P2P DNS for Firefox

In Uncategorized on September 2, 2006 at 5:57 am

Author: Marc Fawzi

Twitter: http://twitter.com/marcfawzi

License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0

In general, you can take any server-centric system and produce its disruptive counter-part using browser-centric P2P technology.

If browsers like Firefox were to implement a P2P DNS plugin then who needs Verisign (Or GoDaddy for that matter) !?

If someone was to write a Firefox extension that sets up a P2P DNS system wherein each DNS browser plugin would map the topologically close set of IPv4/IPv6 addresses to the corresponding set of domain names and where each Firefox DNS plugin can query any other Firefox DNS plugin running in the network in a timely way, then, in theory, we could have a P2P domain name system (P2P DNS) that would remove our dependency on centralized DNS servers by having the domain-name resolution be handled by distributed peers.

Obviously, the trick here is in having a scalable P2P database technology where each node in the network can resolve a domain name to an IP address (through some intelligent network-based routing) within seconds on first attempt and milliseconds on subsequent attempts. I believe that this technology either already exists or that the latest, greatest innovations in P2P database and network-coding may be used to implement it. If not, then it’s just a matter of time before such disruptive technology emerges.

Such P2P DNS would apply to email, too, as long as it’s done from the browser (or by having such P2P DNS service loaded by the OS.)

2010 Update:

This post is currently receiving a massive amount of hits, relative to just last week when it had 0 hits.

It seems that folks like Pirate Bay’s founder are now catching on to the importance of having such a system (google: priate bay p2p dns.)

Such a system can only increase democracy and freedom, especially for residents of countries that don’t have either, and as far as the piracy implications go the iTunes and Netflix models proved that most people prefer to pay for music/books/movies than starve the content makers. I hope that other EFF and others start pushing for a P2P DNS standard.



DNS, P2P, Verisign, Firefox, Firefox Extension, P2P DNS

  1. Sam wrote:

    good thoughts, but man, you need to brush up on your foreign languages. “avoir” is the infinitive form of “have” –perhaps you were looking for “au revoir”?

    Evolvingtrends wrote:

    Well, yes, but that’s like the difference between Freedomfries and Freedom Fries.

    I win. ;-)


    P.S. Grand Haven, MI is really nice. Very different than Cape Cod/Vinyard. People here are less sophisticated/simpler.

  2. I think that you are ultimately right, Marc. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are still some big security and other issues to work out with P2P systems like what you are describing. But, they’re not insurmountable.

  3. I found your website as I was strumbling around in the internet to see if something similar has already been put up. In fact, just after I heard about that story in Brazil where Youtube has been banned from country’s ISPs’ DNS servers, I told to myself that there should be a way to overcome such censorship. This would be a great project to start up. I don’t think though that we could achieve fast queries since all p2p networks are often high-latency systems…

  4. Hi!

    It’s funny, I just found this website…

    I’m now working on a p2p like Dns server.

    I don’t try to do a plugin for firefox (I try doesn’t work…), I just do a proxy like, you can specify in FF or IE. When you do some query to resolved a Domain name, first you try using the P2P resolution, after you go in traditional server….

  5. Such type of dns exists … They are called Multicast DNS or mDNS … created by apple… (they called it RendezVous then Bonjour) the implementation on Linux is Avahi .. there is a bonjour plugin for windows… Microsoft also has its type but it is not as efficient or as polyvalent ( UpNp)

  6. I had this idea myself, only recently; and I’ve been trying to connect with someone else who’s thinking in this vein. The irony is, I have the same expectation for the immediacy of this problem–it seems like it should be solved soon; and apparently, you had the same expectation several years ago.

    At any rate, I see the need for such a system with more urgency now than ever. Beyond a Firefox plugin, a truly independent DNS architecture that can be scaled up and down rapidly. A client like Firefox or Azureus would be needed to install a basic DNS + LAMP (WAMP or MAMP) system, whereby sites and servers could be mirrored.

    Services like Zoho are already offering databases as a web app, which suggests the possibility of p2p databasing–insofar as they use a distributed file system architecture in the databases beneath the web app database.

    At any rate, it’s a good idea.

  7. […] not the first person to think that this might be something that would make an interesting Firefox plugin in the […]

  8. Apologies for commenting on a three-year old post, but I discovered this while searching Google for… basically this exact thing – so I thought I’d at least comment on what lead me to think of the idea.

    Alas it was not Firefox that inspired it (3 years and no movement on any such extension, that I know of) but a certain Norwegian browser that already has some level of support for p2p technologies, and has now just added a p2p server with UPnP to boot. DNS seems the obvious next logical step in my mind.

  9. In attempt to beat the lucideer let me comment on a twelfe year old post.

    Around the time of the 2010 update there was this IDONS idea of Lauren Weinstein. I myself engaged somewhat in it, since DNS was always one of the target I had in mind for Askemos to solve.
    In this reference list I mentioned your post:

    These days I’m pessimistic: Askemos was the first usable, blockchain a.k.a. smart contract style programming environment. The link above is served from it right from the beginning. It always was about the democratization of the internet. Build righ from the ground upon consensus.

    But few ever cared about it. The copycats added the concept of a crypto currency (which is obviously damaging to the core values), subverted the concept named “consensus” to mean “lottery”, never talked about the predecessors and … became a huge success.

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