Sunset of MyHostname.net

After about 16 years of service I have decided to sunset the MyHostname.net project effective immediately.

It started as a useful tool for troubleshooting hosting and IP address issues. Back then there were no good alternatives that had a simple and clear interface with full dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 reporting. Most had so many ads causing problems on mobile devices. They broke when you had an adblocker installed. Or they had problems with third party resolvers. Resulting in outdated information and even no data at all. I aimed to resolve that with my own web app:

  • Single page
  • Direct DNS lookups without resolvers
  • Dualstack without redirects
  • Fast page loading and data retrieval
  • Responsive interface for desktop and mobile

I wrote an API that performed all the actions. Looking up the IP nameservers at the root servers of the internet, requesting the reverse (PTR) hostname, short term caching to avoid brute force attacks and some private tools for debugging my internal networks. The API was available dual-stack on the root domain and single-stack on the v4 and v6 subdomains. The web interface was basic HTML with simple Javascript and a little styling. Nothing fancy to reduce dependencies. The JS basically checked which IP version was used for the page view and loaded the other one from one of the subdomains.

The project quickly attracted a lot of daily visitors. Sometimes over 10000 per day. Most users were friendly, just accessing the data and some even send tips through my coffee links. But there was also a lot of abuse. Sending millions of requests per minute, ignoring rate limits. I got abusive emails from people who demanded better service when the server went down because of them. Brute force attempts on the API trying millions and millions of API keys. There were no keys so that was pointless. The private functions were filtered behind an IP list.

The good ‘n friendly users motivated me to keep the project running and optimizing the servers. But now I think it is time to let it go. Nowadays there are much better tools available such test-ipv6.com that is doing the same trick with more useful reporting. They have mirrors spread around the globe, allowing for redundancy in case of trouble. Those are investments I am not willing to do from my own money.

Further more I recently started to unburden myself from all the tech dependencies. My hobby servers have grown to production environments, so when a problem occurs it directly affects my email access, websites and productivity. I don’t want that anymore. It is fun to try something new and develop simple tools for difficult tasks. But when things go bad it is not so much fun anymore. For everything I do, every update or fix, every tryout, I need to be aware of the consequences. People are depending on the platform. When it goes down I have to stay awake through the night to find the reason and solve it before seven in de morning. With all the abusive hits on MyHostname.net over time that has become a real problem. So I have ended the most demanding projects and moved all production deps to specialized providers. Now it is their problem 😄

It was a fun ride. I learned so much about DNS, optimizing servers, security and keeping it all user friendly. Now I have room for next adventures.

Thanks to all the supporters. You were amazing!


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