Plugin: dnslink-ipfs

This transport plugin uses IPFS to fetch remote content using the IPFS CID retrieved via DNSLink for the original domain. This enables content retrieval even if the website on the original domain is down for whatever reason.


No specific configuration is available.


This plugin relies on the DNSLink standard in order to resolve the IPFS CID of the up-to-date content, and then uses IPFS to retrieve the content itself.

For this plugin to work, the website’s domain needs to have the _dnslink DNS label with a TXT record pointing to the latest IPFS CID of content. IPNS DNSlinks are not supported currently, due to a js-ipfs issue with IPNS resolution in the browser.

Deploying content to IPFS and updating the _dnslink TXT record is beyond the scope of this plugin, and needs to be set-up by the administrator of the website.


IPFS is a good way of making static content available in a decentralized way. It uses content-addressing (IPFS address, or “CID”, of a particular file depends on its contents), which means that a given CID will always identify a single specific file (or rather, its contents), as long as the file is available anywhere on the IPFS network.

IPFS CIDs can also exist for directories. In such cases, they reference CIDs of content (directories and files) contained within. Having a single CID of a directory of content hosted on IPFS is enough to be able to retrieve every file anywhere below in that directory structure.

However, content-addressing means that IPFS addresses are immutable. This is hardly acceptable for a website, so a strategy is needed to distribute the new IPFS CIDs each time the content changes. This is where DNSLink comes in — it specifies a standard way of distributing an up-to-date IPFS CID tied to a specific domain name. The IPFS CID for a DNSLink-enabled domain (like say, can be found in the TXT record of the _dnslink name in it (so,

$ kdig +short TXT

IPFS implementations, including the js-ipfs library used by this plugin, attempt to perform DNS lookups in a way that works around any potentiall local DNS issues. This means that even if a website using the dnslink-ipfs plugin is temporarily unavailable locally due to name resolution failure, as long as some IPFS nodes can resolve the _dnslink label, the plugin will work.

Once the _dnslink resolution is completed, js-ipfs is used to retrieve the content of the requested file directly from the IPFS network.

Deploying content

This plugin focuses only on content retrieval. For it to work, the website needs to have a way of pushing content to IPFS and updating the _dnslink label with the new IPFS CID.

The former can be achieved by running your own IPFS node (using Kubo, for example), or using third party IPFS pinning service.

The latter could involve using your DNS provider’s API to automatically update the relevant TXT record, using DNS Dynamic Update if supported by your DNS provider, or running your own minimal DNS server and delegating _dnslink zone to it from your main zone — this is the strategy used for currently.

One important consideration is the Time-to-live (TTL) value on the _dnslink TXT record: if content updates happen often and need to propagate fast, it needs to be as low as possible, but that will drive more DNS traffic to the nameserver, which might be a consideration. A TTL of 900 (15min) is probably a reasonable compromise value to start with.