NearlyFreeSpeech.NET is a sharing hosting provider with a pretty unique approach. The amount of fucks they give about trends, be it business models popular in industry or cloud stuff or “fanatical support™ with customer champions”, is close to zero. This is adorable and I highly respect such people.

Read their FAQ to understand what I’m taking about.

Not catering to everyone:

If one of those options works for you, great! If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a more “high contact” approach to support or if you’re looking for someone to create or manage a site for you, that’s absolutely fine, but a do-it-yourself service like ours may not be the best fit for your needs.

To put it another way, some people change their own oil. Some people pay a mechanic to do it because although they could do it themselves, they want to spend their time another way. And some people pay a mechanic to do it because they just want their car to work and the details don’t interest them. NearlyFreeSpeech.NET is a service for people who want to change their web site’s oil.

Turning the majority of customers away to focus on their ideal users:

Is your service easy to use?

No.

Compared to the endless parade of hosts that provide tons of “one-click installs,” one-size-fits-all web site templates, unlimited toll-free telephone support, and cookie-cutter control panels, our service is arcane and complex. We consider this a positive.

[…]

Being frugal and having a simple business model:

How can you make money at these prices?

It’s not easy. For one thing, we keep overhead to a minimum. No fancy multi-acre Silicon Valley office palaces with slides and wandering masseurs here. No business development teams. No commission-driven sales force.

Also, we try to avoid doing stupid things that make no sense just because we heard someone else made a lot of money that way. That really helps.

This is not a loss leader, a limited time offer, or restricted to only certain people. This is our business model, and it works.

Having a usable and readable website instead of a fancy one with stock pictures:

Why doesn’t your website look like other hosting provider sites?

It’s simple. We don’t want to confuse people into thinking we’re anything like other hosting providers. Our simple, text-based layout is designed to load fast, to be easy to use, and not to try to distract you from making an informed decision about us. As if that’s not enough, we also think Jakob Nielsen is pretty cool.

[…]

(You can say a lot about the state of the Web if having a simple, usable website makes your business unique!)

Avoiding fancy marketing terms:

Is this cloud computing?

No. Clouds are fluffy. We are not fluffy!

We have been using “cloud-like” principles since we started in 2002. We make heavy use of multiple virtualization technologies, hardware independence, shared resource pooling, load balancing and clustered job distribution. But we do not consider ourselves to be a cloud computing provider, if only because that’s such a marketing term and really means very little. (We’ve seen it argued that “the cloud” is anything you don’t host on equipment you own and operate yourself.)

Also: being honest, not taking websites down for bullshit reasons, etc.

Finally, using FreeBSD instead of Linux.

Hmm, of this reminds me of another FreeBSD-based service with a similar attitude and pricing model: Tarsnap. I wonder if there is a correlation :-)

P.S. I don’t use NearlyFreeSpeech.NET myself because I need VPS, but I have an account with them.