2018 was the year in which NI Ferry Site really started to take off, with more views in 2018 than in the three previous years combined. In December alone there were 18,338 sessions resulting in 35,220 page views from over 12,000 unique users – around half the total for the entirety of 2017! The site was viewed over 197,000 times in 2018 – more than the site achieved since it started in February 2014 until the end of 2017!
Unfortunately, this also led to the ending of our relationship with our web-host for most of 2018 as they could no longer tolerate the resources NIFS was using on their shared servers due to the increasing popularity of the site. After a temporary move to another web host which throttled the site due to its resource usage, the site moved to its own Virtual Private Server on the 20th January. With this move came a further substantial increase in costs but it was the most cost-effective way to guarantee site availability at all times – as I type 20 people are currently browsing the site which would have been enough for our previous hosts to slow down the site and even stop further people from accessing it.
NI Ferry Site has been entirely funded out of my own pocket from its creation until now. Around 6 months ago I realised that I was not going to be able to continue doing this without some sort of way for the site to earn money itself or scaling back the content on the site – this would have involved removing the news sections and also stopping features like “Look Inside” which I feel are what make the site more than just another technical data site. The move to more expensive hosting was the final “nail in the coffin” with the site now costing £100’s per year to keep running.
I hope everyone understands why I have had to take this decision – I haven’t done so lightly.