If web3 foundation lies in decentralization, why do so many projects rely on centralized web2 platforms? It seems that the “revolution” promised by every other web3 project uses tools that are notoriously prone to centralized abuse. In the form of paywalls, censorship and surveillance capitalism. Here are some decentralized web2 alternatives for your web3 endeavor.
Web hosting global market share as a great example of decentralization
From technical perspective nothing can exist on the Internet without a server. The web hosting industry that provides servers started growing locally in each country in the 1990s. Due to market dynamics, physical vicinity, individuals’ preferences, and niche specialization of each web hosting provider the industry is very decentralized. Even the biggest providers host a small percentage of all the websites available on the Internet. That’s a sign of healthy commercial relationship between providers, website owners, and website users.
Where is your project hosted?
As shown above, choosing the hosting provider doesn’t really affect your decentralized integrity. Most of them support open-source standards on all levels of their tech stack (e.g. Linux, PHP, MySQL). Which means that you can freely develop, backup, and transfer your data – whenever necessary. Even if you’re choosing Big Tech cloud providers like Amazon (AWS) or Google (GCP), there’s a lot of competition and migration between services is not problematic.
The ability to move between providers is crucial because attitude towards web3 projects changes dynamically. Especially Big Tech companies can enforce their frequently updated terms and ban certain kind of projects. Therefore, it’s best to keep automatic backups elsewhere and restore your site at another, more open-minded hosting provider.
Where the content about your project is published?
The primary way of learning about any web3 project is via blog posts, articles, and documentation. It’s essential to provide the official source of information – namely your own blog and knowledge base. Many web3 projects choose convenience of centralized publishing platform like Medium. They have a terrible track record of setting pay walls and rapidly changing monetization rules. Moreover, content of your articles has to abide their current terms. The best decentralized alternative for professional blog hosting is to use self-hosted WordPress or Ghost.
Your web3 project documentation should also be secured from platform takedowns and other censoring actions. So instead of GitHub Pages you can use GitLab Pages.
Thriving community is a bloodline for each web3 project. Therefore, I find it quite risky to entrust so much power over the communication channels to platforms like Discord and Telegram. I agree that they are popular, and they offer user-friendly apps. But they are still centralized services, prone to outside influence and control.
Instead of Discord you can use Element.io that works on end-to-end encrypted Matrix protocol. Moreover, you can install it on your own server to completely control the community data and conversations. Element offers mobile and desktop apps, so your users can still enjoy the ease of communication regardless of their device.
If you are using a Telegram Channel to broadcast updates about your project, a much better decentralized alternative is to use an email newsletter. There are plenty of competing mass emailing providers, and you always control the list of subscribers. At any moment, you can move it to another provider and keep updating your users as before.
Web2 centralized platforms as additional channels
Treat all other centralized web2 platforms only as a nice to have extras. Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, etc. is a long list of Internet services that come and go. We can chip in, maybe ride on the trend wave for a bit and get some additional publicity. But they should never be the core of your Internet presence.
Precisely, if you care about the decentralization, and your web3 project is here to push the envelope. Show that you care about your data, content and the community by choosing decentralized alternatives. Alternatives that are already helping us all to decentralize the Web.