Community hosting require domain ownership transfering to Mozilla?


Our community website (, 7k daily pv) had been hosted in local research academy for 10 years, recently the hosting service is going to be end, so we’re looking for an alternative besides paid by our own.

We create a bug ( for community IT hosting services asking for the infrastructure support, but as Ruben replied it required us to transferring the domain ownership to Mozilla to get hosting support.

I’d like to know is that an documentation policy in anywhere, that Community IT only support website Mozilla owned, or is it just an assurance procedure, and/or is there any other way for us to try.

Actually, for keep community’s independent, strength and decentralized, I’,m not sure that transferring the local community’s domain ownership to Mozilla is indeed a good idea, so I would like to know more about the restriction before making decision.



Hi Irvin

You make a valid concern

We can happily provide hosting without a domain owned by Mozilla, but we
will need you to point to our nameservers

Transferring the domain might be a good idea in any case

We can only provide SSL for domains we own

I can assure you that transferring to Mozilla has no risk. We ask most
domains are transferred for simplicity and to ensure its available to
continue being managed by the next generation of community managers f you
guys move on

That said, it’s not a requirement

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Thanks tad,

My concern is on the decentralize and community’s independent part, but technology risk.

We (local community forks) think we should maintaining a sort of isolated operation for that we can “critic/comment” on Mozilla if something does wrong.

The website is a really important communication channel for community to reach the user without any “agree” from Mozilla staff, and for many years we do used this position to defense some ‘bad things’ happened locally (eg, to critic and against “Firefox Taiwan version”, or run campaign target net censorship which local Mozilla branch refuse to).

I’m not meaning that transfering domain to Mozilla will resulting any problem, but I do afraid that Mozilla will have the ability to control over the domain (and website), such as ‘ensure it being managed by “correct” people’.

Only pointing the domain to Mozilla’s nameservers may be good enough, and SSL would also be our considering points.

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Irvin, if you’re afraid that mozilla would do something wrong, you shouldn’t rely on mozilla paying for a site either.

If there’s any step that mozilla can do, the simplest one is just not paying.

We had several occasions in the past where locally owner domains went defunct because the person actually owning stuff was hit by a bus, figuratively.

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We don’t control site owners.

We screen the person making the initial request, and from there it’s up to them

If that person were to lose base with Mozilla, we’d make every attempt to contact them before reassigning ownership of the site. That process would be in co-ordination with Reps and IT and be taken very seriously, community is a big deal

Overall, MoCo don’t own the site, YOU do. MoCo pays the bills and provides systems administration support, but neither MoCo or the Community Ops team will touch your content, unless it is actually inappropriate, or breaks trademark law (in which case, ownership wouldn’t matter, Mozilla would take legal action) and even then, we try to work with you.

You’re in control here, our responsibility ends at the infrastructure. Content is yours, and only yours.

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Is this policy?

It’s not a technical requirement.

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I assume that it’s a policy. It’s what I’ve been told by WebOps a couple of times now

It’s probably just an internal policy to ensure we’re buying for the “right” domains. I can see manager approval completely being able to ignore that rule

Hi Pike, Yes, that’s one of the choices we’re considering of.

We’re now going to discuss between,

  1. Pointing domain to IT’s nameserver and have IFR support or
  2. Rent the server ourselves and raise budget sponsor by local community people

Thanks for the suggestion.

I own the domain to hosting Mozilla Hong Kong community website, which is paid in my own.

I always love to move it to be hosted at Mozilla infrastructure (MoCo?), but I heard the same things from rep-general(?) before, which the ownership of domain should be transferred to Mozilla (MoFo/MoCo).

I trust Mozilla. But Mozilla is not a small organisation/corporation, I think it is a risk that the local community lost the full administration of the domain or the site.

As latest CBT discussion, Mozilla hopes to increase the involvement of regional/local communities or ReMos, which we call “participation”. So, in my opinion, I think that Mozilla should also trust the regional/local communities and ReMos in the case of community domain ownerships and community infrastructure. And I think that all ReMos signed NDA and agreements when they becomes reps, so I think it is already safe case for MoCo/MoFo.

So I support to the followings:

  1. Regional/Local Mozilla Communities owns their domain if they want to.
  2. Mozilla provides infrastructure, such as virtual machines from its infrastructure to communities/reps to organise their online contents for locals.

@irvin Taking our support might be a good option.

We’re working on rolling out a whole load of new hosting platforms. For example, Wordpress As A Service is almost ready to launch, and after that we’ll be focusing on other high security, scalable and high performance hosting solutions

@sammyfung Honestly, if we give you a VM, we immediately have technical control over your content. But as I said, we won’t touch it. You’re responsible for the content, not us. Unless it literally harms mozilla and we are asked by legal etc to change it, or your content is breaking our infra, we will NOT touch your stuff.

The domain itself you shouldn’t be worried about handing over. We own hundreds of domains. WebOps aren’t going to sit there messing with your DNS records just to play with you :smiley: they only really change community domain stuff if one of our volunteer sysadmins asks for a change on your behalf

Something else…
Would you guys be interested in an informal, but written agreement between yourselves and Mozilla stating everything I’ve explained? I can understand your concerns, but maybe I can work with legal and remo to come up with an agreement that we can sign. Would that help raise your trust?

