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What online services do you pay for?

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kyrathaba:
I've always been very frugal when it comes to software purchases, whether they be installation CDs, one-time purchase/download via Internet, or online services. But, lately, I've been paying for two services, and am very pleased with both - LastPass, and PIA (a VPN provider). I am not affiliated with either and am not advertising for them.

LastPass, at $12 for a year of service, is more than worth it, for me at least. I frequent about two dozen websites, both at home and at work. Using the LastPass add-on for Firefox Portable, I only have to log-in to LastPass once at the beginning of my work day (or my online session, if at home computer). In the case of my home PCs, I could have the browser remember passwords, but that's not as secure, and I especially don't like the idea of doing that for financial sites. At work, I've got to have privacy protection. I love that, after logging in to LastPass, a single click on a stored site in their database, and the add-on applies my very strong password and logs me in. I admit I had been guilty of password reuse across various sites, before using LastPass.

I've been really pleased with Private Internet Access VPN. Works great across my PCs, iPhone, and Android tablet.

The family has had Netflix for years, and there are seven of us tapping into it constantly, so no question we're getting our money's worth out of it.

What services do you pay for, and what makes them worth the cost, to you?

mwb1100:
Our household pays for Hulu Plus, Netflix and Amazon Prime.  Between those three services we have little regret cutting the cable cord.  Since ditching Comcast for TV we're also able to get our Internet from a fiber optic provider for a much lower cost.  The bandwidth isn't as fast as we used to get with Comcast, but it's plenty fast enough. Why pay for speed you don't need?

We're paying less than half what we were paying to Comcast, and the Amazon Prime could kind of be considered a freebie - we had signed up for that back when it was only for the free shipping, so the free Prime video is basically a throw in.

The only regret is sports:

  - MLB games are only on cable or MLB's streaming package. but the MLB Internet package will black-out the local team's games (maybe I can solve that problem with PIA?)
  - while NFL games are mostly on over the air broadcasts (free!), I have a crappy antenna setup so it's hit or miss for me. One day I'll fix that with a decent antenna.

JavaJones:
Good question!

I have 2 1/2 or more services that I pay for now, and a couple I've paid for in the past but don't any longer.

First, the 1/2 - Audible.com. I actually just this minute went and cancelled my membership! I had been meaning to do this for a while actually, but your post inspired me to deal with it once and for all. :D

For those who don't know, Audible one of the largest audio book sites, and while you can use it without a subscription, you do get discounts and stuff by subscribing, and your subscription fees basically can be put toward the cost of books (heavily discounted in many cases). So for regular listeners it's great. I just don't really have the time, or perhaps I should say I don't *make* the time for the dedicated listening that most of the material requires. I do often listen to things, music, podcasts, etc. but they're all either background, or short form so I don't have to dedicate large chunks of time to them. So for me it was not a great value, even though I got discounts on lots of books. I own many audiobooks now, but have listened to very few. I do hope and intend to find the time one day, and if I were making more money I might find the $15/mo to be of less concern and a reasonable expense as a monthly reminder and motive *to* find the time to listen. But for now it doesn't make financial sense.

The other two main ones are iDrive for backup and Google Play Music for, er, music. I could write at length on my reasons for choosing both (in fact I already have in the case of iDrive: http://www.donationcoder.com/forum/index.php?topic=26224.msg381832#msg381832), but I'll try to keep it brief (not my strong suite).

iDrive is for me the best compromise of features and price for an online (and offline) backup service, so it's what I use. It has some problems and limitations that annoy me, but it's less intrusive and problematic in general than CrashPlan which I used before. Due to the sheer volume of data I backup (more than 3TB now, mostly my own photos), I am limited in the services I can practically use. Many have "unlimited" data, which means they won't kick me off just for having 3TB of data in their "cloud". But *getting* the data there in a timely manner is another story. I have 10mbit/s upload (about 1MB/s, practically speaking), and that will take a loooong time to upload. iDrive and CrashPlan are among a very few services that offer a "seeding" option to let you backup a significant portion of your data on a hard drive to avoid having to upload it all. So that's one of the primary reasons I'm choosing iDrive. In general I find it worth the money, though it is only affordable for me at the 3TB level because I got a deal. I hope they lower their prices in the future as storage continues to get cheaper. Many of their competitors offer lower prices for large storage quantities (often "unlimited"), but they don't offer the features that iDrive does. iDrive is definitely a good option for certain people...

