Donating $5/month to Kbin to keep the lights on?

I was trying to work out how much to donate to Kbin to keep the lights on. I read somewhere it costs something like $1/month per user?

Can we assume that 1/5 of users will be donating on a monthly basis?

So most people will be donating something like $5/month to cover the freeloaders and those that genuinely can't afford it?

Does that seem about right?

I was surprised to see that only 190 out of ~5k users have so far donated:

That maths doesn't work does it?

I hope there's a recurring payment option soon like Open Collective otherwise I'll probably forget to donate next month.

SFaulken avatar

I've got no issue kicking Ernest a fiver (and in fact I did), but part of the issue is, we shouldn't be advocating for or any of their other instances becoming the "Big Kahuna" That defeats half the purpose of being a federated protocol in the first place. Get a VPS of your own, spin up an instance, invite your friends and family, and spread the load. If you poke around, you can get a suitable VPS that can support a small number of users quite inexpensively.

I don't have mine up and running yet, but it's in the works, as soon as I muddle through how.

Sam_uk avatar

Agreed. As soon as someone gets a working Docker container up on Dockerhub I'll have a go at getring it up on

WorriedGnome avatar

@Sam_uk same here - if you wouldn't mind sending me a message when it's been figured out? Kbin is intermittent for me at the mo so I may miss the announcement of how to deploy it

MeowdyPardner avatar

To add to this, managed hosting providers are also an option for anyone who wants to run an instance but doesn't want to deal with the technical aspects. So far, (which offers managed mastodon hosting) has added lemmy to their list of supported software and according to support they will be adding kbin too. support says they're also working on offering lemmy & kbin hosting.

jclinares avatar

Agreed. Already donated, but I'm looking into setting up my own instance, too. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about back end development, so it might take a little while xD

But I'm gonna call it, because fuck it, I've got a long and storied history of jumping from a sinking ship, lol.

StaticBoredom, (edited )
StaticBoredom avatar

I think this is an excellent point. Perhaps what’s needed now is emergency lump sum funding to keep the lights on at, then the new user load can spread to other instances as they are created.

Does anyone have an idea of what @ernest says he currently needs?

I think @Sam_uk is right to bring up the subscription topic and the rather low percentage of users who have dished out a bit of cash because will prob also need some predicable funding.

As for me, I already flipped Ernest a lump sum and I personally dislike subscription models and don’t use them. I’d rather send $60 this week than have $5 a month in charges dribbling onto my credit card statement, but I know that my preference won’t be ideal or possible for everyone. I currently have 60 bucks, but I sure as hell don’t have the skills to start my own instance.

Luckily if this instance could allow for both lump sum and subscription payments, there’s a good chance we can come together to get Ol’ Ern the cash he needs to keep this instance humming along. All thanks to him for his efforts. Remember to get some sleep!

edit: anyone know if there’s a magazine set up that deals specifically with funding issues? This instance is slow today so I seem unable to look it up.

vanderbilt avatar

I imagine the problem is two-fold. People aren't aware of the existence of other instances or how federation works, so they sign on the one they have been hearing about. The other factor is among those who are aware of how it works don't want to risk losing their account if a smaller and less-funded instance goes down.



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  • Sam_uk,
    Sam_uk avatar

    In principle; Yes absolutely

    In practice: It looks like the install can be a PITA, maybe leave it a few days until the rough edges are smoothed out. Unless you can smooth the edges:

    SFaulken avatar

    Correct. That's sort of the whole idea behind "The Fediverse" Lots of smaller instances of a thing talking to each other, instead of one big monolithic thing.



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  • Nyaa, (edited )
    Nyaa avatar


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  • missrigatoni,

    Yep. I want to donate too, and would be much easier if it could be a monthly payment through my credit card. Sometimes we forget, and some of us already have a lot of payment reminders spamming our notifications. I can't donate much, since dollars are very expensive, but I want to help as much as I can


    I would appreciate a monthly subscription option. Would be a lot simpler than the buymeacoffee thing, and it's what my mastodon instance does. I would host my own instance, but I really don't want the responsibility


    If there is enough content to replace my reddit usage I could see myself paying 2.50€ - 3.00€ per month

    Sam_uk avatar

    Assuming we do get an Opencollective at some point I wonder if we could query their API and have a 'flair' for users who are donating, whilst anonymising their exact profile/donation amount.


    Is that an official donation link? I'm not able to find a reference to it anywhere else on kbin, but please point me there if I am missing it.

    leveste avatar

    It's official. You can find it on the About page at the bottom.


    I looked right at that and still missed it. Thanks!

    roofuskit, (edited )
    roofuskit avatar

    @ernest should switch to this so we can setup monthly payments. Set it and forget it will provide a much more stable stream of revenue to help with server costs.

    yozul avatar

    $1 /month/user is clearly not enough. It's gotta be at least $2.50 /month/user if you want a decent experience, right? We'll definitely need to send a lot more to

    0x avatar
    Sam_uk avatar

    The cost last month for a few hundred users will be 67/month.

    I suspect you could spend several thousand this month and still not keep up with demand.

    It's a virtuous circle, the faster it is the more people come.

    VerifiablyMrWonka avatar

    It's a virtuous circle, the faster it is the more people come.

    Yep, in my head I'm spinning up all sorts of horizontally scaling AWS driven instances (having looked at the stack and knowing how I could build it out) but I know full well that if anyone were to actually do that at this point they'd be looking at thousands in costs with no way to recoup for at least the first few months.

    In some ways it's just better that the experiences is clunky and non-federated at this point just so ernest doesn't end up drowning hosting debt with his month hold ActivityPub project.

    Kata1yst, (edited )
    Kata1yst avatar

    For 6k users last month it cost €16/m

    For 121k users at the moment (according to the website statistics posted here) it will cost €67/m, though I think we can all agree the system is a bit under provisioned at present, despite using the largest instance provided by the VPS (edit: not entirely true, see @ajar7 's reply below).

    Assuming the truth is somewhere in between (I'm assuming the current state is ~30% under provisioned), and horizontal scaling will be both necessary and somewhat less efficient (I'm assuming ~40% less efficient than vertical scaling)

    It comes to something like €0.001 per month per user.

    At Wikipedia they get around 40,000 gifts of on average $15. They get something like 5.1B unique visits per month. That's roughly $0.00012 per visit.

    The comparison seems to imply we need to get something like 10x the user/donor engagement of Wikipedia, which is very sobering.

    Balssh avatar

    On the flipside, I imagine a lot more people here would be willing to pay (and afford to do so) than many people that use Wikipedia.

    ajar7 avatar has CCX41 and higher (under Dedicated vCPU tab), but that bumps the price tag over €180/mo. One needs to file a support request to up the vCPU limits above the CCX32 plan.

    Kata1yst avatar

    Gotcha. Thanks for the additional details, that makes a ton more sense.

    Sam_uk avatar

    Those numbers seem off to me.

    According to it had 5389 users at midnight last night. When I first looked at that page on Saturday it had ~800 users. It will be interesting to see what it says tomorrow after it updates.

    I think the 'stats' in the bottom link are showing numbers across the fediverse. Not just Kbin?

    rideranton avatar

    I believe those stats are instance specific -'s stats show ~17k users while kbin's shows ~120k

    Noki avatar

    Let get the Dev a head start and pump thos numbers!

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