This drive's primary goal is to cover costs relating to Inkbunny's main server. These total around $8000 for the next three years, if paid in full upfront. They would be around $11,250 if paid month-to-month over that period.
Paying early reduces our long-term fees. With the three-year payment, the cost is less than we were paying back in 2013 for our last server, which had fewer cores, half the storage, and 1/6th the bandwidth.
How much does Inkbunny cost in total, each year?
Inkbunny's current annual fixed expenses are $3599 (~$10/day), which break down as follows:
Are you at least going to promise us some cool new features?
We're always working on new features, bug fixes, and optimizations, but we'd rather tell you about them once they're done. Besides, most are provided for free, by open-source developers, or our volunteer staff. If we had to pay for them, we'd be talking a lot more money.
Why lease? Wouldn't it make sense to buy a server, or accept hardware donations?
We're not in the business of acquiring, hosting, or maintaining server hardware. It makes sense to have professionals do this. If something breaks, they fix it, at no extra charge, much faster than we could.
Leasing lets us adjust hardware and its location as needs change. We've upgradedseveraltimesalready. We can now project our needs for the next three years, so that's what we're buying.
We're not entirely ruling out the possibility of using our own hardware in the future. But for now, those with surplus hardware might do best to sell it and donate the proceeds, or possibly give it to other sites. (We'd suggest FA, but their rack is full already. Weasyl has space, but it's going fast.)
Why aren't you moving to "the cloud"?
Cloud hosting is great if you need twenty web servers now and then. We don't. We need the sustained disk space, RAM, and bandwidth provided by dedicated hosting. There's still ample room to "scale up".
We regularly consider spinning off database, application, caching, or file serving, but at our size it would increase costs and operational complexity, to no significant benefit.
We don't yet need to scale by adding boxes. We also don't needfive-nines availability. The world won't end if we're offline for a half-hour every few weeks at 4AM for a release or a kernel upgrade.
Division would increase communication delay and monitoring load, and failures could still take us down. In fact, multiple machines tend to make physical failures far more likely.
We do have physically separate, regularly tested file and database backups, both on-location and off-site; and if one disk fails - which has happened before - we can stay online while our host replaces it.
What if Inkbunny grows faster than expected? Can the server be upgraded?
We can certainly add features, as long as we pay for them for the remainder of the contract term.
Our server could have multi-gigabit bandwidth - we just don't see the need. Unmetered 100Mbit bandwidth is cheap because it simplifies network planning, and most servers don't make much use of it; we do. (It is 100Mbit, as some have found out. We suggest scheduling bulk downloads for 3-6AM EST.)
There's space for two more internal drives in our server, which could be used to expand our RAID10 array, increasing capacity and decreasing utilization. If our SSD RAID1 runs low, we might upgrade to 128GB.
After our recent optimizations, we'd have to grow by a factor of ten to be CPU-limited ('spare' cores are still used for backup compression and handling spikes). As for RAM, we're using just two of twelve slots.
We're cautious with upgrades. Adding hardware tends to increase scale, not speed, and can conceal issues. We'd rather find out why our code is slow, or why we're hitting the disk so hard, and fix that.
Why host in the Netherlands? Wouldn't it be faster in the USA?
The price is right. High levels of non-profit peering make bandwidth cheap in Europe - we don't pay extra despite ~80% of our traffic going to North America. (Of course, we're busy while Europe sleeps.)
Inkbunny would be faster for U.S. users if hosted there, but we do better than many furry sites under load. We're considering a U.S. image cache, if it can be done cost-effectively and with low overhead.
I know a much better host - you should use them!
We're happy with our host for the purpose of this campaign. We'll consider alternatives for future needs.
How much do people usually give? Why not encourage subscriptions or micropayments?
Our mean donation is $30. The median is $20; the mode is $50. Some have given more. (Thank you!)
Since we're asking for long-term funding, we're now recognizing those who give $100 or more with a badge for a year (e.g. gold->silver->bronze), rather than just six months; those giving $1000 or more will get a gem for a year (diamond->ruby->emerald). This change is retroactive.
We can arrange subscriptions on request. However, if you're planning to give $XX per year, our overhead will be lower if you're able to give it all at once, in part because it takes time to process each donation.
