Frequently asked Questions
These questions might have been asked frequently if I hadn't answered them here ;-)
Why does this site exist?
Because I wanted it.
There is a small renaissance of having your own, personal website, independent of the large corporate entities. A place for your thoughts and ideas that you own and control. It's sometimes called the IndieWeb or SmolNet - back in my day it was just having a homepage.
I love reading text written by real people. Texts that don't want to sell something. But how can you discover texts you can't search for because you don't know they exist?
That's where this page comes in. Click a button, be surprised and maybe discover your new favorite thing.
What are the sources?
I initially seeded the database with personal websites from the following sources:
- Ask HN: Share your personal site and the helpful list of URLs extracted from that post
- The IndieWeb Webring
- Ye Olde Blogroll
To further grow it, you can suggest your own or a friend's personal site (as long as it has an RSS feed): Suggest a page.
How many blogs and posts are in the database?
Here are the current statistics:
- 2509 websites with a feed
- 380 websites with a verified Mastodon account
- 161356 posts overall
- 36955 posts in the last six months
- 39.05 MiB database size
- 2 pending suggestions
Currently only recent posts (published within the last six months) are used when picking a random post. Below is a visualization of the number of recent posts per week.
Can I have the data?
Sure, you can download the list of blog URLs as JSON here:
Broken Links, Spam, etc.
People abandon or sell their domains. Things break. Sites get hacked.
If you were sent to a broken site, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include the ID shown under each visited link on the front page - it helps me to identify the broken URLs.
Please also let me know if you come across things that don't fit the spirit of personal webpages. Things like YouTube channels, corporate blogs, etc. should not be in the index but might have slipped through in the initial setup.
Are there any alternatives?
There are other attempts at making the indieweb discoverable.
- Blog Surf: a blog search engine. It lists a few random posts on the start page, but they are sorted by some kind of popularity score.
- Marginalia: another IndieWeb search engine. This one has an option to visually browse random sites.
- BlogDB: a small selection of blogs, but not necessarily personal ones. It has a random blog mechanism.
- ooh.directory: a Yahoo! style directory of blogs categorized by topic. It has a random blog mechanism.
What tech does this run on?
This is a very simple, custom PHP application standing on the shoulders of giants:
- SimplePie for RSS discovery and parsing
- UniversalFeedCreator for RSS feed creation
- SQLite for data storage
- Twig for templating
- SimpleCSS for nice looks
- PHP-DOM-Wrapper for finding Mastodon profiles
- PHP Goosee to fetch previews in RSS feeds
The rest is just glue code. You can see it all on Github.