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Arc.io – A Crowdfunded Distributed CDN (arc.io)
160 points by rckrd on June 5, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 58 comments

So... Hetzner bandwidth is $0.00112/GB, almost 18x cheaper than arc.io (https://wiki.hetzner.de/index.php/Traffic/en)

And Hetzner is a no-nonsense real company that's been around since 1997.

Hetzner machines have dedicated 1Gbps connections. Arc.io promises nothing.

Arc.io is a faceless company with no track record, no history, and doesn't say how long they've been around.

Who would you choose?

That's true, but a Hetzner server is only in a single datacenter. A closer comparison might be a CDN service like Cloudflare for free, or https://bunnycdn.com/pricing for about $0.01/GB. Both distribute your assets across the globe for reduced latency.

You can use different "cheap" providers, setup nginx reverse proxy with caching and round robin dns.

Or a cheap Anycast DNS provider with domain mapping like DNSMadeEasy.

That is exactly what I do with my hobby sites.

What would our technological landscape look like currently if everyone was hostile against new companies? Old doesn't mean good.

I don't intend to be mean to new entrants.

The crypto/distributed space has an issue with vaporware and not living up to claims. Arc.io has a lot to prove, in other words.

I'm hoping users will think twice before using infrastructure that's not ready, or up to par, or not likely to have longevity.

That's a very kind interpretation of the space. I'd have gone with confidence tricksters, frauds and charlatans.

New does not mean good either.

More importantly the performance of Arc.io website is dreadful.

If you're going to sell high-performance then you should at least make your own website perform well.

If your website performs well then I'm more likely to believe your story.

If you think performance problems mean a bad CDN, you're probably not the target audience.

I really don't understand this comment - who is the target audience of a CDN product if not those that want to increase performance for local users?

Is this an apples-to-apples comparison? Wouldn't it take some work to turn hosting + cheap bandwidth into a fast, reliable* CDN?

(*I'm not assuming Arc.io does this, just that "fast" and "reliable" are table-stakes properties of CDNs.)

You should probably at least compare to CDN bandwidth. One dedicated server is not exactly a CDN.

Hetzner storage are slow as shit and not reliable, I recommend to avoid it.

I found the attached volume storage in their cloud VMs fast enough and the servers with 2 attached SSDs plentiful fast.

thats such an idiotic thing to say considering they offer dedicated servers with NVMe raid drives.

How many different geographic regions can I get a hetzner server?

Not many. A couple in Germany and one in Finland. Not exactly a global reach.

So, I work for a company that provides CDN services so take that into account, but, putting on my personal, not work, head, this type of service worries me for two reasons.

1. It's asking website owners to install JavaScript that uses the website owner's visitors' bandwidth for purposes other than visiting the website. That feels misaligned and not something I'd expect as a user visiting a website.

2. It also puts me, the end user, in an odd position because I don't control the content that is being stored and served from my machine.

Putting those two things together I find myself worrying about the following scenario: I visit site example.com that serves content that is legal in my jurisdiction. example.com is using arc.io and while I'm browsing example.com some content that is illegal in my jurisdiction is served to someone. This puts me in a position where illegal content was stored and served from my machine.

I think that puts me in a dangerous position just for surfing example.com.

If I signed up for Arc Rewards then I might get paid for storing and serving illegal content.

Ansgar from Arc.

> It's asking website owners to install JavaScript that uses the website owner's visitors' bandwidth for purposes other than visiting the website.

We endeavor to create a communal web where everyone cooperates and benefits, and we want to make that as easy as just visiting your favorite website. Everyone shares a little surplus bandwidth to help each other load the web faster, sustain their favorite sites, and earn rewards. Everyone wins.

That's a different web than the current web. Right now, with the current web, no one shares and nothing is shared with you. The web isn't communal; it's adversarial. Ads interrupt you and trackers stalk you. We want to change that.

It will take time. Just like how the once frightful notions of getting into a stranger's car (Uber) or sleeping in a stranger's house (Airbnb) are now banal. These things take time.

But, of course, if preferred, an opt out is two clicks away. Sites with Arc must display Arc's widget in the lower left so visitors can learn about Arc and easily opt out (or back in).

> I think that puts me in a dangerous position just for surfing example.com.

When one visits nytimes.com, they don't know what files will be downloaded and cached on their computer before they hit [enter]. They trust nytimes.com not to hand them inappropriate content (porn, violence, etc).

Arc has that same responsibility -- to only cache appropriate, legal content. It's our responsibility to get that right. And we will.

  - Sites, and their content, are reviewed and vetted before they get access to Arc's CDN.

  - Automated checks are run on assets for appropriateness, a la Google's SafeSearch Cloud Vision API. Inappropriate content never enters the network.
On top of that, only fragmented, encrypted data is cached on devices. Devices never receive the full puzzle -- only a single, fragmented puzzle piece, scrambled beyond recognition.

Hope that helps.

Also, and wholly unrelated: big fan of Movie Code. =]

Honestly, I consider this on the same level of malicious behavior as if a site added a bitcoin mining script on their page to "share" some of my CPU. By your own admission, opt out is two clicks away, and even that requires you to 1) recognize the Arc logo and 2) know what it does and that you can opt out.

Thank you for the detailed reply and good luck with the service.

