Netcup: So far so good

Part of the reason why I set up this new WordPress website was as a bit of a sanity check that my new VPS host, Netcup, holds up. And it does.

Previously I had been using DigitalOcean, which was costing me $6 per month for 1vCPU, 1GB RAM, 25GB SSD and 1TB outbound transfer (unlimited inbound). US residents don’t have to pay VAT and instead get charged $5 per month.

Now I am using Netcup, which is costing me €2.71 per month for 1vCPU, 2GB RAM, 20GB SSD and 40TB transfer. German residents don’t have to pay UK VAT and instead get charged €2.69 per month.

All in all, I’m paying half the price once you’ve done currency conversion. If I wanted to add additional storage to my server, this also works out a lot cheaper than DigitalOcean: €5 for 250GB, €8 for 500GB and €15 for 1TB (beyond this point you should get a storage server for better value), versus a flat $0.10 per GB. So even at 250GB, €5 is obviously much better value than $25.

Now, what is the catch? Is there one? Sure. You can create and destroy servers on DigitalOcean with great ease and get billed by the hour. With Netcup, this simply isn’t possible, as they bill you every six months and require a month’s notice for cancellation. They also don’t have a referral programme, whereas with DigitalOcean you can get free hosting if you manage to convince people to sign up with your referral link and add credit to their account.

But suppose you just want to host websites and more until the end of time, like I do. In this case, there isn’t really a catch. The Netcup server feels snappier, and their pricing for more expensive servers makes a lot of sense when you get into root server territory. However, if you need servers that beefy you might want servers in multiple regions, which Netcup does not offer – they only have servers in Germany.

Speaking of Germany, some of their website such as all their documentation is only available in German. Even some elements in the English pages have German elements. Emails have German at the top and English at the bottom. But as much as this can be a little confusing, at least if you don’t speak German, it’s worth it for that excellent pricing.

It’s still early days, but the service certainly feels no less reliable than DigitalOcean. I’ll miss the cute shark, but sometimes you have to live without.


Mailgun: No more free emails

When checking my emails the other day, I was met with some disappointing news from Mailgun.

Hi there,

Mailgun is adjusting our plans and pricing to more accurately reflect the value users get from the service and to make room for some great new deliverability features we just released.

Throughout 2019, we were hard at work adding and improving our email capabilities and optimizing our support to help your business grow. While many of these updates were made behind the scenes, the truth is that Mailgun can do a lot more than it could two years ago when we last updated our plans.

What does this mean for you?
On March 1, 2020, we will automatically transition your account to the new Flex plan, a pay-as-you-go plan comparable to the Concept plan you’re currently on. You’ll receive your first invoice under the new plan on April 1 if your amount due is greater than $0.50. According to your usage in December, your invoice under the new price per message of $0.0008 would have been $0 for December. It’s a modest change, but we wanted to be transparent about it.

What’s changing with the Flex plan?
Flex offers you the same pay-per-use model you were used to on the Concept plan. The main differences are that we are no longer offering 10,000 free emails or 100 free validations per month, and our support options now include limited ticket support as well as enhanced self-service Q&As so you can find answers faster. Additionally, while your existing routes will still be functional, new routes will not be supported on this plan.

We have several other plans available with additional features and service levels, including a new subscription plan called Foundation that starts at $35 per month. This plan provides access to new deliverability tools like Inbox Placement so you can effortlessly increase your deliverability and email ROI.

What other options do I have?
We have several other plans available with additional features and service levels, including a new subscription plan called Foundation that starts at $35 per month. This plan provides access to new deliverability tools like Inbox Placement so you can effortlessly increase your deliverability and email ROI.

Looking for validations, inbound routing, or more support? Foundation is a great starter plan. If this is something you’re interested in, check out your plan options.

We’ll send a couple more reminders between now and March 1st, but if you have any questions about what this means for you, we’re here to help. Please submit a support ticket, and we’ll follow up with you shortly.

The Mailgun Team

Don’t get me wrong, $0.0008 per email is one of the best prices around (I’ve not really compared, but it sounds good), but going from 10,000 free emails a month to zero free emails is seriously a bit of a blow.

I’ll now be looking for alternative email services, as free emails are always nice to have. In the event I’m sending out thousands of emails every month, it probably means I’m earning enough for it to not be worthwhile switching providers!


Oh my, what have they done to WordPress?

For those who are unaware, way back in the day this website used to have a WordPress installation. I used the Twenty Sixteen theme but modified it to get rid of the stupid border.

That’s not a border I’ve added to this screenshot – it surrounds your entire viewport!

So what happened? Well, I got fed up of managing this WordPress website and eventually got rid of it, instead having a bit of a placeholder of sorts. The website largely existed to promote my YouTube channel, which no longer even exists.

And now we are, back once again, to just another WordPress site. I’m not going to add a great deal here or look after it in any way, shape or form. I’d just like there to be some sort of a website here before the domain eventually expires in September and someone swoops it up.

I don’t particularly like the changes that have happened to WordPress since I last used it. The admin dashboard all looks very similar, but the current theme has text which is far too large for headings and the likes. Even in the post editor I can’t escape the 900pt headings.

But I suppose overall it has evolved. The default editor certainly wasn’t as advanced as this when I last used it, and it’s much more than a simple blog tool these days. Sure, it was more than a blogging CMS back then as well, but the shift towards using WordPress for serious websites that don’t have any bloggy aspect whatsoever feels stronger than ever.

Having some sort of a website here will also hopefully mean I can promote whatever I have to promote, if I even have anything before the domain expiration date. Not that anyone is here to see the promotions, of course.

Sorry it’s just fizzled out like this over such a long period of time, but the domain has been registered for a good five years. That’s not too shabby in internet terms.

The days of randomly inserting photos from Pixabay are not behind me!