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The end of a project

I have to acknowledge that my hope of setting up a private server has ended.

For the past couple of years, I've wanted to set up a server of my own. The reasons:

  • I am concerned about LiveJournal, my blogging host. Its servers are located in Russia, and (in theory) might be shut down without warning if the Russian government decided that that the dissidents who blog in LJ are troublesome. I investigated other blogging platforms, but they all had problems, especially with automated cross-posting to LJ (which I do not want to give up).

  • I wanted to offer a space where friends of mine could set up small web sites or blogs of their own.

  • I'm Wiccan. I'm concerned that many of my Wiccan friends have tossed away privacy for the sake of convenience in organizing Wiccan events and discussing Wiccan issues. I wanted to offer a platform that was not being monitored for marketing keywords.

  • I wanted to offer a private mail and mailing-list server that supported encrypted messages (both GPG and S/MIME, for those who care) so that personal or Wiccan issues could be discussed without monitoring for advertising purposes (which both Google and Facebook do).

I looked into various services, and decided that the best way to get what I wanted was to create my own server and have it hosted on the least-expensive hosting provider I could find (Linode). So I configured my server, reading up on best security practices, and set up a "virtual" server that was ready to transfer to Linode when I could afford it.

Linode's least-expensive plan is $400 every two years, which works out to $17/month. That's a good price (typical fees from other providers are $30/month). There was one problem: I would have to put up all $400 in advance. In the two years I've engaged in this project, I've never had that much cash to spare. Life got in the way: car repairs, medical expenses, and so on.

Beyond that, I became aware that no one else but me would make use of this server. My Wiccan friends would never switch off Facebook to any other platform for any reason. Anyone who wanted to set up a blog or website of their own would go to one of the major hosting providers, which offered convenience over security.

I've decided that I'll periodically archive my LJ blog using LJBook or other clients and leave it at that.

I regret I have to set this project aside. I feel my reasons for starting it are still valid, but we all have to live within our limits.

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