Jump to content

Long term future of the self-hosted option


jair101
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've been reading the forums (or whatever access I have left since I am not renewing license at the moment) and there is one theme that keeps repeating in the responses from IPS management - self hosted licenses are responsible for the bulk of the support load and a lot of the developement load, most bugs are related to self-hosted licenses since IPS has no control how server is setup, etc. You can find this in pretty much every post by @Lindy.

Another common theme from IPS staff is "we do what is good for our target audience". Judging by the homepage, which promotes enterprise options and the fact that the cloud license is way more visible, I assume that hobbyists with self-hosted licenses like me are not the target audience. Fair enough.

Which leads me to think - how long before support for self-hosted is stopped, because it is not a money maker and it takes resources which are better spent improving the product for the cloud and enterprise customers? I know that is up to IPS to do what they feel like and if they feel that self-hosted is not worth it they have the right to stop it, it is commercial product after all and not a charity. I am soon upgrading from 3.4 to 4.1, this is going to cost me around $300-400, which for me is a lot. I definitely don't want to spend even more then that if I have to switch to another system next year if IPS suddenly decides that self hosted is no longer supported and updated...

I doubt that I will get a promise that self-hosted will be supported forever and ever, but can IPS at least promise that they will give a lot of advance notice if they plan to terminate self-hosted option? Like 1 year or something? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, jair101 said:

how long before support for self-hosted is stopped

I can't speak for @Lindy or for IPS or anyone who works for IPS but from a business stand point from the limited knowledge we have from a customer's stand point, the forum market and stuff, I'd say that self hosted is a majority of IPS' money maybe?

Regardless if that is the case or not, I doubt it will ever stop because hosting, clouds, dedicated servers, etc are only getting better and cheaper as technology presses on. Plenty of users enjoy/need to be in control of their own infrastructure for one reason or another.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Management

Good question! 

The short version is: we have no plans, immediate or distant future, to discontinue self-hosted licensing. 

The longer version is: it does indeed account for a significant amount of support overhead. IPS4 is relatively complex and leverages the latest technology we can get away with, while many economy hosts are still using MySQL 5.0 and PHP 5.3 and 5.4. So, we have a good number of people trying to run rather advanced software on a $4.99/yr. shared hosting plan or an entry level VPS. We also have a fair number of folks who underestimate the value of a proper sysadmin and try to configure *.* - multiple caching engines that clash with each other, improperly configured nginx, modsec, etc. Those are often every bit the handful that the $4.99/yr. environments are. Then, we have many clients like RevengeFNF that are versed in self-managing their environments and/or have good hosts that do great. Even still, self-hosting is and will remain a really good option for those who insist on control of their environment and have a competent host that can help them with environment specific issues. It's not something we intend on "doing away with."

Most likely, two things could happen: 

1. Self-hosting could continue to become more of an advanced user offering and support would be more narrowly focused to clear product issues and inquiries. 

2. SaaS is the future by most standards. I could envision us continuing the downloadable version while also expanding on CiC/SaaS as many others do. The latter would be the former in nearly all regards, but in instances where we can do some cool offerings to leverage our own infrastructure but providing such in a self-hosted environment would be a fruitless effort, we would have SaaS/CiC only services. 

As The Dark Wizard said, "hosting", clouds and traditional servers are cheaper than ever. It's also unfortunately a case where more people than ever think they can be their own host or "get in the cloud" without any direct knowledge of basic administration or support of a rather sophisticated and dynamic environment and ultimately are upset when we ask that they contact their host because their database keeps getting corrupted, or something doesn't work because of a missing module or changed configuration. It's difficult trying our best to assist, but at the same time stressing that self-hosted = self-managed as we just don't have the resources to be sysadmins to clients and tech support to/for other hosts. 

We are seeing an upward trend of more CiC accounts as an increasing number of clients just don't want the hassle of dealing with the environment and especially don't want to be caught in the middle of host vs software. 

