HN stats + takeaway

A week ago I was surprised by a friend of mine posting to Hacker News (and then innocently messaging me “How is ondevice going?”).

The submission stayed in the top10 for a good 8 hours and received a lot of interest, and quite a few signups.

Personally I would’ve chosen to work a little more on improving the documentation and website (and write a blogpost or two…) before submitting it myself, but given the numbers, it’s hard to argue that it was too soon (sry for the lack of documentation though :) )

Seems the cat’s out of the bag now and what better time to kick things off…

In this blog post I’ll try to write down some stats, things I’ve noticed as well as things that could’ve gone a little better..


(only includes users created since the HN submission)

  • the website got ~5000 views
  • ~250 people activated their account (of ~265 total signups)
  • 56 of you created one or more auth keys (you need those for ondevice login)
  • 53 devices were created by 35 of you
  • so far ~1100 account events have been created:
    • 320 userLogin events (people logging in on
    • ~180 deviceOnline/Offline events each
    • ~120 tunnel events (connect, accept, close) each
    • 16 deviceRenamed events
    • 7 deviceDeleted events
    • 6 propertiesSet events
  • only a couple hundred MBs of traffic were tunneled

One thing I noticed is the drop from confirmed accounts and those having created auth keys. My best guess is that a lot of you tried to use your account passwords for ondevice login and then gave up when it didn’t work.
That - in hindsight - seems like a UX fail on my part and I’ll add code to create a key for you if you log in using the account password (see #19).

And I’ll probably add a ‘first steps’ check list to the control panel.

What went well

The amount of interest really made my week. Thanks again to everyone giving ondevice a try (and drop a mail to anytime if you have questions).

What could’ve gone better

  • Analytics
    I was still working on the website the day before the HN submission and hadn’t added any analytics yet.
    As soon as I noticed that, I added Google Analytics code (only for users that don’t use DoNotTrack though).
  • Missing and outdated information
    There’s still been some outdated information on some pages, most of which should be fixed by now. Let me know if you notice anything :)
    Also there’s still stuff missing (pricing information and ToS come to mind)
  • ondevice scp and ondevice sftp
    The website mentions these two commands but they’ve not yet been published. I’ve done a quick’n’dirty release to homebrew that includes them, but forgot to update the version string (so v0.5.2 identifies as v0.5.1).
    Packaging is still a work in progress, but that shouldn’t have happened.
    Right now that version’s only out on homebrew, but I’ll try to have all supported platforms on the same version again soon.

What went wrong

  • Broken Raspberry PI 3 install
    GitHub user eriknomitch filed an issue in the install script causing the $ARCH detection to fail on Raspberry PI 3 systems.
  • using an old API-Server
    One of the first things I did when I noticed the influx on new users was to also activate the standby API server (to handle the increased load) which at that time had a slightly older software running that still had an issue with custom API keys, a problem at least one of you ran into.
    There are automated tests in place now that should prevent issues like that in the future.


  • I’m currently working on automating the build+packaging process
  • fixing the remainder of the aforementioned issues and releasing a new ondevice CLI version
  • I’ll add pricing information to the home page as soon as I’ve worked out all the details (if you expect to exceed the free tier’s limits by a lot, just drop me a quick line at
  • A couple blog posts on various SSH tricks (starting with the basics, gradually working our way up the complexity ladder).
    Subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed and follow @ondevice_io on twitter to keep updated.