The world’s 2nd largest domain registrar, Namecheap has announced the launch of Handshake domain registration services. The Handshake naming system (HNS) is a peer-to-peer network and decentralized system that uses blockchain technology. This means that it bypasses the oversight of traditional centralized data hosting services offering better control, freedom and security of the domain and website. Handshake domain name registration has opened the doors for millions of new and unique domains.
HNS is a way towards decentralizing the web which proposes the idea of reorganizing the Internet. Handshake aims to replace ICANN’s role as the key authority for creating and issuing top-level domains with an open auction system that is easily operated by its computing network.
Impact of Decentralized Web
Once HNS becomes mainstream and the go-to for domain registration, it can make certain companies, which are involved in the management of domains via certificate authorities, obsolete. It is important to mention that Handshake domains do not resolve in regular browsers that we use like Mozilla, Chrome, Safari, and others. To access these domains, there is an additional setup and Namecheap offers numerous ways of accessing these domains.
How many Domains are available?
Currently, Namecheap is offering 11 Handshake top-level domains (TLDs). These are – .p, .pgp, .sox, .elite, .ill, .oh, .oo, .saas, .creator, .oot, .orb. The global leader aims to offer many more TLDs for hassle-free domain registration in the near future.
How to access a Handshake Domain?
As mentioned before, HNS is a pioneer in decentralizing the web for a more open Internet. Hence, most browsers are not equipped to navigate to an HNS domain. But there are several ways to enable a browser or device to recognize and resolve these newer domains. There are 7 resolvers that can ensure that your regular browser can navigate to a HNS domain. These are:
NextDNS – NextDNS is a domain name system service that can be easily used to access handshake domains. You need to have this service set up on your device. Once installed, simply go to the settings sections, and turn on the “resolve Handshake domains” option.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) – A few VPN services also provide the option for resolving Handshake domains. For instance, VPN users can switch their selected name server to HNS instead of their default DNS.
HSD/HDNS node – You can use the Handshake software’s full node (HSD) to manage a Handshake domain. HSD functions as a resolver allowing you to register, update, transfer names or even make blockchain payments. Another option is to use the software’s light client (HDNS) to resolve Handshake domains. This is a great way to resolve without using the full node computing power of the system.
HDNS.io – With HDNS.io, using an encrypted DNS protocol, you can directly access Handshake websites. The encrypted DNS protocol protects the Handshake website from DNS spying and tampering. Since HDNS.io is a public resolver option, there is no need for any sign-up to use the service. In order to use HDNS.io, you need to change the DNS server settings on your computer.
HNS.to – This is one of the easiest and convenient options as it works on your current DNS settings. Simply go to HNS.to and put in your site address in the search bar to access the Handshake domain. You also simply affix “hns.to/” to your site address to access your Handshake website.
Web Browser Extensions – Several developers have created browser extensions to allow seamless access to Handshake sites. Bob Wallet and LinkFrame are 2 of the extensions available for Google Chrome. In the case of Mozilla FireFox, you can use the add-on known as Resolvr.
Fingertip – Fingertip is an open-source, lightweight HNS resolver developed by Impervious. You can use this HNS resolver to access Handshake websites. This resolver is available for both Mac and Windows OS.
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