Become a TNP Supporter!

Former English Colony

InFECtious
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Our community has thrived for a long time through the hard work, dedication and support of its membership. When we transitioned in 2018 to get away from TapaTalk and to XenForo, we recognized that while it would require a regular payment, it provided a vastly superior experience for our region.

We started a Patreon way back then, and we had an awesome swell of support. But over time people have dropped off, funds have dwindled and we have reached a point of not breaking even. And to avoid making Eluvatar pay out of pocket for all of our benefit, we would like to bring back the Patreon as a regular thing. In the interests of full transparency:

Our current regular costs are for the following:
  • Forum Hosting from Digital Ocean - $18/month
  • Xenforo License - $55 annually
  • TNP Domain Name - $16 annually
Total current yearly expenses: $287 or ~$24 a month

Recently our Discord Bot has not been able to provide masking support. While this has now been fixed (Thanks Sil and Oracle!), it was brought to our attention that there is a Xenforo/Discord Integration that would allow masking to come straight from the forum. This would be an additional $15 a year cost.

If you would like to help support TNP, please go to the Patreon and select Supporter or Sustainer. You can make a one-time, larger donation (Supporter) or a much smaller monthly donation (Sustainer). We don't have the Sustainer badges ready quite yet, so until they are we'll be putting a Supporter badge on accounts. As it says there, you can cancel a monthly donation and you’ll still be able to use the Supporter badge on the forum.
(Also, if you are currently one of the supporters and don't have a badge, send one of us a PM with either the username or email

Thank you for being a member of TNP and we hope you continue to enjoy your residence here!

~TNP Administration

Also, please note this should not be discussed or promoted on the NationStates main site. Feel free to talk about it on our Discord servers or in this thread.
 

Yuno

TNPer
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Our current regular costs are for the following:
  • Forum Hosting from Digital Ocean - $18/month
  • Xenforo License - $55 annually
  • TNP Domain Name - $16 annually
Total current yearly expenses: $287 or ~$24 a month

Hello!!

I have a few suggestions, this is my set-up which saves me money. I'm going to share this.

I buy a Domain from https://www.namecheap.com/ which is only $15 annually, oh and I can use the "honey" to get 10% off. but the domain isn't the issue.

It's the hosting that's 18/month, which is 216 per year for hosting. For a forum??? That's insane. https://www.namecheap.com/hosting/shared/ If you buy this hosting, it'll only cost you $50 per year for 20GB, or $75 per year for unmetered SSD (which means unlimited GB!) You'd save $141 per year on hosting alone.


How many GB is this forum in total?

Also, that Xenforo license, doesn't need to be re-newed every year. You can buy your Xenforo platform once (which you did-- it costs around 160 or 180 dollars), and just let it be. You keep your forum software forever. You'll still get Xenforo forum software updates even without the license (I tried this myself. I haven't updated my own Xenforo license in a few years, and Xenforo.com is still giving me new forum updates.)

The only thing that the Xenforo license gives you, is Xenforo tech support customer service, but you don't really need that. This Xenforo forums is really easy to use. If you need it, you can buy the $55 again ONCE you need that, once it's necessary.

It's also PERMITTED to do this: You can however use XF2 with a expired license, you just can't get ticket support or access to new versions.

^that's what they say on their xenforo forums, but I've been getting new versions with my expired license somehow, so I think Xenforo is just being nice (?)


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Also, it's really easy to migrate hosting. I can write a tutorial if needed.

But basically, this setup, cost me roughly $80 per year instead of $287 per year it's costing TNP. If TNP forums are less than 20 GB in data, then it'll only cost (50 hosting+14 domain) $64 per year.

I have a xenforo forum, that's pretty identical to TNP, and I'm only paying roughly $80 per year instead of $287 per year :)

So I do recommend this!

Also, regarding that linked xenforo/discord integration that costs $35, I don't think that it costs $15 yearly afterwards. The way that plugins/add-ons work, is that, they'll give you the plugin. You'll upload it to your Xenforo forum. Then, you keep it forever. That extra $15 (after the first year) is to be able to contact them for Support or get yearly new updates, which you don't really need.

