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ZeroNet vector logo.svg
Developer(s)Tamas Kocsis
Initial release2015
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inPython
Operating systemWindows, Linux, OS X, FreeBSD, Android
Available inDanish, German, English, Spanish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Chinese.
TypePeer-to-peer web hosting
LicenseGNU GPL v2

ZeroNet is a decentralized web-like network of peer-to-peer users, created by Tamas Kocsis in 2015. Programming for the network is based in Budapest, Hungary; is built in Python; and is fully open source.[1] Instead of having an IP address, sites are identified by a public key (specifically a bitcoin address). The private key allows the owner of a site to sign and publish change, which propagate through the network. Sites can be accessed through an ordinary web browser when using the ZeroNet application, which acts as a local webhost for such pages.[1] In addition to using bitcoin cryptography, ZeroNet uses trackers from the BitTorrent network[2] to negotiate connections between peers.[1] ZeroNet is not anonymous by default, but it supports routing traffic through the Tor network.[3]

The ZeroNet website and bittorrent tracker are blocked in mainland China.[4] Despite the censorship, however, it's still possible to access ZeroNet from behind the Great Firewall of China, even over Tor, by connecting using a WireGuard tunnel.

The feasibility of peer-to-peer online web-sites had been hypothesised for some time, with The Pirate Bay suggesting they would build a network, as well as BitTorrent Inc. which created the closed-source Project Maelstrom.[1] Another application, Beaker Browser, uses the P2P DAT files protocol to allow the creation, hosting and serving of websites without need of a server.[5]

As of 2016 there was no way to take down a ZeroNet page which still had seeders,[1] thus making such pages immune to third-party methods of taking them down, including DMCA takedown notices.[6] By default, sites have a size limit of 10 megabytes, but users may grant a site permission to use more storage space if they wish.

Development of sites[edit]

Sites on ZeroNet are known as "zites" by its users.

ZeroNet supports HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Site developers can also write sites in CoffeeScript instead of writing in JavaScript, but they need to compile the .coffee files. ZeroNet can compile to JavaScript in development mode, so all .coffee files are compiled and saved to all.js file. This also supports compiling .sass files to CSS (also compiles to all.css).

Server-side languages like PHP are not supported, although ZeroNet can achieve user signup/login on MySQL databases, that are also distributed via P2P.

With plugins and the ZeroFrame API, sites can communicate with ZeroNet calling Python by JavaScript.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Play: A P2P Distributed Torrent Site That's Impossible to Shut Down – TorrentFreak". TorrentFreak. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  2. ^ Kumar, Mohit (18 February 2015). "MegaNet — New Decentralized, Non-IP Based and Encrypted Network". The Hacker News. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  3. ^ "FAQ: Is Zero Net Anonymous".
  4. ^ Hill, Paul. "China blocks access to ZeroNet website and tracker". Neowin. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  5. ^ Inside Beaker
  6. ^ "Steal This Show S01E07: Did P2P Break the Law? - TorrentFreak". TorrentFreak. Event occurs at 17m39s. Retrieved 2016-03-08. and what's happened is [...] some forward-thinking person has created a site on ZeroNet called Play, a torrent site[...]. The difference is that you can't take it down. I think you literally can't take it down. [...] It sniffs at your DMCA.

External links[edit]