Becoming a customer (requires paying 20 eur using PayPal)

The developer of the publishing application registers one new user account for each new customer of the publishing application with the data centre service provider (Hetzner), after which the publishing application server can then be deployed.

The first prepayment is different from the subsequent ones in that the customer of the publishing application first sends 20 eur to the developer of the publishing application using PayPal and then this 20 eur is sent to Hetzner using the same payment service. PayPal payments are transferred without delay if there is money in the PayPal account or if the PayPal account is linked to a bank card.

There are several data centre service providers and one that seems to be very good is Hetzner, whose servers can also be located in Finland. In the case of Hetzner, the initial financial transaction would be as described in the image 1 meaning that customer makes a prepayment using PayPal to the PayPal account of the developer of the publishing application, from which the same amount is soon transferred to Hetzner as an prepayment. Later, the customer can also pay Hetzner's invoices directly by bank transfer.

Other data centre providers may not have the option of prepayment, so for them the initial and possibly later financial transactions too would happen as describe in the image 2 and which might also mean that deployment phase could arrive slightly sooner.

Basic features of a server that the publishing application uses and monthly payment

Resources such as disk space, memory/performance for server equipment are available on request. As minimum resources for a server, 4 GB of memory, and 3 vCPUs (processor time slots) have been considered as suitable. The server is a virtual server, i.e. the processor is used by multiple Hetzner clients. Dedicated servers, i.e. servers used by only a single customer, are more expensive. With what are defined as good basic resources, the monthly fee for a virtual server would be somewhere between 5 and 15 euros. Decentralising the publishing application to multiple servers works, but synchronising data between servers can cause problems that have not been encountered in testing, so for the time being the publishing server is only placed on one server, with the possibility of changing resources.

Picture 3. Minimum resources for a server used by a publishing service if the data centre service provider is Hetzner.

There is a lot of variation in the pricing of outbound data (images, etc.) between different data centre services providers, but customer should be able assume that both the amount of free outbound data traffic and the amount of disk space can be characterised as relatively high. The CPX21 server at Hetzner in the image 3 allows up to 20 TB of outbound data traffic before being charged separately. In practice, this limit cannot even be exceeded because the publishing application is configured to limit data traffic to a level that does not allow excessive traffic to accumulate. This, as well as many other issues, can be agreed separately.

Required to be used: CDN service (10 eur / year, paid using PayPal)

The publishing application is much more resilient to load on the server, and the images used in the works load faster when they are not always loaded directly from the server used by the publishing application, but from a CDN that resides between the user and the server. The abbreviation CDN stands for Content Delivery Network, which means, for example, that the images used in the works arrive in the user's browser from the nearest possible PoP server of the CDN service.

Pricing and special mention: the CDN service (BunnyCDN) can be pre-configured for the customer by registering a single new user account, making the necessary adjustments and then changing the email address of the CDN user account so that the customer can log in and attach his payment details to the user account. The customer would already have a PayPal account at this stage, so it is recommended to use it (trial period of 14 days). BunnyCDN has a rule that once a year, the customer must pay a minimum deposit of 10 eur. A previously paid prepayment will never expire. For that 10 eur, you can get 1 TB of data transfer, which could be enough for a low-traffic publishing application for a whole year. If the prepayments run out, the images from the publishing application will not be distributed via the CDN service until another prepayment has been made. These prepayments are non-refundable once paid.

Notice: There is a separate writing explaining how to set up the CDN service using images (see the writing "Ohje CDN-palvelun käyttöönottoon").

Optional: separately bought domain instead of using subdomain like "xyx.testingkwstories.net"

The publishing application can be accessed from the Internet as soon as it is installed. The initial contacts during the first phases of becoming customer will determine whether the publishing application will use a specific subdomain or whether a different domain name will be purchased. Of course, such a decision can be made at a later stage, too. Domains can be purchased from a number of different providers (e.g. Namecheap), which typically also have (some kind of) management interface. The domain name purchased is always transferable from one registrar to another, unless you have given up some of your rights, such as ownership, when you buy it. At this time it is intended that a publishing application customer would buy the domain name himself, as even a novice can do it and thus there wouldn't need to be the hassle of transfering ownership rights.

Picture 4. Setting up name servers for a purchased domain name is a simple task. Before the change, they have had the name servers of the domain vendor, but they need to be replaced with the Hetzner equivalent.

Pricing: if you don't need a special domain name extension, the usual minimum price might be a little less than ten euros per year. The first year can often be free or at a good discount. There are several hundred different domain name extensions.

Notice: For a separately purchased domain name, these name servers (see image #23566): hydrogen.ns.hetzner.com, oxygen.ns.hetzner.com ja helium.ns.hetzner.de.

Notice: Not of major importance, but as a quick note, if IPV4 addresses are not available for the publishing application due to their low global availability, IPV6 addresses are used. Cisco, for example, can tell you more about them: https://www.ciscopress.com/articles/article.asp?p=2803866

Refunding of prepayments

At least in the case of Hetzner, prepayments can be refunded for the remaining amount (minus the balance of the last invoice). However, in the case of some other data centre service provider, if the customer still has money left in the PayPal account of the publishing application developer and the invoices have been paid, the customer can get the remaining money back.

According to the information received from Hetzner's customer service, the refund will be made using the payment method originally used to make the payments, i.e. PayPal payments via the publishing application developer to the PayPal account and bank transfers directly to the bank account of the publishing application customer. It is not clear at the time of writing whether there is a service fee for a bank transfe, but in the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) it should not be very much.

Establishing customer relationship

If a data centre provider does not allow prepayments, customer can still transfer prepayments for a calculated number of months to the PayPal account of the developer of the publishing application or, perhaps more easily, transfer a rough amount sufficient for one or more monthly payments.

If a data centre service provider such as Hetzner allows prepayments to be received, customer's money is transferred directly from the PayPal account of the developer of the publishing application, as in the initial phase. Hetzner has a special feature that the customer can choose to pay the invoices directly to it using a bank transfer. Hetzner automatically deducts the server costs from the Credit Balance once a month. When making a bank transfer, the Hetzner user account's ID is entered as a reference number so that the amount sent is routed to the correct user account.

If requested separately, the customer can receive a copy of an invoice, but this is a manual operation, so sending a copy of each invoice might not happen. As an alternative, some data centre service providers offer the possibility of inviting a person to a team of some sort, which allows customer to view and perhaps also pay the bills in a web interface.

More business-like operations still ahead

The publishing application is not yet sold as a business, but as a private person, so at this stage the customer does not pay extra for product development, maintenance, etc.

Not in use, yet: secure connection to everyone accessing subdomain of the testingkwstories.net

At this stage, while avoiding the accumulation of costs for the developer of the publishing application, no SSL certificate for secure connections has been implemented, but at some later point of time a wildcard-type SSL certificate (see image #23585) could be implemented, so that one SSL certificate could be used to enable security on all subdomains of the testingkwstories.net domain. This would not be charged from customers and just mentioned for the sake of mentioning. For a user having a user account to the publishing application, access to it can be partially protected with a VPN connection. For more information, see "Rationale and guidance for obtaining a network address specific SSL certificate".