Frequently Asked Questions

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What are Dat archives?

Dat Archives are bundles of files that are shared in a peer-to-peer network. They are similar to Torrents, except that they are changeable, versioned, and privately shareable. In Beaker, they act as websites.

You can read more about the Dat protocol here.

What do Dat URLs look like?

Like this:

dat://54f74fe89d7779946343ec6db9618631e4dbf43bece2a125d0099103741963c9/

They work just like regular URLs, except that the “hostname” is a 64-character hex number. You can reference specific files by putting the path at the end:

dat://54f74fe89d7779946343ec6db9618631e4dbf43bece2a125d0099103741963c9/index.html

Can I use DNS to create short URLs?

Yes! You can with the DatHTTPD server.

Is the network anonymous?

No!

This is very important to understand: If any other user has the link to a Dat site, they’ll be able to see your requests for it, and they’ll know your IP address. Browsing Dat sites is therefore not anonymous.

Is the Dat Protocol encrypted?

Yes, like in HTTPS, the connection is encrypted. The URL itself is used to encrypt the connection; therefore, only people with whom you have shared a URL can read the traffic.

Will my files be available when I’m offline?

It depends. When you turn off your computer, you are no longer hosting your files. But if you’ve shared the URL to your site with others, it’s possible that they might be hosting its files.

To guarantee that your site’s files are available even when you’re offline, you can use server software such as DatHTTPD.

How do I view a specific version of a site?

To view a site at a given version, simply add +{versionNumber} at the end of the site’s URL.

Who can see websites I publish with Beaker?

Your site is private by default. Dat URLs are effectively unguessable and are never sent over the network, so only people you share the URL with will be able to download your site’s files.

How does a Dat site differ from a normal site?

Other than the difference in protocols, Dat sites are more tightly “sandboxed.” Without explicit permission, they are not allowed to access the network directly. That means you can’t embed YouTube videos, use Google Analytics, or make Ajax requests home. This is to protect the privacy of users.

Do I automatically host sites that I’ve visited or downloaded?

Yes, temporarily. If you want to rehost a site permanently, you should save it to your sites library.

Who is allowed to change a Dat site?

When a site is created, a “key pair” is generated (literally, a pair of keys). The “private” key gives you the power to change the site. Beaker keeps that secret inside a database, on your device. The second key, called the “public” key, gives other users the power to find and download the site. The public key is used to create the site’s URL.

Only the user with the private key can change the site. If the private key is lost, the site can never be changed.

Don't try to copy the private key onto multiple devices, except as a backup precaution. The Dat protocol doesn't yet have a way to handle conflicting updates, which might happen if you make changes from 2 devices.

Can I browse regular HTTP/S sites?

Yes, Beaker browses the normal Web.

Will peer-to-peer protocols ever be adopted by other browsers?

We hope so!

Is Beaker built entirely from scratch?

No, it’s a fork of the Chrome browser.