In the wise words of Alanis Morissette, “Isn’t it ironic”. I get myself ready to blog. I set out a schedule of posts that I want to get up on a weekly basis. But then, out of nowhere, I get a notification on my phone that means the end of RPG Knights…
What this site was intended for
RPG Knights has always been for gamers. Information, resources and assistance for all things roleplaying. It started when I formed some solid friendships out of Google Plus who saw me blogging on blogger. They inspired me to make it official, get my own domain name and hosting to have more control over the content and presentation.
It was, for a long time, ad-free. I wanted it to be purely about the information. But there are costs involved in hosting a blog and I was convinced by people far wiser than me to get some advertisements on the site to cover that cost. I complained long and hard over the change but eventually saw the wisdom.
At the height of the popularity of the site (around 2013-2015) the advertising revenue came to about $100 USD per annum. Not much, but as the hosting costs were marginally less than that it worked out.
The turbulent years
As I mentioned last week, I lost the time to be able to post frequently. The traffic on the site declined but then the web host started to pursue me. “The resources your site uses is too much” they cried in many an email. I showed them the traffic that I was getting and they showed me their stats. There were 10’s of thousands of hits difference in those statistics, I can assure you.
Being an IT professional (in reality) I knew what the stats were though. Cyclical, massive spikes in activity that did not get reported via the hosting panel I had. It was the web crawlers for sites like Google, Bing and the like that caused this issue. Traffic was completely out of my control. But there are hundreds of articles on my site and many links to one another. Each time the web crawlers came through, there was an amount of work to do, for sure.
So, after much to and froing, the Web Host came to a solution for me. “Here is a web hosting plan that means we will not threaten to shut down the site for $350” they emailed. I replied fine, I can absorb that little amount extra. It was such a small amount after all.
Saturday night, as I sat in front of my computer, my phone’s innocent little face lit up with a notification from Paypal. “Web Host [not their actual nom de plume] has taken $1029 from your account”. I mayhaps have uttered an expletive at the time. I had received an email from them a fortnight before stating that the renewal for the site was due and that they would take it on this date. No price, just that the renewal would come out.
Honestly, I could have gone to the hosting site and looked at the invoice, so that was on me. But I assumed (you know what they say about that) that the amount would be similar (with a little bit of inflation) to the amount paid previously.
I wrote a support ticket to the billing department soon after. It was entitled “HOW MUCH??????”. To the Web Host’s credit, they refunded the money within the hour of receiving that ticket. They also penned a response that explained the disparity (and since this time many responses trying to give me an out).
Apparently, the amount that I had paid 3 years prior was at around an 80% discount of the actual fee. This is something that had never been fully explained to me. Then they go on to talk about it normally being a one-off thing, but they can give me a 25% discount to keep me happy so it would only cost around $900ish dollars for the site.
Further to this they then tell me that with my usage I should be on the lower plan anyway… That is right, the one they hounded me to get me off of. However, I was on a grandfathered plan (I had signed up soo long ago that my prices were good) but that is not available because I moved off of the plan to go to the Business Pro plan… The cost to get on the old plan is now $600 ish. Oh, and I have to make a decision by the 15th as to what to do.
Steps from here
I can not support the site any longer. I would have to absorb, at a minimum, 50% of the cost of running the site. My wife and I have always had the opinion that while the site could support itself we would continue to host it. As you can see above, that time has passed and the costs are now unreasonable.
I looked at other host providers and they are far out of my league pricewise. The resources I need Google Cloud quoted me $500 PER MONTH!
I am so deflated by this. RPG Knights has been a part of me for such a long time that it will be a hard time closing down the site. I am making a full backup before I leave and investigating other avenues. I am also planning to retain the domain name and my emails attached to it – but they are a DRASTIC reduction in price and allow for me to perhaps return to it if something arises. The scouting I have done in the land of the interwebs suggests that the plan I need does not exist at this time though.
So long and thanks for all the phish!
It is with heartfelt gratitude to all of the readers of the site that I say thanks for listening to me. Not to mention Cameron, Desiree and Katelyn and other guest writers that have appeared on the site. Thanks to all the marketers and Phishing attempts from the bots that came through on the Contact form. Thanks, 1000% more, to those that used the Contact form for its intended purpose! The site will remain up until the timer counts down to its inevitable demise, which I believe is the 15th February. Again thank you all.