Imagine an internet without any censorship, with websites that’ll never be taken down, where freedom of speech will hold true meaning. Where the government won’t spy on you and social media giants won’t objectify you as a mindless consumer. Where you won’t be bombarded with advertisements (carefully modelled according to your needs). Tamas Kocsis of Budapest did and the result is ZeroNet.
Open, free and uncensorable websites, using Bitcoin cryptography and BitTorrent network
Boo yah. Try taking this one down. B) Summing it up in three simple lines–
Uncensored: It’s nowhere because it’s everywhere!
ZeroNet is decentralised, peer to peer web hosting. It doesn’t follow the conventional client server model. With ZeroNet, you’re the server, and you’re the client. When you visit a website on ZeroNet, the web pages get loaded on to your system and you start hosting them as well. Quite similar to how torrent seeding works. The site remains live as long as it has at least one peer hosting it. And since there is no single server hosting it, it is impossible for anyone to take down. Imagine a scenario, where hundreds of people are dragged to court for downloading HTML and CSS files. Not happening. And did I mention? You can also use ZeroNet with Tor and go completely anonymous.
No hosting costs: Sites are served by visitors.
You heard that right. It’s people like you and me who keep ZeroNet alive. You can have your website for free on ZeroNet in just a few clicks and also have your database. Really? Let’s get back to this later, shall we?
Always accessible: No single point of failure.
As long as there is even a single peer hosting a site, the site is accessible to anyone in the world. You can even view your visited sites offline. You don’t even need Jio data packs now. :P
For a better and detailed explanation of what, why and how zeronet works, watch this presentation.
Then let’s get to it. Head over to ZeroNet and download the ZeroBundle. It’s as easy as they mention. Extract the contents of the zip anywhere on your drive and run zeronet.cmd (if you’re on Windows, i.e.) Most of the links following this can only be viewed after installing ZeroNet And that’s all. You can now start browsing zeronet in your regular browser.
Clone a Site
Now coming to the interesting part. Like any website you come across? Clone it, modify it and host it as your own.
1) This creates a new folder in
..\ZeroBundle\ZeroNet\data for e.g.
Add your own changes if you wish to in the html/css files here.
2) 1MTpPDTJAB6YmNSeGKjfxrosD738tjnQVf is your website address. After you’re done signing the
content.json (content.json is used to convey to your peers the number and kind of files that are being used by your website) and publishing the site, it can be accessible to everyone on http://127.0.0.1:43110/1MTpPDTJAB6YmNSeGKjfxrosD738tjnQVf/
Create your Site from Scratch
1) Navigate to
ZeroBundle\ZeroNet folder in your command prompt and run the following.
This will generate a private key for your website that should never be shared with anyone. This key is instrumental for publishing and/or making modifications to your site. All your peers have all the content to your website but cannot modify it without the private key.
If you’re not a python developer, chances are you may be missing some of the packages required by
zeronet.py to run. Simply,
pip install *missing_package*
If your command prompt does not recognise pip, navigate to
Python[verno]\Scripts and make sure you have pip. Run
pip install from here. If you do not have pip, download and execute `get-pip.py’.
2) After running
siteCreate you should see something like this:
4) You can find your site in the list of visited websites on the left side of HelloZero. But this is only visible to you; it needs to be signed and published before the whole world can see it. So go ahead and repeat the same steps as before, provide a site title, description, sign and publish. This time, you will be asked to enter your private key, the one that was generated while creating the website. And voila!
5)You may not have any peers yet, so you can leave your site URL in the comments below or post them on ZeroTalk or ZeroMe. It is possible to register your own .bit domain on ZeroNet with Namecoin. This requires bitcoins which can be obtained for free, but more on those some other day.
Last but not the least, the primary attraction, the best thing about ZeroNet are torrent sites that will never in their entire lifetime go down. Check out Play