When you die, where does your website go?

Dec 18, 2007

When I die, which I hope won't happen anytime soon, I'd like for m.mongers.org to stay on-line for a few more decades, perhaps forever.

It's not because I think I have much profound to say and it absolutely must be preserved for eternity, it's simply because that's what you do with historical records. You preserve them.

We need future safe archives that start working as soon as we die, and it's our own responsibility.

I know Alex, owner of the domain, the hardware and the hosting deal for mongers.org where I “live”, has made some arrangements in the case he gets hit by a truck so that things can go on and people can still get access. No plans have been made for when the last monger die though. And I haven't made any personal arrangements either.

I hope that 100 years after my death all of my on-line writing will be preserved along with everybody else's on a small node in the network somewhere with just a few PB of storage and a cheap little 10 Gbit network connection, because that's more than enough and by then you robably can't even get a slower connection. (“Man, things were primitive back then in the beginning of the 21st century…” they’ll say)

It'll be an invaluable resource to historians.

Another thing would be the domain name problem. Because when people stop paying, the domain name is free for anyone to take, so that means our URL-space isn't stable beyond our deaths.

Perhaps we should add a .history or .archive TLD where content can be archived when domains change owners, if the content owners wish so. I think that would be better than the current Way Back Machine at Archive.org.

I don’t know how such a system should be financed, but a one-time fee when the content is archived that goes towards a fund that manage the system could work. But many content/domain owners probbly wouldn’t pay for that since it’s of no value to them anymore, so I guess a better model is needed.

A lot of interesting problems to solve here.

Last edited: May 1, 2016