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.
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.