@tad, sure if we do use the hosting service, we’ll like to have such agreement to sign. Actually we do sign an similar agreement on current hosting service from local educational facility. That will definitely gain trust on both side.

If we only do something like pointing nameserver, we’ll have the ability to change it, so it is actually preserving the ability to reverse everything from community side. In case of transfering whole domain, we’ll no longer have chance to rollback the decision, that will be point to considering.

Actually it happens enough that the person who controlled the domain just falls away from the community and they are stuck. There have been a few legal bugs filed to try and get a domain back from a missing community member for example.

I totally understand the concern and it’s valid. However in practice so far we have seen issues with the domain staying in community control when it’s owned by a community member. I don’t believe we’ve yet to see the same problem when Mozilla has ownership.


I think Kensie and tad replies are fair. :slight_smile:

But I saw a similar example in the past that:

They are not happens in ReMo/community activities yet, but who will know the planning in the future ? Will a day in future, MoCo or a regional office of MoCo would like to organise its community by (for an example) marketing of a regional office ?

Organising community by MoCo marketing is not a problem in my opinion, if they are really and well understand how does open source community differ from traditional commercial user group.

Above example happens mainly in Taiwan (zh-tw), not in Hong Kong (zh-hk) (but it affects HK as well, as some machines in HK are in zh-tw locale as well).

So, this is why does community members have concerns on domain ownership. They aren’t interested to hold the domain ownership, but they are afraid that their contributions might goes into a wrong way.

If a memo is written how will MoCo/MoFo and Community work together on it, it would be the best solution I think.


I think if Mozilla tried to exercise control over the domain to censor you that people would not tolerate that. I know I would not and be the first person to criticize Mozilla if it ever made a poor decision like that.

I would not worry so much about this but maybe you can ask @mrz @tad and others to formalize a documented process for returning a domain to communities should Mozilla decide it no longer wants to pay for it, host it etc and outline that domains still belong to their community.

I think this discussion should be moved to a larger group, I wasn’t aware of it. At least Council should be pinged about this.

Having domain names under mozilla umbrella is to avoid the situations @majken commented. Yes, we have seen people or former community volunteers kidnapping community domains, and I’ve never seen Mozilla enforcing community opinion.

@irvin I’m interested in knowing examples of your concerns, when Mozilla has restricted communities independence or opinion? Do we have a problem of trust here?

If you think communities are not independent if mozilla owns the domain I don’t get why owning the hosting is OK.

So, right now approvals for hosting require domain transfer, but I think we should have this discussion to know the reasons communities think Mozilla is another entity that can “restrict” them. We are supposed to be One Mozilla.


This is another problem that why volunteer community would not have totally trust over some other part of Mozilla, but I’ll try reply in short here as the background info for why we’re questioned about ownership transferring of community domain.

I agree we supposed to be One Mozilla, but there are still many entities in this One Mozilla. For example, there is 3 Trad. Chinese “Mozilla official website” in Taiwan, (the oldest one, owned by community for more then 10 years), (/zh-TW) and the youngest one, (build by local Mozilla office).

You can take 2 bugs from Sammy’s reply #13 as an reference, after set up, our local Mozilla office managed to redirect all traffic from (/zh-TW) to, and REMAKE everything from bedrock again into it.

We’re afraid of that, if somebody in Mozilla can managed to redirecting even traffic to their own website because of traffic wanted, they may also simply file a bug to redirect community’s URL, after we transferring domain to IT.

That would become a political problem over technology decision.

And what if we critic that Mozilla entity on a lot? We do make some page (eg.) critic over them, and the ownership of the domain from the other competed website that used to critic you hard, seems like The Rings to me.

That’s why we should like to keep the ownership of the domain. That enable the volunteer community to revert everything if bad things happened.

Then, I understand how you feel, I didn’t know about these issues with about site.

No idea why in 2012 this decision was made, maybe Pascal or @pike have the full background history.

In any case, decisions in redirects are owned by their respective teams, decisions on community domains are owned by the communities. I would be surprised if an employee requests a community domain redirection with no reason other than a disappeared community.

This review process is overseen by the Reps Council to ensure accountability and of course to avoid these kind of conflicts.

About criticism, well I don’t see that a a problem, just take a look at governance public mailing list, probably one of the places with more critics to mozilla, or community discussion forums where anyone can speak up :wink:

What I’d like to ensure is that, do we agree of creating a policy that IT hosting service can be supply without transferring Domain but pointing name server.

Perhaps we will not take advance of this (for not applied for Community IT host at end), but this may help others in the future.

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Well, I disagree with this. As explained before, the history has proven that Mozilla owning the domains is safer for the community than an individual.

I know @kinger and @pierros are working on a document to explain the benefits of this and why this decision was taken at that time and we still think is a valid point.

@irvin I can assure you that the Council won’t allow a community domains to be redirected or modified without the community permission and I’ll be surprised if someone proposes this (never happened before).

Can you reference some documentation on this policy?