|Developer(s)||Tamas Kocsis (original author), imachug, geekless, PramUkesh, caryoscelus and other contributors|
0.7.1 / 4 September 2019
|Operating system||Windows, Linux, OS X, FreeBSD, Android|
|Available in||Danish, German, English, Spanish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Chinese, Persian.|
|Type||Peer-to-peer web hosting|
|Part of a series on|
|Video sharing sites|
|File sharing networks|
|Anonymous file sharing|
|History and societal aspects|
|By country or region|
ZeroNet is a decentralized web-like network of peer-to-peer users, created by Tamas Kocsis in 2015, programming for the network was based in Budapest, Hungary; is built in Python; and is fully open source. 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 changes, 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. In addition to using bitcoin cryptography, ZeroNet uses trackers from the BitTorrent network to negotiate connections between peers. ZeroNet is not anonymous by default, but it supports routing traffic through the Tor network.
The ZeroNet website and bittorrent tracker are blocked in mainland China. Despite the censorship, however, it's still possible to access ZeroNet from behind the Great Firewall of China, even over Tor, by bootstrapping over Meek, and connecting to peers directly.
Hiatus and forks
Development has stopped for several months after stable release of v0.7.1 on Github. For a long period of time it was a concern that ZeroNet would stop working with Tor due to its lack of Onion-v3 protocol support. geekless implemented such a support (thanking anonymoose and zeroseed for it) on 03.11.2021 in his fork. Later on, ZeroNet Mobile Developer, PramUkesh announced a fork and implemented it with Tor v3 Patch and some fixes and released stable version of v0.7.6 on his GitHub Fork, which he intends to maintain if Tamas would abandon the project.
As of February 2022, two of the three forks were active:
- Zeronet-enhanced/ZNE was the first fork with onion-v3 support, (and also includes performance enhancements), but its author seems to have left the project
- ZeroNetX pushes to get away from old infrastructure and eventually move on to Rust (programming language) code base
- zeronet-conservancy maintains existing codebase and adds features aimed at gradually migrating to a new p2p network designed from scratch
Development of the network
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. Another application, Beaker Browser, uses the P2P DAT files protocol to allow the creation, hosting and serving of websites without need of a server.
Sites on ZeroNet are known as "zites" by its users.
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.
- https://github.com/HelloZeroNet/ZeroNet/releases/tag/v0.7.1; publication date: 4 September 2019.
- "ZeroNet". GitHub. 19 May 2022.
- "Play: A P2P Distributed Torrent Site That's Impossible to Shut Down – TorrentFreak". TorrentFreak. Archived from the original on 2016-03-08. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- Kumar, Mohit (18 February 2015). "MegaNet — New Decentralized, Non-IP Based and Encrypted Network". The Hacker News. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "FAQ: Is Zero Net Anonymous". zeronet.io. Archived from the original on 2019-01-02. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
- Hill, Paul. "China blocks access to ZeroNet website and tracker". Neowin. Archived from the original on 16 June 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
- "Steal This Show S01E07: Did P2P Break the Law? - TorrentFreak". TorrentFreak. Event occurs at 17m39s. Archived from the original on 2016-03-07. 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.
- "Where did the ZeroNet creator go? · Issue #2749 · HelloZeroNet/ZeroNet". GitHub. Archived from the original on 2021-09-11. Retrieved 2021-09-11.
- "Guided evolution (Vs rule by decree or democratic centralism) — riza committee".
- "Inside Beaker". Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
- "Kim Dotcom's 'MegaNet' could be a bitcoin-inspired spy-resistant Internet". Upstart Business Journal. 31 March 2015.