I hope Arc.io gets added to most popular ad/tracking/mining blocker list soon. I hate when sites do something you did not consent with. Their site including - they ask to opt out without offering to opting in first.

> website owner's visitors' bandwidth

come again?

I experimented with one of the early P2P CDN's, which appears to be the same thing Arc.io is doing. Very quickly the widget ends up on all the major adblock lists and... it does basically nothing for you.

One one site that had a few hundred unique visitors per day, and the P2P CDN "saved" me kilobytes per month in bandwidth costs. Maybe a higher traffic site would see more benefit (especially if it isn't focused at tech people who have a nearly 100% install rate for ad blockers).

I'm curious about this line:

>Users receive 10% in user rewards for sharing bandwidth with the network.

Does this mean the users who are visiting the site with the Arc widget (acting as seeds for the p2p cdn)? Is Arc going to send me a check in the mail, and if so, what registration do I need to do to get that money?

If most users don't sign up to be paid, what happens to their "share" of that 10%? Is it redistributed to other users, or kept by Arc?

Reading their full page on this, the current setup is donating the currency to Wikipedia (which, individually I'm fine with), and I imagine that if it's unclaimed and your nose/browser is unlinked to your account, money is continued to be sent there.

Appears to just be using webtorrent, though this does not seem to be mentioned. It's a clever technology, but also has limitations and compatibility concerns.

I'm not sure what other optimizations they're doing or what guarantees it has. Wish they had a page with more complex assets being delivered via their CDN to test performance. Their own site is being delivered this way, but I don't think that's the use-case. There are many ways to host simple static sites free/cheap -- the big CDN costs often come from media like videos or images, which in addition to being delivered also need to also have very low latency to "feel" fast. (Not sure a jpeg fragmented and delivered over WebRTC is going to outperform a CDN delivering it over a single HTTP request regardless of how fast it is. Adaptive video is also not going to be straightforward.)

Price doesn't seem appealing to me given how it works and how little is explained. But it's a cool concept, and I'm all for new ways to decentralize content and/or save on delivery costs.

"bank-grade 256-bit AES". Is that similar to "as honest as a politician"?

They're lacking details, and yet they expect site owners to simply load some random JavaScript from their servers. Sorry, no.

I clicked around curious how it works behind the scenes. Here is how they explain it:

(you have to copy-paste the link because HN won't auto-link a URL with a trailing question mark)

Have to add a trailing question mark

Their pop-up thingy doesn't show up properly in Firefox (Linux). When I click on it, it shows one and a half paragraph, and no scrollbar is available.

Same in Chrome (Mac).

The pricing link doesn't work on my iPhone/mobile safari.

Now the site is down...which makes me think this cdn doesn't work so well.

I currently pay ~500/mo for a cdn so I am a real potential customer.

$500/month is quite a lot. Are you hosting videos? Or some high traffic image site?

f2p game with like 2k new users per day.

Wow, congrats!

Out of curiosity, is it profitable in the end? 2k new users per day seems like a lot.

Content from https://arc.io/pricing :

    CDN Bandwidth        $0.02 per GB
    Egress (worldwide)   (76% cheaper than AWS1)
    Usage is billed monthly, on the first day of each calendar month.
    Additionally, only peer-to-peer egress bandwidth is billed; all peer-to-peer ingress bandwidth is free. For example, if a 100kB image is loaded from Arc's peer-to-peer network, only 100kB of bandwidth is billed, not 200kB (100kB of egress + 100kB of ingress).

So this is unreliable, potentially slow, and more expensive than bunnyCDN?

That makes no sense and this whole idea sounds like a pitch I would see for an ICO.

Still 2x compared to backblaze b2. E.g., it better have good performance.

backblaze b2 is not a CDN.

Not directly, no, but stick Cloudflare in front and now you have a cdn that the storage is cheap and depending on tier you pick, cdn is free. Even the bandwidth from b2 to Cloudflare is free.

No, but it's still likely to outperform a system delivering assets over WebRTC from whatever p2p users are serving it up.

But if they don't manage to outperform it (distributed tends to be slow), it won't really matter if it's officially a CDN or not. Amazon S3 is also not a CDN, yet many use it that way.

As long as it delivers better performance, it might be worth it.

There's also BunnyCDN, which is $0.01/GB - https://bunnycdn.com/

That is better than what we are doing with cdn77 25 tb tier. I am going to look into switching.

They mention transparency but I don't see anything being open-source? Seems like something so community focused would benefit from that.

Really hoped they would provide some open-sourced repo.

This is neat and all, but their widget.js file is 888KB.

For comparison, Bootstrap is 180KB, Elm is 29KB and Vue.js is 100KB.

It might not be much for sites otherwise dealing with large multimedia assets, but for anyone going for lean / fast web development, this seems to be a no-go.

Their widget includes vue … for a button with a pop-over.

There is really no incentive to go via Arc.io. Instead make your users share content between each other client's. Still cool tech though, if it works, I'm a bit skeptical due to browser restrictions.

Do I read this correctly that this wants to hijack my visitors internet connections to send arbitrary data to other people?


How does this affect GDPR? Are we using & monetizing customers' bandwidth without their permission?

>Are we using & monetizing customers' bandwidth without their permission

not covered by General Data Protection Regulation.

I wondered the same thing because you have to include a script from their servers on your page.

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