As for Google Play Music, well I got in early and pay $2 less per month than new subscribers (so I pay $8 or something per month). I like consuming music in a streaming, radio-esque way, and I don't like Pandora's limitations and narrow focus (radio-only, no on-demand specific songs, whole albums, etc.). I use many other Google products and like that it's integrated. I like the "match" functionality which lets me upload my own MP3s and other audio files and play them anywhere "from the cloud". Back when I decided to go with Google Play instead of say Spotify, there were (and perhaps still are) some major reasons. One was that Spotify at the time did not have a web version, so you had to install a fricking desktop client software. Major dealbreaker for me. Yes the web versions can be resource intensive, but Spotify's desktop client (which I did try for a bit) was invasive and poorly coded (or buggy, whatever you want to say). And a major advantage of having an online music service is you can use it anywhere, but having to install a software client to do that is very limiting. With Google Play Music I can just open a web browser and sign in and I have all my music, playlists, etc. Spotify now has a web-based version I understand, but it's too late for my needs. Google Play has some limitations in terms of selection (The Beatles being an obvious one, and probably the most missed), but so does Spotify, and with Google I can just upload any tracks I'm missing and I can then play them anywhere. Google's radio features are adequate though not exceptional (I've had some real misfires from Pandora too, so I just feel the whole "play me music like this song" technology is still immature), and its other features and mobile app are all fine. It's not a mindblowingly awesome service, but I don't think any are. I found Spotify's UI to be maddening last I tried it. So I think it's the best option right now, at least for me. I'm very slightly curious about Apple's subscription music service, but not enough to bother switching.

I just remembered I also actually pay for web hosting, which might qualify for the thread topic (or not). I use Site5 mainly because I got a really good deal from them years ago and now have things all setup and configured there and don't want to bother switching. They've had their ups and downs but quite honestly I've found the service to be pretty reliable over the past few years (perhaps less so previously, though when I bought it was very good for a while too, so it was good, bad, then good again, hehe). There are lots of comparable services out there, Hostgator, etc, some are even free or notably cheaper than I pay (about $8/mo I think, I pay yearly). But inertia and the minimal difference I might see from moving keep me there.

I *used* to also have a "droplet" at Digital Ocean that I was hoping to host Redmine on, but it turns out Site5 does that adequately too (not as well as Digital Ocean I understand, but good enough for my needs). Digital Ocean is a pretty cool granular hosting service that lets you basically buy as many (or as few) resources as you need, in $5/mo increments. Pretty sweet, just not something I need right now.

In the past I have paid monthly in donation for an online radio station I quite liked, Radio Paradise: http://www.radioparadise.com/

I think that covers all of it, or at least all I can think of. ;) Oh, if Amazon Prime counts then I have that too. *Totally worth it*. :D And my girlfriend subscribes to Netflix, also worth it. And does a monthly contribution to Radiolab count? I think not as it's a free service that I get no real benefit or enhancement from paying for (except a really nice t-shirt :D), but I mention it just in case.

Last but not least, I too am pretty frugal with my software purchases. I tend to prefer supporting smaller developers/publishers and have seldom bought anything big or expensive.

Edit: I keep thinking of more possible candidates: domain name registration? If that counts, I have about 10 domains I maintain, not all of which are actively in use. I use Namecheap, used to use Godaddy. Left Godaddy because of their crappy, pushy upselling control panel and their (former?) politics. Namecheap is good, fine prices, decent control panel, little upselling.

- Oshyan

mouser:
I pay for:

* Netflix (streaming only)
* Crashplan backup
* Antivirus(AVG)

Deozaan:
LastPass
I've been paying for LastPass Premium for the past 3 years, but my membership is due for renewal in about a week and I've decided to try something else. Why?

* I pay for LastPass Premium and recently they tried to upsell me to LastPass Enterprise. Why? I have no idea. I don't need any enterprise features.
* The reason I pay for LastPass Premium is for the Android app, which lately has taken a turn for the worse, requiring invasive permissions (GPS location, really?). I just want my passwords. I don't want the extra cruft.
* I recently contacted LastPass support to express my concerns about the invasive Android permissions and was not pleased with their response.
* I've also been encountering issues with the desktop browser plugins auto-fill not working for the same forms that have been working for months, if not years. They just suddenly stop working and I have to basically delete the entry in LastPass and create it anew to restore functionality. Lame!So that's that. I'll probably continue to use the (free) LastPass plugin for my browsers on PC, but for Android I'm making the change to EnPass.


Dyn
I also pay for Dyn.com's Dynamic DNS service (hereafter referred to DynDNS), so I can easily get remote access to my IP for various purposes. It's now $40/year, but I don't think it cost that much when I signed up for it, or even the last time I paid. I may switch to some other service if the price continues to rise like this. That said, I split the cost with someone else, since it allows me up to 30 domains and I only use one for myself. So if anyone else wants in on the service, maybe we could join up on the costs. :)

The cool thing about it is that I can create my own custom domain to point to the Dyn URL which points to my computer's IP. For example, if I wanted to run my own ARK server, I could create an ark.deozaan.com subdomain and point it to ark.dyn-o-saur.com which points to my home IP address. And I could just tell my family/friends/whoever to join ark.deozaan.com instead of having to figure out and remember my IP address. And I also don't need to tell them my Dyn URL. So if I don't want these same people to have access to my computer's IP, I can just remove the ark.deozaan.com subdomain, or change it so it doesn't forward to my Dyn URL anymore.


That's all I can think of that I'm currently paying an ongoing subscription for. Unless you also count domains and hosting costs. :) In which case, I use DreamHost to buy/manage my domains which are currently being hosted using HostGator.

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