper at Amazon AWS/GoDaddy/Google! – Unknown.

Not the point. We’re paying for quality on this one. Support small businesses. C’mon!

Did we -have- to upgrade in the way we did? No. We could’ve easily kept our small little blog going with the occasional videos while keeping the cost of the entire site under $100.00(USD). Part of our reasons for upgrading is to use necessary given the topics we discuss here. We want to talk about new and emerging web technologies and thus we have to apply those very technologies that we talk about. With JXL, WebP, Tor/Onion Networking. It’s all implemented here.

Ultimately, the reason why this article exists is to explain that nothing happens overnight. We started off as a clear-net website and opened ourselves to the Tor/Onion networks as a means of getting more readership while maintaining THEIR anonymity. Not necessarily our own. If we knew what we knew right now we may have built this website totally different. If we just focused on art and music alone we would have been on AnubianHost shared and that’s it! Which there is nothing wrong with that! Fewer headaches all around.

Anyhow, that’s what server said.

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