|Developer(s)||Tamas Kocsis (original author), geekless, PramUkesh (maintainers of tor-v3 compatible forks) 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|
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|Anonymous file sharing|
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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.
There is no way to take down a ZeroNet page which still has seeders, thus making such pages immune to third-party methods of taking them down, including DMCA takedown notices.
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 four forks were active:
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.
Server-side languages like PHP are not supported, although ZeroNet can achieve user signup/login on MySQL databases, that are also distributed via P2P.
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.
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.