OJS hosting recommendations (request)

Greetings! I hope you all are doing well during the pandemic. I have been looking through the postings and discussions on host recommendations, and found a few remotely related ones (in Software support) that do not quite answer my inquiry. I did not find another category other than Software support, so my apologies if this question duplicates another one or is in the wrong category. I can re-post to an alternative category if necessary.

Can you please recommend hosts for OJS (3.1.2, 4 journals)? Have you had experience with the host(s)? Feel free to post here or message me directly when you get a chance. Thank you in advance!

Hi @asabhar,

PKP Publishing Services offers a fee-based service that provides the hosting of OJS, as well as performing daily backups of your data, applying security patches and free upgrades, and priority answering your support questions. They offer appropriate solutions for every client, from small, cost-conscious or society publishers to full university and commercial publishing institutions. Depending on the desired service level, the annual fee is $850 - $2700 USD per journal. More information is available on our website: https://pkpservices.sfu.ca/content/journal-hosting.

Kind Regards,
Patricia M.
Public Knowledge Project Team

2 Likes

Scholarly Exchange offers hosting-only plans for select clients, based on an journal proposal application. Fees are $750/year, after the first year (free).

If you are able and willing to configure and maintain your own installation, but don’t want to manage your own server, most shared webhosts which offer cPanel with Softaculous will have OJS as one of the Softaculous applications. Prices for these plans can be on the order of just dollars per month. The Softaculous package is not maintained by PKP, but Softaculous is a reputable application provider.

Similarly, there are a growing number of low cost webhosts who are offering Docker-based hosting. OJS is packaged by community partners for Docker, and such a host could provide an easy installation. Again, you would be responsible for the installation and configuration in this scenario; you would only be paying for the underlying server architecture.

2 Likes

Thanks, Patricia.

I have looked into this but wonder how copyright and privacy policies apply across international boundaries – we are in the US, so our laws may be similar to Canada’s but I haven’t yet evaluated all aspects. I have also heard of culturalhosting in Spain. At this time, we are considering suitable/reputable Web hosting that are well equipped to handle multiple (dissimilar) journals.

Best!
Arjun Sabharwal

Thanks @ctgraham. I have contacted two potential hosts that present themselves as OJS hosts and one of them even offer to do the setup while I manage the OJS itself. I have not heard of Softaculous, so i will look into it right away. I had contacted Scholarly Exchange prior to a previous migration, but our journal editors had indicated a preference for a solution with our own DNS/web address. Very nice people otherwise!

Thanks!
Arjun Sabharwal

Scholarly Exchange requires that the client setup their own DNS, pointing to their custom name to the Scholarly Exchange server with an A or CNAME record. This allows for the client to customize their own domain name, and leaves the ownership of the domain in the hands of the client. Earlier, were you wanting the hosting service to manage the domain registration on your behalf? As an aside, Scholarly Exchange does offer a discount for hosting multiple journals.

In considering multiple journals with a cPanel / Softaculous install, if you intend to also use multiple distinct domain names, you may want to think in advance on whether to use one Softaculous install per domain name. OJS does support multiple journals and multiple domain names hosted under a single install, but that may be difficult to implement in some cPanel environments. This will depend largely on the tools the host offers for mapping domain names against a particular webroot. The choice of one journal per install or multiple journals per install will likely affect your host’s pricing, particularly in the provisioning of databases and of “add on domains”.

Thanks @ctgraham. I really appreciate the clarification. I thought it would be pulled into the University of Pittsburgh’s domain hence the concern about identity, but if they expect you to work with your own DNS that is already in place, we just need to change the IP address. Are they maintaining the OJS platform (upgrades, configurations, etc.)? What about email validation with DKIM, SPF, and DMARC? We have these in place also for our current installation (https://press.utoledo.edu). Best!
Arjun

Scholarly Exchange is a hosting service of the University Library System (ULS) of the University of Pittsburgh, but is distinct from the journals published by the ULS. Journals published by the ULS incorporate ULS and Pitt identify marks. The ULS provides publishing support for ULS published journals, but provides only hosting support for Scholarly Exchange.

Within the Scholarly Exchange service, clients are provided an install of OJS with Journal Manager permissions and are expected to manage their own publishing process and journal configuration, using the free resources of the PKP Forum and PKP School. Scholarly Exchange maintains the OJS installation and underlying server, performing system-level configuration, backups, security patches, upgrades, etc. For plugin compatibility purposes, we stay just a bit behind PKP in terms of release (for example, at this time OJS 3.1.1 and OJS 3.1.2, as opposed to OJS 3.2). Email will be DKIM signed by scholarlyexchange.org. Outgoing email will be SPF and DMARC valid for the default sending address of noreply@scholarlyexchange.org, or (at the client’s option) the client can setup their SPF record to include scholarlyexchange.org and set their own SPF/DMARC valid sending address.

Thanks, @ctgraham. I think the upgrade approach is safe. I have randomly read into posts related to upgrades creating issues. I think, this model of hosting is looking more attractive. so, it looks like the only thing we need to have our IT do is modify the DNS record. We already have the CNAME, but it will be pointing to an IP address that the Scholarly Exchange staff will give us. I have had a difficult time understanding how DKIM, SPF, DMARC work between our IT and the hosting domain on a different server. We have tried the PHP Mailer inside OJS but it has resulted in those system emails getting caught in some spam filter. Then we tried SMTP, but that had potential faults because each time our IT needs to update some settings, it would invalidate. the DKIM/SPF/DMARC route had worked but it had failed in recent months, so that is crucial that we get to work again. Thanks for all this information!

I am looking through the form. Is it $750 per journal after the first year? We have 4. Does each of those need a separate proposal?

