There’s never been a better time to stock up on low-cost OpenSim land. Sure, you can run regions or mini-grids at home for free, but then you’re responsible for all your own tech support, backups, and upgrades — and the number of visitors is limited to what you home connection can support.
1. You forget to check in
Many grids these days offer free land plots, of various sized and prim limits, in order to attract users.
But they don’t want that land to sit around idle, so most grids want you to check in on a regular basis — once a week or once a month — to show that you are still, in fact, an active resident.
So set your calendar and make sure to stop by. And if you know you’re going to be away from some length of time, let the grid management know, so that they don’t give you plot away to someone else.
Grids typically offer a limited amount of these, and they fill up fast!
2. You got land that you can’t upgrade
That $3 region might be exactly what you need right now. But tomorrow, you might find out that you need more prims, more power, more support, or more features.
Before committing to a region — and no, I’m not talking about paying the $3, I’m talking about all the time and energy you spend building your region and building your community — check to see if upgrades are possible.
Some grids and hosting providers will let you add more capacity, others just have that one flat rate.
3. You can’t get your OAR out
You think you’ll be on that grid forever, but, you know, things change. You grow apart. You want to move your region to a different grid, or a different hosting provider.
Will you be able to get an OAR export of your entire region?
With some hosts, all you have to do is go to your web management panel, click a button, and the OAR comes flying your way, ready for you to upload it to your new home.
With others, you have to put in a support ticket and wait.
And others won’t let you take an OAR at all. If you leave them, you’ll have to leave your build behind, unless you export it piece-by-piece as an XML file.
4. You lose half your stuff
So you’re settled in, and the grid closes. Or crashes. Or you have to leave because you were dating everyone on the grid, and you broke up with them, and now they all hate you.
And you find out that none of your content is exportable.
Maybe you bought it from merchants who were paranoid about security.
Maybe all your builds have lots of collaborators, so you’re not the clear creator of anything.
So now you’re starting over from scratch.
If being able to own your content is important to you, then pick a grid that lets you save your inventory, also known as an IAR file. And avoid grids that are closed or filtered.
And if you do decide to settle on a filtered grid, pay close attention to what content can be exported, and what isn’t.
There’s a list of which major grids are open and which are filtered and which are closed here.
The opposite is true if you’re a creator. If you don’t want people to take your stuff anywhere they want, then pick a closed or filtered grid for your store. But don’t do your building there. Do your building somewhere where you can make full and plentiful exports of all your work, then bring it to the closed grids to sell it.
5. You can’t hypergrid
In the past, if you left one grid and joined another, you had to say goodbye to all your friends.
The hypergrid allows you to not only make friends on other grids, but to see when they’re online, send them messages and content and teleport requests, and join groups.
There are about 200 grids on the hypergrid right now, and more are popping up all the time. There’s some really cool stuff happening out there, and the hypergrid is growing at a faster rate than any individual closed grid.
Plus, with hypergrid, you also get access to the Kitely Market.
Of course, there are some good reasons to be on a closed grid.
For example, they might offer a roleplaying experience or a niche social group that you can’t find anywhere else, that is only possible because strangers can’t just teleport in. You might want to keep certain activities private and separate from others, and a closed grid could be a better bet.
But unless you specifically want the security or the unique offerings of a closed grid, a hypergrid-enabled grid might be a better bet, especially in the long term.
This is especially the case now, when filtering allows commercial grids to restrict their proprietary, high-end content from leaving the grid at all, while still letting other content — and their residents — travel freely.
Now, go get your land!
Here’s a round up of the best current offers:
- You can order a $5 region from Virtual Life here
- You can order a $3 region from SkyLife here
- You can order a 5 Euro (US $5.60) region from Virtual Dream here
- You can order an $8 region from DigiWorlds here (for a limited time)
- And, for the next few days, you can still order a CAD $5 region from Great Canadian Grid here
- And, brand new, you can order an $8 2×2 varregion from Lost Paradise with unlimited prims here