IPFS is a peer-to-peer (P2P) hypermedia protocol that makes it possible for anyone with an internet connection to serve files for free online.
While it’s possible to seed and host (aka pin) files on a home computer using the IPFS Desktop app, the easiest and most reliable way to pin files is with an IPFS pinning service. Pinning services are akin to content delivery networks (CDNs) like S3 on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Backblaze’s B2 cloud drive. Pinning services are also used to ensure files uploaded to IPFS remain persistent on the distributed web.
Public IPFS gateways are used to make files on the distributed web accessible via HTTP. For example, Cloudflare has an IPFS gateway at
cloudflare-ipfs.com which makes it possible to access files on IPFS and even host a free high-availability site.
While hosting a site on IPFS with a custom domain is a relatively simple webmaster task, having a gateway with your own domain has been out of reach for most people. That is, at least until now. A leading pinning service, Pinata, launched a new feature that enables its users to create dedicated IPFS gateways with custom domains.
Professional accounts, which start at $20/mo with 100GB of bandwidth, come with the option to create a single gateway. Additional gateways can be created for $10/mo each, and all of the gateways can have a custom domain.
Each gateway can be configured to be restricted, which means it will only serve files that have been pinned by the account and are associated with the gateway. Alternatively, an unrestricted gateway will serve any file on the IPFS distributed web.
I was able to set up a gateway on Pinata using the
coywolf.cloud domain name. It’s a restricted gateway, so only the files I upload and pin can be served from it. Here’s an example of a file that’s pinned to my Pinata account and accessible via the gateway I created with my custom domain,
An IPFS gateway with a custom domain is an excellent way to share and serve files online, especially social networks. However, it’s important to note that files on IPFS are public. Therefore, if you have files you want to keep private, consider either encrypting them before pinning them to Pinata or uploading them to a private bucket on a service like Backblaze B2 instead.