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web hosting "forever"?
Old 11-26-2012, 09:46 PM   #1
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web hosting "forever"?

What are some options to keep some content (text, photos, etc.) online indefinitely after I'm gone? I envision a reputable company or group that for a one-time fee promises to host the content "forever". I understand technology is evolving such that the web itself will become outmoded eventually, but until then I'd like my content to remain publicly accessible. I prefer an organization with an established online history since IMO they are less likely to simply close up shop.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:18 PM   #2
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Kiddingly (half at least), just open a Facebook account and post away.

It'll stay there and with their difficult to understand privacy controls, be open to the public.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:33 PM   #3
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Indefinitely? Are you sure you want that? Technology changes. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the internet of today became completely irrelevant in 20-30 years. Newer, greater communications capabilities will supercede it and make our present internet look primitive.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:34 AM   #4
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I've been considering writing in my will who should make sure my web stuff stays online after I pass away. But realistically, there is little hope that surviving family members or friends will find that very interesting and be capable of doing that. (few manage to have a homepage or e-mail address that lasts more than 10 years)

There seems to be plenty of info about this though, for those who have time to read
https://www.google.com/#hl=en&safe=o...ce+after+death
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:58 AM   #5
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Indefinitely? Are you sure you want that? Technology changes. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the internet of today became completely irrelevant in 20-30 years. Newer, greater communications capabilities will supercede it and make our present internet look primitive.
Sure, for as long as the web is operating. Since the complexity of advancing the content to the next technology is unknown, the cost to do so is unknown, so I don't wish to try to fund that before death. Twenty or 30 or 100 years after I'm gone would be fine by me.

The problem is finding a reliable permanent hosting site. Searching on things like "web hosting forever" turns up site that promise FREE hosting forever. Except in rare cases, "free forever" is an unsustainable business model, hence I do not trust such hosts will be around for the duration.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:20 AM   #6
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Twenty or 30 or 100 years after I'm gone would be fine by me.
No no, 20 or 30 years from NOW... unless you are planning on expiring tonight.

Let's see - - 26 years ago I took an electrical engineering class in which we explored the internet. We wandered around on Milnet, Arpanet, Texnet, and were given the assignment to "break into" our professor's account remotely via the network (which was not yet considered to be such an evil thing to do), to find and retrieve our assigment. Information on the internet then generally consisted of text files containing documents and programs and such, often located on a VAX. So, if you had this done 26 years ago, you would have paid big bux to have a text file stored for eternity on a VAX that is now in some computer graveyard and connected to Texnet, a network that I doubt many people use any more, if it even still exists.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:25 AM   #7
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Well, actually, these is some content I created over 30 years ago that is still publicly accessible online, but only because someone else is funding it. The cost of hosting is so low -and decreasing- that I don't anticipate a large fee for "permanent" hosting of, say, a few megabytes of content.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:29 AM   #8
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Well, actually, these is some content I created over 30 years ago that is still publicly accessible online, but only because someone else is funding it. The cost of hosting is so low -and decreasing- that I don't anticipate a large fee for "permanent" hosting of, say, a few megabytes of content.
Uh huh. Good luck.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:45 PM   #9
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What are some options to keep some content (text, photos, etc.) online indefinitely after I'm gone? I envision a reputable company or group that for a one-time fee promises to host the content "forever". I understand technology is evolving such that the web itself will become outmoded eventually, but until then I'd like my content to remain publicly accessible. I prefer an organization with an established online history since IMO they are less likely to simply close up shop.
I guess the main question is...why?

But if you don't care to share that, and if you are serious, I would think you would need to set up and fund some kind 'foundation'. Put a bunch of money in an account, and the interest goes to pay a 'caretaker' in perpetuity.

Another possibility - find someone interested enough to assure it stays available. The Library of Congress keeps stuff, and other museums do. Donate enough money to a University so they build a wing of a building and put your stuff on display.

If you want to do it on the cheap - make it interesting enough that people will voluntarily want to keep it. It's amazing how much history in obscure corners of interest is stored on the web. As long as there is interest, someone will keep it.

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Old 11-27-2012, 08:34 PM   #10
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What are some options to keep some content (text, photos, etc.) online indefinitely after I'm gone? I envision a reputable company or group that for a one-time fee promises to host the content "forever". I understand technology is evolving such that the web itself will become outmoded eventually, but until then I'd like my content to remain publicly accessible. I prefer an organization with an established online history since IMO they are less likely to simply close up shop.
You can't manage forever. As mentioned, a company can say they'll do forever.

Kodak will keep all of your treasured photos online for a fee? How much longer do they have? I think the accounts were transferred to another company.

I can keep your web online forever. But I will die, and have no succession plan. Trust me, it will still be there.

Of course you don't trust me, and there is really no reasonable amount of money you can put into this which will guarantee a forever outcome.

But...

Check out archive.org. Review the time machine feature. Generally speaking, they have time stamps of many web sites. I don't know how archive.org is funded, but I suspect they will be around for a long time. So they will not host your pages, per se, but they will archive them.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:21 PM   #11
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archive.org might be suitable if they preserved photos.

With digital / online gradually assuming the role of older media, it seems logical to me that "permanent" hosting is available somewhere. Decades ago to hold content of this type (historical research) I would have published a printed book. Now a dead-trees approach seems outdated, especially when the reverse process (scanning books for preservation purposes) is busily underway.

For the space I need, hosting fees by reputable companies are on the order of $40 annually, and decreasing. If I paid, say, $1000 up front (an amount with which I'd be fine), the 4% SWR we here use for FIRE purposes would fund that annual fee for a long time. I've made some inquiries but so far found no organization that is providing this service
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:24 AM   #12
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archive.org might be suitable if they preserved photos.

