Help me feed the cow while giving the milk for free...
January 31, 2009 8:45 PM   Subscribe

I've created some educational materials (pdf / mp3 / ogg) that I would like to offer on the internet for free, probably under a Creative Commons license. I want the materials on their own website with their own domain name -- how can I make enough money to cover the domain / hosting / bandwidth costs?

The trend nowadays seems to be to have some Google Adsense ads and a "Please Donate" button (linked to Paypal account?). But I don't know much about these things, especially with regards to security and legality of accepting money over the internet. Any advice?

Also looking for recommendations for domain/hosting companies that don't cost a fortune but offer enough space for audio materials (to download, not stream), and bandwidth for mass downloading, should the site ever gain popularity. Thanks
posted by Alabaster to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can host all your CC-licensed educational material on the Internet Archive for free.

Then you only need to worry about hosting the text/layout part of your website, and let the Internet Archive worry about serving the large media files.

I would recommend setting up a blog on or blogspot which is free. Then register and map your own domain name to your blog, which seems to cost $15/year. Then upload your media files to the Internet Archive and link to them from your blog. Total cost = $15/year.

disclaimer: I'm affiliated with
posted by rajbot at 9:02 PM on January 31, 2009 [6 favorites]

I'm not affiliated with, but that sounds like a great idea.
posted by danb at 9:08 PM on January 31, 2009

How much are you looking at hosting? I.e. how much material do you want to put online, and how popular are you planning on being?
posted by Picklegnome at 10:20 PM on January 31, 2009 charge me literally 2-3c a day for my blogs. If you do as rajbot suggested, you can get a domain name for $7.99 a year with NFS, and only pay a pittance for the bandwidth and storage charges.
posted by Solomon at 9:12 AM on February 1, 2009

Why do you want this material to have its own domain name? There are tons of repositories for these kinds of items. Merlot, for instance. Putting it in there means it would come up when people are searching for learning objects, which might get it more airtime.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:16 AM on February 1, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the information, I'll look into all of these sources.

Anyone have advice on Google Adsense or accepting donations?
posted by Alabaster at 12:31 PM on February 1, 2009

If the "free" suggestion above doesn't work out, or you want to host yourself, web hosting is very cheap and getting cheaper all the time. Dreamhost offers "unlimited" bandwidth and storage for very low prices. Right now I think it's $9.95 a month if you're willing to prepay for a year. I use them and have found them to be reasonably fast and stable. You can even host several sites under one plan!

So then, how can you earn ~$10 a month? If your materials are even remotely popular, earning that off Google AdSense should be a snap. As a data point, I have a infrequently updated and unpopular blog and make about a dollar a day without even trying. I wouldn't even bother with a donation button.

I'm not sure about your concern about security/legality. With Google, they just automatically either mail you a check or simply deposit the money directly into your account. It's, like, Google's entire business model so they've made it as secure as they can. Legality? I guess the only issue there is taxes.
posted by steveminutillo at 12:55 PM on February 1, 2009

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