The Usability of Decentralized Internet: A Decentralized Web Hosting
Nowadays, several large internet corporations manage and control the Global Internet Network. Their servers, web hosting, providers, cloud, and other technologies are all responsible for the performance of the internet.
Ensuring the availability of our email, social networks, applications, and websites depends on them, which means that several internet companies have a huge impact on the operation of the entire internet in the world. It smells like monopolism on the internet, doesn’t it?
Today’s World Wide Web is very different from the mission for which the internet was invented. It was created for the transmission of data, open exchange of information, free communication between people around the world, the development of science, and the acquisition of knowledge.
The centralized internet system today leaves our workplaces, home, relationships, and personal life open and vulnerable, and probably all this will only get worse shortly.
Therefore, the choice in favor of decentralized web hosting — free and anonymous, is obvious.
In the article, we will tell you what is wrong with the centralized internet, and what are the advantages of decentralization.
Centralized vs. decentralized: what’s the difference? Learn more here.
Servers can be hacked
As a result of hacks on a truly huge scale, hundreds of millions (and in some cases billions) of internet users were deprived of the opportunity to stop the theft of their data.
Worst of all, most of these internet giant companies are in a regime of impunity. They often either hide their data breaches and abuse from consumers for years — (like Yahoo). Or these violations will be unclear and veiled in court proceedings as to what type of data was stolen, sold or hacked.
As a result, their lawyers will prove that all these lost data are safe, and nothing criminal has happened.
Internet companies monetize your data
Remember all those long forms that you’ve never read before, clicking “I’ve read and agree to these terms”? Large companies that store your personal data on their servers do not provide you with a free account: they earn money by selling your data to advertisers, who will be able to more accurately target your ads.
In some cases, they don’t even do it legally: for example, a German court ruled that Meta illegally collects data in violation of consumer protection laws in Germany.
Social media has a great business on the internet. Read more here.
How the decentralized web-hosting works
The centralized internet relies on servers, and the decentralized internet will rely on a peer-to-peer network built on a community of users. Their devices connected to the Global Network will host the internet, unlike the fact that now the Internet is hosted on a group of powerful servers managed by corporations.
Each website on the decentralized internet will be distributed across hundreds of thousands of nodes on different users’ devices, which eliminates censorship, IP surveillance and the possibility of failure or hacking of one server, say due to a DDoS attack.
What is a DDoS attack and how to prevent it? Read more here.
Ideally, the code on the internet should protect the privacy of users, freedom of expression and universal access to all information and knowledge. Instead, centralized checkpoints today make it easier for governments, which tend to censor and supervise everything on the web, as well as private companies to collect, share and monetize more personal information than many users would like.
The purpose of creating a decentralized network is to reduce or eliminate such centralized control points. So, even if any participant (or several) drops out of the network, the system will continue to work.
Such a system will better protect user privacy, eliminate the collection of personal user data, provide reliable access and even allow users to buy and sell goods and services directly without intermediaries.
The blockchain protocol is designed to ensure transactions in a distributed network without the need for an intermediary controlling the process. Any information can be viewed by anyone, and it is encoded in such a way that no one can contact it.
Although it is possible to use a decentralized internet without blockchain technology, most innovators hope that this technology will become the key to a functional peer-to-peer network.
After all, the path to a decentralized internet is not so much about technology as whether the concept can win “the hearts and minds of entrepreneurs and developers,” as a recent article in Medium says. “Before that happens, we all have to solve a few problems that prevent it.”
Obstacles to overcome
So far, so good: decentralization sounds like a great way to get back to the free and open internet that we know and love. But some challenges still stand in the way of the worldwide transition to a decentralized flavor of the Internet. Firstly, it is a worldwide shift and push to move away from the old and switch to the New Internet.
Mass adaptation and laziness of users
A decentralized internet is an idea that works great when everyone uses it. But until then, the very fact that no one wants to use it because no one is using it anymore.
As a rule, people do not change until the process of change becomes less painful than maintaining the status quo. Since existing centralized networks like Facebook and Twitter already have everything, they have a level of stickiness that is difficult to overcome.
But here’s where the rapidly growing dystopia we live in might come in handy: as corporations largely controlling the current internet — whether Facebook, Alphabet, or Amazon.
Problems with speed delay
If you’ve ever closed a tab because it took five seconds to load, you’ll be able to empathize with this big problem facing decentralized applications. Since high-performance servers do not allow internet communication, web pages often load slowly. Ideally, innovative data compression techniques, such as the fictional compression technology in the popular TV series “Silicon Valley”, can solve this problem. But until they do, the online community is probably too spoiled by the instant gratification that their server-side internet allows them to switch to a slower network.
Users do not want additional responsibility
The peer-to-peer protocol system will shift the responsibility for maintenance from the server owners and to each user of the decentralized internet. This is great for “tech-savvy and politically inclined users” who know how it works and care about their privacy, as MIT pointed out in a recent report cited in an average article on decentralized networks. But that’s not enough for everyone.
“Most users have no ideological motivation and are not interested in taking on additional costs and responsibility for the direct launch of these complex systems,” explains MIT. “They will want to interact with the Internet through friendlier third-party publishing platforms, and those platforms will suffer from the same forces that are driving consolidation today.”
The future of the internet is still up in the air
If cryptocurrency is like a stupid anti-capitalist teenager, then the decentralized internet is like its older, wiser cousin. They are both intriguing methods of deregulating an essential aspect of modern life, and they share the same DNA. And now it is easy to see both innovations as a naive attempt to evade the inevitable march of late-stage capitalism.
But, since the decentralized internet is such an improvement over the hacked and destructible version of the internet that we have now, it has a better chance of stabilizing over the next decade.
How will the future internet look like? Find out here.