Reclaim Hosting

Reclaim Hosting "provides institutions and educators with an easy way to offer their students domains and web hosting that they own and control." Use Reclaim Hosting to set up ethical tech like WordPress, MediaWiki, html sites, Scalar, Omeka, Pressbooks, and more. These free open source tools need to be hosted on some kind of server space and be attached to a domain name. Reclaim Hosting provides this hosting and domain name registration for a reasonable fee and they are specifically geared towards working in educational environments.

Note that Reclaim Hosting offers a variety of services but they are all paid services. Some services, like their shared hosting packages, have a small enough fee that an individual teacher could choose to deploy them in a single class. While others services are institutionally based like their "Domain of One's Own" service and have fees that are more aligned with an institutional license.

Use cases

Institutional web hosting

Reclaim Hosting has an institutional service called "Domain of One's Own" that can give an institution the ability to provide server space and name registration (either top level domain or subdomain names) to individuals who are associated with the institution. (It should be noted that Domain of One's Own is also the name of the broader practice of giving students and faculty their own domains for public expression and building digital literacies). In this use case the institution purchases the Domain of One's Own service from Reclaim Hosting who sets up a portal for members of the institution. Individuals are given a fully functional domain with a small allotment of server space and registration of a top level or subdomain.

Some use case scenarios:

  • An institution has made a commitment to digital literacy and wants to provide students and faculty a place to build those skills and take on the responsibility of public voice. The institution implements Reclaim Hosting's Domain of One's Own service and then any faculty or student can use the institution's portal to claim some server space and a domain name.
  • A department inside of an institution wants to provide a place for faculty to host public portfolios of their work. The institution's portal is set up with permissions that only allow faculty from that department to claim a domain.

More than 100 institutions use Reclaim Hosting, such as:

Shared web hosting

Besides institutional hosting, Reclaim Hosting also provides shared web hosting which is great for individuals. This option has several potential use case scenarios. Note that in all of these scenarios the individuals do not have an institutional option:

  • A student is looking for a way to blog about their student experience. However, they have concerns about data ownership in free services that want to put advertising on the blog or otherwise harvest data of those who will visit the blog. They also have concerns about the portability of site content on high-priced software as a service providers who claim to make building websites effortless. The student purchases a shared hosting package with a unique domain name and deploys the free open source blogging tool Wordpress on that space.
  • A professor wants to teach students about digital literacy and managing their own web spaces to make them more aware of and give them more agency over their personal data. The professor wants every student to have their own domain to manage and could make a domain a requirement for taking the class the way they normally would a textbook. However, this professor was just given a creative teaching grant from the institution's pedagogy center that will cover the cost of a domain for every student in the class. The professor contacts Reclaim Hosting who suggests purchasing a block of coupon codes. After purchasing the codes the professor distributes them to the students who use them to claim a domain and at checkout simply put in the coupon code to reduce the bill to zero.

How to use it

Replacement for

  • Running your own server (not less ethical but a higher level of technical literacy needed to maintain it)
  • Go Daddy