The Difference Between IPFS, IPNS, & Web3 Domains

Modified on: Fri, 19 May, 2023 at 12:37 PM

The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a decentralised storage network. It is different from a web server that you would use to host a Web2 site in several ways. Because IPFS is a storage network it cannot perform server-side commands or processing nor can it talk to a centralised database like a MySQL database. Because of this, it can only host static websites or sites that use client-side processing like Javascript. IPFS uses content-based addressing meaning the address changes every time the content does. For example, if you share an IPFS hash with someone, you will end up sharing a new link every time the content is updated.

The InterPlanetary Name System (IPNS) part of IPFS that allows the same address to be used when content changes. This means you can give out the same address and when you change the content the address stays the same. In order to use IPNS you need to run your own local IPFS node and configure it for IPNS.

A Web3 domain essentially acts like IPNS however it is better in two main ways:

1. It makes IPFS addresses human-readable. An IPFS address for a website will look like this An IPNS address will look similar. A Web3 domain replaces this with a readable address such as whatsweb3.x.

2. It makes updating your site easier. If you were to use IPNS you would need to run a local IPFS node on your computer, upload the new files, obtain the IPFS hash and add it to your IPNS address. You would then need to pin the hash on a pinning service so your site is available when your computer is offline. With a Web3 domain from Unstoppable Domains you just need to upload your website files and we take care of the rest.

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