So you want a Chat Site?

Most of the information contained on this page is now outdated and most of the URLs are broken ... I am working on updating some of the information but for the most part this is here only as historical information on what it took to run a chat site back in the early days of the internet. The cost of setting up a site has gone way down as bandwidth has gotten cheaper ... a quick search for chat software with bring you page after page of software packages the are low cost or free ... that is not to say that there are not packages that are big ticket items because that does exist and is used by a number of sucessful site. Back to the original page, hofefully it will provide some useful information as you consider setting up a chat site.

The Chatter

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Setting up a HTML chat site is not an undertaken taken by the faint of heart, there will be a lot of blood, sweat, and tears shed while you try and put it altogether, the one thing that most are not prepared for is: be prepared to spend some money to get the site operational. I have worked on many chat sites and most of them have failed because they did not have the capital together before setting up the site. Let's talk about what you can expect to spend the first year that your site is in existance.

  • Web Hosting - the cost of a web host in itself is cheap what most people do not realize is that a HTML chat script is going to use up a lot of bandwidth and it is the bandwidth that is going to cost you. When you look for a host you need to be looking for a few things from the host:
    1. Up time ... a site is no good if the host is down all the time.
    2. High bandwidth allowance ... you need at least 5 GB allowance if you are moderately successful.
    3. Access to the cgi-bin, PERL 5, and that you are allowed to run a HTML chat script.
    4. Low overall price ... you should be able to get this for less than $250.00 per year but be prepared to spend $10.00 to $15.00 per GB on bandwidth over the 5 GB allowed. I am now offering a hosting plan that will give you what you need and more to setup your chat site, all for a low annual cost of $180.00
  • Domain Name - The price of domain names has dropped over time so in order to be taken seriously you need to get a domain name, you can get one as cheap as $11.00 per year.
  • Chat Software - Remember one thing we are talking about just HTML chat software there as many Java Chat software packages out there but in my mind they have too many limits to suit my taste. Enough said depending on what you are trying to do with your site will depend on what type of software you will need for your site.
    1. No Cost - If the site is just for family and friends one of the many free chat programs will work just fine, best all around free piece of software is ChatPro LE. It does not have all the features of the full version but it is a good starting point. As long as you have some experience with setting up a cgi script you should have no problem setting it up and making some minor modifications. Otherwise you can pay to have it configured and installed for about $50.00. Another good free chat script is EveryChat 3.61, once again if installing it is beyond your expertise you can pay to have it configured and installed for about $50.00.
    2. Low Cost - The next step up is the low cost chat software for around $25.00 you can get E_Chat 4.3, it comes with some nice features and there are some add-on packages you can add to improve it even more ... once again you can set it up yourself or for around $50.00 you can have it configured and installed.
    3. Mid Cost - For a larger full featured site I recommend the full version of ChatPro 2.5 it is currently priced at $250.00 and you can pay an additional $50.00 for setup and installation. On top of this I have designed some additional plugin features which I will sell and install for an additional $150.00.
    4. Just added to the mid cost range of chat software options GASPChat Lite, this uses the same chat engine as the full version but does not have all the extra features, for a limited time you can get a four (4) room chat site for $550.00 this includes the cost of installation.
    5. High Cost - A high end site will start at at $1,600.00 for a full featured single room chat site, this price includes all setup and installation costs as well as 1 years maintenance and future upgrades to the GASPChat software, additional rooms are $100.00. There are other software packages for the high end that start a over $2,000.00 and go up from there.

    Now of course I totally understand that to many, these prices might scare you away ... but all hope is not lost as there are other options open to you. You can always have your chat site hosted on an existing site. At the present I can offer you two choices and depending on the type of room you want will depend on which site you can be hosted on.
    1. If you are looking to host a Gorean Chat room (a room based on the books by John Norman) you can get your room hosted on GoreanChat for $100.00 per year this includes the price of one annual membership in the hosting cost.
    2. All other types of room can be hosted at FantasyCastle for $125.00 per year, this price also includes the price of an annual membership.

    As you can tell either of these options are a viable solution to setting up a chat site when you consider the cost of setting up and maintaining a site on your own. I hope that you have found this informative and happy chatting.

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