6/6/2022 - Hosting, domains, plus other webdev and internet musings

Out of curiosity, I’ve been looking into various web hosting platforms and places to buy custom domains, I’ll link what I’ve found so far at the end because it’s not necessarily the main focus of the blog post. I'll be talking about the web as a whole, hosting, domains, looking into those and the struggles of trying to find a host when you draw old anime rarepair porn and you don't know which hosts will allow what you draw, webdev, and a small bit about my complicated feelings about Tumblr as a site because of my personal history with it. (Maybe one day I'll go more into that last part if anyone is interested.)

Recently I had a talk with some buddies, and with looking for web hosting and domains, and talking about the general topic of people both in and outside of fandom that people should make their own spaces on the web. Either for fandom purposes or otherwise. I believe this for a myriad of reasons. I've talked about the centralization of the web before and how the push to sanitize and corporatize all of the internet hurts everyone, especially marginalized voices, regardless of what you do.

And there are countless people on the smaller and more underground web doing what they can to fight back against this. From the work in progress Bobaboard in terms of a fandom example, as well in the general smaller web, people leaving signposts to help those who want to get into this space, and have accessible resources for people to use.

Social media’s harm on creatives of all sorts, as well as any person has also been well documented and studied so far. It feels like the web is getting smaller and more underground, and in ways it already has been. Especially for sex workers, which only makes things less safe for them. Tumblr, for all of my currently very mixed feelings regarding its legacy used to be a great place for sex work, until it wasn’t.

My feelings about Tumblr are not the focus of this post but I will give a short blurb summing up my mixed feelings: From it being a successful fertile ground for Terfs to indoctrinate children and young adults in their early 20’s most if not the vast majority of which whom are queer, this is coming from someone who was there and saw it happen in real time.

I sipped a bit of that poisoned water back in those times, a lot of us did. When I tell you it was everywhere, it was EVERYWHERE. I am grateful I noticed the warning signs and was to wake up and shake it out of my system before it really got in there. And plus Tumblr’s infamous porn ban which has rightfully burned people, it is harder for some folks who do sex work, make NSFW content either writing or art, etc, to find places on the web of their own.

Apologizes for the short tangent. We are getting to the focus of my post here now, I promise that blurb is relevant. People talk about the technical barriers to forging your own spaces. Which are still there! Thankfully there are tons of free resources, good ones too at that, on the internet to help us learn to code for free. For all sorts of languages too!

However: there is a barrier to entry that all people face regardless of what you want to do on the web. One I don’t see talked about as much, in my own personal experience anyways: Cost.

Owning a site, or multiple can very easily get pricey. Super pricey. And yes there are many cheap hosts I’ve found in my searches. Dreamhost, Beezerhost, Hostinger, etc. (I can’t guarantee the quality right now because I just don’t know.) There’s even free hosting meant for hobbyists such as Leprd.

Problem for me is while most of my site is SFW, I host adult content on it. I draw porn. I doodle a rarepair from 1982 anime movie fucking. (Random fun fact: That’s all I have the desire to draw NSFW wise XD outside of the very rare original character.) And I just don’t know what web host would want to host that! It doesn’t help I don’t have much overall knowledge still when it comes to webdev too.

Because of the fact I have a small section of my site dedicated to two characters from an anime movie from nearly 40 years ago getting it on, I am going to struggle to find a place that would want to host my site. And hosting this porn of my rarepair was a big factor into why I wanted to make this site. I don’t want to sanitize it.

I have found Adult Refuge, which from the looks of it so far is a very sex-positive host. However it’s not cheap! But from what I understand from my research anyways, it’s a quality one. So I understand the higher price tag. I’m sure there’s other web hosts too out there that will host my site, but I am still researching and I easily get very confused when it comes to webdev still, same with coding.

I’ve been making sites for over a year now and I still am quite a novice. Not where I once was, but still a newbie too. CSS still baffles me at times. I am terrified of JavaScript. I wanna make a fanlisting… but am I ready to learn PHP?! This site even in it’s redesigned state feels like it’s held together with duct tape and dreams at times. But I admit I am quite hard on myself though. I know with time I’ll become more knowledgeable on coding and webdev overall.

All this made me think about how I appreciate the overall accessibility of Neocities. It’s free to use, so anyone can wake up and on a whim choose to make a website here. (Like I did.) And if you want to pay, 5 bucks a month is a pretty sweet deal giving it’s benefits. It also allows NSFW! I really do respect the ease of access a person can have with Neocities.

For being on the web for as long as I have been, I am planning for a backup plan, just in case as well. While I started looking into this out of curiosity, I quickly realized looking into this is just a good idea for the long term in case something happens. Whatever the reason may be.

Something happening to the servers, they choose to ban NSFW content and purge sites, the service goes down forever, etc. Honestly no matter who you are and whatever the purpose for your site is: You should have a backup for your site. (I use Cyberduck for helping with this! I’ll link the software and a tutorial at the end.)

Right now I still don’t know any hosts that would be suitable for my site. One day in general I would love to have my site have several sub domains and a collective like other 2000’s sites, fansites, and shrines. I wanna make fanlistings too. I know I can do this on Neocities, and I am planning to launch my revamped shrines this way. (Well I have to see if Neocities will accept PHP when it comes to the fanlisting part at least.)

I still would appreciate any tips, suggestions and leads as to where I can host my site without worries because of the adult content. Same goes for domains too! I do know of Porkbun as an example from the top of my head when it comes to places to buy domains for pretty affordable prices all things considered (because man, domains get expensive) as I write this and am looking into more.

But I really am new to this and while I’ll keep researching on my end, knowing some quality suggestions of what others know of and/or use doesn’t hurt either. I’d greatly appreciate any help!

Wherever my future in the internet tubes will take me in the years and decades to come, I will always have a deep respect for Neocities being such an accessible place to have your start at being able to craft and forge your own space on the web. As well for it being my starting ground for coding and webdev. A truly wonderful journey I’ve had since last year.

Mentioned in this post:
Hosts mentioned, again I can’t guarantee the quality of any of these right now myself because I just don’t know since I haven’t used these myself: Adult Refuge, Leprd, Dreamhost, Beezerhost, Hostinger.

Other stuff mentioned: Bobaboard, Cyberduck, The tutorial I used to help make backups of my site,  Porkbun.

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