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How an independent open-source project was able to introduce people to memorial benches in their neighbourhood across the world, thanks to Krystal’s easy to use hosting.

Screenshot of Open Benches’s website

Open Benches is about celebrating ordinary people - and that’s how we hope the Internet will evolve. Elevating all of us.

Terence EdenCo-founder, Open Benches

Commemorating people around the world

Open Benches is an open-source project designed to provide a map of memorial benches around the world. People are able to mark where the benches are on a map, upload photos, and write in all the details about the bench.

With nearly 30,000 benches marked around the world, from the Queenstown Airport in New Zealand to Dawson City in Canada, Open Benches gives visitors a chance to see how people want to remember those who have gone. They might not be famous historical figures, but someone wanted to commemorate them and the connection they had with them.

Building a crowd-sourced website

When Terence and Elizabeth Eden decided to create Open Benches, they knew they wanted to make this project crowd-sourced, giving people an opportunity to upload their own photos, and help make a digital map of these physical commemorations. They also wanted to ensure it was as open-source as possible, using OpenStreetMap, PHP, and Symfony.

Because they knew this would be a project that could escalate quite quickly in terms of size, they needed a web host that would be fast, reliable, and cost-effective. They also wanted to make certain they had a host based in the UK. If they ever needed help, they wanted to make sure the team was available during their working hours, rather than trying to calculate time zones.

Our data centres powered by 100% renewable energy also made it easy to choose Krystal, with our tree planting also sealing the deal, as memorial benches always do look better when surrounded by trees.

Help right when it was needed

Our tutorials helped immensely when setting up the site, including changing the PHP version, getting SSH connected, setting up one-click installations, and making sure everything was in order. On the few occasions Terence was stuck, the Support team was also on hand to answer any questions, making quick work of any problems.

And when it came time to upgrade due to the rapidly growing size of the site, including around 300GB of photos, it only took a few clicks to move up to a bigger plan, and at a price that was excellent value for money.

Appreciating the world around you

Terence and Elizabeth hope that OpenBenches will only grow over the coming years, as more people discover the site and discover the history of their local communities. Even if it is just a bench that says "In loving memory of Billy, who would sit here for hours, staring into Robert Dyas, contemplating the sort of people who still actually bought SodaStreams."

What was used?

  • Linux
  • PHP
  • Symfony
  • OpenStreetMap

What did we see?

  • Nearly 30,000 memorial benches marked around the world
  • Open-source project built for anyone to participate in

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