Once more we find ourselves at the end of the year with the festive season rapidly approaching and so we wanted to post a little update to tell you about some of what we're up to and what we have planned. We're a family run business so think of it like a good ol' fashioned family newsletter!
A year in review
2019 has been a busy year for us, some of our biggest highlights though have come at the end of the year in just the last month or so. We've recently rolled out our new web hosting packages with massively increased disk limits, and we've done the same with our reseller hosting packages; increasing the largest package to a massive 400GB of disk space and 40TB of data transfer!
Another huge highlight for us was the recent launch of our new managed WordPress hosting service, the reception has been incredible and we're already enjoying supporting customers with their day to day Wordpress needs.
Earlier this year we also massively increased the range of domains we sell to over 400! We even learnt a little bit of Welsh as we launched support for specialist domains for Wales and Scotland such as .gov.scot, .gov.wales, and .llyw.cymru - this was on top of our extremely popular .gov.uk registrar services (we're the number 1 indexed registrar for .gov.uk you know!).
As always, we've worked on our share of ethical and community projects this year as well; we were thrilled to announce that Ethical Consumer scored us 14.5 out of 15 in their audit of our ethical policies. We then rolled out a huge upgrade to our public mirror server which provides free hosting to community projects such as Ubuntu and CentOS, and public speed test servers such as nPerf and speedtest.net
Finally, we were thrilled to launch our revamped affiliate programme; we continue to get amazing reviews from customers, according to the data 100% of our customers would recommend us to a friend or colleague. Considering customers love referring us we thought it only fair we pay them for their referrals so customers can now get paid for spreading the love.
Lincoln Foodbank and The Island
At this time of year we would traditionally be sending cards and gifts to some of our customers (you may well have been lucky enough to receive one of our amazing solid chocolate Freethought faces!), however we're going to do something a little bit different this year and donate what we would have spent on gifts to two worthy charities.
Half of the money has gone to Lincoln Foodbank, which we hope will help them cover their running costs on things like fuel for their new van. We have been really moved by the huge demand on foodbanks all across the country; you may have seen in the news that there are now more foodbanks than McDonalds! The Trussell Trust reported that in April-September this year 823,145 food parcels were distributed by foodbanks in the UK, which is a staggering 23% higher than the same period in 2018. More than 4 million children live in poverty in the UK, equivalent to 9 in every school class of 30. In the last year in Lincoln they have provided 4,500 people with emergency food parcels, a third of which were children. With some areas of Lincoln in the top 1% of deprivation in the UK their work is absolutely critical so we're delighted to be able to support them.
If you would like to donate money or food to your local foodbank then you can find the closest ones at https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/.
In addition, we are also donating the other half of the money to The Island in York; an amazing charity we have long supported with free hosting and other related services. The Island believe all children and your people have undiscovered potential and that through mentoring we can create "islands of space and time" for them to see and believe in themselves. The Island believes in care, responsibility, respect and compassion resulting in positive outcomes on children and young people's attitudes, behaviour and skills. We are thrilled to be able to fund an additional 50 mentoring sessions for young people in York and help them build their confidence, self-esteem, and resilience.
If you would also like to donate to The Island, or perhaps volunteer yourself if you are local you can do so via their website at https://www.theislandyork.org
Big things planned for 2020
We've had some great momentum over the past month or two, but we're just getting started. In early 2020 we've got some really exciting developments that we're thrilled to announce.
First and foremost, we've got a massive data centre and network upgrade planned. In January we plan to move into our own purpose build private cage at our London data centre, alongside this upgrade we're replacing our core network to be entirely 10Gbps, and we're upgrade our transit ports to be 10Gbps as well! This will have a huge impact on our resilience to things like attacks, but also allow us to provide even faster connection speeds to those that need it, for example our ULTRA and co-location customers who from January will also be able to enjoy 10Gbps connections.
On the subject of ULTRA... it is no secret that our ULTRA hosting is by far the most popular product we've ever launched. Everyone who uses it is amazed at how fast it is, and the incredible performance they get from their Wordpress installations and Magento stores especially. Well we are very exciting to announce that in January we are going to be rolling out an entirely new product; ULTRA reseller hosting. This new hosting service is going to be the same insane power that we have with our regular ULTRA hosting, but for resellers. You'll be able to buy an allotment of processing and memory resource etc on a super powerful low contention server and then allocate that to your own customers as you see fit. We are beyond excited, and we know you're going to love it.
Planting trees in 2020
Finally, if you have missed the news on social media, Freethought is now a climate positive company! We are beyond carbon neutral, we now have a net positive impact on the climate through funding of reforestation projects and carbon reduction projects throughout the world. Just this week as a Christmas gift to planet Earth, we funded the planting of 5000 trees as well as offsetting 100 tonnes of CO2, and from now until the end of January 2020 we're planting trees every time you purchase hosting, or register and transfer domains with us!
We're very excited to be working with our partner Offset Earth for this project, check out our profile to see what we've done so far and all the extra trees we're planting, and if you like you can even join yourself and plant your own forest for your business or family.
And that concludes our year in review, we hope you agree it's been a great year and we hope yours has been as good. We look forward to working with you all in the coming new year and wish you a wonderful Christmas from everyone here at Freethought.