The free trial period for WordPress-powered club websites hosted at toastmost.org is now 6 months, rather than 60 days. The idea is to make the trial long enough for a pre-charter club to launch or for an existing club to prove that the site helps them market their club, recruit members, and organize meetings.
Register at toastmost.org.
Clubs can also use the toastmost.org service for their preliminary testing, even if they ultimately decide to host with another service that supports WordPress.
The WordPress for Toastmasters software suite extends WordPress, a professional web content management platform, by adding Toastmasters-specific features such as agenda management and member progress tracking, as well as site branding that meets Toastmasters International requirements.
The software runs on any web hosting service that runs WordPress.
The primary author of these software extensions is me, David F. Carr, DTM. I originally created the software for my home club, Club Awesome in Coral Springs, FL, and more recently have been exploring the requirements of online clubs as president of Online Presenters. My company Carr Communications Inc., operates the toastmost.org service.
A toastmost.org site will have a web address in the format myclub.toastmost.org. All toastmost.org sites are SSL secured and have the software preconfigured.
I can also support hosting an independent site at your own domain. See toastmost.org for details.
Why Isn’t It Free?
Competing with “free” is always tough, and I understand that Toastmasters clubs are used to getting a free site on the Free Toast Host service underwritten by Toastmasters International. However, I don’t believe FTH comes close to matching the web publishing and social media marketing tools you get from WordPress. And free WordPress options such as the WordPress.com service do not support the Toastmasters-specific functionality I offer.
Keep in mind that the software itself is free and open source, representing countless hours of time invested in making it better not only for my own club but for others who take advantage of it. I’m giving a lot away, just because I want to share it.
I originally set out to offer toastmost.org as a free service — with “free” meaning advertiser or sponsor supported. That would still be my preference, except that I haven’t found a sufficiently generous sponsor.
Even then, free wouldn’t be free — the server and other resources such as SSL security certificates are not free to me — so they have to be paid for somehow.
Still, hosting on toastmost.org is less than you would pay for a reputable WordPress hosting service elsewhere and also simpler (I take care of many technical requirements so you don’t have to). And if you decide to install the software on some other hosting service, I am still available to answer your questions.