With digital / online gradually assuming the role of older media, it seems logical to me that "permanent" hosting is available somewhere. Decades ago to hold content of this type (historical research) I would have published a printed book. Now a dead-trees approach seems outdated, especially when the reverse process (scanning books for preservation purposes) is busily underway.

For the space I need, hosting fees by reputable companies are on the order of $40 annually, and decreasing. If I paid, say, $1000 up front (an amount with which I'd be fine), the 4% SWR we here use for FIRE purposes would fund that annual fee for a long time. I've made some inquiries but so far found no organization that is providing this service
Shared hosting has worked for me in this way. I have two reseller accounts. One started in 2005. The yearly fee was $219. The deal is that if you keep paying, the fee will remain the same. It has. I have another account elsewhere, but it is $300 / year.

Your minimal account is probably subject to increases each year. I've never heard of a business rejecting pre-payment. New one for me.

I have a family email account in the cloud for the purposes you describe. Have shared spreadsheets and word docs which are used to help son with savings discussions. Camera pictures go there.

When a new tech feature becomes available, I give it a try. It sounds like you need a ready made product rather than a handful of tools. It does sound like a cloud account will work. But someone must manage it.

Look for forums where web hosting topics are discussed. Try to define reputable company.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:21 AM   #13
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... Decades ago to hold content of this type (historical research) I would have published a printed book. Now a dead-trees approach seems outdated, especially when the reverse process (scanning books for preservation purposes) is busily underway.
...
Why not write the book and publish in .pdf or epub format? You can then submit it to Google books or perhaps Google play. I think the Google cataloging projects have a long life ahead of them.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:55 AM   #14
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So far, no one wants a pre-payment apparently because they are not set up to draw from that money to pay the annual fee. Also, pre-payment does not represent a commitment to move the content to another host should the company dissolve.

Setting up a trust to pay a $40 fee once a year is wasteful overkill since the administrative costs would far exceed the hosting fee.

Publishing as a book removes much of the value of the content. It's already in simple HTML form, including reference links within itself. Given what Tigger wrote in this thread, it would seem to me there is demand for "perpetual" hosting. If FIRE were not so nice I'd establish a company to offer this service. Selling empty 250 MB online spaces for, say, a $1000 one-time fee each sounds sweet.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:45 AM   #15
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Setting up a trust to pay a $40 fee once a year is wasteful overkill since the administrative costs would far exceed the hosting fee.
But the $40 has nothing to do with the hosting fee. What you would be paying for is someone to 'look after' your data. And that would include making sure it is backed up separate from that host , and transferring it from one hosting service (or from the backup) to another, in case the current hosting company goes belly up, or no longer offers that service or any number of things that could happen in the decades to come.

I would think that would entail an annual 'check up' on the current host, and possible action if things aren't going well. $40 is not a lot to ask to take on that responsibility on a one-on-one basis. There has to be some succesion plan in there, so you need to go to someone that is familiar with setting up trusts that can offer these features.

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Selling empty 250 MB online spaces for, say, a $1000 one-time fee each sounds sweet.
And how would you assure long-term data preservation in the face of an uncertain future. I am not a lawyer, I assume there must be some standards to offer a contract for such a long term - Cemeteries offer these 'in perpetuity' contracts, and they are subject to regulation, right? It would seem unethical to take someone's money, promise to take care of their data 'forever', w/o a real solid plan to be able to deliver that. That costs $.

-ERD50
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:00 AM   #16
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Well, I found http://www.perpetualwebsites.net/ which has the right idea, but whose site design does not inspire confidence. There is no contact phone, address or email so the only apparent way to contact them is via a web form that malfunctions with various browsers.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:58 PM   #17
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...

Publishing as a book removes much of the value of the content. It's already in simple HTML form, including reference links within itself. ....
google indexes .pdf & epub, same as html. Links are not a problem in either format.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:50 PM   #18
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opposite situation... some 13 years ago, in a creative frenzy, developed 15 websites on a "free host" site. Promptly forgot about them until I was erasing an old hard drive, and came across the URL's... which still work. The host is not actively "working" the site, but the content remains...

edit:
ooops... finally got around to checking the "free" website... It's no longer "free" but has annual fees... They never came back to me to ask about paying, but the free sites are still there...
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:09 PM   #19
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There are no perfect solutions. Every approach has risks.

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Old 11-30-2012, 12:22 AM   #20
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I envision a reputable company or group that for a one-time fee promises to host the content "forever". I understand technology is evolving such that the web itself will become outmoded eventually, but until then I'd like my content to remain publicly accessible. I prefer an organization with an established online history since IMO they are less likely to simply close up shop.
I thought that Google already cached much of the Web's content.

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What are some options to keep some content (text, photos, etc.) online indefinitely after I'm gone?
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For the space I need, hosting fees by reputable companies are on the order of $40 annually, and decreasing.
Actually you won't need any space at all. You'll be dead.

Are you sure you're solving the right problem? For example, what do you own of your ancestors (family or friends) that's 50-100 years old? And do you regard it as trash or treasure? Blessing or burden?

From a descendant's perspective, if anyone really gave a crap about your valuable files, would they be archived in a museum or the Smithsonian? Or are they just one more megabyte of "valuable collectibles"?

Maybe the best approach would be to put your files on a drive, host copies on a server as long as you can, and keep upgrading the storage drive every few years. Then you can at least keep them current with the latest HTML82 and MPEG83 data specifications.
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