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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
What comes next?
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.
Where to get support
Support for TakingNames.io (and boringproxy) is provided over at the IndieBits forums. Feel free to leave general feedback there as well.