Ghacks turns 10: a look at the past, present and future of the site
When I posted Welcome to Ghacks on October 3, 2005 I did not know what to expect from this site. It was my first blog and initially designed to provide information about software that a friend of mine was creating.
I had previous experience on the Internet, ran a successful web forum for instance for a long time, but the blog was different and about to change my life.
I began to write about things in tech that interested me, tweaks, how-to articles, news, all that good stuff. One day I decided to add Google Adsense to the site, and it was on that day that the site got promoted to the Digg frontpage for the first time.
Remember Digg? It was great in the beginning and could throw tens of thousands of visitors to your site in a couple of hours.
Anyway, the earnings jumped through the roof and I realized immediately what a chance this was.
The site became popular quickly after that initial push and made the frontpage on Digg, Slashdot, Delicious and other sites fairly regularly which I think helped a lot to establish it.
I made the decision to do this full time in 2006 after carefully evaluating all options, making calculations and going over worst-case plans more often than you can imagine. I quit my job at the end of that year and started working full time on the site ever since.
This turned out to be the best decision that I ever made. In those years, I learned a lot. While research and writing are important, there are other things that I learned or had to do on a daily basis including keeping an eye on SEO and social marketing, moderation of comments, WordPress development and updates, communication with third-parties, and web server administration.
The ride was not always pleasant. For instance, the site was hosted by GoDaddy in the beginning. GoDaddy suspended the site one day without informing me (due to it hitting another frontpage at that time). I had to call them in the US to get things sorted out and find a server for the site on the same day to get the site transferred to it.
I moved the site to Hetzner first, a German provider which did not offer managed Linux servers at the time. This meant that I had to setup up most of the server by myself.Â While that worked mostly through trial and error in the beginning, it taught me a lot, including that Linux administration was not pleasant back then.
Hetzner is a great company but servers were still my responsibility back then. I made the decision to move the site again, this time to Wiredtree which offered managed solutions. The main benefit of the move was that this freed up time that I could spend in other areas.
Wiredtree takes care of security updates and server availability, and their support is just awesome.
The site had its ups and downs in the past couple of years (mostly downs) ever since Google introduced Panda, Penguin and other algorithmic changes to its search engine.
I still have issues with Google's approach and how it determines quality and ranks sites and articles based on it but have given up on the idea that I can find out why they made the site tank so much.
The situation was so dire that I wrote Ghacks is dying back in February of this year. I received incredible support afterwards and things have become better since then thanks to a number of changes I made and an uptick in traffic from search engines.
One core goal that I had back then was to reduce the site's reliance on a single traffic source. Ghacks Deals and Patreon are two of the major efforts that help me with that and both are off to a good start.
I know that some readers may not like these deals posts and I can understand that. I'll never post more than two or three deals per week which means that they make up less than 10% of posts on the site.
I try my best to find deals that should be interesting to a number of readers (and usually myself as well), and think I did a good job so far doing that.
I don't know what the future holds and if I'll be sitting here in ten years from now writing the site's 20th anniversary post just like I do today.
I hope I can do that but things are changing so quickly on the Internet that one never knows. Will blogs still be a thing in five or ten years from now? What about independent sites, will they still exist and be able to compete with well-funded company-operated sites?
The current trend seems to steer away from technical sites like mine as the majority of Internet users seem to be less interested in topics like privacy, security, Windows programs or web browsers.
I'll do my best to keep this site up and running, and if that means that I have to adjust it somehow, I'll do that to the best of my abilities provided that it won't effect the integrity of it or its core.
We (that is Daniel Pataki mostly, great guy) are working on a new theme for the site that will move the current one to the modern age. It won't make changes for the sake of making changes, but there will be important improvements that I would like to point out right now.
- The new theme will do away with Font Awesome and other icon fonts. In fact, we try to reduce the number of outbound calls for design purposes to Zero.
- We will switch on HTTPS for the whole site.
- Usability will improve thanks to better colors, fonts, line width and such.
This will be a massive undertaking but if everything goes well, it should improve the site by a lot without taking anything away from it that you have come to love and enjoy.
Ghacks would not be there without you. Regardless of how you read the site, whether you are a regular who reads every since article or just an occasional visitor who comes by every now and then, whether you spread the word to others or not, support this site on Patreon or by sharing articles, or by being a silent reader.
If it were not for you, the site would probably never come take off and I'd be sitting in some office doing mundane boring things all day long to earn a living.
I'd also like to thank all past writers of the site and blog owners that I have been in contact with over the years.
And now, onward to the next ten years.
Happy Birthday Ghacks! Here’s to another 10 years!
Congratulations! Great content will survive 10, 20 and 100 years.
Appreciate your effort and will keep following you.
Happy Birthday! I read you with pleasure becouse of interesting subjects.
Happy birthday, Ghacks! You thought me many things, guided me from a college student to a successful product manager within 6 years!! I love your site!!
congratz on the 10 years. been around for most of it.
Congrats, Martin, on a decade of excellent work. Trustworthy and accurate reporting will always have a place in our world, so I fully expect another decade of excellence from you :)
I’m joining my voice to sing a “Happy Birthday Ghacks!” :)
Behind Ghacks there is talent and honesty, so called “intellectual honesty”. And the skill to explain topics in a way that they become accessible for the less techies. Always the latest information on updates, a critical and constructive approach regarding latest technology, explained always with detail and precision. No demagogy hence objectivity is flagrant. I’d say Ghacks has a spirit, a character of its own recognized by the Web industry when I quite often read quotes and links to articles published here. And, hum… I like as well the people I meet here, their comments I mean :)
Again : Happy Birthday! Yes, you will, you must continue the ascension. We’ll be here again October 3rd, 2025!! — Martin: chin up, though I know you’re a winner!
Hehe, Happy Birthday gHacks and congratulations :)
I discovered it I think like four years ago while some Firefox setting was driving me crazy, and found the solution here. Actually found a lot of other fixes for other issues that I had with Firefox and with Windows in general (including those new annoying updates about Windows X and tracking).
Keep up the good work!
“We are working on a new theme for the site that will move the current one to the modern age. ”
Please no floating bars or elements that take half of my screen away.
I’ve been working with computers since the mid 70’s the ‘net, windows,communications for over 25 years and every day learn something new. Your site will not fade away because you write on many different subjects and in an interesting Martin style. Each time a new experience and many times you re-write about a programs update. You warn us about potential dangers/security issues. I have told you before your writing is better than most people that have English as a first language. Thanks and keep up the great work.
Congratulations! I hope Ghacks WILL be around for another 10 years.
10 years is a long time and a lot of work behind it.
Any ETA on the new theme?
Unfortunately not, yet. It depends entirely on Daniel’s busy schedule.
happy b-day Ghaks :)
and Martin keep up the good work
Well done Martin – I always look forward to reading your articles. I have learned many useful things since I started following your site a few years back.
I’m visiting ghacks on daily basis for few years and I must say that you did and still doing a great job in comparison to all other tech news sites which turned into damn tabloids with screaming bait-click titles and sponsored articles.
Happy birthday and congratulations!
Please keep up the Ghacks deals. I like browsing them. It’s a big difference if I see an ad on say Google or a pre-screened offer by a trusted source such as Ghacks. As long as you keep posting products/services that pass your own strict personal screening criteria then I’d love you to keep posting them.
Happy Birthday ghacks
All the best to you Martin
Hers hoping another 10 great years on this great site
Not many sites that have such a trusted way about them as this does
All the best to gHACKS
“We (that is Daniel Pataki mostly, great guy) are working on a new theme for the site that will move the current one to the modern age.”
Finally. :P I am working on a relaunch of my blog so I know it can be a lot of work and very time consuming.
The most important at the end: Happy Birthday! :)
Congratulations, great job, keep it up! I’ve got so much useful stuff from this site over the past few years. Thanks and good luck!
Congratulations! I only wish I’d found this site sooner.
Congratulations, Martin, I LOVE gHacks very much and read it daily. I don’t know if I understood entirely what you mean with that black label where we read “Home – Windows – Software – Firefox”. Does this mean you won’t be writing about Chrome anymore, only about Firefox? Thank you. Here is something for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a7mwy5JYrc
Slyvio, this is just a first mockup of the new logo. I’ll continue to write about Chrome and everything else not shown on the small screenshot.
Thank you for answering. Good luck in the next 10 years.
Happy Birthday. Have loved your site since I first discovered ten years ago.
I probably won’t like the upcoming changes. Everything that changes of late seems to be set up for gadgets and I am then confronted with big Win10-like tiles everywhere, always loaded with that irritating shade of blue, then I have to scroll and scroll and scroll to see everything on my desktop’s screen. But, do your worst, Martin, I’ll probably keep showing up every day to see what you’ve got to say. :)
Happy birthday, Ghacks!
I downloaded one of your pages in 2005 that shows how to download multimedia using Google Web Search. :)
Good job, well done Martin! I am happy for you and ghacks.net.
Ghacks is one of the very few tech blogs I support with my actual dollars (ever since reading your excellent ‘ghacks is dying’ article). I even turned off my ad-blocker for you on this site.
I find a great many interesting articles here and to echo ‘Tom Hawack’, even the comments are interesting.
I like change and look forward to any changes you make to ghacks but I must say some ‘modern’ websites are absolutely hideous! I find the current ghacks layout to be very readable and easy to navigate whether on my laptop or tablet.
Looking forward to many more years of great ghacks content!
Vrai que c’est sympa ici, bonne ambiance et bien souvent les commentaires Ã l’avenant :)
[ I’m intentionally not translating to English in order to let the readers recall their French studies! ]
Not only do I want to add my voice to the many people who are wishing you and Ghacks a Happy Birthday today — but would also like to express my gratitude for all the hard work, time effort and expense which you put in to making Ghacks one of the premiere tech sites on the web. It’s obviously a labor of love for you, and it is all of us – your users – who reap the benefits.
I visit Ghacks every single day – it’s become part of my regular morning routine – and am very grateful for all the benefits I’ve received as a result. I do hope you carry on for another ten years Martin – and wish you all the best on your tenth anniversary today.
Happy Birthday Ghacks nice work Martin :)
looking forward for “We will switch on HTTPS for the whole site.”
Congrats Martin on your tenth anniversary of your awesome Ghacks site. My favorite computer knowledge destination.
I have learned a lot from this site and I hope to continue to do so
I tell everyone who is mildly interested in computers to go to your site. I also try to link your site when appropriate.
Have a great weekend.
With all due respect, I must take exception to your comment “making Ghacks one of the premiere tech sites on the web.” Ghacks is THE PREMIERE tech site on the web! :)
And to you, Martin (and Daniel and the others) I don’t wish you another great 10 years, I hope to be reading your site daily for the next 20 years!! ‘Cause, if there’s anyone who’s going to know what’s going on with computer tech 20 years from now, it’s going to be you.
Thank you, and Happy Birthday! And many, many more to come.
Happy 10th anniversary, Martin! Keep up the good work for yet another 10 years and counting!
yet another Happy Birthday
earlier this year a new firefox update appeared on my pc: openh264 video codec; pure nonsense to someone like me without any specific tech knowledge. I searched via startpage and the best hit was you. ever since I’ve been checking in on a daily basis. your mix of software and privacy news is one of the reasons, that I’m convinced blogs like yours will have readers years ahead. you write in a very step by step way, which means, that even average people like me get a chance to understand. i also encrease my knowledge due to all the comments. please keep your archive. its really valuable when you want to check up on things like gaining information about various web emailproviders. your site is the only one where I disable my addblocker. pleased to hear about HTTPS.
Keep up the good work Martin!
Thank you so much Martin & Co.! I started reading Ghacks as a complete computer know-nothing and have learned so much about so many aspects of the machines I used to hate and fear.You have made it a pleasure to learn with your explaining and not too technical style.
Keep up the good work!
Happy Birthday Ghacks, and thanks Martin
Congrats on 10 years! Read Ghacks every day.
Congratulations for 10 years and here’s to another!
Congratulations on persevering through the stressful changes required through the first 10 years. The results for readers have been very rewarding, I’m sure – especially for me.
I hope your new theme can magically reduce the rants, as they detract from the pleasure of your articles. Perhaps hard and time consuming to accomplish, but here’s hoping….
Congrats on 10 years, and here’s to the next 10. Ghacks is a regular stop for me, usually several times per day!
all the posters have said it so well! live long and prosper!!
Congratulations! Good job.
Congratulations Martin. May your blog continue for a long long time :)
Congrats on 10 years of helping others. You are an awesome man with an awesome vision.
Congratulations Martin. May you and your blog continue a long time. Please keep me, with low level tech ability in mind.
Hope you will continue to writing great articles
Great site appreciate all your hard work. Hope you are around for many years to come.
+1, GHacks stays consistent with useful tips and tricks – real added value and not just once a year, so please keep it up!
Congratulation Martin for bringing us the quality articles on TECH for the last 10 years. It turns 10, we hope that it will continue to provide the same as well like today.
Continue blogging & Keep us updated…
Happy Birthday Mr. Martin, i love read your news and articles. Greetings from Poland!
Congrats Martin, hope to be there with you the next, say 10 years ;-)
Greetings from Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Congrats from Belgium Martin and good luck !
Happy Birthday, Martin. There aren’t words to express my gratitude for this site. Seems like half my bookmarks are articles here and they head the list for comprehensive utility. I urge anyone who hasn’t done it yet to help at Patreon.
LONG LINE GHACKS!!!
Wow, so many years Martin since the early deny years.
I’m proud of your success old friend.
Thanks Flyer, yeah, good old times ;)
“Ghacks Deals and Patreon are two of the major efforts…”
Martin, how are you dealing with the Patreon hack? Hopefully it hasn’t affected you, but…
No it has not affected me. I did change my password there right away but that is about it.
Keep up the good work and congratulations on the first decade!
they say that the first ten years are the most difficult
your site can always be counted upon for interesting news, creative solutions and reliable information
Congratulations on your 10th anniversary. It’s been a pleasure reading your thoughtful and well-researched pieces over the years. Looking forward to more of the same for a long time to come.
I remember a long time ago seeing your site Ghacks and was pretty worried on account of the name itself.
was a site for hackers to learn information to better their trouble making skills? will i get hacked if i visit the site?
Glad i was wrong when another tech site i frequented, had your site on their friend list. I have now had Ghacks.net as my homepage for over 3 years and am loving it. Although i cant white list your site for my PC, as I’m not admin to the router, i have it white listed on my smartphone.
You keep me informed of matters that, well truly matter in the tech world. Keep up the great work, and as another has said in their response, ” here’s to another 10 years!”
Dear Martin, Let me congratulate you. Thanks for all your great articles. I am specially happy when I see you always keep keyboard users in mind:)
Happy 10yh Birthday Ghacks…
Any though of making the blog mobile friendly ?
What do you mean specifically by that?
@ilev: This blog IS mobile friendly :)
Wish you my best and continue success.
Happy Birthday, Ghacks!
I visited here many-many times, I even got a few times mentioned on articles :) when suggested some ideas .
I think Ghacks is a great site, I’m paying attention to both posts and comments and I hope Ghacks will continue to watch the important things for us.
Many thanks, Martin!
Many thanks, fellow readers and contributors!
congratulations, martin! you are doing a great job with ghacks and i really hope it will be around for at least another 10 years! i’m sure i will stick around as a regular reader!
Thanks for the journey and looking forward to the new design. I am a daily visitor to Ghacks.net
Happy birthday Ghacks.net and many happy – and for all healty returns for you and your not only excellent readable written – but also very non commercial articles supplier and also founder Martin Brinkman.
Hopefully we will enjoy each outer for many years to come!
You are an asset to the mankind. My deep and profound respect for you.
All the best wishes
Happy Birthday! ;)
A bit late, sorry…Happy Birthday anyway !
I was an IBM mainframe sysprog guy. Since I retired in 2007 I’ve been unhappily dealing with Windows PC’s & laptops – and they or their software seem constantly broken. Ghacks has helped me a number of times and I read your email every day. Thank you.
Congrats on 10 years Martin, I love your blog.
Happy Birthday Ghacks…i totally love this site, one of the first websites i open up every morning.
A big congrats on the 10-year anniversary, Martin and Daniel!
“Ghacks Deals and Patreon …I’ll never post more than two or three deals per week which means that they make up less than 10% of posts on the site.”
I visit this site everyday and I can honestly say neither of these Deals have caused me a second glance or thought, nor gotten in the way whether I was interested in the specific item or not. I say add more than 10% if the need arises. All it means to loyal users like myself is an extra click/scroll or two and move on to the next article. Do what ya gotta do, man, it is a lean market out there, I know this all too well in my own livelihood.
“The current trend seems to steer away from technical sites like mine as the majority of Internet users seem to be less interested in topics like privacy, security, Windows programs or web browsers.”
I imagine this is sadly true, but given the shallow interests of a segment of the uninformed population, obsessed with click-bait, ‘Reality’ TV, and What’s Trending Now! brain rot, I can tell you that there is a mainstay of internet users who will always either seek out and absorb quality information as you provide, or be a proxy to those uniformed who suddenly find their computers corrupted and need help with solutions we found on GHACKS. Stay strong, brother.
Improvements: The HTTPS switch sounds great. As far as “colors, fonts, line width and such” goes, I can only say I am in love with how it looks as is. Too many sites try to add flair or become a generic clone of what is new/popular. Personally I find most of those sites an eyesore, distracting, and overboard (thank goodness for addons like NoSquint). However, given your integrity thus far, I trust the new visual changes will be just as pleasant, or better.
This site is a unique and welcome beacon for those in-the-know. Once again, congratulations and may your path forward be bright and successful.
Martin – all the best for another 10 years!
Congratulations on a decade of hard work and commitment to deliver worthy technology news! I have only found your site by mere accident a few months ago and I wish I had heard about it much earlier. Thank you kindly for your genuine efforts to keep your readers in the loop.
Congratulations on hitting the 10 year mark! I’ve been following for about 4 or 5 years (I was probably directed here from a post on Slashdot), and GHacks is in my “Must-Read” category of my RSS feeds. I’m glad to be able to support you through occasional purchases via GHacks Deals, and I hope you continue to provide timely, relevant articles.
You’re providing a valuable service, and the Internet is a much better place because of your presence!.
Keep up the awesome work.
Happy birthday, Ghacks!
Live long and prosper! :)
Did you notice an improvement since the white-listing support wave that started a few months ago ?
Back then you were saying that 40% of your visitors were using ad-blocking.
No I have not but I have not run the plugin that computed the stats for months.
Happy birthday Ghacks. You run one of the best sites on the internet and I hope to see it on the internet for decades to come…
Happy anniversary! (albeit a week late). I am really looking forward to HTTPS here on gHacks. I am also looking forward to seeing the new theme, although the current one is pretty good as-is.
gHacks is one of two sites whitelisted in my ad/tracking blockers.
Long live Ghacks!
Happy Birthday Ghacks!
Thank you for everything – thanks to the persistence and durability, thanks to all the information given to us all these years! Without you, the IT world would not be the same. I hope you’ll be with us for many years!
The internet wouldn’t be the same without you, look forward to other decade, Happy Birthday Ghacks!