Hope that helps ease your concerns. ^_^ 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Lindy said:

Hope that helps ease your concerns. ^_^ 

 

Not really ^_^ But thanks for the explanation, I am not complaining and not criticizing the way your business is run. All I am asking is that there is a little bit of advance notice, like one major version ahead. 4.2 is coming, maybe with the release of 4.2, you can announce if 4.3 for some reason will be cloud only. Something like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i've my hosting, my ftp, my ssl (as free), my setup and i've buy ips with download pack and possibility to install in my host. then, I really hope this never change.

minor price with ipb cloud is, if I'm not in error, 20$/m. my host is, atm, about 70€/y (also with custom php.ini, memcache and ssh, ftp etc).

then, sorry, but I really prefer to remain with my host.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Management

 

3 hours ago, jair101 said:

Not really ^_^ But thanks for the explanation, I am not complaining and not criticizing the way your business is run. All I am asking is that there is a little bit of advance notice, like one major version ahead. 4.2 is coming, maybe with the release of 4.2, you can announce if 4.3 for some reason will be cloud only. Something like that.

Perhaps you missed the bit where I said there are no plans to do away with the self-hosted option? ;) If we ever did and again, we have no plans to do so, we'd give more than a couple versions notice. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Lindy reading your post i remembered something. Its not possible for us in our client area to tell if we self manage our server or if the sysadmin/host manage the server?

Just for better communication. Instead of the support staff tell me to talk to my host to change something, they would directly say for me to do it ;)

 

Edited by RevengeFNF
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, RevengeFNF said:

@Lindy reading your post i remembered something. Its not possible for us in our client area to tell if we self manage our server or if the sysadmin/host manage the server?

Just for better communication. Instead of the support staff tell me to talk to my host to change something, they would directly say for me to do it ;)

 

That would help quite a bit. We used to run a Windows setup, probably the bane of the support folks we talked to, and despite quite a bit of communication back and forth, would regularly be referred to "our host". Well, that's us. I agree that it would afford clearer communication.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Lindy said:

We are seeing an upward trend of more CiC accounts as an increasing number of clients just don't want the hassle of dealing with the environment and especially don't want to be caught in the middle of host vs software.

This is exactly why we switched to CiC but I do understand why folks want to be self hosted as well. It offers independence and as long as people have the right servers and the right knowledge, especially developers, then I see a self hosted option as not only viable but required (assuming the profit margins make sense, if support to self hostees costs far too much overall then it's no longer viable).

I just wish people would listen when IPS says don't try "to run rather advanced software on a $4.99/yr. shared hosting plan or an entry level VPS". You will get bugs and other issues. Outside of third party installs clashing and the known bugs by IPS we have had ZERO problems with CiC. I am guessing that people with the right servers who aren't messing with the base code of their sites experience the same as me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be fair, IPS' cloud hosting is prohibitively expensive in certain situations. I know we effectively pay through volunteer expertise, but the physical costs for self hosting are vastly cheaper than the enterprise package IPS inform us we would require if switching to CiC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think a big problem is the learning that people must do before they are proficient at self hosting. Too many people, as Lindy says, think they can get away with substandard hosting, because they don't know it's substandard hosting. Cheap hosts, offering cheap value hosting, don't tend to care about their clients needs. They're catering for the ignorant in most cases.

There are some good shared hosts though, I've been through a few and several supported IPS quite well. I can't link to them, but they do exist. If interested, PM me for details.

There are also some good VPS hosts out there. I found a cracking deal for a managed VPS @ £24 per month for a VPS with 1GB RAM. They maintain the server, perform the security and software updates, provide the admin panel, etc., for a bargain price IMO. Backups are costed extra, but that's not a surprise. They have, again, hosted my forums without issue. My astronomy forum is currently hosted with them and, whilst it's not the fastest I've ever seen, I've been very happy with it for the cost.

I now self host one forum on an unmanaged VPS. I decided to learn to do this, firstly to see if I could do so, so a personal challenge, and, secondly, to see if I could save money, and I've thoroughly enjoyed doing so. I started with shared hosting though, so I have a good idea about the differences between a software issue and a hosting issue. I tend not to raise support tickets now unless I've exhausted every other option. The last few issues I've had, that I can remember, were all hosting related. The software has just worked.

I currently host using NGINX and MariaDB and use Memcached for caching. It's a lot faster than my astronomy forum, but also a lot more work. Hopefully, and I think this is the case, it hasn't translated into more work for IPS.

Long live self-hosted licences! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...