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Comcast Decided To Shut Down SearchYC (searchyc.com)
94 points by stevenj on June 1, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 64 comments

This service is a major component of this community; as such, I'll host this on whatever metal you need. My contact information is in my profile. Ping me on G-talk and we can have this sorted out by the morning (if you're in PST).

I also have some spare capacity that our startup could donate. Something like one i920 Core and a few Gigs of Ram (and up to a Terrabyte of Traffic). If that could help, let me know.

Ditto for me as well if necessary.

Just guessing, but they might have been hosting off a comcast highspeed line which Comcast forbids on its residential service.

Yeah, that was my first thought as well. Comcast (at least in my area) is primarily a provider of internet service to homes, not a server hosting company, so if Comcast was able to shut SearchYC down then that means it must have been hosted from a home internet connection.

Comcast does business connections as well. This isn't hard to find: for example, if you visit comcast.com, its under "products".

Comcast does all sorts of business Internet connections including web hosting. I suspect they do in your area too, but you've probably never noticed (where do small businesses in your area get Internet access from?). Their cable business connections are delivered over similar (or maybe the same) infrastructure as the residential ones.

I use Comcast business at my workplace. I get a pretty good deal, actually an amazing deal compared to fiber with a zero install cost. 22/5 for around $150 or so. Their business support is competent.

Residential service is around $60 here. So for about double that you can get a 22/5 line without caps.

What kind of traffic does SearchYC get? Is a $40/mo Linode not sufficient? I would gladly pay that (or be content with some Google ads in the right bar). Hell, I'd even maintain the site...it's a great service.

Well, that wasn't very informative. I suspect an unpaid bill or similar, to be honest.

I use hnsearch.com, powered by beta backend magic by the Octopart guys. I find it to be quite fast and quite good.

This has always bugged me - as owner of a product, YOU are ultimately responsible for its availability. If you chose a bad service provider, sure, you'll have outages. But accept accountability, say you are working on it, and fix it.

This has always bugged me - the sense of entitlement people have when a free service experiences an outage. The people behind SearchYC are doing us a favor. They should be thanked, not reprimanded.

So, uh, thanks. I've used SearchYC many-a-times.

You misunderstand.

I don't care whether or not there is an outage. I care that people are professional in their work. Passing the buck is unprofessional. Accepting the responsibility is what matters, and if they decide not to fix it, then say so and own that choice.

Service providers are responsible for their service only. Not the products you layer on top of them.

Doing free favors doesn't mean you should drop your level of professionalism.

It's a service among friends. I actually expect them to act a bit more casual. Given than, I think what they said was just fine: Comcast turned off their service, they're looking into alternatives.

> I care that people are professional in their work.

I feel the same way. But this isn't work, this is play.

So it's ok for me to misrepresent a situation and make other people look bad as long as I'm "just playing"?

I didn't realize "doing us a favor" excused them for being deceitful about the situation.

The favor they should be thanked for. The reprimand is for misrepresenting what happened to make Comcast look bad when SearchYC was being run outside the TOS for residential internet.

I don't really see much blame in that post. Comcast shut down searchyc. That's the simplest true explanation for what happened.

It's sad.

That's the extent to which they dwell on the issue.

Um...why was it being hosted off Comcast, instead of Linode (for example)?

As a user of Comcast Business Class for some hosting, it's more about what's available near you. I host some of servers in my garage, I like to manage them manually and Comcast is the only option in my area, I pay $110 for 10down & 2.5up, but some locations they have 100mb connections for that same price. What I'd like to know is why Comcast shut it down so I can either avoid this happening to me or drop comcast for a datacenter 110 miles away. Its difficult hosting a site at my current bandwidth anyways.

Why manage servers manually? I mean I get it, you want control, but for simple web apps?

I used to host sites out of my closet for fun. I had a monitor that had tail running on my server log.

There was something really cool about seeing hits, knowing that someone in another part of the world requested a file and it was sent from the hard drive in this very closet.

Get a VPS and you'll actually save a few bucks (no hardware, cheaper Comcast subscription). Run tail in screen. I think there's a Nodejs app on github that let you see in real time who's accessing your box and from where (it's an interactive map thing with websockets).

I think it's usually because people who self-host have no real reason to keep up with the hosting marketplace. A year or two can just pass by, and the hosted offerings get much better and cheaper, but if you aren't shopping around, you have no idea.


Even an old Pentium 4 w/ a couple gigs of RAM is probably all he needs.

That's bollocks, as a good Internet line costs an arm and a leg and you're far better off renting a VPS.

A micro-instance on EC2 for moderate traffic does wonders if properly optimized (i.e. Nginx, async behavior, CloudFront) and is costing me something like 15 USD per month (the total bill, which includes EBS, S3 and CF), which is cheaper than my home broadband line which is totally unusable for any kind of traffic (because it is ADSL, download is good but uploading sucks).

I also moved my private Git repositories on it, from Github and I'm probably going to end my subscription with them. It is also configured as an email server with which I spammed my old high-school colleagues before our 10-years reunion :-)

Not sure if you read the article, but he has a Comcast connection. Why pay extra, if what you have already works?

