With the intent on providing transparent, honest, and reliable hosting services, a non-profit, democratically-run web hosting cooperative called WebHosting.coop has launched today with a focus on providing quality shared hosting with an emphasis on member participation.
According to its Tuesday announcement, WebHosting.coop is based around the idea that the cooperative approach benefits users more than a strict capitalist approach. For $100 a year, members receive shared disk space and bandwidth, unlimited sub-domains, email accounts, FTP accounts, and MySQL databases, as well as a voice in the decisions that affect their services.
WebHosting.coop allows members to collaborate via an online software called Town Hall. This gives members the ability to submit, vote and communicate on key issues that directly impact the cooperative’s direction.
WebHosting.coop’s approach attempts to circumvent a few of the traps that make a disconnect between services and user needs such as the motive of maximizing profits and poor decisions made by company executives.
Of course, it’s important to note that decisions made by committee are not necessarily better than those made by corporate executives. Group decisions are often plagued by compromises to please all members of the group resulting in what’s called “groupthink”, as well as the influence of particularly persuasive (or loud) members over the group.
In addition to providing a digital Town Hall, WebHosting.coop members will be able to participate in scheduled events, review transparency reports, take on-line training classes, and communicate with other members who share the same physical resources.
In its decision to enter the shared hosting space, WebHosting.coop also wants to address several common problems typical of shared hosting such as oversold servers, inadequate backups, lack of server redundancy, and unnecessary ad placement. This co-op resolves these issues by reducing the amount of users per each shared server, providing daily backups, having multi-region DNS and email redundancy, and only advertise up-sells that members vote in.
WebHosting.coop also plans to educate members on building websites using freely available open-source software.
WebHosting.coop co-founder Brian Modansky said in a statement, “We must not be limited by the ways of our past but instead should focus on positive and innovative solutions through the sharing of ideas and with the cooperation of our digital community.”