The news last night that GoDaddy is dropping its customer–neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer–over an incendiary post about the Charlottesville murder victim led to the misunderstanding that GoDaddy actually hosted the site’s content. GoDaddy gave the Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider, but some reports indicated that the Daily Stormer had to move all its content from GoDaddy to another host. In fact, GoDaddy was just the registrar of the domain DailyStormer.com, not the site’s actual content. While GoDaddy does also offer hosting services, it never provided them to the Daily Stormer, GoDaddy told Fast Company in an email.
So who does host the site’s content? It’s impossible to tell, because that information is hidden by the Daily Stormer’s security provider, Cloudflare. The San-Francisco based company routes traffic to and from its clients site through Cloudflare’s servers in order to provide security, for instance, against the denial of service attack the Daily Stormer claims it suffered, as well as optimization to speed web traffic. A side effect is that searching for the host of the Daily Stormer on the lookup engine Whois reveals only the name CLOUDFLARE.COM, not that actual host.
We asked Cloudflare if it felt motivated, in light of the recent events, to reevaluate its relationship with the Daily Stormer. Reiterating the policy it’s stated many times in the past, Cloudflare told us that it does not drop clients based on the content of sites, unless that content is illegal:
Cloudflare is aware of the concerns that have been raised over some sites that have used our network. We find the content on some of these sites repugnant. While our policy is to not comment on any user specifically, we are cooperating with law enforcement in any investigation.
We recently dug deep into the relationship between dozes of hate sites, including the Daily Stormer, and about a dozen tech companies that provide them services, including Cloudflare. You can read our feature story on hate sites and tech companies here.