We all know that websites are hosted somewhere to make them accessible over the internet. So, what’s website hosting? First, let’s get back to the basics. Website hosting services offer stable and secure storage space for data and store it on web servers, enabling easy access and maintenance by users.
Coming to NFTs, you must have heard of the famous CryptoPunks, right? This image is hosted on a server that belongs to Larva Labs. Say, Larva Labs closes down someday, then this NFT will not display any image, though the token may continue to exist!
So, does that mean your NFTs are not forever? Do the servers where they are hosted determine their life span? Have you ever thought about where your NFTs are hosted? As in – NFT hosting.
And, yes, if they are hosted on a specific company’s web server, how to tackle this problem of losing the image?
What is the role of IPFS in NFT hosting?
NFTs offer the amazing feature of being linked to entities or data outside of smart contracts. In blockchain parlance, storing or processing data externally to smart contracts is called off-chain. However, as storing, processing, and replicating data being on-chain involves all these processes across a blockchain network, it can be highly expensive to store huge amounts of data. That is why storing your digital art or collectibles as NFTs involve costs ranging in thousands of millions!
This is where the idea of linking the NFT created to a digital file stored on a different system comes into the picture. Take the example of a digital file stored on HTTP as https:// imintify .com / sample-nft.png. In these traditional HTTPS links, anyone can access the file sample-nft.png as long as the owner pays the bills. This poses the threat of anyone accessing and modifying the file, meaning it would no longer remain the same NFT intended. This invalidates the complete purpose of storing the art or collectible as an NFT.
Enter IPFS. IPFS stands for InterPlanetary File System. The technology uses a content addressing feature, wherein adding data to IPFS creates a content identifier (CID). This CID consists of info derived from the data itself and links it to the data in the network. The foolproof functionality is that CID can refer to only one content piece at any time. This implies that if anyone wants to modify something, they have no option but to break the link!
As long as at least one copy exists on the network, anyone can fetch a copy of the data. This makes it an effective means of NFT storage. You just need to put the CID into ipfs:// URL for storage, and you get an immutable link from the blockchain, say, ethereum, to data for our token.
Imagine if you, the original creator of the NFT, want to modify it after publication. No worries, that’s simple! You need to add a request in the smart contract to update the URL for a token already issued. This enables you to change the URL and create a new IPFS URL. It leaves a record of the initial version in the blockchain’s transaction history for tracking.
Thus, it offers transparency and clear details on what changes were made, by when, and by whom. As a result, it is pivotal to NFT hosting.
Different variants support NFT hosting, such as Pinata, NFT Storage, etc. So, what exactly do these tools do? Say, an NFT image is stored on it via any of these software. In that case, even if the company that hosts the image on its server shuts down, the image is not lost from the NFT. The NFT hosting network via Pinata ensures that there are copies of the NFT image on those several thousands of computers, thanks to its decentralization of data! In essence, NFT hosting makes sure that the NFT image is not inaccessible over the internet.
Pinata Vs nft.storage
While both Pinata and nft.storage offer services in hosting the NFT images, the features have some differences. Both operate as a software-as-a-service system. Pinata offers 24/7 support, and in addition to free versions, these features are not available in nft.storage.
How to host your NFT minting website?
As you may be aware, minting holds the actual worth of NFTs. In the absence of minting, what you have is just a digital file that can be copied innumerable times, not a non-fungible token. That said, you have your NFT minting website, where you mint your NFTs.
The question is, how do you host this website?
Well, this is where the Interplanetary File System comes into the picture. Basically, it is a protocol for sharing and storing data on a blockchain network in a distributed file system.
NFT platforms are complex, involving the choice of tech stack, user interfaces, APIs, and more. However, with some technical background, you could easily host your NFT minting website using this feature.
Alternatively, if you wish to create by yourself, we help you with that too. Moreover, we also provide the option to upload your website. It is very much similar to web hosting, so no worries!