(D’oh — right before I hit "publish" on this post, the forums sprang back up)
I’m not sure what’s going on at Forumer lately, but it seems like the Paint.NET forums (not that the link works right now, mind you) have been up and down chaotically for the last few weeks. In fact, all of forumer.com is non-responsive, so I can’t even leave a troubleshooting ticket on their forum. This has been an ongoing problem lately, unfortunately. There was a time in January (if I remember right) where it was down for probably a full week. When this happens my inbox starts filling up with e-mails telling me about it and asking when things will be fixed. Unfortunately, it’s out of my control so there’s really nothing I can tell people.
I’ve actually been thinking about moving the forums for some time, so that I can host it myself. Problem is, the amount of time involved would be a lot, right? The thing would need a dedicated server and the ability to handle up to 200 users simultaneously (average right now is 30-50, so 200 gives room to grow). I wouldn’t be so worried about disk space (storage is practically free nowadays), but the CPU time needed would probably be high and keep increasing as more and more users joined. Then there’s the logistics of either migrating or deciding not to migrate things like the user database and content. Since Forumer has a policy of only giving you the database if they’re deleting your forum, it’d basically be a complete do-over.
The obvious benefits of self-hosting the forum are the ability to capture that incremental revenue boost by enabling AdSense and Kontera (maybe only for guest users though), and the ability to completely customize all forum elements. On the down side, I’d have full responsibility for the forum’s down time. I don’t know Unix very well so I’d probably run phpBB on a Windows server. Financially it makes sense, as the hosting costs would easily be covered by AdSense and Kontera. It’s the time thing that has kept me from pursuing this in the past. All this sporadic downtime is chipping away at my patience, however, and slowly changing my mind.
Anyway, thoughts on self-hosting the forum? (Please do not give me suggestions for other free forum host sites like Forumer, that’s not what I’m asking for.)