Decentralized Web Hosting

Decentralized Web Hosting

Decentralized Web Hosting is a way of hosting websites so that the website cannot easily be taken down or degraded by a service outage (intentional or not) of a given vendor.

Why Is Decentralized Website Hosting important?

The reasons for wanting to do decentralized web hosting, sometimes referred to as Web3 hosting, include:

  1. Technical resilience of the website - the unintentional outage of one component does not bring the website down
  2. Security and privacy – website information is not accessible by third parties who would otherwise be involved with hosting a centralized website
  3. Protection against de-platforming / censorship – the website hosting components cannot easily be intentionally blocked or decommissioned

How to Host a Decentralized Website

TLDR: You can use Diode to deploy a decentralized WordPress website from a Raspberry Pi.

There are a number of great solutions today contributing to the future of decentralized web hosting. Some of these address portions of the problem (e.g. ENS is an approach to decentralize DNS, as is Diode’s BNS), and others create a holistic solution (e.g. IPFS can be used to create decentralized, public, crowd-hosted websites, while Diode’s Publish mechanism is a great self-custody solution).

While contributors to Web3 are doing good work, the mixed bag of new Web3 technologies have not yet “crossed the chasm” – they are not yet ready to replace centralized technologies in most use cases.

At Diode, we believe that enabling today’s cloud technologies, while ushering in better, more sustainable capabilities, is critical to the success of Web3. We want to enable each person to select the right mix of centralized and decentralized technologies for their use cases.

For example, you can deploy a website using AWS or Azure (strong technical resilience), while publishing the website via Web3 (reduced censorship concerns). Or, you can deploy a website on a Raspberry Pi (better cost, privacy, security, and host-side de-platforming) while publishing it via Web2 (better searchability but centralized vulnerability to censorship and domain name de-platforming). Or, you could combine all the Web3 elements by running your website on multiple web servers, at multiple residential IP addresses, while publishing it privately via Web3.

The mix selected will depend on the vulnerability you’d like to avoid in the particular use case.

The Future of Decentralized Web Hosting

For many organizations, “the cloud” is the current vision of the future – they are migrating from on-premise / self-hosted servers (Web 1.0) to cloud based hardware and software technologies (Web 2.0). Cloud based servers (e.g. AWS, Azure, GCP, Linode, etc…) and cloud based software (e.g. Salesforce, Epic, Exosite, Cloudflare, etc…) have the advantages of economies of scale, subject matter expertise, and easy access. To achieve the same functionality, an organization using the cloud will pay more for software and hardware, but less for IT staff. At the end of the day, the increase in monthly fees paid to all the cloud vendors is offset by lower staffing costs, better functionality, and peace of mind.

As compared to a Web1 paradigm, one of the only clear down-sides to a Web2 cloud future is that the number of outside vendors increases, thereby decreasing an organization’s self-sufficiency and data integrity. In an ideal world, these would not be concerns – you would be able to rely on the vendors always being there for you, and that they would never do anything untoward with your information.

However, from the vantage point of March of 2022, it is increasingly clear that we do not live in an ideal world. The scope of geographies and affiliations that will result in a vendor being banned or turning their back on you is increasing. The scope of data breaches and third party data requests made without due process is increasing. It seems clear that an approach that wisely incorporates the best of Web2 with the best of Web3 will chart the path to a vibrant future.

At Diode, we are excited about how Web3 capabilities, such as decentralized web hosting, can help Web2 strategies better succeed. We want to see all the power of the Internet continue to be used to power tomorrow’s use cases in our ever more dynamic world.