Web3 hosting guide. Source: moralis.io
The Internet is on the cusp of transitioning from centralized Web2 to the decentralized vision of Web3. This shift requires rethinking foundational internet infrastructure, including how websites are hosted and served to users.
If you want to build an online presence or application on this emergent decentralized Internet, this guide will help you understand the fundamentals of Web3 hosting. We first explain what Web3 hosting is and then delve into the basic steps of how to host a decentralized website, unpacking the core concepts.
What is Web3?
Web3 explained in under 5 minutes. Source: Simplilearn YouTube channel.
Web3 is a new iteration of the World Wide Web that uses blockchain technology and concepts like decentralization to create a decentralized Internet. The current iteration of the World Wide Web, frequently referred to as Web2, is distinguished by centralized control, restricted user ownership, and concerns around privacy. The aim is to reduce reliance on centralized platforms run by a single central entity.
For example, large tech corporations have come to dominate the digital landscape in Web 2, working as intermediaries to control the flow of information, dictate user experiences, and gather user data for targeted advertising. Users rarely have much of a say in how their personal information is collected, maintained, or used once disclosed to third parties. This concentrated control raises issues about privacy and data security, in addition to the concentration of power in the hands of a small number of corporations.
Therefore, Web3 aims to give individuals more power and increased control over their online presence, with each user controlling their data, building on open protocols to make the web more transparent and accessible and enable transactions without intermediaries.
Before understanding what Web3 hosting is and how to host a decentralized website, it is essential to know what a decentralized website is and learn the underlying fundamentals.
What is a decentralized website?
How to Build and Surf on the Decentralized Web (Web3). Source: Ania Kubów YouTube channel.
A fully decentralized website is a website that is hosted and served using a decentralized network instead of traditional centralized web hosting services and does not rely on a single central server. Data and applications are distributed over the network, making Web3 more resistant to censorship, manipulation, and single points of failure, offering better resilience, resistance to censorship, and enhanced privacy.
Whereas traditional websites rely on centralized web servers, decentralized websites function thanks to peer-to-peer networks. Unlike modern website design, decentralized websites distribute content and resources across several nodes instead, enhancing the functionality and user experience in various ways.
Decentralized websites distribute content and resources across several nodes, leveraging protocols like IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) and blockchain-based systems for both the resolution of domain names and content verification.
What is Web3 hosting?
Web3 hosting is the process of hosting and providing decentralized websites on the infrastructure provided by Web3. It entails using the power of peer-to-peer networks, blockchain technology, and decentralized storage to ensure that web content is both available and accessible.
Hosting providers for Web3 supply the tools, protocols, and infrastructure required to make it easier for users to create, launch, and maintain decentralized websites. Individuals and companies can take advantage of the benefits of a decentralized network by embracing Web3 hosting, which helps build an online ecosystem that is more democratic and robust.
Fully decentralized websites and DApps have no centralized points of control or single point of failure using technologies like blockchain, IPFS, etc. However, this isn’t always the case or possible, and parts of the website are still hosted on centralized servers, often combining blockchain and cloud computing.
Where are decentralized websites and DApps hosted?
While decentralized websites aim to eliminate centralized servers, most still rely on some centralized infrastructure components. Most DApps today still incorporate some centralized backend infrastructure, especially during early access and testing stages.
Many DApps still have traditional frontend servers that end-users interact with to host a website, provide web/mobile APIs, manage user accounts, process payments, etc. For example, Pancakeswap, MakerDAO, and several other largest decentralized companies' websites are hosted on centralized servers, such as specialized blockchain servers.
Even decentralized storage solutions like IPFS may rely on tended nodes and gateway servers to improve end-user performance. As the space grows, more decentralized applications aim to eliminate all centralized points, but complete decentralization remains a technical challenge for user experience.
How to host a decentralized website?
The below steps will guide you through and give a rough idea of how Web3 hosting works and how to create a decentralized website. We'll explain the key technologies involved, such as blockchain, IPFS, and decentralization packages, and how they work together to distribute your website's content with or without relying on centralized servers.
Step 1: Understand the basics of Web3 hosting
Before delving into the specifics of the nitty-gritty technical aspects, it is best to familiarize yourself with the fundamental concepts and principles of Web3 hosting. Here’s what you should know:
- Learn about decentralized protocols like IPFS and how they enable content addressing and distribution;
- Explore decentralized storage systems such as Filecoin and Sia for hosting website content;
- Gain knowledge of blockchain technology, including distributed consensus and smart contracts;
- Understand how blockchain ensures transaction and data security on the decentralized web;
- Educate yourself on decentralized domain systems like Ethereum Name Service (ENS) and Handshake;
- Investigate decentralized hosting providers that offer tools and infrastructure for decentralized websites.
