Bye-bye Exceptional, Hello Airbrake

I’m excited to share some big changes, news and plans for our products. One year ago, we were acquired by Rackspace. Since then, we’ve continued to manage two error tracking products. In the last year our team has dedicated most time invested in scaling and growing the product. This email marks the beginning of the decommission of the Exceptional error tracking product and migration to

What does this mean for you?

You can start using Airbrake immediately; simply login to with your Exceptional Credentials.

  1. We have imported your projects and their users
  2. We are automatically forwarding errors you send to Exceptional, to Airbrake. This means you do not need to update your applications. We will continue to do this until November 1st. However, we recommend migrating your notifiers to Airbrake to take advantage of all of Airbrake’s features. You can see a list of client libraries at the bottom of this email
  3. We haven’t migrated credit card details; your Exceptional subscription will remain until November 1st, or you can cancel it at any time
  4. You can log into both and until November 1st and both apps will have the same data
  5. To receive notifications from Airbrake, you will need to unmute them. You can do this by clicking on this link:

What will happen to Exceptional?

Exceptional will continue to exist as a parent brand for our collection of tools to help you build better applications. You can get a taste for what we are doing at our updated homepage at .

What will happen to Errors sent to Exceptional API?

If you have Exceptional configured correctly, you’ll be receiving errors in both Exceptional and Airbrake until November 1st 2014. During this time we recommend you update your applications to use the Airbrake notifier instead. You can see a list of client libraries below.

Changing from Exceptional to Airbrake Notifier Libaries.

We have many official and unofficial client libraries which will make this an easy transition for you:


We will cancel all Exceptional billing plans on your behalf on November 1st 2014, after this you’ll need to setup a billing account with

More FAQ
If we still didn’t answer your questions, please check the FAQ on our blog, call us on (888) 317-4520 or e-mail

Heroku user?
If you used to use the Exceptional addon via Heroku you’ll be no longer able to access the dashboard via the CLI or Heroku. Instead you’ll be able to login to Airbrake which will have a copy of your Exceptional errors. You will first need to reset your password using your Heroku account email. You can do this here.


Regards and Thanks, Ben Arent and all of the Exceptional team.

Thank you for being our customer; we hope to deliver an Exceptional service into the future.

August 26th, 2014  |  Published in News

Pusher & Exceptional Drinkup

Bar Music Hall

Great news: I’m back in the UK and we’re throwing a drinkup for all our developer friends on Wednesday, the 17th of July.

Come and join us at the Bar Music Hall in Shoreditch for a high five and a few drinks.

Meet new people and chat about your latest project, testing, dev ops or even the amazing weather we’re all loving. Great atmosphere and inspiring crowd guaranteed. With a good representation from, Exceptional, Airbrake and RedisToGo.

Register here.

July 15th, 2013  |  Published in event

Exceptional to join the Rackspace Family


Exceptional could not be more excited to announce that we are joining Rackspace! Our team has tripled in size in the past year to keep up with demand for Exceptional’s products. But with over 30,000 active customers we were surfing Nazaré in a barrel. Rackspace lives, breathes, eats and sleeps doesn’t sleep when it comes to delivering Fanatical Support–and leveraging our combined strengths is a win for us, Rackspace and you, our customers.

We’ve had the challenge–and also the good fortune–to be living in the crosshairs of many technology shifts:

Our team has tackled big data and open cloud for the past few years. As we scaled, we’ve tried every programming language, database and host under the sun, but there has always been one host that has truly stood out: Rackspace, with its Fanatical Support and robust open cloud. Exceptional is delighted to announce its range of products has been acquired by Rackspace. Our products and our team are ecstatic be joining the Rackspace family. It gives us the chance to put rocket fuel behind our suite of developer tools.

Exceptional has constantly focused on building tools for modern developers, with two error tracking products , uptime monitoring  and the operation of a database as a service product,  RedisToGo .

