Updated Pastie Metrics

Ad income for first half of 2014: $2,696. Staying on goal with the approximately $5k a year that’s expected, and actually doing a bit better. Linode’s recent changes do mean there is no good reason why the hosting costs couldn’t be mostly cut in half (if you were to stick with Linode).

Sorry Tumblr down-sized the images, but I think they are still clear.

About a year

Last 2 months

For Sale: Pastie (update)

Not much luck with selling pastie. Most people either offer ridiculous amounts ($1,000, etc) or want me to give them a price. The reason I didn’t do that in the first place is I really didn’t have an exact price in mind. If you had a truly amazing vision for Pastie and offered me $5,000 I might consider it (but probably not)… but if you offered me $1,000,000 and all you wanted to do was wipe your ass with Pastie each day and completely cancel the service I think I’d be just fine with that.

I’ve been putting a little time lately into improving the service… but if someone made a good offer I would still consider selling… so lets make this a bit easier: If you aren’t offering at least 5 figures then you are in the wrong ballpark.

Make a real offer and share your plan. Or make an insane(ly high) offer and share no plan at all. Your call.

For Sale: Pastie

The Numbers

  • Ad income in 2012: $5,828
  • Ad income in 2013: $5,000ish (expected)
  • Highest ad income in a single month (Jun 2012): $1036
  • Ad income has been increasing the past 4 months since I added non-English pastes back to the public index
  • Monthly hosting: $199.95 at Linode
  • Database disk usage: 72gb
  • Stack: varnish, nginx, thin, Rails 3.2, MySQL, etc
  • Current server setup: 1 load balancer, 2 proxy caches, 2 app servers, 1 MySQL database
  • 2012 traffic (GA)
    350,000 to 600,000 uniques per month
    445,000 to 760,000 visits per month
  • 625,000 to 1.1 million page views per month
  • 2013 traffic (Google Analytics): 
    192,000 to 350,000 uniques per month
    250,000 to 460,000 visits per month
    400,000 to 710,000 page views per month
  • Approx. 2-10 email abuse requests per day

image

What’s For Sale

  • the official domain: pastie.org
  • the full Rails source and some sprinkle deployment recipes 
  • the existing servers, database, setup, etc. (all at Linode)
  • the Google Analytics account if it’s possible to transfer

My best guess about the recent downturn in traffic is that it has to do with removing non-English pastes from the public index in January of 2013. I added them back at the beginning of October when I began seriously considering selling the site to see if it would increase the ad revenue, and it has. There was also (too long of) a period where www.pastie.org's DNS routed to nowhere… only pastie.org worked but it went unnoticed for a long time. Perhaps some traffic was lost due to that unfortunate circumstance. Or maybe gist is finally winning - who knows.

Occasionally you see big surpasses like someone pasting the Microsoft Zune buggy date code and out of nowhere 2,000,000 visitors show up to read the code over the next few days.

I really have no idea why traffic appears to be slowing down and not interested in figuring it out. I’ve ran Pastie since 2006 and much like Marco Arment selling his properties, it’s just time to move on. I’m tired of abuse requests and seeing people use Pastie for evil (even if it’s only a minority). Perhaps someone with a fresh vision and excitement about the project could take Pastie to new heights I’ve never imagined.

In Closing

Even accounting for the obvious decline in traffic I think the above numbers are pretty good for a site that has required very little maintenance and has pretty much has the same features now as when it launched back in 2006. The look and feel has been upgraded twice I think.  Private pasting was added.  New languages were added periodically.  That’s pretty much it.

I’ve always built Pastie for myself, not for the ad revenue, or traffic.  For years there was no income at all while Rails Machine sponsored the site.  $0 cost, $0 income, great free Pastie for all.  I’m very glad that others have enjoyed it and loved it as much as I have and that I found a niche that was the right fit for hundreds of thousands of users like myself.

I’d like Pastie to find a good home since it’s still quite popular and used everyday by thousands of users.  Not to mention it’s a huge historical repository of over 8,000,000 pasties… which some users definitely have an expectation will be around forever. That was always the goal from the beginning at least.