Hope this helps :)

Also I wish to thank TNP admins for introducing me to the Xenforo platform, I purchased my own licenses and I've created many Xenforo forums for MANY different communities outside of this game, so now I have a lot of experience with forum migration and can answer questions or give suggestions on "What's cheap" and "how to save money."


TL;DR: Do the above, and you'll only pay $80 or $64 per year for thenorthpacific.org instead of $287 per year.
 

Yuno

TNPer
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BETTER SUGGESTIONS: I have an even cheaper suggestion. I also use this.

Instead of the $80 or $50 per year hosting,

I recommend this French provider that I also use, called o2switch.fr. They're amazing.

For $60 per year, you get unlimited hosting for everything-- AND, you get a FREE DOMAIN FOREVER, (so you can make that domain, thenorthpacific.org, instead of registering a new one.)

So $60 per year, will cover both domain and (unlimited) hosting.

o2Switch and Namecheap both provide unlimited customer support (tickets, or live chats.)

Buy it here (use google translate) since this company is headquartered in France.



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Eluvatar

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It's the hosting that's 18/month, which is 216 per year for hosting. For a forum??? That's insane. https://www.namecheap.com/hosting/shared/ If you buy this hosting, it'll only cost you $50 per year for 20GB, or $75 per year for unmetered SSD (which means unlimited GB!) You'd save $141 per year on hosting alone.
I have experience with shared hosting and I think this forum deserves the quality of (virtual) private hosting. We started at a $5/month virtual server, and had to bump to $10/month early on.

How many GB is this forum in total?
The most relevant GB for our forum is the RAM: 2GB. That comes with 50GB in local storage. We also have a second, 1GB RAM / 25GB storage droplet which was used by @Sil Dorsett to host a discord bot. It doesn't appear to have been used for a while. I imagine it can be removed.

The $18/month is $10 for the 2GB virtual server the forum is hosted on, $5 for the 1GB virtual server for a discord bot, $2 for backups of the 2GB, $1 for backups of the 1GB.

Of the 2GB RAM available for the forum, we are using 1.1G in-memory and 770M as cache. This is with twice daily restarts of php-fpm which would typically fill up our 2G if allowed to run for a week.

Of the 50GB storage available for the forum, we are using 8.7G for the database (a backup of the forum db is 203M, compressed) and 2.5G for the forum code, images, and attachments. Another 8G or so is taken up by some backup files, most of which could be pruned at this point. 17G are used by logs. Overall we are using 41G out of 50, and will need to prune some logs and backup files at some point in the next year or two.

Also, that Xenforo license, doesn't need to be re-newed every year. You can buy your Xenforo platform once (which you did-- it costs around 160 or 180 dollars), and just let it be. You keep your forum software forever. You'll still get Xenforo forum software updates even without the license (I tried this myself. I haven't updated my own Xenforo license in a few years, and Xenforo.com is still giving me new forum updates.)
The last time our support year expired, they turned off the ability to install updates.
 

Sil Dorsett

0.00 g/dL
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We also have a second, 1GB RAM / 25GB storage droplet which was used by @Sil Dorsett to host a discord bot. It doesn't appear to have been used for a while. I imagine it can be removed.
Check with @Oracle on that, because I thought the TNP Gen discord bot was being hosted by you, with Oracle maintaining. I pay for my own droplets for the RP server bots.
 

Oracle

The Goddess of Death
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Check with @Oracle on that, because I thought the TNP Gen discord bot was being hosted by you, with Oracle maintaining. I pay for my own droplets for the RP server bots.
The old Red V2 bot was on the hosted server, but the current bot is hosted on my own server since I use it for other servers as well.
 

Yuno

TNPer
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Thanks for answering about the hosting size! I'll get to it next. I wanna make a suggestion about the xenforo license.

The last time our support year expired, they turned off the ability to install updates.

09-E39-D75-C215-48-B4-8836-D5-B4-ABC48361.jpg



This is what it shows for me, and it still lets me download an update past the expiration date. Could it be a personal account glitch or is it possible xenforo stopped turning off that ability?

