Ask Gitlab to provide an ethical alternative to the .io TLD

I’ve filed an issue about the following:

Gitlab allows hosting static websites for free using the Gitlab Pages feature, which is very convenient, and prevents websites from disappearing when the author no longer cares about the project strongly enough to pay for hosting and domain names. The only domain name offered with the free service is Unfortunately this is not an appropriate domain name. Hasn’t anyone ever wondered what the .io TLD means and why it was chosen?


The .io TLD belongs to British Indian Ocean Territory, a territory that was established in 1965 through forced expulsion of the inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago.

“The British government bought all the plantations of the Chagos archipelago for £660,000 from the Chagos Agalega Company. The plan was to deprive the Chagossians of an income and encourage them to leave the island voluntarily.”

The Colonial Office head writes to the UN that some “Tarzans” and “Men Fridays” will go. The Chagossians are still not allowed to return today.

I could go on and publish my websites on the domain, but it would hurt me to think that every time someone visits my websites, I’m validating racial inequality, and telling all my visitors that we should accept social injustice. I would rather have an option not to do that. It’s not of primary importance whether .io finances the ongoing social injustice. It’s still a country code TLD no matter whether it makes a profit for the territory it represents.

If there would just be the option to choose another domain name to use with the free service, this would solve the problem. My humble suggestion is gitlab .net, as the .net TLD originally is for service providers, or maybe an even shorter name to put more focus on the subdomain.

See the issue and give it thumbs up

Considering what you wrote above, then we may as well just not use any domain names whatsoever. Because a majority of countries have been involved in persecution in one way or another.

Are we saying now don’t use .com or .net domains because of persecution of the Indians in America? Or other similar cases in other countries all over the world? That would just be over-reacting and pointless.

io domains are used mostly by tech sites because of io in computer terms being “input output”.

For me this is a non-issue.

I appreciate your input on this issue. Taken to the extreme, it may be right that we just not use any domain names whatsoever. Ideally we would have a democratic peer-to-peer domain name system, like Gnunet is trying to make. But we don’t have that yet, so instead of staying offline, I try to be pragmatic and choose the lesser evil, and not over-react. Choosing to get a subdomain from Gitlab instead of paying a greedy registrar to screw me over is one way I would like to choose the lesser evil.

I’m not saying don’t use .com and .net demains because of the persecution of native Americans. .com and .net are not country code TLDs. Even if they were, I suppose many native Americans are proud of the United States and would support this country going forwards and representing them in the future, even though it’s had its history of injustice. The same cannot be said about .io. That territory is based solely on the expulsion of the population, and the situation isn’t getting any better.

If however the native Americans, or anyone else, would object to certain TLDs, I would support offering them the option not to use the TLDs the object to. I may or I may not agree with them, but I think they deserve to have the choice. I’m not saying that anyone has to agree with them, only that they should be provided the freedom of choice.

I would like to use the analogy of vegetarians. If Gitlab has a dinner, vegetarians wouldn’t force everyone else to order vegetarian meals, but they would like to have the option to choose vegetarian meals for themselves. Forcing everyone else to boycott the .io TLD would be over-reacting, but why can’t I get the option to opt out of having the .io TLD for my own websites?

For you it may be a non-issue if your site has the .io TLD or your meal contains meat, but wouldn’t you at the same time agree that other users of Gitlab should be provided the opportunity to make their own choice and opt out of things that are an issue to them, even if it’s not an issue to you?

Well you do have a choice. You could run your own gitlab instance like most of us do and buy your own domain name. But apparently you do not want to pay for it, so you expect someone else to?

Please explain this statement? Why would a domain registrar be screwing you over? Is it because you feel the domain should be free? Because you don’t want to pay for it? You feel that paying for a domain is someone screwing you over? Because domain registrars sell domains, and you renew with them. That is all. So I don’t see how this statement is valid.

Based on your theory, gitlab should provide a variety of domain names so as not to offend someone who may have an issue with the TLD - which to be honest is a major over-reaction since it has nothing to do with what happened in the BIOT or anywhere else in the world. And you expect them to buy all the domains without a cost to you? I don’t think that is fair. If you are unhappy with the domain, run your own server with gitlab and buy your own domain name instead of expecting someone else to do it.

Alternatively, perhaps gitlab could offer the facility for custom domains but only if you use one of their paid solutions to cover the costs involved of using their gitlab and for them providing the domain.

I don’t mind that much that it cost something to register domain names. I would prefer if it doesn’t, so I can have a website for every little library I publish, but I can tolerate paying a registration fee for my more ambitious projects.

I do however feel domain names should be valid forever. If you’re working as a sysadmin and your job is to keep servers and domain names maintained every day, and you host your own Gitlab, you may not feel the same way. But as someone who publishes software, I don’t want to be a sysadmin anymore.

This was somewhat more tolerable back when .com domains were €5 every year. Then it turned into €3.60 the first year if you use a referral link, and next year Godaddy tries to get €15 out of you. And they use dark patterns to try to upsell you on things you don’t need. And they request you to pay extra for protection so they won’t dox you.

I went to Godaddy just to verify I’m not exaggerating the price, and it turns out it’s now €1.23 the first year and €20.62 for subsequent years. Except if you reload the page many times enough the price goes up to €9.69. And it’s a binding agreement for two years. I have no doubt Godaddy will keep raising the prices in the future. Just because it can. And I have no guarantee that competing registrars won’t do the same in the future. Godaddy is clearly no longer a tech company, but a nasty marketing company. Godaddy doesn’t care if it causes part of the web to disappear, as long as it makes a profit doing so.

