HCoop: The Internet Hosting Cooperative

We are an Internet hosting service and community, run democratically as a USA 501(c)(12) non-profit corporation. HCoop members pool their resources to support most any services that qualify as "Internet hosting."

Why would I want to join you?

  • We are a democratic organization. Every year, the members elect a Board of Directors from among themselves. These directors determine policy issues by voting on them. We also make an effort to decide as much as possible through open discussion by the members, though codifying this in our bylaws would make decision-making too slow.
  • Our infrastructure is designed for "power users." You can configure the behavior of your domains and sites in shared daemons without needing to request anything from a superuser. You can write and run your own daemons in whatever programming language you fancy.
  • We take security seriously. To make sure the above freedoms don't cause trouble, we take care to prevent members from stepping on each other's toes. We've developed custom interfaces to shared daemons that run sanity checks on any member-provided requests before changing anything that directly affects these daemons. We use the grsecurity Linux kernel patches, per-user firewall rules, disk quotas, ulimits, and other tricks.
  • You can save money. You get all this for a price lower than most commercial hosting plans. Current dues are US$7 a month.
  • You can benefit from existing infrastructure. We take the time to brainstorm the best ways to set up our shared server resources. When you join, you find a fairly complete environment that should be prepared to respond to your needs, even those you might not initially realize you have. If not, then we can come up with a solution and save some trouble for the next person in your situation.
  • You get the usual benefits of professional hosting, without having to manage all the details yourself. Our servers are hosted at professional colocation facilities. Tech support staff are available 24 hours a day. We have redundant Internet connectivity. There is an elaborate power backup system that includes diesel generators. Unlike many informal hosting setups at people's homes or offices, ours is fully legal; we are not violating an ISP's terms of service or testing the patience of an employer.
  • And last but not least, everything runs on Open Source software! When we create new software to manage HCoop operations, we release it Open Source.
  • What kind of people belong to HCoop?

    We have an opt-in public member directory that may be of interest, as well as a directory of hosted sites and a summary of where we're located geographically.

    Where can I get more information?

    We have a prospective member FAQ on our wiki, and members should head to the member portal.

    OK, you've convinced me! How do I join?

    First, since we're still growing, we're not quite ready to handle all of the uses that we hope to be prepared for soon. In particular, ask yourself these questions before joining:

  • Are you comfortable with the basic workings of Linux and the Internet? We started trying to provide "power user-friendly" services, and so the tools for members are designed for that audience. We don't make any promises to answer support queries on issues that we judge to be "common knowledge" for the average Linux geek, since this just wouldn't be feasible given our current all-unpaid-volunteer staff. We hope in the future to provide an alternate "control panel"-style interface more suitable for the rest of the world.
  • Is 1 GB of disk space good enough for you, give or take a bit? Our average member uses significantly less than this, and it's currently a pain for us to add disk space to our servers, which are located at facilities remote from any of us. We plan to rent and staff our own hosting facility in the future, but we're not there yet.
  • Is a few GB of data transfer a month good enough for you? We get 1TB of bandwidth a month from our main provider, so it's not really feasible for us to host really-high-bandwidth sites.
  • Can you pay member dues in US dollars? PayPal is the most convenient way for you to pay, and it supports paying from both bank accounts and credit cards. If you think you need to use another method, please mention that in your application. Also, please don't apply yet if you know that it will take you a while to figure out how to pay. You might want to look at this page, which describes everything that we will ask you to do after your application is approved, in case there is something else there that will take you some time to prepare to do.
  • If you answered "yes" to the above, then head on over to our online membership application. There is a separate application for people under 18 years of age which requires the "online signature" of a parent or guardian.

    We try to give current members two days to review applications before the board makes a decision and notifies you of it. While this may sound foreboding, we'll usually approve any application that includes a readable English description of reasonable desired uses of our servers.

    Other contact information

    If you would like to report an inappropriate or illegal use of our servers, such as a DMCA violation or anything else, please e-mail our abuse address. Trying to figure out which specific user runs the site in question and contacting him is far preferable, of course.