We <3 our customers

Exceptional is fortunate to build tools for the best startups around the world.  We’re constantly amazed how web-workers of all programming languages have embraced our tools and use them for everything from launching small side projects to some of the hottest startups in the world.  We’ll continue to operate as normal as we make our transition into Rackspace.

Product Rocket Fuel

By joining Rackspace, we have the ability to execute on creating a suite of developer tools that cross the DevOps chasm. Our tools move up the app hierarchy starting at the servers and ending at end user crash data. We’ve an exciting roadmap ahead, we can’t wait to get the tools into your hands. By joining Rackspace, We’re joining world class server and network experts at Rackspace, which give us an immediate boost and will help us increase performance.

Our team is delighted to join the ranks of  Rackspace’s world class support. We’re inspired by its service, and we’ll continue to improve on documentation, support and community development.

Passionate Team

The Exceptional team will be headquartered in the Rackspace San Francisco office.  If you’re into big data, open cloud and dev tools. We’re hiring.

What’s next?

This is an exciting time for developer tools. We continue to execute on our roadmap, launching much-desired UI updates, search, graphs and an application overhaul.

As we join Rackspace we look forward to the future. As our customers and tools have evolved to suit the needs of the modern developer, we can’t wait to show you what we in store for 2013.

All of this couldn’t be done without you, our customers. Thank you for your business, gem contributions and feedback.

Got more questions? Check out our FAQ.

March 28th, 2013  |  Published in News  |  4 Comments

505 to 007. An Exceptional Holiday Bash

“Strip the headers, trace the source.”

Exceptional & Airbrake invite you to an end of year bash like no other. We’ve commandeered the lower levels of our San Francisco office. Throwing a one of a kind Monte Carlo style holiday bash.

We’ll have a few demos of upcoming Airbrake and Exceptional product releases.
E-mail for more info.

December 3rd, 2012  |  Published in event

We Acquire To Give Monitoring Shot In The Arm.

Today we’ve proud to announce or acquisition of  We’re excited to add uptime monitoring to our range of products. 

Exceptional, the leading error-tracking service for the world’s cloud developers today announced they had acquired the Ranger monitoring service to extend their DevOps platform.

Launched in 2010, Ranger is used by many Heroku customers to monitor their more complex cloud-based applications. By combining Exceptional, Airbrake and Ranger, customers get access to a mission-critical DevOps platform which tells them both WHEN and WHY their app is down.

Shay Frendt, Ranger founder, says in a statement: “Adding Ranger to their family makes a huge amount of sense, monitoring and error-tracking go hand-in-hand so it makes the overall toolset even more useful for developers”.

We’ll be having an official launch party tomorrow, since we are in Las Vegas for AWS Re:Invent. We’ll be throwing a launch lunch at a shooting range; We’ve still a few places left. Sign up here. 

For more information, early access and press information please contact



November 30th, 2012  |  Published in News

Exceptional Invites you to AWS:ReInvent Closing Party.

The Exceptional team is excited to announce the ‘unofficial’ AWS:ReInvent closing party. After three days of talking AWS, Cloud, DevOps and all that business; come party with some retro games in a barcade!

Hosted at InsertCoins, a unique bar-come-arcade, with over 50 vintage arcade machines . This will be the shindig of AWS:ReInvent 2012. Expect retro arcade machines, Halo death matches and ‘error’ inspired cocktails.

Ever had a 767?

This will be unlike any other night out in Vegas.

  • When: Thursday 29th from 7pm – late (It is Vegas after all)
  • Where: Insert Coins, Las Vegas (Old Town). We will be proving a shuttle from the Venetian.
  • Who: Exceptional is the World leader in Error tracking, we run both and
  • How: RSVP below.
  • Bring: Quarters
  • Drinks: Free, while stocks last.


We would like to invite all AWS:ReInvent attendees, customers and local devs.  RSVPing helps us plan transport and space.

RSVP  with this simple form. 


November 11th, 2012  |  Published in event

STACK. The “United Nations” of Cloud.

Come join @exceptional at STACK, drink some beer at city hall and talk cloud.

Stack is the “United Nations” of Cloud. Meet tech geeks from all over the world and talk about what’s going on with the Cloud.

Stack is an event series that provides real insight into the most emerging areas of cloud computing. Learn best practices for IAAS, PAAS and SAAS. Connect with top investors and cloud experts who have done it and been there. Learn how they did it. Discover the fundamental concepts that are key to building a world-class server stack.

The cloud has grown and evolved, but it’s still a wide-open playing field. So come stop by Stack, network with other entrepreneurs, and join the conversation.

Join us at Stack on Tuesday, October 9, 2012, for an open and fun gathering. Program starts at 5:30 p.m. and runs till 8:30 p.m.

Get a ticket for STACK.

Tickets are $30 and are avaible on EventBrite,

Continue the discussion with Exceptional.

STACK discussion will continue across the road at Soluna. The first round will be provided courtesy of Airbrake + Exceptional.

This is prefect time to meet the Exceptional team and find out about upcoming product updates.

Posted by @benarent

October 2nd, 2012  |  Published in event

Airbrake & Exceptional Customers Infographic

Today we made the front page of GigOm. We’ve seen great growth in a last few months and completed major backend work on both products. We’ve been building a stable platform that will let us rebuild our notifications,  provide awesome search and a super blazing fast UI.

Today I’m happy to share these stats from the current state of the Airbrake and Exceptional user base. Thank you for your continued business.


Airbrake and Exceptional Users infographic

September 21st, 2012  |  Published in Site News

Exceptional Continuous Integration with CircleCi.

Today we are happy to announce our official partnership with CircleCi, a fast and easy continuous integration service. This is the first post covering the partnership with much more information to come.


Working at Exceptional and tracking exceptions, we know that each exception is a perfect case to test for. Creating tests for certain exceptions makes sure that these exceptions don’t happen again.

An idea we played around with late last year was the idea of automatically stubbing out tests from Exceptional. This alpha feature (which isn’t public) gave us a wider vision as to what Exceptional could be.

A German contractor quickly made a version of this,’Test Machen’ (Make Test);  a simple button that stubbed out a RSpec or Cucumber test. It was a bit useless in its first iteration, but was the first step to an integrated solution. We started to explore CI solutions and partners, and this is when we met CircleCi.


In January of 2012, we built a CI prototype and quickly realised the increasing complexity of running a CI service. Running a Jenkins box yourself can suck; running thousands of other people tests gets really hard. Then, serendipitously we met Paul, a gentleman with a passion for Continuous Integration. Quickly we aligned our interests and have been working together to officially partner and create a killer partner CI service.

Integration Plans

We have an exciting roadmap for our CircleCi Integration. In the coming months, we’ll start to provide gitblame for exceptions for anyone with a CircleCi account. In the future, we’ll start to look at automatically creating tests and creating tools that let developers deploy at the speed required by today’s businesses.

Already used by over 50 Exceptional users.

We had a soft launch for CircleCi, with a few long-term customers testing the service. Among them is Jon Crawford of; this is what he has to say.

“It’s super fun and helpful to see test results hit our Hipchat room a few minutes after a push. The first time it happened, my team cheered. And the fact that we don’t have to admin the server ourselves is a big timesaver.”

Jon Crawford
CEO of


We’ll first be rolling out CircleCI integration to Exceptional users as a one click install from the dashboard, and we’ll be offering the same support to Airbrake in the coming month.


Sign Up

Exceptional customers, sign up with this link.
It’s just a one-click Github setup.

CircleCi offers a 14 day free trial and a one click install for GitHub Repros.

Please leave any comments or thoughts on the service.

August 2nd, 2012  |  Published in News

How Exceptional and Airbrake First Met

Hear ye, hear ye! Sometimes rivers run backwards. Sometimes the sun disappears. Today two long-time competitors have become friends.

Airbrake+Exceptional joins forces.

That’s right. We could not be more excited to announce that the team behind Exceptional has acquired Airbrake. And–we’d like to give you the backstory.


