Will "the Mighty" Strohl

Hosting Your User Group for Free

Multi-tasking... A user group leaders job Running a user group has many responsibilities.  You’re recruiting and creating speakers, recruiting attendees, finding sponsors, getting venues, finding topics, managing attendance, and more.  One of the least trivial of these tasks is getting a website hosted for the user group.  Sure, you might work at a company that’s willing to allow you to host it, but what happens when you leave that company? 

With the average IT employee staying at company for only 3 years, this leaves one more thing to worry about, even if it is only every 3 years.  But even worse, with layoffs, recruiting into other companies, and more, it could be much more often than a 3-year cycle.  Ouch!

Luckily, there’s a little known fact for those of you looking for a web host for your user group.  Most web hosts offer free hosting to user groups!  That’s right…  I cannot think of any web host that posts such a fact publicly on their site, or elsewhere, but they do.  Some of the hosts that I know do this off the top of my head include Applied Innovations, MaximumASP, PowerDNN, and Atlantic.net.

Not to be outdone, DNN4Less is yet another company that does this, who inspired this blog post.

As examples, the Orlando .Net User Group (ONETUG), Orlando DotNetNuke Users Group (ODUG), and the Day of DotNetNuke are all hosted by Applied Innovations.  Also, PowerDNN hosts the Tampa DotNetNuke User Group.

Does this sound too good to be true?  It’s not.  Depending on the size of your user group, and your needs, some web hosts offer you some beefy service, including VPS plans. 

Depending on the web host, you may not be expected to give out anything in return, but some might.  If you do happen to get free hosting from a webhost, you should return their favor and offer them all of the exposure that you can.

Some ideas of helping your generous web host are:

  • Banner advertising
  • SEO-friendly footer/header text in your design
  • Newsletter ad placement
  • Mention at each of your meetings
  • Advertising in your event announcements
  • Mention on your twitter account
  • and so on

You get the idea.  These folks really cannot be thanked enough.  Additionally, some user groups host other user groups.  For example, the ODUG offers hosting to any user group, and hosts the Tallahassee .Net User Group.  Since DotNetNuke makes it super easy to host multiple websites, this is a no-brainer.

In summary, when you’re starting or running a DNN user group, there’s no excuse to not use DNN for your website.  Web hosts are literally competing to host you for free.

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