Frequently Asked Questions

The NearlyFreeSpeech.NET FAQ (*)

Member Support (*)

What is the status of my support issue?

How can I get specific software installed for my site?

What is a system problem?

Do I really have to buy a subscription membership just to get a simple question answered?

Why was my system problem report closed as "works as configured?"

What are the options available for member support?

Can you help me restore something that has been deleted?

Why was my system problem report closed as "not a system problem?"

What are the various responses to a system problem report?

How can I give you private feedback about your service?

How do I "cash out" unused support points?

Do you participate on Twitter?

How do system problem reports work?

What is an assistance request?

Why don't you provide free support?

Short answer:

We do, through our forum.

Long answer:

Unless you're satisfied with the sort of people that mumble at you from prewritten scripts that may or may not be related to the question you asked, tech support is a very difficult job that requires extensive technical and people skills, almost constant training, and a lot of dedication.

The money to pay people to do that hard job has to come from somewhere. So all web hosting companies charge for support, and there are five ways to do it:

  1. Operate at a loss, backed by investors, trying to slurp up customers by giving away service, including support.
  2. Offer "free" services, including support, by inserting ads into your hosted content.
  3. Hide the cost of "free" support by charging higher prices for other services and including support, like a "free" prize in a cereal box.
  4. Hide the cost of "free" support in a flat monthly fee that is completely independent of usage.
  5. Openly and honestly charge for the service of support.

Few companies more than a year old use strategy number 1, because it's really expensive and the market is too competitive; they either change or fail. It's still charging for support, it's just charging the investors instead of you.

Option 2 can work if everyone involved has low enough expectations. But they are charging their customers for the cost of providing you support. You're just not their customer.

Most companies choose options 3 and 4. So they may claim it's free support, but it can actually be quite expensive, especially if you aren't using it.

As a "pay for what you use" service, we use option 5. If you're willing to commit to not asking for support, you shouldn't have to pay for it. So our model recovers the costs of support only from the people who want it. This has two major effects.

First, people who never or only rarely use support can save substantially over the long term.

Second, people who want support beyond what the forum offers may pay somewhat more, or at least somewhat more visibly, for it here than they would somewhere else, since the cost of providing it to them won't be subsidized by a bunch of other people who pay the same amount but never use it. It's hardly expensive as monthly web hosting fees go and we do our best to make the support we provide worth the price.

Why don't you provide more detail in response to system problem reports?

How do I buy support points?

What if I can't figure out which support option to use?

Why does your support cost so much?

Why shouldn't I wait until I need support to set up a subscription membership?

What are support hours and expected response times?