It’s been almost two years of Invidious, 21 months to be specific, but I’m too lazy to wait until April to write this post. What a ride it’s been: so much has changed in my life, my computer skills only have increased, but after all this time, inv.riverside.rocks has stayed online.
I first became interested in Invidious in late 2020. I’d just begun my privacy journey, and discovered the kavin.rocks instance of invidious. While I didn’t have a lot of money for servers, I scraped together some Visa gift cards, and purchased a DigitalOcean droplet in New York. I ran this droplet for 5 months, from April 2021 to September 2021. The first capture of the Invidious instance list that features by website is from May 2021, and at this time, my website had a whopping 39 users. (today, only half of the top ten instances from that time are still online) I kept the small instance up and running against the odds (my droplet only had two gigabytes of RAM, leaving little wiggle room, along with a fixed amount of bandwidth).
The time had came to say goodbye to DigitalOcean. The bandwidth limits and expensive prices were not feasible anymore, and a host I had just discovered from a friend, OVH, had unmetered bandwidth and better prices. I made the full switch by November 2021, and at this time, the site had reached 500 accounts.
A DMCA Nearly Killed it All…
Just weeks after the full switch to OVH, I received a DMCA letter from a Spanish copyright firm requesting that a series of videos be removed from the server. OVH asked for a speedy response from me, otherwise my server would be terminated. I responded to the copyright firm stating that my site was only a YouTube proxy, and therefore content needed to be removed on YouTube for it to be removed on my site. The copyright agency never wrote back, and OVH seemed satisfied, so the strike was lifted and the website remained online.
The Storage Crisis
Through the rest of 2021 and for the first part of 2022, the site ran well without many problems. However, in the summer of 2022, trouble began. My 160GBs of storage kept filling up, and over and over I would have to sign into the server and clean the Invidious database. If I failed to clean it out, all services would stop running, including Invidious. The Invidious team caught on to this, and a series of patches were released to clean the database periodically and shut off storage wasting notifications.
Bring On The Traffic!
As time went on, more and more users joined the site, which led to site to rank higher on the API’s page, which in turn drew more users to sign up! Today, the site uses 3-5TBs of bandwidth every day, and has used more than a petabyte over the last year. My OVH server is currently only using about half of it’s capacity, meaning that the instance can stay online for the foreseeable future.
I want to thank the Invidious development team for keeping the project alive after Omar left. Additionally, I want to thank the helpful community on the Matrix server who are always online to discuss privacy issues or Invidious configuration. Invidious has been a huge part of my privacy journey, and I can attest it has been a part of many others too.