If you’re interested get in touch and briefly share your thoughts and vision for the service. Why would you like to own Pastie and what makes you think you’d be a great caretaker?  Make me an offer I can’t refuse and Pastie will have found a new home.

Pastie and the recent Linode security issues

It’s no big secret that Pastie is hosted at Linode, but from the information I have so far I have no reason to believe anyone has enjoyed root (or even non-root) access to Pastie servers other than myself - despite claims by HTP to the contrary.

I’ll be posting a much longer post about this on my blog in the next few days and I’ll be sure to link to it from here.

Pastie is down.

Perhaps issues with the load balancer.  I’m looking into it.  Huge spike in traffic first though - perhaps another attack?  In any case it doesn’t seem like the load balancer is doing it’s job properly.  The back ends are still up yet the load balancer is shutting down the site.

Hope to know more soon. 

balancer

Pastie is actually still up if you can visit http://balancer.pastie.org.  I’m pointing the main DNS to there now, but will take a bit to update.  I’ve been playing with the setup but wasn’t sure I needed to load balance to two front-end caches, but this outage would seem to indicate that if I want 100% uptime that perhaps I do.

Varnish server down temporarily

Some apparent host disk I/O issues so I’m moving the disk-based Varnish cache that sits in front of Pastie to a different host.  Should be back online soon.

Disk Upgrades

Pastie will be down an hour or two today for much needed disk upgrades.

Update: And we’re back online about 38 minutes later.  Not so shabby.

First post-Rails Machine DDOS attack. Lots of TCP traffic and connection flooding on port 80 it looked like.  Some interruption of service.  Only the the front-end was affected.  I could even still mostly get to the service if I was willing to wait quite a few seconds.  Was just putting some firewall rules in place that seemed to help as the attack died off.

Not sure if varnish has some type of tuning I need to apply or if iptables is where I need to spend most of my effort.  Any advice should be appreciated.

Even during the attack http://fastly.pastie.org and http://lb.pastie.org/ continued to work just fine (I don’t think they were targeted, but just saying).

Pastie, then and now.

I wouldn’t call it the perfect storm, but a lot of things conspired to keep Pastie down longer than I would have liked.   If at the time I had known I was about to get terribly sick, wreck my car, and pretty much be unavailable to work on Pastie for a more than a few days… I might have made a different decision about the course I took getting the service back online.

Ultimately I decided I wanted to completely rewrite the very old deployment scripts (now based on Sprinkle and Capistrano) and rebuild the entire back-end architecture of the service to put us on a more solid foundation for the future.

Then

Previously Pastie was hosted on a single VPS with Rails Machine.  Gradually over the years we’ve bumped up the resources as necessary to keep the service running smoothly.

  • Single-core 1.5G CPU web/app/db server
  • Pastie was running 6 thin instances monitored by god. 
  • Apache was answering requests out-front and proxing to HAProxy.  
  • HAProxy load-balanced the 6 workers as well as doing some IP and request filtering for known bad things

Now

Pastie is now hosted on 4 quad-core Linode VPSs.  

  • One back-end MySQL database on a Linode 1536 (1.5GB ram)
  • Two app servers are on Linode 512s (MB) and running unicorn with 4 workers each and ngnix load-balancing the workers
  • One front-end box on a Linode 512 running Varnish with a 1GB file based cache
  • One Linode NodeBalancer that I haven’t quite decided how to deploy yet

This setup already feels much nicer and cleaner than before (not to mention faster). I’m having fun keeping an eye on the resource usage and performance of the individual layers.  I’m going to keep an eye on it over the next days and weeks and perhaps expand it or add more redundancy if that seems needed.

This raises hosting costs $140 higher per month than they were before ($0).  I’ll be adding a Donate/Membership feature (much like 5by5's) to Pastie soon for those who would like to either offer a one-time contribution or help contribute a small amount each month.  It's really amazing what $140 a month will buy you these days though.

Thanks for everyone who wrote me and offered suggestions of words of encouragement while we were down.  It means a lot to have loyal users who love a service.  I’m very glad we’re back up and we can all get back to pasting on the best paste service in the world. :)