As a hosting professional myself I think you need to decide whether you are looking for a hosting provider or for a managed install of OJS. As you can see from the replies above, the pricing and level of service are wildly different.

If you are comfortable managing your own OJS install, I’ll echo the recommendation above: find a good, reputable hosting company that offers cPanel and Softaculous. cPanel is the most popular shared hosting platform in the world, and Softaculous the most well known installer of scripts. Do not go for the lowest price and make sure their offer is solid.

Some things to look for:

-Cloudlinux operating system. I think this is essential in a shared hosting platform, because it keeps your resources totally isolated from your “neighbours”.
-Multiple daily backups (we use r1soft but there are some other solutions) that you can access yourself for anything you want to restore.
-Generous disk space on SSD drives.
-Do not fall for “unlimited” disk space or monthly transfer. There’s no such thing and it will come back to bite you.
-Above all, GREAT tech support! Will they help you with tech details when you have a problem, or will they tell you that it’s an “unsupported” “third party” software?

Good luck with your search!

1 Like

Most registrars offer reasonably priced hosting packages. We pay ÂŁ40pa, which is fairly normal, and a fraction of the (excessive) costs mentioned in this forum. Unfortunately, normal (shared) hosting packages tend to have the exec() function disabled (for security reasons), and the way OJS has been created requires this to be active, for reasons best known to the developers. As a consequence, it is impossible to install plugins automatically; one has to upload them manually instead into the appropriate folder. But besides that little irritation, OJS works perfectly well.

Hi @asabhar , you only need one hosting for all your journal. I run several ejournals from one hosting. But make sure it’s a fast with CDN hosting.
If you need full managed ejournal, including hosting, setup, installation, editorial, journal manager, indexing, and everything you can think about running ejournal, you can message me. Thank you.

Hi all, I reply to this post because @asabhar mentioned Cultural Hosting.

I totally agree with @ctgraham, there are regular hosting providers for a few bucks/month to deploy your OJS. It’s up to you to choose this way and manage it all by your own. The hosting provider will only help with server side issues and taking scheduled backups.

OJS is not Worpress.
Currently, take this as a good advise. Plugins issues, permissions issues, database issues, buggy releases, broken updates, email deliverablity, are things that our new clients bring within their installations when hire us. So take backup before you start making changes.
See this topic:

That is the reason why IT departaments of many entities outsoruce the OJS maintenance. Make sense?

Recommendation
My recommendation is hire a specific OJS Hosting provider with maintenance included, so you can get really valuable help when problems arise. We do offer fully managed OJS plans deployed on cloud servers, and our clients use to say that are more than happy to pay the price for the SUPPORT (which is peace of mind). Any user who has have experienced the frecuent OJS issues would understand this point.
Below the link to our plans:

What you can do as OJS User
This is an important part in order to get a succesfull result.

  1. Read the excellent OJS documentation. 80 % of the support tickets we receive could find the solution in the docs. So, if you want to drive your car, learn to drive.
  2. If need training, hire training. It is simple to understand that any provider will not reply to tens or hundreds of emails/tickets to solve each doubt you have. (and believe me, some users act like this), at least will not do that if the provider wants to pay the bills.

That said, I think OJS is the best tool for editorial management and publishing.

Hope this helps other users when making a decission,
Best regards from Spain,

Great points raised by @cultural_hosting. I apologize if something in my post has concerned or offended you. OJS is not WordPress (or for that matter, Joomla) where the upgrades are less complicated. In most cases, upgrades in those two platforms do not wipe out customizations, but I have been warned that OJS does that – an example is when OJS moved from 2.x to 3.x, and many features were dropped. OJS 3 is still better in many respects. and our editors like 3.0.

There are a handful of OJS hosting models: external hosting with companies such as Cultural Hosting; Web hosting only; independent host; institutional hosting; publishing incubators. What kinds of experiences have PKP forum members had with these routes?

For the Scholarly Exchange® hosting service, each journal should have its own proposal form.The cost is $750/year after the first free year. We do offer a volume discount with every 5th journal being free.

Thanks, @vgabler. I have shared this information with our editors, and it is something they would need to decide on as a preferred hosting option.

Hey @asabhar

I stumbled upon your thread when I was looking for OJS hosting solutions. However, I can give you a couple of good OJS hosting options if you are still looking for one!

You can go with either PKP or Typeset! They are the best hosting providers I have come across so far!

Since PKP hosting solutions have already been discussed in this thread! Let me explain the features of Typeset OJS Hosting.

  • Competitive price and its starting range is 299$/year (i.e. 25$/month, billed yearly)
  • JATS XML (PubMed XML, CrossRef XML, SciELO XML, Redalyc XML) support
  • Backups and Security (Data will be backed up on AWS Cloud)
  • Unlimited storages, articles, and standalone server
  • Sendgrid, email integration
  • Custome themes

And there will be dedicated account managers to look after the queries and for your assistance.

Apart from this, you can also book a demo to check its compatibility and efficiency.

For detailed comparison and best OJS Hosting services, you can refer to this content!

Since the thread has been inactive for quite some time, I don’t know how far it reaches you!

Hope my answer was of any help to you!

@Sumalatha_G , for Typeset you cite:

Competitive price and its starting range is 299$/year (i.e. 25$/month, billed yearly)

But on the link, the advertised price is:

Starting at $ 99 49/month. Cost Effective and easy setup for your journal.

Hi @Sumalatha_G,

It appears that you’re affiliated with Typeset; could you edit your post to indicate that?

Since someone is requesting hosting information, it’s appropriate to respond with commercial offers – but we do ask that you disclose if you are affiliated.

Thanks,
Alec Smecher
Public Knowledge Project Team