Open Collective
Open Collective
The cost of community-driven federation
Published on November 8, 2022 by Saunders

At the #OMN we have been in love with the #openweb and its possibility to change
and challenge our broken #mainstreaming world for over 30 years.

For the last five years, we have been running ActivityPub instances as a part of

Some of the initial cost was covered by the remains of a foundation grant that
ran out last year. We now need to raise money from the people who use and value the #openweb We are a [#4opens](
grassroots project run on transparency and community support

If you don't have money then we also URGENTLY need mods, admins and sysadmins to
come join us in #DIY, holding these #openweb projects together. If you are a programmer/coder/UX person, we have radical community lead
technology to develop. Get in touch.

"Don't drink from the mainstream" and "be the change you want to see".
Let's build together.

We need your help; below we detail our current running costs. 

## Total monthly costs

($132, EUR132)

With our influx of mastodon users, if we consider around 2000 active folk
(though there are more of you), that works out around 69p (79c) per user per

If only it could be that simple :).

The vast majority of our new community are those who've fled from Twitter. They
did not extract a direct financial cost from you, but they have cost you in
other ways.

The federation is largely voluntary; people give time, effort and money to hold
these communities together, these safe harbours we have maintained for the last 30 years, are not free in terms of cost and work.

We never sell your data, you are not a commodity - we are your peers. But if we
don't share the costs of this together, then we are liable to keep losing the #openweb
we all try and build.

This is part of how we preserve and build our power.

### Overview

A brief breakdown of the major costs:

   * vps: £35 approx.
   * mastodon: £43 + £25
   * s3 storage: £5.50
   * domains: £7

Since the Twitter migration, our mastodon costs spiked from $14 to $78 per month!
We're no longer in a position to maintain this ourselves.

## Services

Currently, we're running the following services:

### Mastodon

A federated twitter alternative. We're hosted by [MastoHost](
until we have funding and time or extra hands to move to self-hosting.

   * [Campaign]( **$29/month** (£25, EUR29) up from $9
   * [Activism]( **$49/month** (£43, EUR49) up from $5

### Self-hosted

We host the following services on several VPS' from [ovh](

   * [peertube](
       * federated youtube alternative, hosting over 3000 historical videos
   * [gitea](
       * utilising git repos for our grassroots organisation, you can find the
         wiki pages of the projects there
   * [blog]( [no SSL atm]
       * wordpress blog for OMN project and history
   * [searx]( [down for maintenance]
       * privacy respecting search engine
   * [jabber](
       * instant messaging
   * [etherpad](
       * collaborative writing
   * mail server
       * [currently internal only]
   * rsstootalizer
       * convert rss feeds into mastodon posts
       * ( [yep, still needs domain and ssl]
   * epicyon
       * exploring options for a new frontend to IndyMedia
       * WIP; other options need to be examined as well
   * [IndyMedia](

**£35/month** (EUR40, $40)

### Wasabi

s3 video data storage to support our peertube instance.

**£5.46** at time of writing - subject to change as we require more space.

### Backups

Decent backups are becoming increasingly important as we support more folk.

For our mastodon users, this is covered as part of the service from,
until we also move this over to self hosting.

Wasabi covers this with regard to bulk data storage for our peertube. Videos
are a pain to store and to serve. For the foreseeable it is unlikely that we'll
be able to self-host with decent reliability. Peertube is excellent in that the
more viewers, the more data is shared among them while they all watch. We're
open to hear about ways to properly decentralise video hosting, so we don't need
to rely on services such as wasabi (or worse, amazon).

Everything else, we manage independently. Given we are proponents of decentralisation and a grassroots approach, we take responsibility for our own backups. But to make it more robust, we're going to need a few more drives. Our requirements are not huge, but redundancy is necessary. Several 1+TB disks (all mirroring the same data) should suffice for a decent
amount of time; with the occasional swap out.

This cost is not included at the top - we're open to any donations for this,
including just the drives themselves!

### Human

At the moment, we're a tiny team, doing our best to built out and hold this together. You'll
notice we haven't included costs for ourselves at this point.

For the time being, we do what we can, and will post more info regarding this
in time. Of course, we won't say no to extra support, though :).