Maybe it's worth not paying for the support year whenever you can, and only pay for a license renewal when a new, valuable xenforo update is out (since a new xenforo update comes every few months. You'd save a few months of payment.)

alternatively, skip some years where you buy updates since you don't need updates to operate as is. This current update that TNP forums is on, isn't so bad, it's operable. Basically, Skimp out on forum updates.

However, I think you should try skimping out on forum updates this year, and see whether it's still giving you updates. That one time disablement might have been a fluke. If it's not a fluke, still skip out payments whenever you can.
 

Yuno

TNPer
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I have experience with shared hosting and I think this forum deserves the quality of (virtual) private hosting. We started at a $5/month virtual server, and had to bump to $10/month early on.


The most relevant GB for our forum is the RAM: 2GB. That comes with 50GB in local storage. We also have a second, 1GB RAM / 25GB storage droplet which was used by @Sil Dorsett to host a discord bot. It doesn't appear to have been used for a while. I imagine it can be removed.

The $18/month is $10 for the 2GB virtual server the forum is hosted on, $5 for the 1GB virtual server for a discord bot, $2 for backups of the 2GB, $1 for backups of the 1GB.

Of the 2GB RAM available for the forum, we are using 1.1G in-memory and 770M as cache. This is with twice daily restarts of php-fpm which would typically fill up our 2G if allowed to run for a week.

Of the 50GB storage available for the forum, we are using 8.7G for the database (a backup of the forum db is 203M, compressed) and 2.5G for the forum code, images, and attachments. Another 8G or so is taken up by some backup files, most of which could be pruned at this point. 17G are used by logs. Overall we are using 41G out of 50, and will need to prune some logs and backup files at some point in the next year or two.


The last time our support year expired, they turned off the ability to install updates.
Wow this is intricate!

Okay, I understand your reasons against shared hosting. I personally haven't noticed much lag but yes some lag is possible.

TNP forums is much smaller than I imagined, (if we ignore the multiple backups.)

What about using this VPS instead? It gives you root access, complete control, and I don't think this counts as shared hosting. I'd imagine that the speed would be really fast, no lag.

The $6.88 per month plan says

  • 2 CPU Cores
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 40 GB SSD RAID 10
  • 1000 GB Bandwidth

$12.88 per month
  • 4 CPU Cores
  • 6 GB RAM
  • 120 GB SSD RAID 10
  • 3000 GB Bandwidth

You noted that this forum is using 41/50 GB (which is shrinkable since you mentioned planning to prune some backups) , then 41/50 GB would qualify for both of the above VPS plans.

And the first plan provides 2GB RAM, the 2nd plan provides 6GB RAM, rounded to $7 and $13 respectively.

Your ocean digital provides 2GB Ram, at $18 per month, which is still greater than both these plans. You could potentially save $11 a month which is $132 a year and the years add up.

That's my last and final suggesting for hosting; if you can't do shared hosting, try namecheap VPS hosting.

Thanks for considering and providing the information!
 

Former English Colony

InFECtious
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I'd be curious to know if you get access to 2.3 or further 2.2.* updates whenever they come out. I could see granting something in April with a February expiration. 2.2.8 came out at the end of 2021.

We could stop and start our subscription, yes. But we also appreciate the ability to update as needed whenever Elu has the time to set aside. We've had this software for almost 4 years now. We've moved from XF1.5 to XF2 (and omg was that a pain for Elu) and gone through about 20 XF2 updates if I'm counting correctly. I think in our view not having to debate whether the $ for another year's license is worth it and just updating on demand is easier to manage.

I'm not touching the where it's hosted conversation. Elu has to manage all of it, he gets to evaluate the options.
 

Eluvatar

TNPer
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Your ocean digital provides 2GB Ram, at $18 per month, which is still greater than both these plans. You could potentially save $11 a month which is $132 a year and the years add up.
The 2GB RAM droplet is costing us $12/month, not $18. The other $6 are going to the smaller, 1GB RAM droplet.
 

