Why does this site exist? Background-story, FAQs and release notes.


util.host is my kitchen sink for stuff i want to try out. Or for things i want to have, but is not available on the web for free, or in a way i don't like. So it's becoming a Sammelsurium on tools that uses assorted free APIs, libraries and Github projects. Everything i use is usually listed in the footer of the page or in the release notes.

One goal is to build everything without cookies and without external dependencies that could be tracked down to a single user. I sometimes make exceptions if there is no other possibility. For example the map-tiles on /map are coming direct from the api-vendor.

All the tools are ad-free and should stay free. There is also no user-facing tracking and no logging of data on user-basis.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Q: There are a lot of sites that have the same stuff? Why is util.host different?
    A: Often this sites have a lot of ads, popups, modals, cookie-banners on it. It needs some time to click away everything until you get what you were usually looking for. And if you come back you have to do it again. In the worst case you get to a page with a paywall and not even get the information you need.

  • Q: I start every search on Google and often they have already the answer for me. Why do I need util.host?
    A: I always liked the idea of Google, to make all the information of the world accessible. But in the last years this motto got some scratches. We all remember the industries that got already destroyed by Google. And we all saw the bad things they have already done with their power. I believe now, it is not the best idea to lay the data of the worlds in the hands of a single private company. I am still using a lot of service of the big tech companies, but always looking for (good enough) alternatives.


Michael Feichtinger, Linz
Twitter: @HostUtil

Release notes

2021-07-11 - Programming Examples for /week

Like in /timestamp I added some examples to get the actual calendar week in different programming languages.

2021-06-26 - Dedictated /base64 util

The /base64 util is now seperated from /str and can decode base64-data-strings into images. But it can now also handle file uploads and encode the data into data-strings. Encoding/Decoding is done with php base64_encode / base64_decode functions. The data is not stored or logged in any way.

2021-06-23 - New old video cards are back

I went back to a more useable version of the video cards and remove the version with the info-icon. Currently you could only see title and some meta infos. I maybe will do a detail-page for movies, docus, series in the future.

2021-06-19 - Better JSON Linting in /json

The JSON beautifier util is now using a library for parsing and linting JSON.

2021-06-18 - New Blog Post About PHP MarkDown Library

Blog post about php markdown library with front matter support.

2021-06-15 - New Blog Post About YouTube API

Blog post about the YouTube API and getting all channel videos with it.

2021-06-13 - New Content for /docus, /series and /movies

I have added some new movie and series lists and docu publishers from YouTube. STRG_F, SWR and ZAPP are german channels with great reports and documentaries about anything and everything.

2021-06-12 - German /docus

/docus can be filtered on language now. I will add some german docu-channels in the next days.

2021-06-11 - /series and /movies splitted

It was always strange that series were under the movies util. Now both have their own url and could be used and developed independent. In the last days i tried out some ideas for "security"-utils, but nothing is so evolved that it could be published by now.

2021-05-26 - New /md2pdf Util

The /md2pdf util creates you a PDF file if you have to print out your markdown. It uses the libraries mPDF and CommonMark to convert the markdown into HTML and then to PDF.

2021-05-24 - /fetch Rework

The website fetcher is using now a php/node-bridge and don't call node.js on commandline anymore. The libraries used for that is rialto and PuPHPeteer. More about that you could find in this blog post.

2021-05-23 - /links and /blog

My personal link collection and some blog articles. Everything stored in markdown files and converted to HTML with CommonMark.

2021-05-22 - New /forex Util

Forex shows you current exchange rates for major currencies in us dollar. Data comes from Twelve API. Currently it shows exchange rates for Euro, Swiss Franc, Chinese Yuan, British Pound and Japanese Yen.

2021-05-15 - New /json Util

JSON Beautifier (and Minifier) is new a independent tool that i extracted from /str. It got it's own url and can now format and minify JSON strings. Syntax highlighting is done by the great Prism Javascript library.

2021-05-14 - New /commodities Util

Another finance tool shows important commodity prices in US dollar. Check the current spot prices of Gold, Silver, Oil and other important commodities and view historical charts by week, day and hour closing prices. Data again comes from the Twelve API.

2021-05-14 - Startpage and /fetch

All the utils on the start page are now categorized and grouped by this categories for more clarity. The screenshot-util is got a new name and route: /fetch. That's shorter and describes better what it does, because it's not only a screenshot tool anymore.

2021-05-14 - New /finsym Util

With the /finsym tool you could look up financial symbols of the Twelve API. Currently stocks, etfs and indices by name or symbol.

2021-05-13 - New /date-calc Util

/date-calc is another tool in the date/time category. Use it to calculate the days, weeks, hours, ... between two dates or relative from an origin day.

2021-05-09 - New /links Util

My curated links, categorized, tagged and with a short description.

2021-05-08 - Stocks and Infos

Stocks have now a short description and i added some more /stocks from the NASDAQ-100 index to my list.

2021-05-07 - Full Page Screenshots

This new tool generates full page screenshots with the help of the node.js library puppeteer and headless chromium browser. It opens the page and scrolls down to the footer and screenshots everything. It has some delay built in to ensure the loading of images. Currently it is limited to one screenshot in parallel because it's a tiny server.

2021-05-02 - New /noise Generator

The new tool noise generator creates relaxing sounds. Noise masks helps to drown real world sounds and help to focus or to relax. This noise generator using the tone.js library to create white, pink and brown noise. You can read more about audio noise at Wikipedia.

2021-05-01 - /map Layout

New layout for /map that works better for mobile breakpoints.

2021-04-30 - /memento mori Released

The simple visualization of the passed time in your life should give you some motivation to start something new and important today.

