Steve Kemp's Blog Writings relating to Debian & Free Software

So I accidentally ... a service.

Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:32:38 GMT

This post is partly introspection, and partly advertising. Skip if it either annoys you.

Back in February I was thinking about what to do with myself. I had two main options "Get a job", and "Start a service". Because I didn't have any ideas that seemed terribly interesting I asked people what they would pay for.

There were several replies, largely based "infrastructure hosting" (which was pretty much 50/50 split between "DNS hosting", and project hosting with something like trac, redmine, or similar).

At the time DNS seemed hard, and later I discovered there were already at least two well-regarded people doing DNS things, with revision control.

So I shelved the idea, after reaching out to both companies to no avail. (This later lead to drama, but we'll pretend it didn't.) Ultimately I sought and acquired gainful employment.

Then, during the course of my gainful employment I was exposed to Amazons Route53 service. It looked like I was going to be doing many things with this, so I wanted to understand it more thoroughly than I did. That lead to the creation of a Dynamic-DNS service - which seemed to be about the simplest thing you could do with the ability to programatically add/edit/delete DNS records via an API.

As this was a random hack put together over the course of a couple of nights I didn't really expect it to be any more popular than anything else I'd deployed, and with the sudden influx of users I wanted to see if I could charge people. Ultimately many people pretended they'd pay, but nobody actually committed. So on that basis I released the source code and decided to ignore the two main missing features - lack of MX records, and lack of sub-sub-domains. (Isn't it amazing how people who claim they want "open source" so frequently mean they want something with zero cost, they can run, and never modify and contribute toward?)

The experience of doing that though, and the reminder of the popularity of the original idea made me think that I could do a useful job with Git + DNS combined. That lead to DNS-API - GitHub based DNS hosting.

It is early days, but it looks like I have a few users, and if I can get more then I'll be happy.

So if you want to to store your DNS records in a (public) GitHub repository, and get them hosted on geographically diverse anycasted servers .. well you know where to go: Github-based DNS hosting.



Comments On This Entry

[gravitar] Julian Andres Klode

Submitted at 15:14:40 on 17 June 2014

How about https support for

[gravitar] Steve Kemp

Submitted at 15:16:10 on 17 June 2014

I'm happy to pay for the DNS-traffic which is generated, but given that this is a free service I'm not going to spend money on juggling IP addresses and getting paying for an SSL certificate.

Yes this makes it less secure, but .. the source is available and if you care sufficiently you're welcome to set it up yourself.

[gravitar] Anders Jackson

Submitted at 18:45:57 on 19 June 2014

Nice API for DNS querry. I also have probems with finnish things, though it may be because i'm Swedish. ;-)

Anyway, are there a posibility to get all records from a domain, like curl

About TLS-certificates, you always have StartSSL and CAcerts. But the last one isn't distributed with Debian any more. But they would probably be better than snake oil certs anyway.


[gravitar] Steve Kemp

Submitted at 18:49:39 on 19 June 2014

I've known a few Swedes in my time, and they do seem to love a good pun!

For requesting "all" records you can use the any record-type:

It won't necessarily do the right thing all the time but it is close enough.

As for the free certificates, I suspect adding them would cause more annoyance than not. Much as I disagree with the SSL-providers and the business-model I think the choice has to be something that will work 'everywhere' vs. no certificate. The middle-ground just annoys both sides..

[gravitar] Anders Jackson

Submitted at 22:51:26 on 22 June 2014

Well, I do anyway. ;-)

Thanks, that was what I was looking for, sorry.

I think I do agree with how you stand with the certs.

Anyway, StartSSL is a "proper"commercial certificate provider. Their business-model is quite nice. You pay for their time checking your credentials, they you can make as many certs as you want.
The free ones had some problems with withdrawal, but you probably get what you pay for there.

Thanks for all your good work anyway.

Have a good Midsommar.


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