ZeroNet is a decentralized web-like network of peer-to-peer users. Programming for the network is based in Budapest, Hungary; is built in Python; and is fully open source. Instead of having an IP address, sites are identified by a public key (specifically a bitcoin address). The private key allows the owner of a site to sign and publish change, which propagate through the network. Sites can be accessed through an ordinary web browser when using the ZeroNet application, which acts as a local webhost for such pages. In addition to using bitcoin cryptography, ZeroNet uses trackers from the BitTorrent network to negotiate connections between peers. ZeroNet is anonymous by default, by hiding their IP address using the built-in Tor functionality.
The ZeroNet website and bittorrent tracker are blocked in China.
The existence of peer-to-peer online web-sites had been hypothesised for some time, with The Pirate Bay suggesting they would build a network, as well as BitTorrent Inc. which created the closed-source Project Maelstrom. One other similar project is the SAFE Network by MaidSafe, though it has not yet seen widespread use, and has been said to focus more on file storage. Another application, Beaker Browser, uses the P2P DAT files protocol to allow the creation, hosting and serving of websites without need of a server.
As of 2016 there is no way to take down a ZeroNet page which still has seeders,hus making such pages immune to third-party methods of taking them down, including DMCA takedown notices. By default, sites have a size limit of 10 megabytes, but users may grant a site permission to use more storage space if they wish.