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PeterT is to Retire From UKDivers

Discussion in 'Site News & Important Notices' started by PeterT, Feb 6, 2015.

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  1. Dan Payne

    Dan Payne Active Member

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    Yes basically I think you guys hit the nail on the head. I use a few, mainly this one and the another. I just always feel this seems more relaxed and people having a laugh. I always feel more welcomed here. Well until you tell me to bugger off!! lol

    Oh and I'm happy to help if i have the skills to do so.

    Would it be an idea do some type of membership. Im a member of the VW T4 forum, where anyone can join for free, but if you want some added benefits you pay a tenner membership per year. There a few benefits, but my fav is the discounts retailers offer to members. It has paid for its self god knows how many times over.

    For new users who are new divers this could be very favourable and help fund running costs. Retailers who would like to sell or advertise on the forum do pay a considerable amount more.

    Not sure what you could offer more experienced divers who have most/everything already though.

    Just a thought. Would prefer it stayed free, but needs must at times.
     
  2. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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    Bugger off Dan! ;)

    We need to get an idea of hosting costs and then we can make plans and move the forum forward.
     
  3. Dan Payne

    Dan Payne Active Member

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    Right thats it. I with draw my last comment. Bar stuards!! ;)
     
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  4. Adp591

    Adp591 Member

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    I,m up for helping ! As said friendliest forum around !! Well..
     
  5. PeterT

    PeterT .

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    This is just an outline of current costs for information only.

    UKDivers.com due for renewal Feb 23, 2017
    UKDivers.co.uk due for renewal Oct 14, 2016

    Server information

    Hosting is currently with HeartInternet
    I am running a VPS (Virtual Private Server)
    Server name XXXXXX.vps-10.com
    Operating system CentOS 6
    Control panel cPanel
    Primary IP Address 212.48.70.224
    CPU Cores 1 core
    RAM (Memory) 2GB
    SSD (Disk Space) 25GB

    The specification of this super fast VPS with SSD can be changed on the fly (up or down)

    The cost of the server package is £45.59 inc VAT per month due tomorrow :)

    The forum software is XenForo purchased at $140 + VAT the licence to use is indefinite but if support/updates are required the cost is $40 + VAT per year this is due for renewal Feb 22, 2015
     
    Doomanic likes this.
  6. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
    UKD Supporter

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    I'll also throw my hat in the ring. There's quite a few IT people here, myself included, who can run this type of system.

    Happy to discuss options with anyone.
     
  7. Dave Whitlow

    Dave Whitlow Well-Known Member

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    I imagine the real cost is time required to maintain a secure linux system. That really needs someone who keeps current with latest vulnerabilities and patches and will apply them as soon as they are available. Backup and recovery and software updates also require relevant platform experience and time.
     
  8. furryman

    furryman hmmmm
    Staff Member UKD Supporter

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    Isn't that what you pay the hosting company to do?
     
  9. PeterT

    PeterT .

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    Most updates can be handled via cPanel but yes some urgent vulnerabilities require accessing the Linux core via SSH I use putty for this.

    Backup and recovery is again handled through cPanel I do scheduled daily, weekly, and monthly backups to server space I rent from Namecheap here in the UK I pay about £85 a year for that space but do use it for testing/playing with other stuff too

    No the hosting company is not responsible for keeping the server up to date as this is a VPS rather than shared hosting plan.
     
  10. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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    What do we think guys/gals? Can we make a go of this?
     
  11. furryman

    furryman hmmmm
    Staff Member UKD Supporter

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    PeterT's figures indicate that the cost to run the beast is 6/700 pounds per year.
    We have seen nothing in public about the income the site generates from the advertising and clickthroughs (perfectly understandable).
    Similarly there will be a (probably low) amount of income from the paid sponsors (commercial and private)

    I would suggest that it is unlikely that the forum could continue purely on the back of sponsorship from the ordinary members - I don't have the time or tools to track number of active members, but I would guess it is in the tens rather than hundreds (ignoring the various spammers - if we could charge them every time we ban them, we would be rolling in it!). This is much smaller than another diving forum where the active membership is just under a thousand. Therefore we would have to ensure income from the clickthroughs etc OR recognise that the annual subs for the "UKD Internet Diving Club" would have to be in the tens of pounds per month range, not tens of pounds per year.

    I wonder if we could affiliate to SAA? That appears to be a much looser organisation than BSAC, greater degree of independence, yet still retaining the benefits of mutuality and a governing body, yet with the additional attractions of third-party insurance and so on.
     