The Beginning

Rewind the clock to 2008. You know the drill–we launched a website–and worried about finding user-facing issues before our users did. At the beginning of 2008, in the Ruby on Rails community, your only option was to install a plugin called ExceptionNotifier. This sent you an email on every website exception. If this wasn’t stuck in your junkmail folder–any site that saw traction also saw a stream of emails–many nearly duplicated–inbound with exceptions.

Exception Notifier 2006

Luckily three services were launched to solve this problem. You know two of them–Airbrake ( Hoptoad) and Exceptional. But you likely didn’t know about their ugly third cousin

All three services were offspring of Ruby on Rails service-companies. Airbrake came from thoughtbot. Exceptional came from Contrast. And RightErrors came from ELC Technologies.

contrast and thoughtbot team photo

OK. RightErrors didn’t officially launch. Mainly because while at ELC, Jonathan founded a bunch of new business concepts, and only a small fraction of them succeeded. In 2008 the new ELC businesses succeeding were RightScale and RightSignature–and they stole the thunder from any further development on RightErrors (or Farlanders, RightMirror, RightBoard and a few others :- ). Even though it didn’t launch, the seed was planted–not just for an error reporting service but for much more… hold that thought for now.

Growing Airbrake and Exceptional

The teams at Contrast and thoughtbot were finding that their side-business-error-handling-companies were getting great organic uptake.

“Scaling issues are often described as ‘great problems to have’—but Exceptional truly exploded and we often found ourselves staying up late to calm our newborn,”  jokes Eoghan, founder of Contrast.

And at thoughtbot,

“There were times we’d be getting slammed with 150,000 requests per minute, or with 500MB of session data, because some website was going crazy. Running Airbrake was like being under a constant DoS attack!”, exclaimed founder, Chad Pytel.

Getting hundreds of dollars a month on your service might feel like free money for the first few months–after 3 years, high-traffic scaling, supporting tens of thousands of customer support requests–the money stopped feeling “free.” And the whole endeavor became more of a distraction than a source of passion and inspiration. For Contrast, this was paramount…

Passion and 2011: By Jonathan.

In 2007, I moved to Ireland. I’ve 6 kids and an Irish wife–and there’s a romantic notion of living with the family in a quaint European city–like Dublin, Ireland. ELC had a solid team in Santa Barbara and I worked remotely + frequent visits. Anyone living in Ireland will tell you–it’s really a small Country. I managed to avoid the tech scene for the first two years in the Country. Then at the end of 2009 I got a phonecall from a random Irishman looking for space in Dublin for a Rails meetup. The caller was Paul Campbell. Many of you know Paul. He’s half of the creative force behind funconf as well as an early Contrast teammate and consultant to the stars of the Ruby on Rails community. We became instant friends.

Yes–this is all relevant–or equally irrelevant–but important for the telling of the story. But I can speed things up: 2010 was a year of change–I exited RightScale and started advising CloudKick; I sold ELC and started commuting one-day-a-week to Accel London. And in 2011 I moved to San Francisco with a small motley crew of teammates (an Irishman and Brit–who had been dating my au pair!) to mature my newest startup. As it happens–this one simmered rather than soared and by the end of the year fates collided.

Paul Campbell sent me a short note to meet up with Contrast’s founder Eoghan McCabe who was visiting San Francisco. Eoghan and I had great discussion about Exceptional and the future of development practices. And he shared that there was an opportunity for a new team for Exceptional.

“Jonathan introduced us to great suitors for the business. But their vision for the product remained at odds with our dreams for Exceptional. And planning to put the product completely in the hands of the new team, it was important to us that we were on the same page so that our customers would be properly taken care of.”

And so a deal was done–our team took up the Exceptional reigns–and freed from distraction, Eoghan’s team put-together the dream-launch of their new venture.


