Besides just being a cool domain name, it’s actually quite a useful tool. Wondering how your code responds to an HTTP 418 response? Point it at httpstat.us/418 and find out.
Aaron and I originally built this as a way of learning Ruby, Sinatra, HAML, Sass, Git, Heroku and other funky tool chains. Several years on, left unmaintained, something about our app finally made it incompatible with Heroku’s hosting layer and it all shutdown. Our singular name really rang true here: every request returned a 503. Oops. We already had an ASP.NET-based re-write waiting in the wings, so we pushed that up to Windows Azure Websites and everything came humming back to life.
Want to learn a new tech stack or tool chain? Skip the contrived examples and actually build something simple. It’s amazing how often these turn into cool little tools that stick around for time to come.