Our Free plan has been a part of our core product offering since we launched in July 2013 and we're proud to have inspired so many people with the confidence to take the leap and start their own online station.
We never fully anticipated the level of growth we have experienced as a company and with that comes a unique and unexpected challenge: the Free plan uses more resources on a server per capita than our paid services.
We've always intended to frame our Free plan as a way to try things out, without the feature-based limitations often seen in our competitor's offerings (i.e. no chance to try out AutoDJ), it was never intended to replace a fully-fledged streaming plan - simply a way to see how it all worked and, if it's for you, upgrade to one of our affordable packages.
However, we've noticed over the years that Free servers would be used at a resource-intensive level, sometimes even with people circumventing account creation rules to give themselves more accounts. Or, on the other side of things, people would sign up to test the service and perhaps forget about it, leaving the server running and consuming resources without actively intending to use them. Whilst we can safeguard against these things to a limited capacity, as our growth continues it becomes difficult to administrate such a task.
It's with this in mind that we've made the decision to change our free plan's offering and discontinue the service as it once was. Moving forward, you'll notice changes on our website that reflect our free plan is now being offered as a 7 day 'try before you buy' trial. This way, people are able to try the service without being limited in the ways we mentioned before and also without our servers being put under strain due to the factors mentioned above.
We understand that many of you have used the Free plan for many years and that for some of you it was perfectly suitable, but unfortunately it's simply too much of a strain on our servers to allow this to continue. Despite this, if you have a genuine need for a subsidised server, for example if you run a charity or you're an educational organisation, we encourage you to get in touch with us as part of our Charities and Schools offer. We've helped hundreds of charities, schools, universities, colleges, religious organisations and more to have an online streaming presence and we're proud of this.
Ultimately, we hope that you can understand why we have made this decision and as always we're very grateful for your support.
COVID-19 PANDEMIC: We are acutely aware that the COVID-19 pandemic is currently making things difficult for our customers and should anyone find themselves in financial difficulties, we strongly encourage you to contact us immediately. We're supporting our clients and doing our very best to help in whatever capacity we can. You can read more about our response here.