Why choose us

Perhaps you’re wondering why you should choose Electric Embers over a larger hosting company that costs about the same, or over a nearly free unlimited-everything host you just found in a web search. It’s just Internet hosting, they’re all about the same, and how bad can those cheap ones really be? Plus you don’t have much money to spend on technical infrastructure instead of critical program activities, and your funding keeps getting cut, and you’re replacing staff with volunteers already, right?

We think there are very good reasons to entrust your hosting to Electric Embers:

  • Responsive, human tech support: This is a requisite claim for any service provider, but really, it’s true — see comments from our clients on the right. You can reach us by email or phone, and we’ll respond within a few business hours, or to urgent problems often within a few minutes. And the people you reach are the same people who wrote this site, run the servers, fix the bugs, add new features, handle the billing, and set up new accounts. EE was founded by nonprofit tech consultants from Tech Underground. We wear many hats and can pull answers out of any of them; there will be no canned responses, transfers to another department, or mandatory troubleshooting scripts. Your call will not be monitored.
  • Security, privacy, and reliability: On general principles, and also because of the particularly sensitive nature of the work of many of our clients, we place the greatest value on the security of our systems and the privacy of our users. We will protect your data to the best of our ability. (See also our privacy policy.) Our services work, at least 99.9% of the time, with no lost data or flakiness. All user data is backed up every night and can be restored for several months. We notify all affected users before any significant scheduled maintenance, and you can see our complete system history.
  • No advertising: You will never see any advertising on our own web site or services, or added by us to any web site or email we host, and we do not mine client data or sell anything to marketers or spammers, ever. We do almost no traditional paid advertising in any medium. Our goal is to continue growing organically and by word of mouth, as we have so far. We want to put your monthly fees entirely towards running your services, not towards acquiring more customers.
  • Sliding scale rates: We charge on a sliding scale, so our larger clients with more generous budgets are in effect subsidizing the service of our smallest clients. Some of our clients get free service and make voluntary donations when they can, so everyone else is subsidizing them. We hope thereby to contribute to the general diversity and robustness of the sectors we serve.
  • Environmental sustainability: We’re serious about making responsible resource use choices. We are 100% powered by renewable energy; the carbon offsets we purchase through NativeEnergy help build wind, biogas, and solar projects that create sustainable economic benefits for Native Americans, family farmers, and rural communities. Our operations are basically paper-free, but even a paperless office presents challenges; we address electronic waste and toxicity with donations to Basel Action Network and Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and by reusing and recycling hardware whenever we can.
  • Free and open-source software: We use only free and open-source software and contribute code to the projects that are most important to us and our clients. We contribute financially to sustain the software projects that make our services possible (we support the Free Software Foundation and the FreeBSD Foundation), to aid organizations advancing free software in our sector (Riseup Labs and Aspiration), and to defend free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights generally (EFF).
  • Free SSL encryption courtesy of Let’s Encrypt: We are one of the first hosting providers to integrate this free and open nonprofit certificate authority, spearheaded originally by the EFF, into all of our services. That means all connections to all services here are now fully encrypted, some of them automatically (Mail, Groups) and some upon receipt of a simple request from you (Web hosting). In a post-Snowden era of heightened awareness of the many security and privacy risks on the internet, we believe deeply in Let’s Encrypt’s philosophy and mission to protect everyone’s data.
  • Human connection and commitment: We’re a small group of actual human beings, working together in a democratic, consensus-driven cooperative. We’re friendly and flexible, and we’re doing this because we love it and because we support your mission, not because we’re angling to get rich. We will never suddenly disappear overnight with all your data — we’re here to stay, not for sale. As a small locally-owned business, our revenue tends to get pumped back into the economy that sustains most of us instead of fattening wealthy corporate executives. As a worker co-op, we share our surplus equitably and have no outside investors. Each year, 20% of our surplus goes to the donations described on this page.