Show HN: Takingnames.io Beta – The first domain name provider for self-hosters
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We are stoked to announce the launch of the TakingNames.io open beta.

TakingNames.io is the first domain name provider built especially for
self-hosters. In the process, we aim to lower the barrier of entry for
self-hosting and make data ownership accessible to more people. We want to
make buying and using a domain name as simple as having a phone number.

At launch, TakingNames.io provides the following core functionality:

  1. Simple web UI for finding, purchasing, and managing domains. No flashy,
    complicated dashboard, and no annoying dark patterns trying to upsell you
    a bunch of garbage you don’t need.
  2. Implementation of an open protocol for delegating control over domains
    and subdomains to self-hosted servers or 3rd party services.

1. is self-explanatory, if sadly uncommon. 2. is by far more important, and
needs further introduction.

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Let’s say you want to run some sort of open source server (say Nextcloud)
with your own domain today. Once you have the server running, you have to a)
determine where to buy a domain, b) buy it, and c) figure out how the use
the provider’s UI to update the proper DNS records.

After today, a) and b) are easy (use TakingNames.io), but what about c? We
propose that it is not something the user should have to think about.
Consider: Nextcloud knows exactly what DNS records it needs to create. All
that really needs to happen is Nextcloud should get permission from you
through your domain provider to change the records using an API, and once you
grant that permission it just does it for you. If this sounds familiar, it’s
because that’s exactly the way things work when a web app (or open source
program like rclone) wants to access data on your Google Drive.

There’s no reason it can’t be that simple for DNS as well, and that’s
exactly what we’ve built.[0]

But more than enough talk. Below is a demo video showing what this
functionality can look by showing it implemented in the open source
boringproxy project.

YouTube video

We hope you see the same potential here that we do. You can buy a domain by
heading over to the main page.

We have exciting things planned the next few months. Subscribe to our
newsletter and we’ll keep you posted.

The working codename for this new protocol is “NameDrop”, which may change in
the future. The key to the success of any protocol is adoption. Currently,
only 2 pieces of software implement NameDrop: the TakingNames.io service and
boringproxy. We hope others will join us. The protocol is young and will
improve over time. If you want to implement it or get involved with working
on NameDrop itself, drop us a line over at the GitHub repo.

Support for TakingNames.io (and boringproxy) is provided over at the
IndieBits forums. Feel free to leave
general feedback there as well.

[0]: We are not the first to come up with this
idea. On a technical level, the DomainConnect protocol is very
similar. However, we feel it isn’t currently an easy fit for open source
projects like boringproxy. See the discussion here. That said,
multiple protocols can coexist, and TakingNames.io may implement DomainConnect
in the future if it makes sense.

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