Sil Dorsett

0.00 g/dL
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Ouch. I thought the TNP general bot was on that smaller droplet. Didn't realize Red V3 was Oracle-hosted. Yeah, if that smaller droplet only hosted Red V2, then it hasn't been functional since July 2020. As long as you're sure that droplet is not being used for anything else, drop it.
 

Yuno

TNPer
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The 2GB RAM droplet is costing us $12/month, not $18. The other $6 are going to the smaller, 1GB RAM droplet.

Ouch. I thought the TNP general bot was on that smaller droplet. Didn't realize Red V3 was Oracle-hosted. Yeah, if that smaller droplet only hosted Red V2, then it hasn't been functional since July 2020. As long as you're sure that droplet is not being used for anything else, drop it.

I may have forgotten to follow-up on Oracle telling me it was no longer necessary.


Okay, this is good news! That means that it's only $12 per month for VPS hosting from Digital Ocean. Now, that's $72 per year saved. (By deleting this unused Red V3 bot, you'd pay 144 yearly instead of 216 yearly = 72 saved.)


Now, (6.88*12=82.56) is the yearly cost of the VPS Pulsar.

(12*12=144) is the new yearly cost of your Digital Ocean VPS.

You can save $61.44 per year if you migrate VPS. $61 in savings might not be much for one year, but the years add up.

Of course, only do that if you have time. (I can create an easy step by step tutorial since I've done this manually before. )

I'M GLAD that we managed to save $72 yearly without having to migrate yet though.
 
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Yuno

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I'd be curious to know if you get access to 2.3 or further 2.2.* updates whenever they come out. I could see granting something in April with a February expiration. 2.2.8 came out at the end of 2021.

We could stop and start our subscription, yes. But we also appreciate the ability to update as needed whenever Elu has the time to set aside. We've had this software for almost 4 years now. We've moved from XF1.5 to XF2 (and omg was that a pain for Elu) and gone through about 20 XF2 updates if I'm counting correctly. I think in our view not having to debate whether the $ for another year's license is worth it and just updating on demand is easier to manage.

I'm not touching the where it's hosted conversation. Elu has to manage all of it, he gets to evaluate the options.

This sounds like a great idea, if I'm not misunderstanding you.

My suggestion is this:

There's 0 point in buying a 12-month Xenforo license in April , if there's no Xenforo Updates until August..

The smart move to do, is keep an eye on Xenforo general news, and only renew your 12-month license when a new update is available.

For example, if you renew your Xenforo license in April 2022 (with the expiration date April 2023), but Xenforo doesn't provide new forum updates until AUGUST, then that means that you threw away 4 months of money.

Updating a Xenforo license is literally just a PayPal purchase that takes a couple minutes.

It's not worth paying 4 months.

Just renew the licenses as infrequently as possible, or renew the licenses when Elu has the time for an update.

For example, if Elu says, he's going to update in November, then wait until November and renew the license.

Basically, if a new update comes out in August and Elu wants to do the update in December, then buy the renewal in December.

OR if you don't want to time it around Elu, then time it around Xenforo updates themselves:

If a new update comes out in August 2022, DON'T renew your license in April 2022. Wait the 4 months, then renew it in August 2022. Try to save your 4 months of money.

It takes only about a minute to renew a license, so it's not worth paying dozens of dollars over "timing".

Hope these examples made sense!

Since each license renewal is 12 months, think of this like a yearly netflix subscription (a special Netflix where you get to retain your access to all shows you had access to at the end of your subscription, without paying anything - but you won't get any new shows unless you're subscribed. )

If by the end of your 12 months and your licensed expired, if no new shows are gonna come out for a few months, you can stay unsubscribed for a few months until a new show comes out. When that comes out, you can resubscribe. Then you can tell Elu.

( Because, having renewed your license for months where there's no updates, Elu can't do anything with it without the new updates anyway. )
 

Yuno

TNPer
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I'd be curious to know if you get access to 2.3 or further 2.2.* updates whenever they come out. I could see granting something in April with a February expiration. 2.2.8 came out at the end of 2021.

You might be correct! That is an interesting theory. I'll let you guys know when the free updates stop for me.

What month/year does TNP's xenforo license end?
 
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