The decentralized web already exists. It is already out there, providing an exciting digital landscape for developers and users alike to explore. In many ways, we are already living in the age of the dWeb – and we are already reaping its benefits.
And yet, in other ways, we are not. Ask the average man or woman in the street about the decentralized web and you’ll probably be met with blank looks. Take a quick survey of the most popular web properties – or even of the most exciting up and comers – and you’ll receive nothing more than a list of centralized apps and websites.
Yes, the dWeb may exist, but – for most of us – the four horsemen of Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, and Google still reign supreme.
What’s the problem here? There are many answers to this question, but one of the most pressing is access.
Want to start a blog on the centralized web? Head to Blogger and set one up.
Have some products to sell? With Shopify, you can whip up an ecommerce space in about half an hour.
Looking to boost your brand by securing a corner of the web for it? GoDaddy can handle that for you.
To put it simply, it’s super easy to get started on the centralized web. The tools are all there for you already.
On the dWeb, it’s a little trickier. But that is all about to change.
Unstoppable Domains – Your Corner of the Decentralized Web
Unstoppable Domains provides an easy access point for anyone who wants to launch a site on the dWeb. Similar to GoDaddy in the centralized space, Unstoppable Domains allows users to register domain names and launch content online, just in a decentralized manner.
Unstoppable Domains also features its own version of DNS, which translates all those cumbersome, crypto-generated hash values and makes the whole thing searchable and user-friendly. Another upshot of this is the translation of alphanumeric hash values into qualitative values, such as actual words, with actual meanings.
To clarify – this means that your classic car parts ecommerce site can be registered under the name:
Sophies-Classic-Car-Parts.zil (The .zil extension refers to the Zilliqa blockchain, which is used to provide the DNS-functionality.)
Rather than something like:
999534864327D4353434FT425 etc. etc.
This makes the whole experience much more user-friendly for humans, and this means that the site owner’s brand is represented in the address. This is a far better situation than just a jumble of letters and numbers.
Here at dWeb.info, we’ve taken a bit of a shine to Unstoppable Domains. It’s this kind of bridging point between real-world internet users and the as yet unexplored hinterlands of the dWeb that is going to open decentralized internet up to the masses. The sooner we can demystify the decentralized space, and get users onboard, the better. Once the digital migration begins, then the age of the dWeb is here to stay.
I already explored Unstoppable Domains in detail, and reported my findings in my last article. If you want to learn more about how Unstoppable Domains works, and the censorship-free ethos behind it, I urge you to take a look at this previous piece. There’s a lot of great info there.
For now, though, we are going to get down into the nuts and bolts of Unstoppable Domains. Enough of the theory, this is the practice – this is how to set up your decentralized website using Unstoppable Domains.
The Preliminaries – What Do You Need to Get Started?
To get started with creating your domain, there are a few things you are going to need first.
#1 A Zilliqa Wallet
This is the wallet developed by Zillet.io for use with the Zilliqa blockchain. Users need this because the Zilliqa blockchain is what underpins the Unstoppable Domains service, providing the DNS functionality and more.
To register your own Zilliqa wallet for use with Unstoppable Domains, carry out the following steps.
1. Head over to Zillet.io.
2. Read the automated messages from the help center and click next until you reach the homepage.
3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select Create New Wallet
4. Check the By Keystore/JSON File and then set your password. Hit Create New Wallet
5. You will now see your wallet’s hash. Select Download Keystore, and then select Okay, I’ve Successfully Save My Key.
6. Back at the homepage, select Access My Wallet and use the .JSON file you just saved and created to access it
Your Zilliqa wallet is now all set up. Don’t lose your password or your .JSON file, as neither of these can be recovered.
#2 The Funds Required to Purchase
Unstoppable Domains charges a fee to register a domain, just like any domain service does. As with these other domain providers, different domains carry different fees. However, the minimum fee is around $10.
To do this:
1. Return to your Zilliqa wallet and gain access using the .JSON file and the password you created.
2. Select the Add Funds button on the wallet interface.
3. Choose the source of your funds and then complete the deposit.
Zilliqa is an open source network, which means you can use other supported currencies to pay for your domain. This is handy if you do not have Zilliqa tokens, and do not want to transfer your other currencies into this format.
#3 The Browser Extension Provided by Unstoppable Domains
One of the beautiful things about Unstoppable Domains is that it gives you access to the dWeb without needing to completely overhaul your current hardware and software set-up.
The browser extension – designed to work with Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers – allows desktop users to connect easily to the decentralized web.
To get set up:
1. Head to UnstoppableDomains.com/extension and then hit the Get the Chrome Extension button.
2. This will take you to Chrome.Google.com, where you can download the extension to your browser.
3. You will now be able to access and browse the dWeb, while also managing your own properties in the decentralized space.