During 2011 the thoughtbot team also had a call to focus. They had launched CopyCopter, Trajectory and had a new project brewing–all while running their thriving consultancy, leading best practices and maintaining Airbrake. And Airbrake was growing like crazy–attracting attention and needing attention.

copycopter trajectory

And late in 2011 the new Exceptional team met with thoughtbot to talk about future direction and potential cooperation. What happened next is exceptional. We started talking about the big picture behind our businesses. That the way we develop software has changed. That our tools are worse today than they were 10 years ago. And we were all passionate about seeing our products catalyze better development practices–and better lives–for developers.

For instance–how many of you are test-driven or BDD teams? How many use continuous integration? And how much do you monitor your code coverage–or keep builds from production from your build status? And if you’re doing such a good job covering your code and building your builds–why are you still using one of our services IN PRODUCTION?

Well–to us the answer is obvious. Yes, we want to be test-driven. Yes, we want to have our CI server always operational and blocking deploys. But in reality, only a fraction of teams have the diligence to implement these practices–and even those that do know that you will still find new exception-causing use cases once you let the mayhem of real life usage onto your product. And that is why you’re using us in production.

But that means that you are getting tremendous value from the exceptions you get from us. You can think of it as XDD (user eXperience Driven Development)–we give you a real-life cross-section of the areas of your codebase that need love and attention. Not mock-pain felt by mock tests–but real pain felt by real users. And by making these user experiences visible, you have a tangible agile metric–user experience pain–that you can track to help maintain the velocity that moves your features forward with the right level of end-user experience for your product.

And we don’t just need to be a metric for your iteration planning meetings. When we do collect an exception, we get all the environment details of what was happening when the exception occurred–and we can use this information to help you identify where in your code to focus AND to give you a starting point for the right kind of test to add to your test suite. This and much more vision came from our conversation with the thoughtbot team: graphing exception volume over time; complex filtering of exceptions (only see crawlers / only see logged in users); community-wide insight on exception resolution (gem combo causing common exceptions); better error page experience for users; and more.

By the end of the visit we had agreed to find a path for Airbrake and Exceptional to work together–and today we’re announcing that Exceptional has acquired Airbrake to focus efforts and bring the best next-generation development practices to our combined 75,000 development teams!


What’s Next

Firstly we want to thank Eoghan, Des and Ciaran and Chad, Dan, Matt, Joe, and Jon and all of the other contributors who brought to life Airbrake and Exceptional. You have been phenomenal to work with–we wholeheartedly support you and your new ventures. Yes, you do want to signup for right now to start hearing what it takes to find Premium users in your Freemium userbase. And–unless you miraculously have a glut of great developers and designers–you want to join to have access to highly-trained up-and-coming talent. We are customers of both services.

And we want to thank Airbrake and Exceptional’s community. You are the heart and soul of the internet. Literally–you are Groupon and Square and Posterous and Patch and HubSpot and GrubWithUs and Pinterest and EngineYard and Uber and Monster and Friendster and Foursquare and Kickstarter and 74,990 others.

We have fantastic plans for 2012, but our first priority is to match the service and support you’ve come to expect. There are high-traffic, big data challenges and a tremendous variety of environments to support. This quarter we are committed to giving you exceptional support and building a strong foundation. Then each quarter this year we will be releasing major product updates that make our lives as developers better.

Upcoming Updates:

Along the way, we will be running outreach to our community. You’ll see us saying hi when you log in (thank you Intercom!) and you’ll see us in real life sponsoring local events. Here’s a brief calendar of where we’ll be and when:

  • Berlin, Germany – Today / Now! 
  • Dublin, Ireland – February
  • London, England – February (This Thursday)
  • Los Angeles – March
  • Krakow, Poland – April
  • Moscow, Russia – May
  • Beijing, China – June
  • Tokyo, Japan – July
  • Chicago – August
  • New York – Late 2012
  • San Francisco – Always

And more coming…

We hope to have the opportunity to meet and everyone of our users: to hear your feedback, to learn about your practices and creative passions–and share a pint.

@Ben , Stu , Colleen, @Jonathan, Helen, Fredrik and Teri

February 7th, 2012  |  Published in News  |  1 Comment