Welcome to PPP

Hello, visitor, and welcome!

If you're reading this, it's highly likely that you've been looking at one of the websites hosted here, and are curiously peeking on the server where the website is located. Or, of course, you're an evil cracker looking for another server to exploit.

Assuming the former, let me just say that this is a personal project that I have been entertaining for about a decade or so: there are always friends, non-profit organisations, and tiny companies which cannot afford the costs of high-end web hosting, especially the kind that is ad-free (because there are many 'freemium' solutions out there). And, as you know, the cheaper the service, the worse it is — 'there ain't no such thing as a free lunch', as the Aussies would say.

Well, I'm providing the free lunch. I believe that no matter how small the organisation, how unimportant and non-famous someone is, they still have the right to get fairly adequate web hosting with modern tools — and pay the least possible amount they can. Usually 'nothing'.

This could have been hosted on a low-level shared hosting service for a few dollars per month. In fact, in the past, that's how it worked. But you get next-to-zero control over shared hosting; you never know what idiot is running the latest WoW clone server next to you, and sneakingly tying up all CPU. Been there; done that; got the T-shirt.

Over the years, the cost of hardware has fallen — especially 2nd-hand hardware — while the cost of maintenance (that means human beings who are expert system administrators) has risen, as they become more rare (the higher the demand, the less people are available to work for a small fee, therefore the prices rise). Thus, on average, the costs of web hosting have come down, but they are not 'zero' — they sort of flattened out, in the sense that you can get more features (faster CPU, more memory, more bandwidth) for the same amount of money. Because labour costs have remained the same, however, there is a limit on how low this can go, even though the higher density of hardware in the same data centre, the cheaper everything gets.

To reduce further the savings, there is no other option but to get rid of those pesky humans and throw them into the unemployment queues. Tough.

A few operators are doing business this way: they rent ultra-cheap, zero maintenance, second-hand hardware. They basically plug it to power and Ethernet and expect you, the client, to install and do the maintenance — basically, pushing over the hard work to you. The only thing you get is a way to remotely press the power button, but that's pretty much it. Some even give you access to a console for some extra money, but most don't. This is 'low cost server hosting', just like the low cost airplane companies — you get the bare metal, powered up and connected, but everything else is up to you.

I love it 😀

To be honest, I'm actually jumping up and down in joy. I get for a handful of dollars what would cost a thousand dollars per month... five or so years ago (ten years ago, the kind of performance I get today on 2nd-hand hardware didn't even exist... not on single servers anyway). Sure, probably I'm getting those servers from five years ago. I don't mind; who cares; it's far faster than any cheap shared hosting, VPS hosting, or even cloud-based hosting service I know. Obviously the service has no SLA, and can break apart at any moment without notice. That's life at the edge: either you accept the risks and save huge amounts of money, or you go safely — like with cloud computing with 100% guaranteed uptime — and pay a small fortune just to see a handful of webpages. The choice is yours.

Tiny organisations and individuals usually have no choice but to go to the lowest of the lowest end, while I guess that these days there will be few high-traffic websites that do not have something cloud-based. But high traffic means popularity, and that, in turn, means $$$ flowing to your pocket, so you can afford paying for quality service. Tiny organisations don't have that amount of money, but it's unfair to provide them with crappy service just because they are too poor to pay.

Well, here is my response to that. I volunteer my time to do some routine maintenance of the 2nd-hand server I've got running — and that means quite reasonable performance for the amount of traffic that these sites have. It's not really bad. And of course this is a real server, not a 'virtual thingy' shared by billions. I can run streaming servers — audio and video — if I want. I can run my own IRC channel, or whatever is popular these days. If I want, I can even set up a porn channel in here (not that I'm in the least interested). It's my server, so I'm allowed to do whatever I wish — so long, of course, that I'm not violating any international laws (like, say, setting up a Bitcoin-based drug & arms webshop... or a server for spamming or hacking or spreading viruses). That means freedom. That means independence. That means autonomy.

I'm my own service provider. And boy, how I love it!

(Yes, I used to have companies providing such kinds of service. I'm still friends with some people running their own companies. So I know what I'm doing — hopefully 😁)

Questions and complains? Fine, go ahead. If you know me, you know how to reach me. If you don't, well... what are you doing reading this page anyway?