Non-profit discount


#1

I work for a small non-profit and we will need to find a new web host by July 1. DreamHost’s non-profit discount (FREE!) seems fantastic, but almost too good to be true. While I am VERY uneducated in the field of web hosting (or web anything) I’m interested in satisfaction levels of other non-profits currently taking advantage of this offer.

FYI, I work for a fundraising organization that works with the general public as well as corporate foundations. We work in partnership with a federal organization, raising funds on their behalf. We are a 2 person staff at this point and have pretty basic web needs. Thoughts? Feedback? Suggestions? Thank you!


#2

Well… about satisfaction, it should be the same as for others,
with the price as only difference.


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#3

I have no experience as a non-profit at DreamHost, but know that they have the same account types as the paying customers here - same level of service, etc. In fact, since you’ll be getting the “Simply Business” level of service, you’ll actually get better service than most of the people you see here on the boards. We all share the same servers, though.

I know there have been a number of people inquiring about the non-profit hosting on this board. Hopefully one of them will chime in with some specific testimonial.

The one thing I remember reading is that once you decide to go forward with hosting, you should make sure you’re qualified (see this page on the DreamHost support wiki), then, uhh, follow the other instructions on that page. :slight_smile:

You say your needs are basic. What kinds of things did you host? Just static html? WordPress? Joomla? Drupal? media downloading?

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#4

Other than an extra callback or two, the service would be the same.


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#5

I have some knowledge of this situation, as I recently moved one of my clients’ existing non-profit sites to DH on a “free” non-profit plan.

My client has been very happy with the performance, and I have seen no difference in the quality of service for this “free” site than I have for my other clients’ paid sites on Dreamhost (They don’t seem to place the “free” sites into a “free sites” ghetto of any kind, if that is your concern!).

I’m convinced it is the best deal on the internet for any non-profit that can qualify and can be adequately served on a shared server (most can!).

–rlparker


#6

Thanks so much for the quick feedback! I feel good about DreamHost as a company, but probably just need to do some reading up and educate myself about all the details involved in the transfer of our site. We are not currently managing the site in any hands-on way - we forward requested changes to a parent org who charges us for each change. We are going independent from that parent organization, so will also need to manage our website content ourselves. That seems to be the biggest burden at this point for us as opposed to the hosting issue. DreamHost doesn’t manage content, do they?


#7

You are welcome! Staring to manage your own content and updates is a challenge, and how difficult it will be depends entirely upon your own technical expertise, understanding of web technologies, and the type of site you are operating (static html, scripts, CMS (Content Management Systems), etc).

My client was having the same issue as you are describing, and was relying upon a third party for the updates to their static html site, and that was a problem both in the timeliness of updates, flexibility, and cost.

When they came to me, I migrated them to a CMS (Content Management System) running on DH which allows them to manage and update their content themselves with a minimum of technical training.

Despite what you may hear, doing anything other than updating text, even with a CMS, necessitates a little training, but it is no more than learning how to operate the CMS system, and preparing and integrating graphics. DH tools make the basic server and email administration simple for anyone.

You might be well served by finding a knowledgeable web developer to help with the migration of your site, and possibly the conversion of your site to a CMS (so that you don’t need to learn the whole “web dev” toolkit to make changes/updates).

Of course, you can do all this yourself, though it might be more cost effective to just contract the initial move/training so that you can be “up can running” quickly.

DH does not “manage” content, but they have provided the Joomla! CMS and the WordPress Blog (and usable as a CMS) system for “automagic” install from their Control Panel, and their system is compatible with a large number of other CMS applications that are easily installed on DH by an experienced developer.

–rlparker


#8

You’re mostly correct! The servers are the same, you get 5 callbacks a month, a free unique IP address (to run an SSL domain or anonymous ftp), and VPN access.

As seiler implies, you also get higher limits on disk space and bandwidth with the L4 plan, but that’s mostly irrelevant as the limits on the cheapest plan (L1) are more than enough for most uses anyway!

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#9

This is more than helpful. Thanks for the straightforward explanation and suggestions on what we might want to think about during this transition. It sounds like the CMS is what we’d need, since our site is mostly static with a few text and image changes every once in a while (monthly or so). And if DH provides that option, it seems that what I’d need to do is look into the necessary training to be able to manage the site ourselves.


#10

Correct – but I would label that stuff as features. I was replying to:

Which would seem to imply that you get better service on that plan.

Since you’re put on the same servers and receive the same support, I wanted to be sure he understood that the service itself is the same.

Especially since he seemed aware of what the plan was, but uncertain if he received the same treatment as a freebie-account.


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#11

Good deal! From my experience with clients in similar situations, I suggest that the main training you will need is regarding three main subjects:

  1. The use and operation of your chosen CMS - Both the Joomla! and WordPress applications have extensive user communities on the web, and there are many “free” web-based and documentary tutorials on their use available on the web. Joomla! is the more complete and powerful of the two, though it is somewhat harder to “get your head around”. You should be able to get yourself up to speed on either or both of these applications using these resources.

  2. Preparation of text and graphics for use on the web. The re-sizing and optimization of graphics on the web is very important, as most modern digital cameras produce images far too large (in both dimensions and filesize) for web use. There are many tutorials on the web for preparing web graphics, and you could avail yourself of these to resolve that issue. The main issue you will face with text is the understanding that MS Word is worse than useless for preparing text for the web, as MS mangles text cut’n’pasted into most CMS systems with MS specific codes - this can be avoided by using a more generic editor, or by using the CMS system’s “cleaning” facilities to re-purpose such text. Again, the web has lots of info on this process, as do the various CMS user communities.

  3. Management of the site’s administration, to include timely backups and management of email accounts. The Dreamhost wiki, these forums, and the user communities for the various CMS applications have lot’s of help available for these functions.

All that said, the remaining consideration I would advise you to look into is the careful organization or content for your site. Ideally, this should be done with the CMS you will be using in mind, as the methods for organizing and presenting data in a logical structure varies somewhat from system to system. Generally speaking, I feel that “simpler is better”, as it makes your site easier to manage and information will be easier for your visitors to find on the site. This is another area in which you may want to seek out a professional, though again, there are many educational resources that deal with this readily available on the web (and in the various CMS user communities).

Finally, many organizations in your circumstances choose to approach the process in a two-stage manner: first they develop their “new” site, and test it, in a “staging” environment while continuing to operate their “old” site (or move the old site to the new server and develop the new site in a staging area on the new server) and then, when the site is ready to go, launch the new site in place of the old site.

This allows the organization to maintain an active web presence while updating to the CMS. Fortunately, DH allows you to host multiple sites at the same time (multiple domains, sub-domains - like dev.yourdomain.org, etc.) at no additional cost, making this process not only feasible but affordable (it’s hard to beat “free!”). :wink:

–rlparker