We are looking at making changes that may affect you


Advertisement


We are looking at making changes that may affect you.
The future of Forums4airports, Image Attachments and Site Gallery Uploads

Over the past week we have moved servers with our host Envesko, our server provider.

Envesko our server provider has given us notice

Envesko will no longer maintain the current service level for the upkeep of our shared server due to the size of our forum.

What does this actually mean for us?

They inform us that back-ups can no longer be provided so if we have a server outage we could encounter data loss. This means we now require to look at other measures to ensure the continued upkeep of the site.

What's the way forward for Forums4airports?

We want us to be able to continue to provide the best possible forum service achievable with the funds we have available. Currently due to the Covid-19 crisis we are currently making no money at all through our usual channels. We are completely reliant on a few generous subscribers and my personal pocket to keep the site going.

So what are the options?

We can seek to move everything lock stock and barrel to a dedicated server. (We currently share a server with other websites and forums) If we move to a stand alone server this may come at considerable cost and it isn't yet determined whether it is a cost we can afford.

We can look at having our attachments and gallery images hosted by a third party server. This would also come at an additional cost to the forum and ultimately our users may have to pay for this privilege.


With the help of @Ashley.S. we are currently evaluating these and possibly other options and seeking a resolve to ensure a continued service.

What might this mean for our members?

I want to change as little as possible. It is vital the forum continues to remain free for everyone unless they wish to contribute to the cost of running the site.

We currently have over 11,000 images and attachments on the site which use up the majority of the space on our server. Only a third of the images in our database add value to the forum. We have hundreds of "wingtip photos" and "proof that you were there" kind of images that take up a huge amount of space. We also have hundreds of "really great photo" uploaded as attachments but as an attachment once the forum thread has moved to the next page those attachments are forgotten about yet continue to bloat the site.

I am currently looking at possibly a small charge for using our attachment or gallery facility but I want to ensure that those already paying a subscription don't have to pay more unless they choose to.

Here is a proposal to ensure we can maintain a good service level. This is only a proposal at this stage.

Registered Members
Continue as they do now with advertisements but cannot upload attachments or add images to the site gallery.​
Registered Members + One off payment for (TBA) number of attachments or images.
Continue as they do now with advertisements but can upload a limited amount (TBA) of attachments or gallery images.​
One off payment (£1 proposed)
At this stage we don't have a specific number of attachments that maybe available. The cost of a dedicated stand alone forum server or third party image and attachment server isn't yet determined. It might be possible for bundles to be purchased to use a set number of attachments for a time limited period ie:- 1 year. The proposal is to stick to £1 to make it affordable but the number of attachments might need to be adjusted depending on the price of the server. It is expected that as this would be a one off charge we could only guarantee your images for 12 months subject to server charges and things beyond our control. The actual cost you would pay the forum is less than £1 as PayPal charge us a small fee for each transaction.
Premium Member - monthly subscription
Continue as they do now with full access to all the site without advertisements with a quota for attachments and gallery images and the ability to delete own old attachments to free up space.​
Cost: Unchanged at (£2)
This would remain largely unchanged but we may have to cap the maximum number of attachments and images due to our server load. We intend to look at a new facility to allow you to add and delete as you desire to ensure you are always able to upload new attachments or media. The actual cost you would pay the forum is less than £2 as PayPal charge us a small fee for each transaction.
Premium Member Plus - monthly subscription
Continue as they do now with full access to all the site without advertisements. You will continue to have additional features such as anytime edit; adding tags etc with a larger quota than a standard premium membership for attachments and gallery images and the ability to delete own old attachments to free up space.​
Cost Unchanged at (£3.50)
This would remain largely unchanged but we may have to cap the maximum number of attachments and images due to our server load. We intend to look at a new facility to allow you to add and delete as you desire to ensure you are always able to upload new attachments or media. The actual cost you would pay the forum is less than £3.50 as PayPal charge us a small fee for each transaction.

The above is only a proposal so if anybody has any other ideas which may help please let us know.
 

Comments

Brum X

Platinum Member
Subscriber
Subscriber
Mar 23, 2011
4,928
360
44
Birmingham UK
Hi Aviador, they all look reasonable suggestions.