  12. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
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    I'm one of the owners of that forum and the costs of that forum are approximately £2000 per year. That's with a very over-specced infrastructure, which is complete overkill. Our advertising income basically just exceeds that so we generate a small cash reserve each year. However, I disagree it is unlikely that this forum will survive on the back of sponsorship. I could see it happening.

    Costs of running a far smaller forum like this do scale down. Backup costs will be the same, and hosting won't be that different, but there will be savings. If I was to host this forum in a semi-professional way with a properly updated server and robust backup plan, with tested restorations etc I estimate it would cost £700-£800 per year. That excludes anything Peter wants for the domain etc. If you can rely on 20 people paying, you are looking at a monthly subscription of £5 more than covering the costs.

    If someone wants to take this on I am happy to advise on the Linux / SSH server setup and management. I can't really lead the move as I have too much on, but if someone were to

    1. Agree a price for the domain from Peter
    2. Agree to take responsibility for the paying the hosting company
    3. Organise donations from the community (bet you'd get a few hundred quid without trying and cover the first year).
    4. Agree a server spec with me and purchase the relevant hosting plan.

    Then I would be happy to advise on how to setup a server, move the forum etc, and keep it up to date.

    If anyone wants to step up and be the new owner, drop me a line and I will give them a bell to discuss my experience of doing it and how to make it painless.

    the first thing that needs to happen is someone needs to have a conversation with Peter that does not dwell in ambiguity;

    1. We know how much Zenforo costs - do you expect to be paid for your past purchase, if so how much
    2. Price of transferring ownership of the domains?

    If Peter expects to make a profit from this then the forum is dead.
     
    #32 Gareth Burrows, Feb 9, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
  13. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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    Well, I'm prepared to throw my hat in the ring but I'd like to keep any negotiations in the public domain so the members of the forum can see what I/we/they are getting themselves into.
     
  14. becky9

    becky9 Diving bore!

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    I'm willing to put £20 a month in, I don't really have the time or the inclination to help run it though (as unhelpful as that may seem!) x
     
  15. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    As far as I'm concerned, UKD *is* my dive club. I've met more people here who share my diving passion than in my "real world" diving club. I've had more help and advice from people here. I've met so many people I really respect here and my diving has immensely improved as a result. I've also met up with quite a few people to just go diving with.

    I would be gutted if my UKD club were to go dark.

    Given that the overheads are in the order of £1000/year, it shouldn't be too much to simply get people to pay into a kitty to get things going. Sure, initially we'd need to get some funds into a bank account to ensue things keep going, but once we've got over that we could look at the number of members and prospective members then set the level of subs accordingly.

    So, we could have a bunch of "founder members" to kick things off, then sort out the normal "members" later.
     
    furryman and becky9 like this.
  16. bgdiver

    bgdiver Active Member

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    I may be able to help in terms of the VPS.

    I already have a VPS through Heartinternet setup for my business. Which is an almost carbon copy of the spec PeterT listed. Except for the SSD we only have a standard HDD. We currently only use 10GB out of a total 50GB. I would happily give up a portion of my VPS for free to be used for UKD. However I do not have the time or knowledge to run a setup like this, so someone else would need to manage it. At least that would cut out the £45 a month.

    Obviously, I need to double check how this will impact on my own site, but if I can help, I will do. UKD has been a great intro into diving for me so it would be a real shame to see it disappear.
     
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  17. furryman

    furryman hmmmm
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    Spot on: significantly more than a tenner a year.

    Spot on: Key question.
     
  18. Sidemount_Stu

    Sidemount_Stu Sidemount & Sane!
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    I'd be happy to contribute financially as a founder member, providing the price isn't stupid..... i have plenty of time on my hands and would happily support where i can. I know nothing about VPS or the software/hardware needed to run the forum..... but i'll support any way that i can.
     
  19. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
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    Are you happy for your business server to be brute forced attacked pretty much on a daily basis? Forums attract hackers. I wouldn't dream of putting the TDF forums on any of my business servers. What happens if the forum requires a shell upgrade that is incompatible with your business?

    Are you happy for other people to have root SSH access to your business server? You can't just have 1 server admin in case that person isn't available / is off diving / off on holiday. Forums die if they have to wait for Bob to get back from Swanage.

    Is your business happy for the server to be rebooted whenever XenForo requires it for an update?

    I can think of two UK forums off the top of my head have been set up on the cheap with server space being shared with someone's existing setup. Neither forum is still alive because, quite rightly, the business requirements ends up calling all the shots.
     
  20. Zubar

    Zubar Active Member
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    Thanks for your input Garf. I was waiting for you to show up! I realise you were dealing with Wibble!
     
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