SyncNet is a decentralized web browser that uses BitTorrent Sync

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 29, 2014

When you connect to a website or service on today's Internet, connections to servers hosting site contents are established. If a server is not available at the time, some part of a website or all of it may not be displayed in the program you are using.

While there are some options to grab the data anyway, caching for instance, you would still rely on a limited amount of servers and companies to deliver those contents to you.

Torrents on the other hand work in a different way. While they are seeded initially by one user or  a group of users, the data is made available by downloaders as well, so that the pool of potential content distributors increases with every user downloading files from a torrent.

The basic idea behind SyncNet is to introduce a web browser that uses a similar system when it comes to making available web contents.

Whenever you access a website using the browser, it is stored in its entirety on the local system. The next user who accesses the website will download it from the original server and you.

The more users access a resource, the more it is spread across machines and devices, and the less likely it is that it will become unavailable.


A side-effect of this is that it will decrease the load on the original server.

There are caveats however as the author mentions. One of the biggest issues is the loading time of websites. When you load a website the "normal way" in a web browser of choice, it takes no more than seconds usually to download, render and display it on the local system.

SyncNet in its current state downloads all files for a requested site according to the author. He has plans to improve that behavior though to speed this up in future releases.

Another issue is that only static contents are supported. While that ensures that many websites can be accessed using the browser, dynamic ones cannot be or only partially.

The method to make a new site available is also less than ideal. You need to add a directory of HTML files to Bittorrent Sync. The author has plans however to change that to make current websites available via the browser.

Last but not least, SyncNet is only available as source code and not a binary that you can run on your system.


SyncNet is an experiment more than it is something that many users will start to use soon. It may be the way to go forward on the other hand, with more and more countries starting to censor Internet resources and service providers trying to undercut net neutrality to make a quick buck.

What's your take on Internet decentralization? Know of any other projects that aim for it?

SyncNet is a decentralized web browser that uses BitTorrent Sync
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SyncNet is a decentralized web browser that uses BitTorrent Sync
SyncNet uses the data synchronization client BitTorrent Sync to make available website contents to all users who use the browser.

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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