Comcast business class w/ a fixed-ip (I have set up several to stream 720p HD surveillance cameras), has upload tiers in 2Mbps, 5Mbps, and 10Mbps...and it starts at $60/month.

All he is serving is text, no images, video, or audio.

Verizon Fios has 5Mbps, 25Mbps, and 35Mbps upload tiers.

A Fios 35Mbps up and down connection is $125/mo. Not bad for UNLIMITED bandwidth.

Anecdotal evidence: http://seesarasotalive.com/sarasota-webcams - moved from rackspace to Fios

I believe the evidence shows that it doesn't work. It's hard to beat the super-cheapness of an Amazon micro instance - I have two, and if you get a reserved instance it works out to around $9 a month.

If you are lucky enough to live in a place with proper internet access it's great for hosting small projects and stuff like that. I have a server in my parents garage, they have a 30/30 (soon to be 60/60 for no increase in price) fibre connection with unlimited bandwidth and the ISP does not mind people hosting stuff. It's pretty awesome for hosting whatever I'm playing with at the moment. Without having to pay anyone besides perhaps parts of my parents powerbill since it's a hungry beast of a server >_<

Seems really interesting, could you enter into more detail, as how much is moderate traffic, and more info on your installation.

This would make for an article or blog post I'd love to read.

I'll second the request for a blog post or write-up.

I'd love to read more about setting up nginx, ec2, s3 and cf.

More than likely it is because of the bandwidth usage. It is really easy to host it using ec2 or rackspace but the bandwidth costs are gonna kill you if you are scraping HN. How often do you get data from HN?

I'm sorry I suggested you hadn't paid your bill. There was so little information in the page that it sounded like an attempt to avoid embarrassment. Get something in writing, and get more info up there. Best of luck.

I don't think that's the OP.


I've got plenty of Linode, prgmr and EC2 cycles to spare, you are welcome to any/all of them. My contact info is in my profile, please get in touch if I can help.

After searchyc went down, I've just used google, adding "site:news.ycombinator.com" after my query. Seems to return quite good results too.

Searchyc will arrange the results of a search in chronological order, which I find very useful since the date I saw the post is one of the most reliable pieces of information I will typically have on the post.

It is funny that this feature has yet to hit google. I am wanting more and more the ability to sort my google results in chronological order. I recently got a iMac and would love to see the most resent article on how to do things and not ones from 2008!

You can add a date range filter to your searches and limit the results to, say, the past year.

Unfortunately, that date range filter is pretty limited, i think there are 5 options, year, month, week and so on.

Better would be an option to specify range.

Better would be an option to specify range.

There is a custom range option as well where you can set the start and end dates.

It's a shame Blekko doesn't seem to crawl news.ycombinator.com much, you could get that information with site:news.ycombinator.com /date [ query ] if they did

I'm afraid that blekko's livecrawl coverage of news.ycombinator.com isn't very good. I'll add that host to our QA suite.

Hopfully you will be able to bring it back soon. SearchYC.com is the best way to search the treasure trove that HN has become.

What's wrong with http://www.hnsearch.com ?

Just got zero hits on a search that I know there is at least one result for. Same search worked fine on searchyc.com a few days ago.

EDIT: Google search using site:news.ycombinator.com just now delivered the result I was expecting.

What is the search you are conducting?

I was searching for SML on Stilts

I'm getting a hit for "SML on Stilts" from 5 months ago: http://www.hnsearch.com/search#request/all&q=SML+on+Stil...

Did you get different results? Were you expecting another submission?

When I did my search, I got zero hits, which surprised me.

Why doesn't HN have native search?

Basically pg doesn't think it's important and doesn't want to do it.


He replied not only that isn't important but also implied that there is some big data issue here. Which is incorrect.

There are multiple open-source solutions for this 'problem' as many people on here could attest (not to mention configure). Obviously if it can be done over the wire it could be done even better (cheaper/faster) local to the server.

I may be wrong about this, but I thought I heard PG say that a YC company was working on a solution.

I'm sure there are multiple alternative solutions, but hnsearch.com is a pretty good one. Written by the Octopart guys and runs off of ThriftDB, the search and database backend that they wrote for their site.

cuz pg doesn't need to work on it, when lots of us do.

The awesome Chrome extension Hacker News Sidebar, which uses searchyc.com, is down too. Are there any alternative extensions or bookmarklets for automatically linking a page to its HN comment thread?

Yet another outage message that says nothing. Is it really that hard to write a few more sentences, maybe quote the Comcast reason for shutting it down? Were they running the server on a residential line or something? Using too much upstream bandwidth? This is a search engine for a technical community, we can handle it.

Like lots of others, I can help with hosting (work at a big hoster). Ping me a message if I can assist

Never knew this existed. Using "site:news.ycombinator.com" in Google works perfectly fine for me.

Just curious - anyone know why?

WePay needs to transform into something that say, Linode can offer as a payment option.

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