I’ve been looking to signup to a NextCloud provider, and downloaded the app to do so, which brought me to the “simple signup program” page. After finding that a frustrating experience I opened the website on my laptop to be similarly frustrated.
Some notes of (hopefully constructive) feedback:
there’s an immediate assumption that all new users are looking for free plans. I don’t know if this is a reasonable assumption. I am (most likely) looking for a paid plan up front, so presenting only free offerings seems limiting.
there’s no indication of pricing structures offered by the providers. This would be ok (you don’t want to overwhelm the user with info up front) if it weren’t for the next point…
there’s NO LINK to any of the providers’ own webpages from the “simple signup form” - I have to enter an email address to get any further. If I’m opting for NextCloud instead of GDrive/OneDrive/iCloud/etc. there’s a high chance privacy will be of concern to me - asking for an email address just to get further info on providers is concerning.
Note: I do understand this is an open-source product & much of the contribution to make the experience easy is voluntary, so I hope the above doesn’t come across too critical. It has been a little frustrating (sofar) but I’m persisting
A little extra context on the “free vs paid” assumption - if I am looking for a free plan, it’s going to come with limitations. There’s some likelihood I’m going to be using it free for a short while, and eventually hitting limits and opting to pay. So even users wanting free at the start are likely to want to know in advance what their upgrade options are for those providers. It’s going to be a painful experience if I opt for Provider A’s free plan, and later want to change to Provider B to avail of their more suitable paid plan.
I think a lot of “free” providers are not interested to be included into the list which, by the way, is outdated in parts.
I want to give you an example. Deutsche Telekom changed from another Cloud solution to Nextcloud. The homepage is https://cloud.telekom-dienste.de (sorry german) and the MagentaCLOUD/Nextcloud instance is https://magentacloud.de (mostly restricted to files for free plan 3 GB). At some parts of their documentation Nextcloud is mentioned. All is ok because of naming the licence, … But nowhere is it stated, for example, that you can simply use the Nextcloud clients instead of the MagentaCLOUD clients. In the example, Telekom wants to market its MagentaCLOUD product even if it ends up being just a Nextcloud of hundreds of thousands or millions. I can understand Telekom’s behavior. But normal users may not even realize that MagentaCLOUD is actually Nextcloud.
Shadow Drive is more open about it (video on homepage). But it is probably also missing from the list. And I think Shadow Drive also has reasons not to be included in the list. Disadvantage there is perhaps that shares are valid for a maximum of 7 days. But I can also understand this approach.
Overall, I think the free and distributed approach is very good. However, those who do not want to inform themselves will probably rather host their data with Microsoft, Apple or Google.
I understand needing to agree to ToS to signup for a service (final step), but there should be no reason to do so to find out what that service is offering. Ditto supplying any personal info: I want to see the features/pricing page of a service, I don’t want to sign up yet - that should not require anything from me.
If providers don’t want to be included in the list, that’s absolutely fine - I’m less interested in those providers (in this context). What I’m discussing here is that I can’t even get info about the providers that do want to be included (without supplying my email to each individually in very a user-unfriendly back-and-forth process)
I agree in all points. Sign up now! only leads to registering somewhere and maybe not even getting a response. And Github Nextcloud providers is very outdated. E.g. Cloudamo has no free plan anymore. You can only test all websites. But it makes much more sense to simply search the Internet for “Managed Nextcloud free” or “Managed Nextcloud” maybe together with the country you want to host your data.
Yeah this is what I ended up doing in the end - it’s still not great (you’re heavily relying on the SEO of providers which tips it toward larger more commercial options - I went with hosting.de myself) but it’s really the only option as the Nextcloud website doesn’t allow reviewing options easily.
It’s frustrating because I don’t expect Nextcloud to maintain a comprehensive list of providers - it’s an open source project and that’s beyond their remit. But the problem is that they DO maintain a list it’s just unnecessarily difficult to use it.