KeytoSchool Shifts Gears, Adopts Paid SaaS Hosting model

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Interesting news from the Moodle hosting organization, KeytoSchool, which grew quickly into one of the largest communities of Moodle sites in the world. With rising demand for bandwidth/storage required by users of its tricked out Moodles, KeytoSchool stopped creating new sites a few months ago (but maintained service for all other users); a notification today lays out their future plans which might provide a sustainable foundation for the resource.

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Starting in January a few limits will be imposed to existing free hosted sites (500 users, 1/2 GB disk storage) but the ability to scale through the paid service will be added through their commercial site, KeytoMoodle.com.  In addition, all sites will be upgraded to Moodle 2.0.

To date, KeytoSchool’s free Moodle hosting has been donation supported and was organized as a non-profit entity.  The new site ushers in a new business opportunity perhaps to offset the costs of managing 1000s of free hosted Moodles (and to take advantage of any inherent lead generation they may have created). Certainly, if they can attract customers to their low cost hosting (starting at only $99 per year) they may find a measure of success at attracting users who desire a hosting company that is both dedicated to Moodle services and development of their own hosted environment and low-cost (many hosting companies in general offer Moodle, but as an option among 100s of other software titles).

The original site, http://www.keytoschool.com/ is still public touting a “free lifetime subscription” for up to 2500 users.  Unfortunately registrations are still closed. I was able to connect with KeytoSchool support this morning and they confirmed that registration for free Moodle hosting at KeytoSchool.com will resume though the date is to be determined.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Well my free site http://scm.moodlehub.com (under keytoschool.com) was upgraded to Moodle 2.0. And with that I lost my 30+ themes, Lightbox Galleries, WizIQ functionality and all the other blocks, filters and third-party activities that were available when my site was running under Moodle 1.9.8.

    On February 26th 2011, I felt like I lost a good friend when I surfed to my site and noticed the total revamp in the interface (from Moodle 1.9.8 to Moodle 2.0.2). Some site “tenants”, i believe, will be GRIEVING over their “loss”. Like my English lecturer colleagues who use the site exclusively for their Intensive English classes.

    Couldn’t a choice be given to site “tenants” to retain Moodle 1.9.8 on keytoschool.com?

    Well it was a GREAT service that keytoschool.com offered all these years (since 2008/2009?) and they (and Jai Gupta) did a magnificent job. But I fear that there will be many an unhappy site tenant who would have one day woken up only to realise that his or her site (among the tens of thousands of other sites residing for free in keytoschool.com land) had suddenly changed its theme and look and feel to Moodle 2.0.

    Well it is a free service and one cannot be too demanding, considering that they offered very fast server access and reliable service all these time! It was a DREAM come true. The realities are that the donation monies did not cover the annual gargantuan costs of free Moodle hosting.

    My hope is that as Moodle 2.0 stabilises and strengthens over time, the free moodle sites can only grow better and stronger in terms of functionality and usage. Moodle 2.x.x will be stronger and better because of the development team and the community behind it.

    In the meantime though this current MAJOR bump in the road may have quite a few casualties among site tenants who may not be willing to wait so long for their site to mature into a iron-clad CMS that is what Moodle 2.x.x will be.

    For those who felt that the change was a major crisis in their Moodle life, please take heart that in the real world, CRISISes happen all the time, but the human spirit will prevail.

    Jai Gupta, if you are reading this, I would like to THANK YOU for keytoschool’s wonderful free Moodle service that you are maintaining. Your free service’s servers are even faster than my paid VPS hosting that I am using for my paid site http://scm.moodleace.com. At least that was what it was when my site was running under Moodle 1.9.8! Maybe it is still as fast. Anyway, I wish your company ALL THE BEST with its paid hosting plans and may you and your company SUCCEED.

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