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Free Shard Hosting


Hello all,

As a long-time player and "lurker" of this and various other forums, I now find myself in a position to give a little back to the UO free shard community. I have a number of physical servers and VM capacity that I would like to make available to those already running from home connections or just starting their own shard.

Specification (summary):
  • Based in a UK datacenter.
  • 100% Dell/HP/Cisco enterprise grade hardware.
  • Fast, low-latency 1gbps network with no hard limits on gaming traffic.
  • Dedicated IP address per shard.
  • RAID on every server.
  • Firewall + VPN + out of band access.
  • Support via email/IM/telephone.
  • Choice of OS (limited Windows licences, first-come, first-serve!)
Who are you?

I'm a software developer from England.
I'm 26 years old.
I hate eggs.
I try not to put too much personal information on public forums!

Why are you doing this?
Of all the MMOs I've played in recent years, nothing compares to the fun I've had on Ultima Online. Sadly I don't have the time or expertise to run my own shard, so helping others seems like the next best thing.

What's the catch?
This is a genuine offer and there will never be any costs involved for those who wish to use the service. Further, I do not wish to be an admin, GM or active player on your shard. I do not wish to become involved in the politics of your community, to have access to your shard data or tell you what to do! I provide you with the hosting you require, the rest is up to you.

But free hosts suck...
Many of us have played on a server that's had an unreliable host. It's annoying for the players and frustrating for the admins. Here's how I intend to address the common issues:

Host expects preferential treatment or power trips
As mentioned above, I will not become involved with shards beyond the capacity of providing a hosting platform. If you invite me online for a short tour of your shard, I would be honoured, however this is neither required or expected.

Host theft of intellectual property or data
You will be prompted to change the password to the server on your initial login. After this point, access to the server is restricted to yourself and those you grant access to. If you are worried about physical access to data, consider dm-crypt, TrueCrypt or Bitlocker.

Slow connection, player lag, etc
The upstream provider has extensive peering agreements throughout the UK/EU and a number of well established game server companies use the same facility. The building is fed via diverse fibre currently running at 10gbps each. We have multiple 1gbps ports connecting to the core infrastructure. Example pings: London <5ms, Amsterdam: 11ms, Frankfurt: 17ms, NYC: 75-80ms.

Slow or unreliable server
I will do my best to ensure your shard is provisioned hardware in excess of your requirements, thus allowing you to grow and handle spikes in activity. Virtualised servers can be upgraded at very short notice. At the time of writing 32 Xeon cores, 96GB of RAM and >1TB of disk capacity is available to the project.

Server offline, can't contact host
1. All network devices are monitored for availability 24/7 at 15 second intervals
2. Out of band access (e.g. KVM) to your server or VM
3. I am available via numerous channels and very easy to get in contact with
4. Access to 'remote hands' in the datacenter 24/7/365
5. A colleague is physically on-site at the datacenter 2-3 days per week

Loss of interest or ability to host
You can expect a minimum commitment of 24 months from my side, at which point the hardware will likely require replacement. If the project is successful, then newer hardware will be passed down to meet the requirements of its users. In the unlikely situation that the project is unable to continue some reason, users will be given at least 3 months notice.

What's your backup policy?
You are ultimately responsible for backing up your own data, however nightly incremental backups of VMs can be scheduled, or some space can be provided via NFS/SMB.

I don't trust you!
QNX joined TODAY and has ONE post... seems trustworthy to me!
(I get your point... character references available on request.)

Are there any eligibility requirements?
  • You must agree to my AUP.
  • You must configure and support everything UO-related yourself (i.e. RunUO).
  • You must use the resources for Ultima Online related purposes only.
  • You must actively maintain your shard/community.
  • You must be fair, respectful and professional towards others.
Please PM me or post a reply in this forum thread.

How do I apply?
Please get in touch via the forum, ideally providing the following information:
  • Your shard's name & website URL
  • How long as your shard been online (for existing shards)
  • A brief summary of your shard, why you made it, etc
  • A brief summary of your current hosting (server spec, bandwidth, location)
  • A brief summary of your level of hosting/admin experience
  • Average number of players, daily peak, etc
  • Required operating system (Windows or Linux)
  • Required amount of RAM/disk space required
  • Do you require web/forum hosting?
If you got this far, thanks for listening! :D


Quick Update: First shard hosting provisioned today! I am working on a site with more information/application details, however in the mean time please feel free to reach out via this forum and I'll get back to you same day.


Hosting provisioned for another two "in development" shards today, more in the pipeline :D


My server is one of the In Dev shards, and so far QNX has been great. Access to the server came 24 hours after we agreed on everything, he told me to change the password and I've enabled Bitlocker. He gave me what I wanted with the possibility to upgrade at a later date if necessary. Everything has been great and easy to setup (Much easier if you know how, which I do).

Here's a speedtest I did on the server:

I've got a FTP Server installed, and will be running some databases from it for some UO related stuff that's being worked on.

I had to install .NET 4.0 but that's expected and is easy enough to install.

Overall, It's been very good and I highly recommend QNX!
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Another shard application accepted and server provisioned yesterday. There is currently 1 slot remaining before we need to rack up the next server, which may take a few days. FAQ & such still pending, however you can now submit your application directly via the website:

p.s. Latest speed test, just to show we're over the 100mbps mark:



I just set up my shard with his service. So far it has been awesome. Its a good server with lots of upgrade potential. He hasn't wanted anything in return or any personal information. He's been very legit. If anyone is looking to take their shard to the next step and get it off of your home computer, definitely talk to this guy. He's been very helpful. A+
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Quick update. Plenty has been happening behind the scenes over the last week despite work life doing its best to get in the way :p
  • 6 shards now online (in various stages of production)
  • Website with FAQ, application form, etc is now online at
  • Nice graphs now available for CPU/RAM/disk and network
  • Additional space via NFS/SMB for backups/large files now available
  • Testing performance/stability of centralised storage via iSCSI for VMs
  • Dedicated Skype/IRC channel now available for support


I just want to say thank you: contacted him and after 8 hours I've got my brand new shiny server!!
Thanks a lot, impeccable service!


God bless you.

Had I had the time to run a shard again I would just love this.

It is people like you that make life worth living.

May you live a long and happy life for being a kind person to strangers and most likely to friends as if you were not a good person you would not offer this.

It is people like you that make life a pleasure.


Thanks for the kind words oplianox & Mortis.

There has been a very positive reception to the project and it is motivating me to spend as much time as I can spare developing the infrastructure/systems/software/etc required to support it.

Latest work includes an improved backup infrastructure. All servers are now backed up every 24 hours with 3 weeks of retention. Combined with hardware redundancy (RAID, dual PSUs, etc) this offers a solid level of protection against most types of failure and deletion/corruption of files, OS, etc. Shards should still make their own off-site backups, however!