Ensuring free storage for all Blockstack users

Hey Blockstackers,

As most of you know, Blockstack PBC operates a public-use Gaia hub at hub.blockstack.org. This hub stores data to a Microsoft Azure bucket available at gaia.blockstack.org. For the vast majority of Blockstack IDs, this is where your data is stored.

We operate this public Gaia hub, and offer free hosting and bandwidth to all, to support ecosystem growth and developer success. We want to continue offering this free resource for all new users for the foreseeable future. However, this won’t be possible if our storage costs grow indefinitely.

The costs are not distributed evenly. Currently less than 1% of all Blockstack IDs account for more than 99% of the storage costs. We love that the public Gaia hub is valuable and heavily used. But, we also feel the need to protect this resource so that we can continue to offer it for free for many years to come. For example, the public Gaia hub cannot support apps that offer unlimited, free file storage and we encourage these apps to setup their own Gaia hubs.

As such, on July 31, the public Gaia hub will begin to throttle uploads to storage buckets after the first 10GB. Once a bucket stores over 10GB, the number of uploads per minute to that bucket will be slowed down with each additional megabyte. Throttled clients will receive HTTP 429 responses to tell them to slow down. However, download speeds will not be affected.

​I’m an app developer. Does this affect me?

​​Developers of applications that tend to use a lot of data are encouraged to follow this tutorial to help new users onboard with an alternative Gaia hub. It should amount to a one-line change to the onboarding flow code.

​I’m a user. Does this affect me?

​​Highly unlikely. The cap of 10GB/bucket was chosen because it only affects a tiny number of users who store multiple gigabytes of data in the public hub. Almost everyone stores far less.
​​If you’re one of the few affected users, your download speeds will not be affected. However, your upload speeds will become noticeably slower as you store more and more data.

I’m a heavy data user. How can I avoid throttling?

​​If you find yourself being throttled, you may need to either (1) deploy and run your own Gaia hub, or (2) find someone who will do it for you. Today, anyone can deploy and run a hub by following these instructions to configure the hub, and these instructions to deploy it on AWS.
​​Once your hub is deployed, you can migrate your data from Blockstack’s Gaia hub to your new hub by following the “Using an Existing Blockstack ID with a New Gaia Hub” section of this forum post.
​​If you have questions or need help migrating your data, please ask in this thread. The Blockstack PBC team is happy to help you.

​​The Blockstack PBC team weighed many options before reaching this solution. Ultimately our mission is to safeguard user’s digital rights, and to help developers build successful apps, both are served by the public Gaia hub. We look forward to sharing this resource with this community for years to come.
​​Questions and feedback welcome.


Thank you for this. Any plans to enable use of permissionless decentralized storage like sia