ENS+IPFS Part 2: Accessing ENS+IPFS Websites

This website is accessible in an ENS+IPFS version, almonit.eth.

Part 1 explained what ENS+IPFS websites are, and this part explains how to access such websites. Part 3 explains how to create them.

Option 1: Status browser (highest quality, mobile phones only)

Status browser, also called a “mobile Ethereum OS”, supports ENS+IPFS websites only for Android (Desktop version doesn’t support it and iPhone version is in beta status). That’s the easiest option to access almonit.eth.

Limitations? Status is available only with the Google Play Store (hey! not everyone use Google Store!), and apparently it doesn’t support all android devices (such as, hmm, mine). That said, the company aim for blockchain values such as privacy and decentralization (their FAQ is honest and great).

Cons? Requires to open a Status and Ethereum account.

Both Status and Metamask (described below) require to open a software account (=password) and to have an Ethereum account. That’s because both softwares are general Ethereum tools and not dedicated ENS+IPFS solutions.

In theory no accounts are needed to access ENS+IPFS websites; The future should bring simpler tools.

Installation: Google Play Store.

Option 2: Firefox + Metamask (moderate quality, all devices)

Metaamask is a general and relatively easy ENS+IPSF solution (powered by Portal Network) for both mobile and desktop devices.

It works, but with hiccups.

Cons? As with Status, Metamask and Ethereum accounts are needed.

Installation: Install Metamask plugin for Firefox and open an account.

Metamask with a local Parity node

For extra security and privacy use a local Parity node with Metamask (instead of Metamask Ethereum node).

For this start parity in a light node (for fast synchronization, though be careful! it’s an experimental option!), and allow JSON RPC calls (meaning, allow other apps to talk with your Parity node). You do it (after installing Parity) with this command.

parity --light --jsonrpc-cors all

Note that this allows all software to talk to your Parity node, and is quite unsafe. Investigate further if you want to lunch parity while giving access to Metamask only.

Same is possible with a local geth node.

Manually (all devices, decentralized, inconvenient)

For power users only at the moment.

In theory you can also access ENS+IPFS websites manually.

What you need is the content of the ENS domain. Using this content with IPFS, either via a local IPFS node or a public IPFS gateway such as https://ipfs.io/ipfs/.

In practice, this method can only be used (without extra steps) if ENS content format is the same as IPSF format. The ENS manager only started supporting contenthash in February 2019 (including IPFS), and it will take some time for website and apps to catch up with it.

Future options: Opera and Brave browsers

It was announced that both Opera (here) and Brave (here) browsers will adopt ENS+IPSF in the future.