Look forward to the confirmation on how you wish to proceed (y)
 

Aviador

Administrator
Staff member
Subscriber
Jan 12, 2009
14,297
373
HEAD OFFICE
  • Thread starter
  • Admin
  • #3
Registered Members + One off payment for (TBA) number of attachments or images.Continue as they do now with advertisements but can upload a limited amount (TBA) of attachments or gallery images.One off payment (£1 proposed) At this stage we don't have a specific number of attachments that maybe available. The cost of a dedicated stand alone forum server or third party image and attachment server isn't yet determined. It might be possible for bundles to be purchased to use a set number of attachments for a time limited period ie:- 1 year. The proposal is to stick to £1 to make it affordable but the number of attachments might need to be adjusted depending on the price of the server. It is expected that as this would be a one off charge we could only guarantee your images for 12 months subject to server charges and things beyond our control. The actual cost you would pay the forum is less than £1 as PayPal charge us a small fee for each transaction.
This is the major change that we're looking at and specific feedback relating to this is much appreciated especially from members of the forum who might currently add attachments who currently don't pay a subscription. I would love to be able to offer use of the entire site for absolutely free but it just isn't possible. Users could use their own third party image or file host but most of those now charge for the privilege. By offering to pay a small sum you will also be helping to keep this site functioning.

Without a sufficient number of take-up pledges or feedback I will have to significantly crop the forum and attachments will become unavailable reducing the pleasure for all members.
 

Scottie Dog

Moderator
Staff member
Subscriber
Sep 7, 2016
2,581
310
70
Warrington
Thanks Aviador.
I'm sure that many will agree with me when I say that the multitude of forums and threads that you offer is vast and much appreciated.
Personally I would be happy for you to increase the monthly fee by £1 - from £2 to £3 - if it meant that the current facilities were to remain.
Anyway all the best in your hunt for positive responses.
 

Aviador

Administrator
Staff member
Subscriber
Jan 12, 2009
14,297
373
HEAD OFFICE
  • Thread starter
  • Admin
  • #6
Initial costings for a dedicated server come in at in the region of £100 per month with supplementary charges so that's over £1000 per year. I think a dedicated server is out of the question.

Looking at plan B or maybe plan C now.
 

JENNYJET

Platinum Member
Subscriber
Subscriber
Subscriber
Dec 15, 2015
1,065
213
60
ASTWOOD BANK, WORCESTERSHIRE.
I would be more than happy for the subs to increase but it must be sufficient to help cover costs and not a token. We simply need to know in order to offer assistance! If advertising could be as unobtrusive as is possible then I could live with it but how about a local or interest related sponsor? I was also thinking along FR24 and their gold and silver tiers of membership linked to information supplied etc.
 

Aviador

Administrator
Staff member
Subscriber
Jan 12, 2009
14,297
373
HEAD OFFICE
  • Thread starter
  • Admin
  • #8
@JENNYJET thank you for your kind words. There's really no need for subscribers to have to put up with adverts. They bring in very little and I'd rather turn them off for those who help us pay for the servers and upkeep. What ads bring in basically tops up the subscriptions.
 

Ashley.S.

Site Maintenance
Staff member
Apr 10, 2011
169
63
31
Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
www.envesko.com
Can I just say that I bouned the idea of increasing sub prices with @Aviador to £3 and £5 respectively, leaving room for a bit more income to support the community. We also discussed the idea of having one option giving users the ability to remove ads but not gain upload permissions. A single £1 for upload permissions would not yield much as fees are approximately £0.20 + 3% unless every active user paid this. Either way, it is a case of supporting it or lose it I'm afraid as the storage costs for the forum are slowly starting to escalate :(
 

Aviador

Administrator
Staff member
Subscriber
Jan 12, 2009
14,297
373
HEAD OFFICE
It's a balancing act. If we charge too much it will put some people off subscribing altogether.

Like any place in society we will ( and do) have members who are willing to pay more to help pay for the forum.

We will have members who can't justify spending even a small token amount on a subscription to a forum.

