UPDATE: Since writing this blogpost I moved on from working full-time in IndieHosters to working full-time for Mozilla
Most internet users know how to publish on websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, but don't know how to run their own server. Even internet users who do or should sort of know how to do it, usually don't make it a priority to actually run a personal internet server.
That's why we started the IndieHosters network. Pierre and I met in June, and have worked on setting this up since then. Today, I just finished installing Ghost for a customer. For two others, I installed Trovebox, whose hosted service is shutting down, but which is available as free software. For the rest of my customers I installed Known, WordPress, or ownCloud so far.
When you sign up for my managed personal server hosting service (which currently costs 8 euros / month), we work out together which software is best for you, and which domain name you want to use. I set everything up, after which you can use your own website just like you would use a third-party website.
I'll help you whenever you have questions. So far, I've done tech support in English, Dutch and French, but I also speak Spanish and German.
If you have special requirements, or are interested in a particular type of software (ethereum, sandstorm, cozy, you name it), then I can also host that for you.
You can pay via PayPal, IBAN, bitcoin, or whatever we can work out. I registered my business in the Netherlands, where I also pay taxes. With 20 paying and 10 non-paying users so far, I only make around 50 euros per month so far.
So it's not really a serious source of income at this point, but since I don't know of anybody except Pierre and me offering managed personal server hosting, I think it's an important project to spend my time on. Now that all my initial customers have been set up, I'll go back to working more on the Terms of Service; Didn't Read project again.
Another reason why I think offering managed personal server hosting is interesting, is because it's an example of direct economy: you pay me each month, and this money flows directly between two human beings. All my customers know me by my first name, and I know them. When I say "sorry" about something that went wrong, I say that from person to person.
When I get to Budapest next week, I might try (as an experiment) to exchange hours of accordeon lessons for hours of tech support. If you don't use or currently have money, but still really want to have your own internet server, I might take you on as a pro bono customer. When we find a problem with the server software you're using, I might end up working directly with that software's main authors in fixing that bug.
There are no investors involved. No advertisers. No bosses. Just people doing the work directly for each other. Even though it's not really earning me much money yet, that's one of the things I like about managing people's personal internet servers for them.
If you're interested, sign up here! :) You can also contact Pierre who offers the same service for the same price (8 euros / month, which is just over 9 US dollars / month). Our services are migration-compatible, so you can migrate your website between Pierre and me at any time, without hassle or downtime. You can also migrate your existing "yourname.withknown.com", "yourname.trovebox.com", or "yourname.wordpress.com" site to either of us.