Configuring Handshake Top-Level Domains for GitHub Pages

A Quick Start Guide for DWeb Hosting

Anthony Mandelli
Aug 14, 2020 · 4 min read
Let’s set up a sweet custom domain

What is Handshake?

If you’re not familiar with ICANN, it’s a United States nonprofit organization that maintains databases of namespaces and numerical designations on the web; a phone book for the entire internet.

Handshake aims to experiment with new ways the internet can be more secure, resilient, and socially useful with a peer-to-peer system validated by the network’s participants. — Handshake.org

Handshake’s purpose is to remove the need for authorities like ICANN and the registrars that charge rental fees for domain name “ownership.” Instead, Handshake’s permissionless blockchain serves as the source of truth, providing immutable DNS records. This is the coolest part: this means when you buy a domain with Handshake, you actually own it.

Once you own a top level domain, naturally you want to do something with it. Here’s how to initially set up a personal website using GitHub Pages and then point your Handshake domain to it.

If you don’t own a Handshake domain yet, the Namebase docs walk you through the process.

Setting up a GitHub pages site

GitHub’s official docs are very helpful; I wrote a step-by-step guide for building a Pages site as well.

Broadly speaking:

  1. Create a new repository on Github called USERNAME.github.io where USERNAME is your GitHub username.
  2. Go to the repository settings…

3. …then scroll down to enable GitHub Pages by choosing a publishing source (for personal websites, select Master) and choosing a theme.

4. Add an index.html file to your repository’s root directory and commit it to your publishing source (which should be the main branch).

Updating your GitHub Pages URL settings

I chose to set my URL as writtenby.mandelliant but it could have just as easily been mandelliant.

Configuring your Handshake top level domain

Select the domain you want to use and click the ‘Manage’ button.

If you have the ability to host your own nameservers, Namebase recommends doing so, otherwise they give you the information you need to use theirs.

Create your NS record:

Add your nameserver DNS records:

The Name field is the subdomain for your website, and the Value/Data field is where the URL should point. I left the default TTL value.

Your GitHub Pages site should now be accessible from subdomain.yourdomain/!

Visiting Handshake domains

Give HNS.to a try by searching for welcome.nb or (shameless plug) writtenby.mandelliant.

gif courtesy of the Namebase docs

If you want to try modifying your DNS settings, Namebase covers a variety of methods on different platforms / operating systems.

Happy building! If you want to learn more about what’s to come for the DWeb go here: https://medium.com/blockchannel/the-decentralized-web-a87b2b9d100

More Handshake Educational References:

BlockChannel

BlockChannel is a new media & educational hub focused on…

BlockChannel

BlockChannel is a new media & educational hub focused on the socio-cultural/economic issues related to blockchain technologies like BTC/ETH/& HNS. Visit BlockChannel.com for more resources; and SoundCloud.com/BlockChannelShow for our official podcast.

Anthony Mandelli

Written by

Technology story teller | Amateur Django dev | Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and books.

BlockChannel

BlockChannel is a new media & educational hub focused on the socio-cultural/economic issues related to blockchain technologies like BTC/ETH/& HNS. Visit BlockChannel.com for more resources; and SoundCloud.com/BlockChannelShow for our official podcast.