Hundred Year Host

So your personal website can continue past your death.

If you have a personal website, and you would like it to continue past your death, this will take care of your domain renewals and website hosting for a hundred years from when you sign up.

This will be a not-for-profit entity, like a purpose trust whose sole legal purpose is to keep your website hosted at your existing domain name for a hundred years.

You pre-pay for the estimated cost of the domain renewals and hosting. All finances - all deposits, all expenses, all transactions - will be public and auditable. Your pre-payment will stay alotted for your own site only. The trust will have no employees, and will keep all expenses as low (sustainable) as possible.

The trust has not launched yet. This site is a placeholder.

What structure and where?

A Swiss association is trustable and a very common structure that specifically allows for members! So in this case each customer would become a member of the association, but we would have to state that membership continues past death, or another similar rule to ensure the association is bound to keep members’ sites alive past death.

A South Dakota (USA) Trust specifically allows purpose trusts and also specifically allow them to be perpetual. Since the U.S. is likely to be the country with the most clients of this service, that would also make for easier banking. The only downside is that some people are wary of dealing with the U.S.

A New Zealand not-for-profit entity (business? trust?) is another trustable jurisdiction, and efficient because I’m happy to provide free trustee services, as a New Zealand citizen and resident.

A Wyoming (USA) Statutory Foundation could work because it’s a separate legal entity that can be a hybrid between a trust and a business entity. That matches the aims of this project. And it may exist to serve a purpose, instead of needing named beneficiaries.

I don’t know how any of these entities would be taxed. This this entire project is meant to be not-for-profit. The structure would need a bank account and Visa/Mastercard debit card to pay for domain renewals and server hosting.

Owning not renting its servers

Renting server space makes sense for short-term needs. But like owning versus renting a house, owning is cheaper if you are planning to stay for many decades.

Personal website hosting like this doesn’t need heavy computing. Just lots of storage with lots of redundancy. Basically 0% chance of data loss or else the point of this project is moot.

So I’m guessing it should have two dedicated servers, at opposite sides of the earth, in two places quite safe from disaster and war. For example: New Zealand and Norway. Those two servers would be cloned constantly, each ready to provide all hosting in an instant. Or both always-on with load balancing.

Then also backup storage in a third place, like Canada, used only to restore a new server in case both live servers fail.

The trust should also work with The Internet Archive, a non-profit already dedicated to keeping a backup of the internet in general.

Different levels of service

Different types of people might want to use this service for different levels of involvement:

  1. Bill-pay only. The trust becomes your billing contact for your existing domain and hosting bills. Leave your site hosted wherever you want. The trust just pays your bills.
  2. Domain owner. Hosting bill-pay.. Transfer ownership of your domain name to the trust, so the trust can keep it renewed for 100 years. And make the trust your billing contact for your existing hosting, like the previous option.
  3. Domain owner and host. Transfer ownership of your domain name and hosting to the trust, and the trust will host and maintain your website on its servers. You still have full private access to your hosting forever, but so does the trust so the trust can help maintain the website forever.

Either way, the goal is for “Hundred Year Host” to have the ability to take care of everything so you can die in peace knowing your online legacy is well-maintained for a couple more generations.

Contact Derek Sivers to share your thoughts or questions.