Micro-payments have similar issues, and would increase the portion lost to processing fees (now 3.5%). It's a nice idea for everyone to give $1, but in practice it's better to get more from fewer people. If you have a few $, £ or € free, consider donating them to your favourite artist as a holiday gift!
How do you determine the value of a non-U.S. donation? What about foreign exchange fees?
Sponsor icons are based on a donation's value in U.S. dollars on the day of the transaction. We may round up if a currency conversion would put you slightly below a sponsor level. If you pay fees, you should tell us about them so that we can account for them.
Using an online transfer service to send funds from a card in a non-preferred currency? Ask your bank what fees apply to foreign transactions. Some add up to 3% on top of a 1% VISA/Mastercard fee; if not, maybe it's cheaper to have them convert currencies, rather than let the payment processor do it.
I don't see [payment method/currency X] listed; do you take it?
Perhaps! We try to be flexible. Tell us your options; we'll tell you which works best for us. Note that Google Wallet is also used for Google Play, which you may have used before.
Got a bank account? You can usually make a (non-wire) payment through online transfers or ePay/e-billing systems. This should be fast, convenient, and won't let us debit your account in the future.
If not using US$, £, or €, consider using a service such as XE Trade for conversion.
Once you have some, contact us for a unique sending address. We'll value it at the daily exchange rate.
Considering bitcoin payments for your business? Bear in mind that the value of bitcoin varies. You may wish to use it to purchase services, or convert quickly into your local currency.
When will the drive end? What happens if you don't reach your goal?
We hope to raise the funds by December 26 (Boxing Day). If we do not reach our goal, we may purchase a 12- or 24-month lease instead.
I can't donate right now! Will you still take my money in a few weeks?
Yes. We have other costs beyond our main server and we'll accept donations for the foreseeable future. However, if donating would strain your finances, please keep your cash! We've enough starving artists…
I've got some cash spare, and I'd like to support you, but I want something tangible in return.
You can also commission someone through Inkbunny. Creators pay attention when they make money. With the holidays coming up, why not get something for that special someone - or yourself?
There are many worthy causes out there… why give you money?
Indeed there are! Inkbunny is not about saving lives, or rescuing animals, or feeding the homeless; we provide free services to artists, writers, and their fans. Nevertheless, if you feel our services are valuable - to you, or to the wider furry community - you may wish to support us, as you support other causes.
I'll only donate if you let me post my art/change this policy/ban this user/make me staff!
Sorry, but that's not a question. Also, no. You should only donate if you like how the site is run now.
I want to give you money, but I don't want everyone to know.
Sponsor icons and listing on our donor page are entirely optional - just let us know your preference.
I'm flat broke. Is there any other way to help?
Be excellent to each other, and thank any friends with sponsor icons. They paid for you!
If you're an artist or writer, just keep doing what you do. We're running this site for you. (We're especially grateful to those of you who've let us use your work to support it.)
Why not offer ads? They seem to work for other sites…
Inkbunny was created in part as an advertising platform for furry artists, but we don't believe ads are the best way to support the site. For a start, we'd rather highlight the best up-and-coming artists, rather than those who pay us. It also feels better to be paid for delivering a good service to all of our members.
There's overhead in building and maintaining an ad system, taking monthly payments and ad uploads. Donations have lower overhead and allow us to be more flexible when accepting funds.
We could partner with an external ad service, but there are many good reasons not to do this - member privacy, viruses, unfilterable/off-topic content, etc.
Lastly, if we become a non-profit down the road, it'd be better to have regular donors than advertisers.
Can I deduct this from my taxes? Who am I paying, anyway?
We've considered incorporating an organization to run Inkbunny, but have yet to determine whether it's appropriate - if so, where, what type, and with what goals. Meanwhile, we have to keep the servers up.
Speaking of taxes… is this all a scheme to pay some big tax debt you haven't told us about?
No. Inkbunny is in good financial shape; we've been staying afloat with existing donations. However, it'll cost our donors over $3400 less if we pay upfront. That's money which you could be spending on art!
We expect to be able to deduct our lease in full this year, which is why we're asking for donations now. If not, we'll deduct it against future years' donations. Either way, we'll pay any income tax due.