Run Your Own Server For Fun (and Zero Profit)

It seems there’s a service for everything, but sometimes you simply learn more by doing it yourself. If you haven’t enjoyed the somewhat anachronistic pleasures of running your own server and hosting your own darn website, well, today you’re in luck!

Yes, we’re going to take an old computer of some sort and turn it into a web server for hosting all of your projects at home. You could just as easily use a Raspberry Pi –even a Zero W would work — or really anything that’ll run Linux, but be aware that not all computing platforms are created equally as we’ll discuss shortly.

Yes, we’re going to roll our own in this article series. There are a lot of moving parts, so we’re going to have to cover a lot of material. Don’t worry- it’s not incredibly complicated. And you don’t have to do things the way we say. There’s flexibility at every turn, and you’re encouraged to forge your own path. That’s part of the fun!

Note: For the sake of space we’re going to skip over some of the most basic details such as installing Linux and focus on those that have the greatest impact on the project. This article gives a high level overview of what it takes to host your project website at home. It intentionally glosses over the deeper details and makes some necessary assumptions.

Continue reading “Run Your Own Server For Fun (and Zero Profit)”

an image of kicad's homepage

KiCad Team Releases Warning Regarding Domain Name

On October 19th, [Seth_h] from the KiCad Project posted on the KiCad forums that the project’s original domain name has been unexpectedly sold to a third party, and urged members of the community to avoid any links to this old website.

KiCad has used the domain since 2012 as the official source for information on and downloads of their popular open-source electronics design software. Unfortunately, the original domain name was purchased before KiCad was formalized as an organization, so it was not directly under their control. This all came to head when the old domain name was unexpectedly sold to an unnamed third party that was not affiliated with the project. Currently, the old domain is just a website covered in ads, but the KiCad team fears that it may be used maliciously in the future.

With KiCad’s popularity, thousands of tutorials, articles, and project guides over the years have included links to the old KiCad domain. A Google search in October 2021 found more than 19,000 instances of the old domain spread across the internet. [Seth_h] has called upon the community to make every effort possible to update old links, reducing the chance that people stumble across the wrong website.

[Editor’s Note: We think we got ’em all, let us know if we missed any.]

Luckily, Digikey has swooped in to help save the day. They purchased a new domain,, from squatters and donated it to the KiCad Project. (Update: Digi-key donated the domain back in October of 2020 after noticing fishy squatters going back to at least 2016) [Seth_h] explains in his post that a number of safeguards have been put in place to prevent this from happening in the future, including not having the domain name owned by a single person, and having all KiCad trademarks registered to the Linux Foundation.

There’s a good reason why KiCad has gotten so popular, it is packed full of great features for PCB design. Check out our coverage of some of the new features we are most excited for in KiCad 6.0 here.

ICANN Board Withhold Consent For .ORG Deal

Over the past few months there has been a battle waging in the world of domain names; the overseeing body ICANN had hatched a plan to transfer the entire .org registry to a private company, to significant opposition from .org domain holders, concerned citizens, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Part of the process before the deadline for handover on the 4th of May was a due dilligence process during which the ICANN board would review submissions related to the deal, and after completing that task the board have witheld their consent for it to go ahead. As you might expect the EFF are declaring a victory, but they also make the point that one of the reasons the ICANN board rejected the deal was a potential risk of a debt liability for the organisation.

It’s tempting to frame this as a rare victory for the Little Guy in the face of The Man, but the reality is probably more nuanced. When the deal was hatched the world had not yet come to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that the thought of a post-virus economic slump would not yet have been on their minds. It’s thus not unexpected that the ICANN board would think about the financial aspects of it as well as the many objections, because in a time of economic pain the possibility of it going sour would be significantly increased. The future of the .org and other registries should remain a concern to internet users, because after all, this is not the first time such a thing has happened.

Sky Is New Limit For Dot Com Domain Prices

Earlier this week, domain name registrar Namecheap sent out an email to all customers advising them of a secret deal that went down between ICANN and Verisign sometime late last year. It has the potential to change the prices of domain names drastically over time, and thus change the makeup of the Internet as we know it.

Domain names aren’t really owned, they’re rented with an option to renew, and the annual rate that you pay depends both on your provider’s markup, but also on a wholesale rate that’s the same for all names in that particular domain. This base price is set by ICANN, a non-profit.

Officially, this deal is a proposed Amendment 3 to the contract in place between Verisign and ICANN that governs the “.com” domain. The proposed amendment would let Verisign increase the wholesale rental price of “.com” domain names by 7% per year for the next four years. Then there will be a two-year breather, followed by another four years of 7% annual hikes. And there is no foreseeable end to this cycle. We think it seems reasonable to assume that the domain name registrars might pass the price gouging on to the consumer, but that really remains to be seen.

The annual wholesale domain name price has been sitting at $7.85 since 2012, and as of this writing, Namecheap is charging $8.88 for a standard “.com” address. If our math is correct, ten years from now, a “.com” domain will cost around $13.50 wholesale and $17.50 retail. This almost-doubling in price will affect both small sites and companies that hold many domain names. And the increase will only get more dramatic with time.

So let’s take a quick look at the business of domain names.
Continue reading “Sky Is New Limit For Dot Com Domain Prices”