Webhosting with WoodChip Computers

Woodchip Computers runs a small, friendly webhosting server, called Gabriel.

Gabriel is not a suitable home for a massive corporate site but is designed for small organisations and individuals who want a simple site with few "frills" that can be managed by one or more people with little experience of writing and maintaining websites.

While you can simply rent space on Gabriel and write all of your own code, the core of Gabriel is the "PCC" software that allows you to edit your pages right there, online.  The name, PCC shows the roots of this software in the management of Church of England parishes - but it actually stands for "Page Content Control" and is a simple Content Management System. It is designed to be a simple, few-frills content management system for the faint hearted.

  • Affordable hosting
  • Personal care and support
  • Flexibility to change the way your system works
  • Opportunity to alter the way your site looks

The PCC software was originally written to provide the church in Sudan with a basic web system for each of their dioceses – and the cost of your installation goes, in part, to subsidise the free provision of web facilities for the Episcopal Church in Sudan. 

What you get…

A site hosted on Gabriel, the Woodchip Computers server comes with all that you are likely to need to host a responsive, attractive and up to date website.  Unlike the old traditional static site of the 20th century, the PCC software is constantly working for you behind the scenes.

Access for all
It allows all who have been given log-in details access to add and edit pages, using only the standard word processing skills.  Pages are set with an arrival and departure date, so you can be sure that your site is never showing sadly out of date material.  There is a set of six drop-down menus.  You control their names and their contents – and there is plenty of space to add all of your pages.

Privacy
A problem with adding email addresses to a website is that they are frequently harvested by the spam mail merchants.  The PCC system has an “AnonEmail” system that allows your users to write to you – but without ever seeing your real address.  There is the facility to upload pictures and documents to the site and you can embed YouTube videos, Google Calendars and more.  There’s a list of the main features overleaf.

Emails to go
When you register a domain for your organisation, you’ll want to enhance the “corporate identity” by using appropriate email addresses.  That’s possible, too!  Your main administrator can create (and delete) email boxes on the server.  Each user (and the administrator) can maintain these boxes, altering the password, setting up an automatic reply and arranging forwarding to other addresses.  You can read your mail online through any web-connected computer (or phone) – or you can set up a mail reader such as Outlook to read mail in a more traditional way.  If you want to keep groups in touch, you can also have group mailing lists for your committees.

Interaction
The key to engaging your audience is to allow them to interact with your site.  You can, of course add links to your Twitter and Facebook places – but you can also invite comment directly onto your website.  Don’t worry though!  You stay in control and decide what will appear on your pages and what will be relegated to the cutting room floor.

Security
There’s a facility for you to make online backup copies of your pages as you work.  That will avoid disaster as you create pages.  More significantly, all of the pages on the server are backed up every night onto another machine, not just in a different room – but right down in another city!  If disaster strikes, we’ll be able to recover!

In a little more detail

A few of the features of the PCC website:

  • Easy log in for unlimited numbers of members.  Each member has an access level appropriate to his/her needs
  • Editors have a word processor-like interface to edit pages
  • Upload and manage photos logos and documents
  • Photo album pages (still under development and not yet available)
  • Embed videos, sound tracks, maps, calendars – and more
  • Drop-down menus allow one-click access to hundreds of pages
  • Editable menus
  • Unlimited** email addresses (which can be hidden in web page links)
  • Controllable mailboxes with forwarding and automatic responses
  • Virus and Spam filtering on all mailboxes
  • Email discussion lists
  • Interactive “Comment” facility to allow your readers to interact with your site
  • Private pages for logged-in members only
  • Daily backup to a remote host
  • Your domain name registered, hosted and managed for you
  • Free subdomain if required for churches at
  • Detailed site statistics to log visitors
  • On-line help – as well as a Real Person!
  • Free set-up for your new site
  • Optional Forms pages for bookings etc
  • A record of who last edited each page
  • New features may be provided on request

** The number is not capped but this is not a suitable place to offer addresses to your whole congregation!  A good deal of your use of this site depends on reasonable collaboration rather than strict regulation.

Prices

2013 prices for a church or charity website:

Domain Registration and management per annum (.org.uk or .co.uk)

£10.00

Web Hosting with PCC Software per annum

£45.00

Mailing lists per list per annum

£5.00

Web hosting without PCC software

by arrangement

Payment is due on invoice annually on the anniversary of the domain registration.  Your initial site will be set up for you with some functioning pages.  If you are transferring an existing site, this will generally be relocated onto the new system free of charge.  (If you have a particularly complicated or poorly-formatted site, there may be a charge for this.)  Domain registration is payable annually, but the registration is for a minimum of two years.

Prices for commercial sites differ and all are revised annually. 

A significant part of the hosting on the server “Gabriel” is taken up by the Episcopal Church in Sudan.  I developed this system, largely, for use by the Sudanese Dioceses (both Sudan and South Sudan) and every diocese in the ECS has a free website.  A part of the fees above go to subsidise this free provision for our fellow Christians in the Sudan and South Sudan.

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