I apologize for the German. Godaddy doesn’t care that my browser is set to request pages in English.

I expect that one domain name can be provided that would be fairly uncontroversial. No need to provide a big selection of domain names.

As a big company, I expect that Gitlab has already bought its name under every possible TLD, just to protect itself from threats, which is another problem with the domain name system. I’ve already verified that Gitlab hold the name before I suggested it in my first post.

Even if Gitlab were to buy another domain name for this purpose, one single domain name could be chosen which would be fairly uncontroversial, and it would be €20 per year, which is nothing for a big company, considering it will be used for many thousands of websites on different subdomains.

If Gitlab can’t afford it, I guess it can start a crowdfunding campaign to get the €20 per year. It would be better for me to chip in with the crowd rather than to deal directly with a registrar, so the crowd can prevent websites from disappearing even if the original author for any reason won’t have further business with the registrar.

I agree, I wouldn’t touch godaddy with a barge pole. Their practices are questionable at best so don’t trust them. It’s common for the first year to be cheaper, but for me, and the domains I have - I have a combination of com, org, uk, io, net domains and their renewal prices are constant each year. There certainly isn’t anything random about them - so I expect godaddy is the reason for your unhappiness when a lot of the other registrars out there are far better. I’m quite happy to pay more for the first year than buy cheap from godaddy and have problems later.

I cannot speak for gitlab, so if gitlab wishes to make or another domain that they own available on their services, then it will be up to them. It just depends on their plans for the domains they already own that they might have already planned to use elsewhere.

I’m pretty sure gitlab can afford to buy as many domains as they want, that’s not the real issue, they then have to administer it all so increases the administration side of things for them and make sure everything they have is configured and always working. It’s for them to decide how they use the domains that they purchased. But every business, wants to recoup its costs. It’s not going to pay out for things and give it away for free.

This is why I suggested, that if anyone wishes to use a domain other than the free one that gitlab makes available, then they can always pay for the gitlab service which could give the option to use alternative domain names. It gives you what you want, and it allows gitlab to recoup their costs as well. And then everyone is happy.

It shouldn’t be just expected to be available for free.

The reason I switched to Godaddy in the first place was that I was unhappy with Loopia, which got acquired by a company that makes accounting software, and took down Greenpeace’s domain name because an oil company requested it. Loopia is no longer owned by the accounting software company, but has been acquired four times, so I can never be certain who owns it.

I suppose you’re an expert at everything sysadmin, and you know what registrar has a fair deal, and you know what registrar to switch to if something happens that disappoints you, and you have the time and knowledge to do domain transfers. I don’t have the same advantage. I want one registrar I can trust to serve the free software community, and I believe has the interest to keep sites available to the community forever. which other registrars don’t, as they rely on a recurring fee that can never be amortized. If ever goes out of business, I bet my websites it won’t disappear in the same way as Geocities, but more like Google Code, which still today allows checking out the data it was hosting.

I believe it would cost Gitlab a negligible amount of time and money to provide an alternative domain name for Gitlab Pages. Should there really be some hidden reason that would make it expensive, I would show my sympathy, but I don’t see a point in prematurely assuming there will be obstacle.

That means, as I’ve already described in more detail, that the website is taken down when the original author for any reason stops paying.

If gitlab goes out of business, then and all associated domain names also disappear, as well as the server infrastructure behind it which they pay for. How do you think all the hardware behind it all will continue running for free if nobody pays for it? Therefore, your sites would disappear. Therefore it’s no different to someone who pays for a domain and host it themselves and then decides to turn it off.

As I’ve said already, and you still don’t get it - you expect everything for free, and it doesn’t look like you are prepared to pay for gitlab’s enterprise service, since you expect your site to run forever, for free, and for someone to give you a domain name that doesn’t offend you, also for free. That’s not how it works.

I’ve nothing more to say on this topic.

Not a chance. See Geocities and Google Code that I already mentioned.

You keep saying this thing that misrepresents me. Nevertheless, Gitlab already provides this service for free. Is it wrong to request a feature in a service that is provided for free?

You think GitLab (and all its underlaying infrastructure) will last forever?

No. The important thing is how the phasing out will happen, as I’ve explained earlier:

@Veverak How much time, in your opinion, will GitLab last?

I won’t speculate on that. I don’t have any reason to believe that Gitlab will last longer or shorter than any other company. I’m just saying that if it happens that Gitlab won’t last longer, I expect the least it will do to help the community is to allow archivists to preserve the data it was hosting.

They will not last long because they do not care about their paying customers ( look how many issues are there that have not been seen by someone from team… most active “user” there is… gitlab-bot.

The other example of team ignoring users is their policy of handling issues; extremely short time of inactivity is needed for issue to be closed automatically;

As of issues: you cannot create an issue without acknowledging some guidance… thats ok, but there is nowhere a tickbox (or similar) to acknowledge these rules

Also there are many functions that ( if written properly ) would be more than welcomed ( take repository mirroring :: there are plenty of topics/issues regarding this indexed at Google…

And much, much more…

Interesting to hear. I switched from Github to Gitlab in the hope that Gitlab will better respect the community. If Gitlab doesn’t do well, I’m open to switching again.


I’ve added a few thoughts to the issue: Provide an ethical alternative to the .io TLD (#297229) · Issues · / GitLab · GitLab

I am under heavy workload, hence my inactivity here. I would love to catch up on DNS related topic earlier though :slight_smile: