Years ago I signed up with Joyent (they were called TextDrive back then) for a lifetime account called “Mixed Grill” or something equally nonsensical. They were basically selling accounts for hundreds of dollars to help them raise money to grow with the deal being that if you upfronted all the cash they would give you lifetime hosting. Lifetime to me meant as long as TextDrive was around as a company.

TextDrive changed their name a few years ago to Joyent and some of the added services that came with my mixed grill were sold off (SharedSpace for example) and others were killed but the hosting part remained and I was content. I use my hosting to hold onto a variety of non-profit websites and my moms blog. That’s it. The quality of service on my hosting has always long been shaky but it’s been good enough. It turns out, however, that lifetime didn’t really mean Joyent’s lifetime or my lifetime. It just meant until Joyent decided to stop supporting it. Today I received this email:

Action Required:

Legacy Service End of Life

Dear William Rawlinson,

We’ve been analyzing customer usage of Joyent’s systems and noticed that you are one of the few customers that are still on our early products and have not migrated to our new platform, the Joyent Cloud.

For many business reasons, including infrastructure performance, service quality and manageability, these early products are nearing their End of Life. We plan to sunset these services on October 31, 2012 and we’d like to walk you through a few options.

We understand this might be an inconvenience for you, but we have a plan and options to make this transition as easy as possible. We’ve been developing more functionality on our new cloud infrastructure, the Joyent Cloud, for our customers who care about performance, resiliency and security. Now’s the time to take advantage of all the new capabilities you don’t have today. Everyone that’s moved to our new cloud infrastructure has been pleased with the results.

We appreciate and value you as one of Joyent’s lifetime Shared Hosting customers. As this service is one of our earliest offerings, and has now run its course, your lifetime service will end on October 31, 2012. However, we believe that you will enjoy the new functionalities of the Joyent Cloud. To show you our appreciation, as one of Joyent’s lifetime Shared Hosting customers, we’d like to offer you a free 512MB SmartMachine on the Joyent Cloud for one year. Use this promotional code to redeem the offer.

Promotional Code: *******

Please review the Terms and Conditions for the Joyent Cloud One Year Free 512 MB Machine Promotion by visiting this link.
To find out more about the Joyent Cloud and your options, please follow this link to our migration center for additional details.


Jason Hoffman

Founder and CTO


I added the emphasis on “Joyent’s lifetime Shared Hosting customers” just to show that I’m not the only party in this deal that called it lifetime. They still call it that. Yet they are killing it. I suppose, since the shared hosting itself is being killed the product’s lifetime is ending but the concept still kind of sucks.

I’m doubtful that I’ll take them up on their one year of free 512MB Joyent Cloud offer. After my free year it will cost my $275/year to maintain it. And, frankly, I can’t justify giving Joyent anymore of my money. The service I’ve received in the past hasn’t been that great (shabby really) and now they are violating the spirit of the deal I signed up for in the first place. I’m really disappointed.

I’m not sure where I’m going to move my websites. I’m also not sure how I’m going to pay for the move. I’ve not put adds on the non-profit pages before since I didn’t have to worry about hosting costs. Now I might end up doing just that.

Boo Joyent.



I received the same email because I had a server that was not lifetime, but the term was for five years and expires in 2013.

They did make it clear in all the fine print that lifetime didn’t really men lifetime, but they have not been friendly about anything.

I never used the server anyway. Everytime I went to try and set it up, they had changed something about it so I had to get support to set it back up again.

I gave up on them a few years ago.


another “lifetime” customer here. (i’m guessing there’s more than just a “few” of us left, contrary to what the email states.) so, basically i paid $57 a year seven years in advance for not-that-great hosting? had i known that seven years ago, i would have never signed up to be a VC.

what also sucks is that i really believed that textdrive would honor the deal

  • and joyent in its’ place, once they bought textdrive. i knew the service wasn’t stellar, but it was ok for my super-low-traffic personal site, and now.. now i just feel like a naive idiot for having believed in them.

Bill Rawlinson

I signed up in August of 2006 ; that’s only 72 months so it works out to about $6.94/mo for me.


I’m also one of the “few” currently dissatisfied customers. I signed up for the Mixed Grill in February 2006.

When you do the math, $500 for 92 months of hosting works out to $5.50 a month. This sounds fairly average hosting cost nowadays, especially given the poor uptime and slow upgrade process I’ve experienced.

Jeremy Cherfas

Add another dissatisfied customer. If this is the way they choose to recognize early investors, well, we all get the picture.

I’m not sure I can afford the annual fee either, and I also don’t really think I have the technical chops to manage a smart machine, whatever that is.

I have a passing acquaintance with Amazon cloud services, and as all I have hosted are WordPress blogs, I may look into that. I don’t mind paying, I do resent broken promises.


Another mixed grill and VC200 user here, also had this email in my inbox today. I would laugh about it if it wasn’t so darn dissapointing.

I sure hope none of the joyent folks ever gets married. The whole “lifetime” part might not go so well with the spouse.


Another Textdrive “Lifetime” customer here that’s just come home to the same Joyent email. Perhaps I always suspected it’d come to this but, like you, there’s no way I can afford 275 bucks pa. I only run three low-traffic vanilla blogs and never even got around to sorting out email! Dunno where I’m gonna go or indeed where to start looking!

Bill Rawlinson

I went back and rechecked - the Mixed Grill was $500

Sure, it’s not a fortune but it sure felt like it when I signed up!


I’m got the same email today. They seem to be messing with the spirit of the agreement. If they want to end shared hosting, they should be offering us a lifetime cloud account with equivalent disk space, processing speed, etc. I think I’m going to talk to a lawyer friend about this. I purchased the three- martini package which I think was about $1K. Mike