What Are .Bit Domain Names and What’s So Great About Them?

The first ever alt coin was created to allow people to publish websites on the internet without fear of censorship, reprisals from oppressive regimes, or privacy intrusions from government spooks or corporate spies.

Rather than just trying to create an alternative currency, it created an alternative ‘DNS’. DNS stands for ‘domain name service’. This is basically the system which connects a human-readable website address, like cryptorials.io or google.com, with the machine-code address which is the actual location of the website. This is run by a small number of DNS servers, and when a government wants to take a website offline they simply order these servers to stop connecting the website address with its location – so the website is often still there, but nobody can find it. Also, there are now laws which require people to submit personal information to their domain registrar when registering a new domain name. This information can be, and has been, used by oppressive governments to identify and crack down on dissidents.

A decentralized peer-to-peer solves these problems by using cryptocurrency technology to keep track of domain names, who owns them, and where they should point. As I wrote in my previous article about how to get yourself a dotbit domain name, they have the following advantages:

  • Registering a domain name through a blockchain-based decentralized DNS system is cheaper than using a domain name registrar and centralized DNS.
  • Decentralized DNS respects your privacy – it does not require you to provide personal identification that can then be used against you, for example by governments seeking to stifle dissent or crack down on independent media.
  • Governments can seize or block regular domain names – this is not possible with decentralized DNS.
  • They increase consumer choice and competition.
  • The money spent on your domain name will help to support the maintenance and further development of other decentralized public services.

Until recently many people did not upgrade their computers to be able to view websites with .bit domains because it could be a time-consuming and difficult thing to do – but it is getting easier and easier. Here is a selection of some of the easiest and best ways to view websites with a decentralized domain name provided by Namecoin.

How To View Dot Bit Websites The Very Easy But Not Very Good Way

If you just want to visit a specific .bit website, or if you just want to visit your first website to see what it’s all about, then you can use a proxy. That means that you connect to a regular website which visits the dotbit site for your and gets the content. You can, for example, just go to bit.no.com and type in the address of the site you want to visit. You can also just add .no.com to the end of any Namecoin domain name.

This is super easy, but there are a few reasons why it’s not the best way to go. Firstly it doesn’t always work. For example, it doesn’t work for cryptorials.bit for some reason. Secondly, its a bit of a hassle having to go to another websites first and then to the site you want, or to have to type the extra words. Secondly you are putting a centralized middleman in where things used to be completely decentralized – so any government censoring a domain could potentially just force the proxy site to either censor the domain or be taken offline itself.

How To View Dot Bit Websites the Easy But Not Ideal Way

Thanks to OKTurtles it is now possible for people to set up DNS servers which can connect users to .bit sites just as they would any other domain name. If you have any techie skills and access to a server (or a few quid to pay for hosting) then please consider running your own DNSChain Servers for you and your friends to use. If enough people set up their own DNSChain Servers for others to use then this provides a distributed system which is not quite as good as a fully decentralized system, but is better than one which goes through a very small number of easily identifiable proxies like the one above.

Keep your eyes peeled for a new ‘Services’ tab on the Cryptorials website, as we plan to launch this new section which will feature our own DNSChain Server soon!

There are also some public servers you can use to try it out which you can find here: https://github.com/okTurtles/dnschain/blob/master/docs/How-do-I-use-it.md

Changing your computer’s DNS setting’s to use one of these servers is not difficult at all. Precisely what you need to do will depend on your computer, but you should be able to easily find what to do by using a search engine to look for ‘how to change DNS settings on’ and the name of your computer’s operating system.

The same DNSChain technology also supports NXT url aliases and KeyID .p2p domain names!

How To View Dot Bit Websites The Best Way

If you don’t mind spending a little bit of time downloading Namecoin software and a browser add-on then there are two really great options which stay true to the entirely peer-to-peer a decentralized vision of what dot bit websites can offer: