Frequently Asked Questions

The NearlyFreeSpeech.NET FAQ (*)

General (*)

What's the most important thing to know about your service?

What's the most common mistake people make while signing up for NearlyFreeSpeech.NET?

Why do I have to enter my real name when creating a membership?

Can I beat your pricing if I get my own VPS?

Maybe. We aren’t out to provide the cheapest possible service. In fact, we have absolutely no interest in doing so. Our goal to is to provide a high-quality service at a fair price, and make it scale so we can put that service in the hands of as many people as possible, many of whom couldn't otherwise afford it.

With that said, the most common reason people feel that we're more expensive than an alternative is that they are comparing us to a different type of service.

We provide a fully managed environment, including frequent security updates, careful performance tuning, and 24x7 response to crashes and outages for everything underneath your code. The tools you need to build your site are already there, ready to be used and customized however you want. We have dedicated infrastructure to build a constant stream of updates, more infrastructure that runs regression tests on those updates to make sure things are working before they get to you, then we let you pick just how aggressively you want those updates applied.

With an unmanaged VPS, the provider maintains the hardware (hopefully), but doesn’t care if your VPS is up or down. The full responsibility of installing and maintaining the OS, the system configuration, all the packages and utilities, and the entire application stack falls on you. Every critical security update. Every urgent kernel patch. Every weird error in the system log. Every crash in the middle of the night. Every traffic surge. You have to know about it, you have to know what to do about it, and you have to do it. Often on a deadline. And that responsibility never goes away. It never even takes a day off.

Occasionally, people comparing us to a VPS zero-value that, because it hasn't occurred to them, or because they plan to do it themselves (some of it, anyway — system administration is a well-paying full-time job) and haven’t placed a dollar value on their time. But VPS providers sure don't zero-value it. The price difference between an unmanaged VPS and a fully-managed VPS from the same provider is often $50-200/month. Already, our pricing looks a lot better!

Second, the lowest VPS deals come from brand new providers who lose money on every sale. They’re buying market share by selling below their cost. We don’t compete with them on price. We just wait for them to go out of business.

Third, VPS providers use all sorts of tricks to make it seem like they’re providing a lot more than they really are. Hopefully you’re already convinced, but if you’re in the mood to keep reading, the rest of this FAQ entry contains a partial (but long) list of such tricks and what we do differently.

VPSs and RAM:

VPSs and storage space

VPS overselling

We are not trying to say all VPSs are bad, or even that they’re all a bad deal. There are some applications where a VPS is a better fit than our service. And if you don’t need or want all that we provide, and don’t mind doing a lot of work yourself, a low-end VPS may save you some money. But in an awful lot of cases, for sites big and small, we provide an excellent value that no VPS can match.

How much does the average site really cost?

Do you provide email hosting services?

Is your service easy to use?

Do you provide DNS hosting services?

How many web sites can I host with a NearlyFreeSpeech.NET membership?

Do you register domain names?

How will I know if my account is about to run out of funds?

Why do you only offer prepaid service?

My web designer says I should use somebody else instead of you. What do you say?

Do you price-match your competitors?

How can you make money at these prices?

What is the minimum deposit?

Will you design my web site for me?

Do you offer collocation, dedicated servers, or VPS services?

What happens if I get slashdotted/reddited?

Are you about to pop up a "chat now with sales!" ad on me?

What if I want to set up a web site but don't have a domain name / don't want to fool with DNS?

How come your service isn't free?

What's the difference between bandwidth and storage?

Why doesn't your website look like other hosting provider sites?

Are your domain registration services intended for general-purpose usage?

What if my web site gets attacked?

Is your service only for controversial or extreme websites?

Should I set up my new small business website at NearlyFreeSpeech.NET?

Will you pre-approve my web site content or usage for compliance with your Terms and Conditions of Service?

How much will my site cost to host with you?

What kind of uptime can I expect with NearlyFreeSpeech.NET?

Is this cloud computing?

Where are you located?

Do you offer telephone support?

Someone else uses your service and wants my help with it. How do I help them?

Should I use NearlyFreeSpeech.NET or a VPS?