We will also have members who feel they can't afford to pay a subscription but still make a contribution through posting content to the forum.

Whichever way we move forward I want to ensure the forum doesn't go behind a paywall.

Another idea (if able) might be to move viewing attachments behind a paywall but continuing to allow any member to upload them and view the rest of the site as they do now.

Currently attachments can only be viewed as a small thumbnail for non registered users. This would become the norm for registered members who dont wish to pay a subscription maybe with a lower tier Subscription of £1 a month to view them.

We really need more feedback but doing nothing is no longer an option.
 

Aviador

Administrator
Staff member
Subscriber
Jan 12, 2009
14,297
373
HEAD OFFICE
I have just finalised an agreement with Envesko to allow the forums continuity.

Our new arrangement will ensure forums4airports continues to be fully backed up minimising risk of data loss. This has come at a cost to the forum so I will be making changes to ensure we can continue to pay for the service.

I have asked @Ashley.S. to install an ad-on enabling users to manage their own attachments. The gallery will continue to be free to view and upload photos for all members. I may have to look at removing some of the less relevant photos to ensure we have room for quality aviation, airport and travel pictures.

I am looking at introducing two new tiers to the subscriptions.

The first will be a £1 monthy subscription to enable attachments to be used and viewed. The forum will otherwise be exactly the same. The £1 subscription will include:

attachment quota
attachment manager

The second additional subscription will be £5 monthly subscription for members who are willing to pay more towards the upkeep of the forum. All the benefits of the Premium Member Plus will apply
and we'll look at giving you a Platinum banner to indicate your support.

view the forum without advertisements
unlimited post edit time
delete own posts
add thread tags
edit own media
delete own media
add media tags
additional photo upload allowance
platinum banner
additional attachment quota
attachment manager
 

Brum X

Platinum Member
Subscriber
Subscriber
Mar 23, 2011
4,928
360
44
Birmingham UK
It sounds like you have had a stressful couple of days Aviador trying to work out what was best for the forum.

A big thanks from me (y)
 

JENNYJET

Platinum Member
Subscriber
Subscriber
Subscriber
Dec 15, 2015
1,065
213
60
ASTWOOD BANK, WORCESTERSHIRE.
A fantabulous effort, I need these forums to keep in touch with civil aviation and the few friends within. I look forward to the new membership structures and will offer my support where possible.
 

Scottie Dog

Moderator
Staff member
Subscriber
Sep 7, 2016
2,581
310
70
Warrington
Glad to hear that you've reached an agreement and, as others have said, you have our support on whatever way you take the group forward - after all it is your "baby". We would hate F4A to fold.
 

Aviador

Administrator
Staff member
Subscriber
Jan 12, 2009
14,297
373
HEAD OFFICE
We are extremely grateful for any subscription of any size. We only have around 11 member who participate. Advertising is on it's backside so we are almost fully reliant on generous members and my own pocket so thank you to all for your assistance.
 

Ashley.S.

Site Maintenance
Staff member
Apr 10, 2011
169
63
31
Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
www.envesko.com
Members should slowly start to see the restrictions coming into place. This is happening in stages.

Stage one has been implemented to registered users which now places the following restrictions on the community:
  • User albums are now a premium member feature
  • All uploads to the media gallery will carry a F4A watermark
  • Unlimited uploads to the media gallery but with a maximum upload quota of 200MB
  • A maximum media gallery upload size of 10MB per item uploaded
  • A maximum forum attachments quota of 200MB
  • A maximum number of forum attachments at 10
Forum attachments can be managed from here. Items in bold are currently being offered complimentary as part of the transition towards upload quotas and may be withdrawn at any time, with or without notice as access to forum attachments will later require the £1 attachments or a premium member subscription ;)
 

Scottie Dog

Moderator
Staff member
Subscriber
Sep 7, 2016
2,581
310
70
Warrington
I must be honest and say that I'm saddened, but not surprised, that such a low number of people subscribe. Unfortunately that's life I'm afraid. Let's all give Aviador as much support as we can - there's no way that he should have to subsidise the site for our enjoyment.
 
Top Bottom