The Hacker News Hug - 50,000 unique visitors in 18 hours

Yesterday at about 5PM I decided to post my weekend project https://bearblog.dev on Hacker News. It unexpectedly shot to the font page in the first 20 minutes of being posted and remained there until now (you can see it at the top of the second page now).

During that time my emailer (SendGrid) had to be propped up to a new tier, I pushed a bunch of hotfixes and struggled keeping up with the comments and emails that started flooding my inbox. I accidentally deleted an entry I wasn't supposed to and had to manually update 130 DNS records by hand before anyone noticed.

Currently there are over 1000 new accounts, and more being created every few minutes. It's been a wild ride. I'm still getting emails, there are still things to do and problems to patch. Cloudflare DNS can only handle 3500 records and I don't know what I'm going to do when I hit that. Hopefully the flood will slow down now that it's not on the front page anymore and I can plan a proper course of action.

There has not been a quiet minute. I need sleep.

I did a more in-depth writeup on the whole shebang here https://herman.bearblog.dev/the-hacker-news-hug/

  1. 3

    @hassanprocesslogic thanks for the suggestion for using LetsEncrypt. I got it working today, no more DNS handling needed :)

    1. 1

      That's awesome man!! You've got a great concept. Excited to see its progress.

  2. 2

    Wow. These are the kind of problems everyone dreams about. All the best man.

    Also, try switching to AWS Route 53 for DNS.

    1. 1

      Thanks man :) Got it sorted with LetsEncrypt

  3. 2

    Nice! Since its all static you can also host on Vercel / Netlify?

    1. 1

      So it's not actually static (although I am experimenting with doing static generation). So that would be the ideal situation ;)

  4. 1

    "The Hacker News Hug", I love that 😂

  5. 1

    Hey Herman! Congrats on that, I actually bumped into it on HN and had to upvote it; I'm surprised to see it pop up here again! Gotta upvote again. :)

    I'm a fellow from the website builder space, wish you all the best!

    1. 1

      Cheers! Thanks for the support!

  6. 1

    That's great! Any tips on posting to Hacker News? I'm there ~once a week so I'm not super familiar with the best practices...

    1. 1

      To be honest it's such a mixed bag. I was following the trend of distain for the modern web, so created and posted my project there. It's good to be kinda scrappy I think?

      1. 1

        Yes I guess scrappy > polished... following you to get your updates!

  7. 1

    You're onto something here man, excited to follow your journey with this one.

  8. 1

    Build a theme like this on WordPress and you're done!

  9. 1

    This is awesome! Sign of an excellent product - one that people WANT. Congrats!!

  10. 1

    Congrats man! I can indeed imagine a great product market fit for the HackerNews audience :).

  11. 1

    Any plans of doing a paid version to remove the "Made with bear" ?

    1. 2

      I'm playing around with an idea for a paid version which has the ability to do some minor customisations, remove branding, and have privacy focussed analytics.

  12. 1

    Ha ha! Fun ride. @HermanMartinus, if you need solution to handle subdomain ssl, knock me, we created a solution for our own SaaS https://easy.jobs, would love to give pointer.

    1. 2

      Thanks :) I'm working my way though setting up LetsEncrypt with Certbot right now. If I get completely lost I'll ping you! EasyJobs looks rad by the way.

  13. 1

    HN truly was the perfect audience for this. Especially with all the posts lately regarding bringing back simple, unobtrusive blogging. Huge congrats!

  14. 1

    This is great. Congratulations. Now it would be interesting to see how many of these accounts stick around and continue creating content - otherwise, you would end up handling thousands of DNSes with very little reward.

    Keep us posted on your growth

    1. 2

      Yeah. I kinda wish I'd added a "Just looking" checkbox on signup that auto-deletes accounts after a week of inactivity.

      I'll keep you posted

  15. 1


    There's got to be a better way to do the DNS...

    1. 1

      A wildcard subdomain record will do the trick, but then cloudflare doesn't proxy it so the user doesn't get SSL. On the other hand, if I let Heroku manage it, then I can only have 100 subdomains with SSL. So I'm still working on that :)

      1. 1

        Have you considered using LetsEncrypt instead of CloudFlare for the SSL? You can automate cert creation.

        How / where are you hosting it?

        1. 1

          I did consider it, but I'm just much more familiar with CloudFlare. It's running on a Heroku dyno

          1. 1

            I'm using wildcard domains with LetsEncryt behind Nginx. Everything was so easy and like magic, it took around 5mins to set up.

          2. 1

            Fair enough. I've solved the issue using letsencrypt in the past for wildcard subdomains running on a multitenant app. It works beautifully if you ever go down that route in the future.

            1. 1

              I'll experiment with it today

              1. 1

                that would be a great piece of info to share on HN too I bet they'd love to hear how you solved it!

  16. 1

    This is absolutely awesome, have been thinking about this idea for long, you’ve executed it perfectly! Any plans to monetize? Must be getting very expensive to host!?

    1. 3

      So because it's very well optimized and doesn't have any static files, the hosting cost is about $7 per month ;)
      As for monetizing, I've been thinking of adding some addons like privacy-respecting analytics, LaTeX support, etc

      1. 1

        Wow! You have a site that can take 50,000 visitors in 18 hours and 1000 users blogging from their own accounts for $7/month!? Would you mind sharing your hosting set up?

        1. 2

          Well if you think of the nature of the application, it's not serving any static files (no images/video/etc), just text content. I also optimized the DB requests so that there is only one or two DB requests per page. One of the main reasons I made this project is to prove that you can get such great performance with a minimalist approach.

          It's written in Django and hosted on a Hobby tier Heroku Dyno.

  17. 1

    That's awesome! Congrats.

  18. 1

    This looks like an instant success!

    1. 1

      Thanks :) Turns out HN was the right audience

  19. 1

    This comment was deleted 2 years ago.

  20. 1

    This comment was deleted a year ago.

    1. 1

      Thanks :) If its any consolation, I've launched 2 other products on HN that kinda fell flat.

  21. 1

    This comment was deleted 10 months ago.

    1. 1

      Done. It was feeling a bit cramped, especially with lists.

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