A solid understanding of Web3 hosting forms the foundation for managing a decentralized website. Use your knowledge to make informed decisions and leverage Web3 hosting technologies effectively for your online presence and enhanced website security.
Step 2: Choose a Web3 hosting provider
Selecting the right Web3 hosting service provider is crucial for a hassle-free experience. Options range from decentralized services like IPFS or Swarm to more traditional, centralized servers capable of interacting with Web3 protocols.
For example, even though contradictory, centralized servers can aid the DApps and DAOs in the development stages, as it's easier to deploy, iterate, and test without relying on consensus. Centralized servers can also give more control and visibility during design, and are often cheaper.
While choosing, consider factors such as reliability, performance, scalability, and security. Community support can also be an important criterion. If you're looking for decentralized features, make sure the provider is compatible with the protocols you intend to use, like IPFS.
Managing and storing data on IPFS can be a complex task. It has a different learning curve to understand how it works, which is why there are services that simplify decentralized storage and web hosting known as IPFS gateways. These platforms allow users to easily upload their data, which is then stored decentralized on the IPFS network.
For example, decentralized web hosting solutions like Spheron Network, a PaaS that harnesses the power of blockchain technology, provide secure and scalable solutions, simplifying the hosting and deployment of dApps while reducing the learning curve. It also enables the deployment of containers on bare metal in a streamlined manner without requiring extensive computing resources. By combining IPFS storage, Filecoin, Arweave & Native Compute, Spheron ensures a seamless yet affordable multichain experience serving a broader audience, including startups, developers, and organizations looking to scale their infrastructure.
As for security features, look for a good SSL certificate that has comprehensive security solutions to meet your unique needs.
Step 3: Domain registration and resolution
In the Web3 environment, traditional methods of domain registration are often less effective or entirely unsuitable due to the decentralized nature of the network.
Unlike conventional domain services, blockchain-based domain systems such as Ethereum Name Service (ENS) or Handshake provide a more suitable alternative. These decentralized services offer censorship-resistant registration and resolution of domain names, aligning better with the ethos of the Web3 world.
To establish a strong online presence, register a unique domain name for your decentralized website that encapsulates both its identity and the reason it exists.
Step 4: Content preparation and deployment
Ensure your content is ready to be uploaded to the decentralized web. The files, photos, and other assets associated with your website must be converted into the proper formats to be compatible with decentralized storage systems such as IPFS.
Ensure your material follows the decentralization principles, and avoid depending on centralized streaming servers or services as much as possible.
Step 5: Deployment and maintenance
Build your decentralized website on top of the Web3 infrastructure and deploy it. When you are ready to upload your material to the decentralized network, use the tools and resources you selected from the Web3 hosting service.
Maintaining and regularly monitoring your website is essential to ensure its availability, responsiveness, and the integrity of its information. What’s more, having an up-to-date knowledge of the latest developments in Web3 technology will allow you to improve your decentralized web presence consistently.
Future of Web3 hosting
Future of Web3 hosting. Source: ui-lib.com
The Web3 hosting industry is undergoing tremendous change, with continuous developments and innovations influencing its trajectory into the future. Staying updated on the latest developments and trends in Web3 hosting is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge.
Here’s what you can expect from Web3 hosting in the coming years:
- Decentralized content delivery networks (CDNs) are emerging as a prominent trend;
- Decentralized CDNs leverage peer-to-peer networks and distributed storage for faster load times, scalability, and reduced reliance on centralized infrastructure;
- Scalability solutions like state channels and sidechains address performance challenges in Web3 hosting;
- These solutions enable off-chain transactions and computations, alleviating congestion while maintaining network security;
- Web3 hosting integrates with blockchain ecosystems, offering new opportunities for decentralized websites;
- Integration with blockchain enables tokenization, monetization of content, and unique incentives through digital assets;
- Smart contracts facilitate automated income sharing, transparent governance, and new monetization strategies.
Web3 hosting, also known as decentralized web hosting, offers a more democratic, secure, and robust online presence by utilizing decentralized protocols, peer-to-peer networks, and blockchain technology. We hope this guide has equipped you with the basic knowledge about the principles of decentralized hosting solutions and how to host a decentralized website.