# Link a domain

Users can view your website by entering its content identifier (CID) into their address bar. But, much like IP addresses, CIDs aren't particularly user-friendly or nice to look at. To fix this, we can map a domain name to your CID, so when users visit www.YourDomain.com they'll be forwarded to your site hosted on IPFS. This guide shows you how to map a regular domain name through DNS and a decentralized domain through the Ethereum naming service.

This section is completely optional, but following it will give you a solid grasp on how to manage domain names with IPFS.

# Domain name service (DNS)

We're going to walk through mapping a domain name to a CID. It doesn't matter which domain name registrar you use since all the steps are the same, but the links and settings will be in different places.

# Things you'll need

Before we get started, you will need:

  • A domain name, preferably one not already registered to a website.
  • The CID of your website hosted on IPFS. If you've been following this tutorial series, you should already have a website and CID ready.
  1. Access your registrar's control panel. You're looking for where you can manage the CNAME record and TXT records for your domain.
  2. Create a CNAME record.
    a. Set the Host to @.
    b. Set the Value to gateway.ipfs.io. Notice the trailing dot . at the end of gateway.ipfs.io..
  3. Create a TXT record.
    a. Set the Host to _dnslink.
    b. Set the value to dnslink=/ipfs/SITE_CID, replacing SITE_CID with the CID of your website.
  4. Save your changes.

DNS changes can take a while to propagate through the internet. Your domain should eventually point to your IPFS hosted site! Why not try doing the same thing with the Ethereum naming service?

# Ethereum naming service (ENS)

The Ethereum naming service (ENS) is a decentralized way to address resources. Like DNS, which converts human-readable names to IP addresses, ENS converts human-readable names such as randomplanetfacts.eth.link to Ethereum addresses. These addresses can then be used to point to CIDs on IPFS. Without going into too much detail, ENS aims to fix some of DNS's problems, mainly man-in-the-middle attacks and scalability. For more information on why DNS is broken, check out Cynthia Taylor's post on recompilermag.com (opens new window).

# Before we get started

You need these things to get a domain name through ENS:

  • The Metamask (opens new window) browser extension installed.
  • An Ethereum account with some ETH in it.
  • A website hosted on IPFS. If you've been following this tutorial series, you should already have a website and CID ready.
  • A cool idea for a domain name!

The price of domain names

The cost of your domain depends on a few things:

  • Which domain you want to purchase.
  • The current price of ETH.
  • The gas fees associated with your transaction.
  • How long you want the domain for.

The more years you choose to prepay, the less you will spend on gas fees overall: (1 year + 1 gas fee) < (10 years + 1 gas fee) < (10 * (1 year + 1 gas fee))

# Purchase an Ethereum domain name

  1. Go to ens.eth (opens new window) to visit using ENS+IPFS. You can also go to app.ens.domains (opens new window) to use regular DNS and the centralized web.

  2. Log in to MetaMask:

    Metamask pop-up showing a login screen.

  3. Search for the domain you want to use:

    Searching for a domain in ENS.

  4. Click on the domain if it's available.

  5. Click Request To Register:

    Registration screen within ENS.

  6. In the MetaMask window that pops up, click Confirm. This action will cost you ETH.

  7. Wait for the Request to register transaction to complete. This process can take a couple of minutes:

    Registration screen within ENS.

  8. ENS requires that you wait for around a minute once the transaction has been completed. This delay is to make sure there is no-one else attempting to purchase the same domain at the same time as you:

    Waiting for registration confirmation screen in ENS.

  9. Click Register. Then click Confirm in the MetaMask window that pops up:

    2nd transaction confirmation within MetaMask.

  10. Wait for the transaction to be confirmed. This process can take a couple of minutes:

    Waiting for the 2nd transaction to be verified.

    You should now be able to see all the settings for your .eth domain:

    All the domain settings within ENS

  1. Click the plus + icon next to Records:

    The "add new records" icon in ENS.

  2. Select Content from the dropdown:

    Records dropdown menu in ENS.

  3. Set the Content text box as the CID of your website, prefixed with ipfs://:

    Setting the content record as an IPFS CID.

  4. Confirm this change by clicking Confirm in the MetaMask pop-up:

    MetaMask confirmation pop-up for changing a content record.

    This transaction can take a couple of minutes to complete.

In a few minutes, you'll be able to go to Your_Domain.eth/ and view your website. Note the trailing slash /. Because .eth is not a registered DNS top-level domain, it is normally inaccessible through regular browsers.

Eth.link (opens new window) provides a way for any browser to access your website. Just append .link to your domain Your_Domain.eth.link. There are no additional steps required for this.

# Up next

In the next tutorial in this series, we'll take a look at a tool that will help make this whole process easier: Fleek.