Lesson: Access IPFS content through any IPFS gateway

Goals

This lesson covers using any IPFS gateway to access IPFS content. It's a condensed review of the Lesson on Using an HTTP browser to retrieve files from a local IPFS gateway

After doing this Lesson you will be able to

  • Use the HTTP address of any IPFS gateway to access IPFS content

Steps

Step 1: Get the address of a gateway

As we covered in Tutorial: Going Online - Joining the Distributed Web, when you run an IPFS daemon, it exposes an HTTP endpoint that acts as a gateway between HTTP and the IPFS network. This means that you can, in theory, point your web browser at any IPFS node's HTTP endpoint and use it as a gateway. In reality, the person operating that node usually needs to take extra steps to make their gateway available over HTTP (NAT traversal, etc).

For these examples we will use the gateway at http://dweb.link

Step 2: Build the Path to your Content

As described in the Lesson on Using an HTTP browser to retrieve files from local IPFS gateway, you must tell the gateway whether you're requesting content with an IPFS hash or an IPNS hash. If you're using the hash of a specific snapshot of content -- for example a file that someone added to IPFS, use the path /ipfs/<your-ipfs-hash>. If you're using an IPNS hash to get the latest version of some content that gets updated over time, for example a website that gets fresh content every day, use the path /ipns/<your-ipns-hash>

Step 3: Request the content from the gateway

Combine the gateway's address (ie. http://dweb.link) with the path to your content (ie. /ipfs/<your-ipfs-hash>). Use that to request the content.

To view the wikipedia page we're using as an example in all of the lessons in the Tutorial on The Myriad Ways to Access and Distribute IPFS Content, use these links:

Explanation

With the above examples, we are using an HTTP connection over the internet to someone (http://dweb.link) providing a gateway onto the IPFS network. In this way you can access information in the IPFS network at large, and you do not need to run your own IPFS gateway.

TODO

  • Restricting the content that your gateway will serve

  • Security concerns -- the gateway can see all the things that an HTTP server can see.

Next Steps

If you want to learn about the many other ways you can use IPFS to access the same content using the same content-addressed link, go to the Tutorial on The Myriad Ways to Access and Distribute IPFS Content.

Otherwise return to the tutorial on Interacting with the Classical (HTTP) web