Wednesday, 7 October 2009


There are plenty of people in IT that seem to make a living without lots of knowledge and don't have a guilty conscience. Whenever I get asked to help, I always seem to do just that, Help! Then when asked 'How much will that be?' my normal response has always been 'Ah don't worry about it!'. BUT NO MORE!!

For years no I have run my own server at home to host e-mail and websites for friends and family with the thought that it was no hassle if I already had the Internet connection and there was no major load going through it. I have built websites and never charged people because it 'helped me to learn new things' as I like to know how stuff is done on the web.

Well, this week I have been trying to cut costs and one of those was with my Gas and Electricity. Southern Electric had decided that £52 per month for electricity wasn't going to be enough and doubled my monthly payment based on estimated usage. (They also decided not to reduce my Gas from £71 month after 4 months of not using over summer!). Anyway so I started to look at switching supplier and then slowly drifted to wondering how much electricity the PC's were using.

If you don't know. electricity is charged by the kWh (Kilo Watt hour). After some searching it looked like the average price of electricity is about 9p-10p per kWh. So a 100W LCD screen would have to be used for 10 hours to use 1kWh of electricity and therefore cost me 10p. Most computers come with at least a 300W-400W power supply and servers are normally larger. I currently have 4 PC's running in my office. One acts as a firewall so stays on all the time, another is my Web/mail server so stays on all the time. The third is a NAS box (For file storage) and has been on all the time and the last is my desktop which can sometimes be left on all the time (Only recently being turned off at night). But lets look at the power consumption here....
Let's just average it out and assume 3 of the machines (not the desktop) use about 200W on average each.

3 x 200w = 600w = 0.6 kWh

0.6 x 24hrs = 14.4kWh per day

14.4 x 365 = 5256kWh per year

5256 x £0.095 = £499.32 per year in electricity.

Now you'll note that I excluded my Desktop PC. When I built my nice QUAD CORE desktop PC, I used the standard 400W power supply that was in my old PC. This power supply lasted a whole 2.5hrs before dying a sudden death. so I think it would be safe to assume that the desktop could be running at an average of about 400W-500W (maybe more) which means it would cost me £416 per year alone.

So the result of all that maths means that I need to reduce the number of PC's I use from 4 to at least 2 (Desktop and NAS) and also I need to turn off machines at night time which means no more web/mail hosting for free at home.

I have now taken a web hosting package online and am going to charge people for the domains/websites and e-mail boxes I move to it. I reckon that the hosting package will cost me about £150 year and I'll save more than that by turning off two computers. Additionally I'm going to charge for the use of the hosting and mailboxes like every other like minded IT person is already doing and stop being a sucker!!

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