The saga of Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer’s quest to stay online took another twist on Friday when it returned to the internet. But the stay was short lived after its new web hosting company and registrar – Namecheap – said it wouldn't host the site due to its incitement of violence and hate.
In the wake of the Charlottesville protests, domain name seller GoDaddy last week announced that it would no longer allow the Stormer to use its services after founder Andrew Anglin wrote an article disparaging Heather Heyer, who was killed when an alleged white supremacist drove into a crowd of people at the rally.
Google also turned away the site, and although it did find a home with a Russian web host, the Stormer was booted after the country’s media watchdog objected.
On Friday, the Daily Stormer’s admins managed to register with Namecheap, which led to some of the company's customers threatening to leave. The registrar decided to cut ties with the site, and in a lengthy blog post yesterday, CEO Richard Kirkendall explained his decision.
“I believe that hate speech and incitement of violence provides ample legal support for a proper termination of the domains,” he wrote.
Much like Matthew Prince - the CEO of CloudFlare, which also stopped offering its services to the Stormer last week – Kirkendall said that the free speech implications had left him feeling conflicted over his actions.
It was just the morally right thing to do here as this type of hateful speech and veiled call to violence really has no place on this Earth.. That is my personal belief and I would make the same decision again but it is just that, my personal opinion and a business decision. But is this the right thing for freedom of speech and should a registrar be the one making this decision? I don’t think so. In a perfect world, a registrar should be able to remain neutral in these situations regardless of public opinion but the fact of the matter is that this cannot happen in reality. Any business cannot operate under these circumstances due to the mob mentality and the nature of our current politics.
Tech companies are rushing to distance themselves from the Stormer as it continues to search for a web hosting provider, but content delivery network BitMitigate has offered its services to the site. According to ProPublica, 20-year-old founder Nick Lim said he strongly believes in free speech, adding that infrastructure companies shouldn’t drop clients just because they disagree with their views.