Dave Winer writes about “perpetual hosting” in this BBC article:
“I’d…like to be able to pay a web company, such as Amazon or Google, a one-time flat fee to host my content in perpetuity.”
This is something I’ve thought a lot about, too. I’d like this blog to outlive me so that when my kids have grown up, they’ll be able to read my old posts to find out more about me. Maybe they’d enjoy some of my goofy stories. Or perhaps they’d appreciate forward-looking technical posts like this one. And I’m sure they’d like to read about themselves.
Right now, though, I have no guarantee that this can happen. How can I be sure that what I write today can still be read by my children many years from now?
15 thoughts on “Perpetual Hosting”
You might be able to set up a trust to do just that.
Many people will knock DreamHost for being a sub-par webhost in terms of reliability, but they do have a “files forever” style hosting service… https://files.dreamhost.com/
I’d like this blog to outlive me so that when my grand grand grandchildren have grown up, they’ll be able to read my old posts to find out more about me.
But I understand what you mean.
Both for hosting and a domain itself, which I guess that you can only pay for a maximum of 10 years?
Hosting is getting cheaper everyday and more space offered for free as well, so that makes perfect sense. Why loose something that can be kept forever?
Maybe using some of the new ‘offline’ tech – Adobe AIR, Google Gears – you could simply archive your blog (and data) off to a CD/DVD.
I always assumed everything currently on the internet will be freely available forever, via some future archiving system.
It may sound like a sacrilege to some of you, but: why not print it (maybe as a series of “yearbooks”)? With books-on-demand services this shouldn’t be a problem at all. Sometimes and for some purposes low-tech just can’t be beat.
The closest I’ve seen are memorial web sites. A quick scan showed prices and features all over the place but I got a range from USD 25 to 100.
When I look back on content that is over a decade old I laugh at the design a bit though!!
Nightly, I automatically generate a PDF of the entire contents of my blog and burn it to 14 DVD’s.
It is a condition of my last will and testament that this historical document is read out to the grieving parties in its entirety.
Then I leave all my worldly goods and material possession to Battersea Dogs Home.
I can’t think of a company I’d trust to actually reliably continue to host my site perpetually. Companies come and go, and competent people at those companies come and go.
If I considered my words that important I’d set up a legal trust and appoint a trustee or two to use the money to keep the site going. If this was done right it could last forever. It would also cost a fortune…
Creating a hard copy is simple enough, but it’s not quite the same thing. Most of what I write here will be completely pointless for my kids (I’d be very surprised if they care about my RSS-related ramblings, for example). Having my blog remain online would mean they could browse/search it for stuff they want to read.
Plus, I doubt they’d want to keep a hefty set of “Dad’s Blog” books on their shelves in the first place!
How can I be sure that what I write today can still be read by my children many years from now?
Nick, I think what you looking for is an autobiography. It’s based on an old fashioned technology called ‘a book’. You say elsewhere you aren’t impressed with the newer iPhone development platform, well, books have survived for thousands of years, maybe that might be a clue.
I have pseudo-perpetual hosting via my account at “TextDrive” obviously it is only as perpetual as the company is. But it was a pretty low one time fee to get lifetime hosting of my content.
Overall it is a pretty decent deal and perhaps they, or another host, would provide a suitable solution for you. I think I paid $400 for my lifetime hosting which, will pay for itself in about five years of hosting, even if I don’t get a full lifetime (40+ years) worth out of it.
Yes, the only place I know of that does this is Joyent/TextDrive, but I don’t think there are any lifetime deals available at the moment (other than a very handy free Strongspace account if you buy SftpDrive). I’ve got a lifetime shared hosting account as well as a lifetime Accelerator.
That’s different from archival hosting, though. It’s an interesting question. Printing to a book an archival paper is one option. You could also PDF or ScrapBook everything and put it on Amazon S3 (and some other places) as well as on a DVD.
I think we’re all going to run into this problem at some point. My kids’ baby pictures are digital. I’m employing a multi-pronged strategy so I don’t depend on just one method. I use SyncBackSE to upload to a Joyent Bingo Disk every night. I also archive to DVD and to an external HDD.
So far, short of printing to archival paper with archival inks, I think you’re going to have to monitor things and keep updating your backups and archives over time. (Picture your 5.25″ floppies from the 80s — where could you read those now, even assuming they’re not completely demagnetized.)
I have a history website on Southern Gospel music that I’d like to leave “in perpetuity” after my death. I also have a blog with CD reviews, etc., which has less lasting value (other than personal).
I can think of a couple of ways this might be done…setting up a trust, for example. The question is…what sort of lawyer would specialize in setting up some sort of trust for me that would keep paying such a small bill (less than $100/year in hosting and domain renewal fees)?
My history site is a wiki with about six contributors. If I were to die, then it would soon vanish away and all their work along with mine would be gone.
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