2021-04-30 - /timestamp Examples

Added some important and famous timestamp examples, like the moon landing or the last 32-bit timestamp before Y2k38 to the landingpages.

2021-04-29 - New Twitter Account

util.host has now it's own twitter account @HostUtil.

2021-04-29 - /emoji Search

You can now search emojis by related keywords from the original unicode.org chart.

2021-04-25 - /docus Util

A new tool shows the best free full-length documentaries from YouTube. I fetch the data from a curated list of original high-quality sources like the New York Times, VICE and BBC News. The list can be sorted by date, view- and like-count and video duration. And it could be filtered by source and keywords. The latest YouTube v3 API is used for that.

It is not a very cute API. I don't use the /search endpoint for fetching stuff, it is too heavy in quota credits (100 per call). Instead i found a very important info on the mighty internet that every account has a (pseudo)-playlist called "uploads" and this playlist holds all videos and can be called with the 1-quota-endpoint /playlistItems. Another thing i found out is, that this pseudo-playlist has the same id as the channel with one little difference it starts not with UC, it starts with UU, i guess "U" for "Uploads" and "C" for "Channel". So it's very easy to get the id of this playlist just by changing the second char of the channel-id.

2021-04-24 - Fixes and Infrastructure

New page-titles and -description for some tools... I want to look good in search engines. Purifycss is now done automatically on deploy. And some other minor fixes on several tools.

2021-04-22 - /str Features

The /str got some descriptions of the tools you can use: MD5, Base64 and JSON for example. I also added a new JSON prettify option that using the PHP json_encode function with JSON_PRETTY_PRINT flag.

2021-04-21 - /movies Extension

/movies got a nice extension. The new main menu point "lists" shows currated lists of great movies or series on netflix and amazon prime. I can now create and include any list on TMDb and show it in the /movie page. More lists will come in the future. The lists are built by hand and formed by just my opinion, not objective data is used to create or sort this lists.

2021-04-18 - /str Base64 images

The /str tool can now show Base64 images.

2021-04-18 - /mantra Rework

The design changed slightly to fit better for longer quotes. I have also created a complete new mantra/quote list. It contains now nearly 80 quotes, only from sources that are considered to be public domain by now. That means, the creator is already dead for more than 70 years or the quote is older than 70 years. The most quotes comes from TheGoldenQuotes.net. They have even more quotes and also embedable public domain motivation pictures. The second main-source is wikiquote that contains quotes considered as "fair use" if they are for educational purpose (non-comercial) and other considerations. So following this guidelines the quotes presented here should be either "public domain" or "fair use".

2021-04-17 - Infrastructure Stuff

Doing some lighthouse testing. Adding cache headers, minifest.file, custom bootstrap css via PurifyCss and minor changes to fix various lighthouse errors and warnings. Nearly all tools should have now a quality score above 90.

2021-04-16 - New Util /dns

Check dns records online for any domain. Using the linux dig command i show the most important types of dns records. The types: NS, A, AAAA, CNAME, MX, TXT, PTR, SOA, SRV, CAA, SSHFP, URI, LOC are supported. Also added a reverse lookup (PTR record) ot the /ip tool.

2021-04-12 - A new Base-ApiClient

All APIs (movies, etf, stocks, crypto, weather) getting fetched via the new api client now. It has a built in caching and concurrent http request support via Guzzle and a simple interface.

2021-04-11 - Bugfixes

  • Added readme route and all finance stuff to sitemap.xml
  • Fixed some bugs in sitemap.xml
  • Better titles, texts and meta descriptions for the finance and map routes
  • Another CSP problem in map fixed

2021-04-10 - ETF, Stocks, Crypto

Complete rework of the finance tools. Switched to a new paid API from twelve for fetching quotes and timeseries data for all financial routes (etf, stocks, crypto). Added new year/month/day resolutions and timeframes to the chart. I integrated news feeds into /crypto and /stocks.

2021-04-06 - CSP added

I added a content security policy and removed external resources as much as possible. Some things have to stay, for example map-tiles, movie-posters or weather-icons from the different api providers. The charts.css library is a local copy now and not delivered via CDN anymore. There is also a custom 404 error page now.

2021-04-05 - News /readme Route

The new readme-controller gives access to the README.md file. In this file i publish release notes, future ideas and the background story of https://util.host. For the markdown parsing, the Parsedown library is used.

2021-04-05 - The /news Rework

The news route got a bigger rework. I switched to guzzle for fetching feeds, so i could do concurrent requests. Every news channel is now much faster. Sources in one channel could now be filtered and i added new sources for the comic channel. So now you have Dilbert, xkcd, explosm and more of the best web comics in one feed. The new crypto channel aggregates the best news about bitcoin and altcoins.

2021-04-04 - Minor Improvements

  • I did some cleanup in the code.
  • Every header has now a link to the homepage.
  • Started with a dashboard called /one or /1 but needs more time to publish it.
  • Added new texts to /movies that explains the criteria of filtering and sorting.

2021-04-04 - New Caching for /etf Route

The etf-route works currently with the free comic api. This api has an limit of 5 requests per minute and if you are a fast clicker you could hit this limit. I changed the caching so that the old results are shown even if the api returns an error. I also added some infos about the ETFs that are shown like the ISIN, WKN, biggest holdings and volume.

2021-04-03 - The new /emojis Search

Simple search for emojis by name and group. I looked for the data quite some time until i got a json file with the most important emojis in a usable form from unicode-emoji-json. I have here the links (1, 2) to the original data on unicode.org, but i didn't managed to use it. I really don't understand why they do this range-thing with .. (dotdot) and omit emojis in the list?