Decentralized websites are websites hosted on a decentralized network of servers so that they implement integrated P2P networks, blockchain technology and advanced cryptography when storing and serving web data.
Decentralized web hosting is the process of deploying websites on P2P servers using blockchain technology and advanced cryptography.
What is Decentralized Web Hosting?
Decentralized websites are websites hosted on a decentralized network of servers.
Unlike traditional websites which have a central server, decentralized websites are more censorship-resistant, observe data integrity measures and utilize cryptography, peer-to-peer networking and the blockchain.
In Web 2.0, web hosting servers belong to centralized organizations and government entities. For this reason, these organizations are known to control the content appearing on their host websites.
On the other hand, Web 3.0 distributes website files across different nodes instead of using the standard single central server in Web 2.0. Thereby maximizing security and eliminating censorship by third parties across the decentralized web servers.
Implementing P2P networks, blockchain technology and cryptography ensures that website files are constantly available, regardless of technical disruptions or network cuts.
Decentralized web hosting comes with multiple benefits. These include new business models, tokenized micropayments, censorship resistance, versatile content distribution, cryptographic security and diverse revenue sources.
The traditional web hosting model faced several disadvantages which Web 3.0 developers intend to solve through decentralized web servers. These disadvantages include the potential for downtime, risk of manipulation by third-party services, risk of censorship and security vulnerabilities.
How to host a decentralized website?
Below is the process for creating a website and deploying it on a decentralized hosting company:
Create web files
Utilize Web 3.0 tools and frameworks to create website files. Great tools for this step include Swarm, a go-to storage solution for building and deploying distributed storage on the Ethereum blockchain. The InterPlanteray File System or IPFS is also a suitable peer-to-peer file storage and file sharing tool.
Pick a suitable domain
Register a domain on a suitable blockchain of your choice. If you are using Ethereum, the blockchain’s decentralized naming system is called Ethereum Name Service (ENS).
Network file storage will utilize Swarm or IPFS network files. Do this by dividing the storage files into smaller ones and distributing each part across the network. This will ensure the files are spread across the platform to maximize resilience and security.
Point domain name
The next step is to point your domain name to the decentralized website files that you created in Step 3. This is done by creating a Domain Name System (DNS) record and linking it to the domain name you registered in step 2.
Backtest your website
After pointing your domain name to the website files, backtest whether your website is working smoothly. Test the website on a quality web browser, Chrome, Opera or Brave.
How does a decentralized website function?
Decentralized websites work differently compared to centralized websites. For example, website creation in decentralized hosting involves storing and distributing website files across a peer-to-peer network.
Unlike centralized websites where the files are stored on a central server. Without a central point of storage for the files, incidents of single points of failure or DDoS attacks are highly mitigated.
Each domain name record lives on the blockchain. That means no one can change the domain name, steal it from the owner or even sell it since it is cryptographically secure.
Retrieving files is super fast. Having website files on multiple different nodes makes it convenient to process quick file retrieval in under 3-5 seconds.
Decentralized websites interact with blockchain smart contracts. A smart contract is a self-executing computer program that lives inside the blockchain.
Coding these contracts into decentralized websites can help with granting voting rights, executing payments or paying for data storage.
Content delivery across Web 3.0 and decentralized websites eliminates the need for middle parties or centralized servers. The website deploys content directly to the user’s browser and eliminates any risks of data breach or interception.
Illustration of the Architecture of the Ethereum Naming Service (ENS) Works:
Advantages of decentralized web hosting
Hosting a website on the blockchain comes with multiple advantages. These include high security, lower costs, control over content, privacy and monetization as well ability to port to DEFI features such as incentivising creators, readers or even when interacting with dApp data aggregators.
Website files are distributed across the nodes, which also makes the websites resistant to hacks and central points of failure.
Besides, traditional centralized websites require costly maintenance, and upgrades and may cost more when paying for hosting.
This makes them unsuitable for students, small businesses and tinkerers who would want to test out their web ideas.
For this reason, most entrepreneurs have turned to decentralized Web hosting platforms to build and deploy their websites.
The fact that website owners have control over their privacy and data is also another advantage. This means the website owner decides how to share and use the data without network interruptions.
As a result, decentralized web hosts help mitigate data mining incidents by large internet companies.
Limitations of decentralized web hosting
Decentralized web hosting poses several challenges. Consider the following drawbacks before switching from your centralized web server to a Web 3.0 hosting company.
Advanced technical knowledge is crucial in deploying decentralized websites. This means the website might consume more time, effort and technical know-how to get everything running.
While it costs less to regularly update decentralized websites, the process of maintaining these websites and constantly updating them might be tedious.
Furthermore, decentralized web hosting implements a network of distributed nodes with different perfomance configurations and capacities. This means loading times might be inconsistent and scalability could be limited.
Industry experts have not yet reached industry consensus on best practices due to the nascent nature of this technology.
For this reason, it becomes a challenge for website owners on a decentralized hosting platform to carefully configure the right parameters for each website.
Remember this could affect Search Engine Optimization and limit the amount of traffic to a particular website.
Regulators and compliance officers are yet to catch up with decentralized web hosting, especially when it comes to data transparency. The regulatory climate around crypto, blockchain technology and the decentralized domain is not yet clear, which has multiple times raised concerns around security, privacy issues and data liability.
What is the future of decentralized web hosting?
Decentralized website hosting aims at fostering an open, inclusive and democratic internet where users are given back control over their personal data, content and monetization.
This eliminates issues around data censorship and enables internet entrepreneurs to explore new business models around decentralized finance.
Blockchain technology has also attracted alot of people, this has facilitated reliable peer-to-peer networks with large numbers of users and also helped create a demand for cryptographical privacy and security features.
The emergence of decentralized social applications is another hot trend picking momentum around the decentralized web hosting niche.
In the future, we anticipate a broader range of applications for decentralized oracles and blockchain hosting technology.
For developers to support decentralized website hosting, they have embarked on a journey to create the perfect infrastructure for deploying a decentralized website.
These include decentralized databases, content delivery peer-to-peer networks and versatile unique domain naming systems.
Social media platforms have multiple times come under community backlash for mishandling user data and often misinformation and disinformation.
Decentralized web hosting will solve this by enabling effective data verification, democratizing the internet and giving users more control.
With that, we hope you understand the evolving landscape of decentralized web hosting and that Web 3.0 builders are solving concerns around data privacy, and concerns around control and hosting costs for building websites using decentralized web hosting platforms.