Your Unstoppable Domain
Now that you have the required tools, you can register your Unstoppable Domains name. This will be the name that you use to pin your branded dWeb properties to. This will also be the address your customers, readers, or other users type into their browser in order to find you. Basically, it functions in exactly the same way as a centralized domain name would – except, you guessed it, on the decentralized web. To register and set up your domain, carry out the following steps; 1. Head to UnstoppableDomains.com. This takes you to the homepage for Unstoppable. Hit the menu button in the top left-hand corner, next to the Unstoppable Domains logo, to open the menu. 2. Select Get a New Domain from the menu to begin. You will be taken to the search page. 3. Search for the domain you want to register. If you want to register lots of domains at the same time, simply hit the Bulk Search option – marked with a little paperclip logo – and enter multiple values. 4. You will now see a list of domain names that match your search criteria, along with the price for each. Use the Add To Cart button to save these for purchase. If you are happy with the domains you have added to the card, skip to step 8. 5. You may see that some of the domains are marked as Taken. In which case, you may be able to unlock the domain with a payment in one of the listed currencies. You may then be able to add this to your cart. 6. You may also see that domains are listed as Premium and may not be available for purchase. If this is the case, you may need to contact Unstoppable and verify that you are the true owner of this brand name before you can purchase. 7. You can also add Taken or Premium domains to your watchlist to be notified as and when they become publicly available. 8. Head on through to the Checkout and pay for your domains with the funds in your Zilliqa wallet. These domains are now yours, ready and waiting for you to launch your content onto the dWeb.
Launching a Website with Speed and Efficiency So, you are the proud owner of a new decentralized web domain. Great, now what? Well, that domain is sitting in your Zilliqa wallet. Unlike with a domain you might buy from GoDaddy, you can send, trade, or sell your domain to whoever you want without the hassle of having to switch the registration to the new owner, or abide by the rules set out by the domain provider. The domain can be traded in a quick and easy transaction, and the smart contract functionality built into the Zilliqa blockchain tidies up any loose ends. This is why many of the domains listed as taken in the Unstoppable directory can be released at a designated price. OK, so buying and selling domains is simple, but chances are, you want to do more than this. You want to create a website and launch this site on the uncensored web, where it is free from manipulation and control. How is this done? Well, basically the question we are asking here is “how to build a website?” Asking how to build a website is like asking how to climb a mountain. There is the easy way – up the tourist path, with a seasoned guide, where the risks are no greater than a few blisters and a bit of sunburn. And there is the hard way – up the north face, armed with expensive equipment, a risk-taking/rule-breaking attitude, and the knowledge and expertise required to carry you through. If you are prepared to take on a mammoth project, and you really know what you are doing, well best of luck to you. For now, however, let’s focus on the easy way. For this, we’re heading back to the UnstoppleDomains.com homepage. 1. Open up the menu once again by heading to the top left-hand corner, to the left of the Unstoppable log. Select My Websites from this menu. 2. If you haven’t already signed in, you’ll need to input your log in credentials at this point. 3. You’ll now see a list of domains that you can attach your new website to. Select the domain you want to use, and let’s get started. 4. Remember, we’re taking the tourist route here – the easiest and most straightforward path to achieving that summit/the launch of your new dWebsite. So, scroll down the page and browse some of the templates on offer from the Unstoppable team. 5. Select the template you feel best suits your project. These templates are similar to those you might find on a website-builder wizard tool, such as those provided by Weebly or Wix. However, as it is built into the structure of Unstoppable Domains, these web templates are designed to work well on the dWeb, and therefore provide optimal performance for your website. 6. From here, it’s up to you. You’ll be able to add your prepared content simply by copying and pasting it into the template. Add as much or as little as you’d like for the moment – you can always come back later and add more as your site develops – and select Preview to view how the site will look once it is live. 7. Select the Launch Website button to make the website live on the dWeb, and searchable for anyone who wants to find it. 8. Return to the menu icon in the top left-hand corner, and select My Websites to manage your site whenever you need to add more content or take any other action. And there you have it. Your site is now up and running, and no one can take it down, manipulate it, persecute you for going against politically or corporately mandated conventions, or censor you in any way. You are there, existing and free on the decentralized web, a part of the new revolution that is going to change everything about the way we think of the internet forever. Customizing Your Web Property Unstoppable Domains’ roster of templates is one of the things that makes the service so appealing. Anyone – regardless of their tech background or level of coding wizardry (or lack of it) – can get involved in launching their sites onto the dWeb. It’s remarkably easy, efficient, and inclusive. Of course, not everyone is in this category. Those who don’t want to take the easy route, and prefer to take their chances out there on the north face, might find the templates a little limited. If this is the case, you can still build and customize your web property in any way you want and then attach this property to your Unstoppable Domains name. You can still link the website to the domain you have purchased, and you can upload your website to the InterPlanetary File System – or IPFS. This is a decentralized version of the famous HTTP protocol, which makes it possible for browsers to find your website across the dWeb. You can learn more about this in my recent article all about Unstoppable Domains. Basically, whatever your background and whatever your needs, Unstoppable Domains has you covered. This is your stepping stone to all that dWeb goodness, and the starting point for a web property that is free from the control and influence that plague the centralized space. Give it a whirl and see what you can create!