The IPFS Gateways

What are IPFS Gateways

IPFS gateways are IPFS nodes that are hosted for the benefit of anyone who would like to access IPFS content from the HTTP-based web2 internet. Protocol Labs operates and is responsible for only two public gateways, those being and Regardless, they maintain a list of over 80 known public gateways. Some commonly used gateways are and

IPFS Gateways are provided for convenience, but also for an owners own use cases. They help tools that speak HTTP but that do not speak to distributed protocols like IPFS’s. They are the first stage to bridging web2 and web3. To learn how to access the IPFS network through a gateway checkout the Get Files through an IPFS Gateway section below.


HTTP gateways have worked well since 2015, but they come with a significant set of limitations related both to the centralized nature of HTTP and some of HTTP’s semantics. Location-based addressing of a gateway depends on both the Domain Name System (DNS) and HTTPS with TLS Certificates, which relies on a trust in certificate authorities (CAs) and public key infrastructure (PKI). In the long term, these issues should be mitigated by use of opportunistic protocol upgrade schemes, encrypting communication channels and enabling safe peer-to-peer connections.

Get Files Through an IPFS Gateway

In the most basic scheme, a URL path used for content addressing is effectively a resource name without a location-based address. The HTTP server provides the location part, which makes it possible for browsers to interpret an IPFS content path relative to the current server and work without a need for any conversion. There are various types of IPFS gateways, that each has security, performance, and other functional implications. The most common way to read data from gateways are with this pathing schema:


Native URLs

When searching for content on IPFS on the command line or ipfs desktop we are using the native ipfs protocol handler behind the scenes. The only differentiating factor is that ipfs:// replaces the https:// format that we are familiar with:


The IPFS URL protocol scheme requires case-insensitive (no capital letters) CIDv1 content identifiers with Base32 encoding. This is necessary because it allows for a standard way to address content in browsers and in our local node.

A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) for IPFS has a different structure than a typical http URI that starts with https:, and when you create an IPFS URI, you will need to convert it to a new format that starts with ipfs or ipns :

ipfs://{immutable-root}/path/to/resourceA → /ipfs/{immutable-root}/path/to/resourceA

ipns://{mutable-root}/path/to/resourceB → /ipns/{mutable-root}/path/to/resourceB

The new identifier is made up of the CID of the IPFS or IPNS resource, then the path to the directory where that particular piece of content is, and the name of the file you are looking to retrieve:



Native URIs must have a CID that is case-insensitive (no need for lower- or upper-cases) which is the format CIDv1 uses by default (as opposed to CIDv0 which is case-sensitive).

Learn more in


Web browsers and tools in the browser make it easy to access content on the distributed web.

IPFS Companion Browser Extension

IPFS Companion is a browser extension that simplifies access to IPFS resources and adds browser support for the IPFS protocol. It runs in Firefox (desktop and Android) and Chromium-based browsers including Chrome or Brave. Check out all of IPFS Companion’s features and install it today!

Brave Browser

Brave v1.19 has integrated IPFS into their desktop web browser for Windows, macOS and Linux. When Brave detects an address which is an HTTP gateway URL to IPFS content or a native IPFS address such as ipfs:// or ipns:// it will prompt the user to install and enable the native IPFS node, or to use an HTTP gateway. Diagnostic UI can be found at brave://ipfs, we suggest enabling IPFS Companion for the best experience

Opera Browser

Opera for Android 57 introduced support for resolving ipfs:// or ipns:// via a customizable gateway. For more information take a look at the official announcement.

Puma Browser

Puma is a mobile browser and wallet for the Web3 ecosystem. Private by design. Today, they support native IPFS, HNS & ENS protocols and enable seamless payments for creators and developers. You can use the ipfs:// protocol to access content from the address bar via a customizable gateway.


Collaborations make it easy for other to build applications and use standards that make it possible for users to access content on the distributed web.


Protocol Labs is a W3C Member. Current focus is to watch, learn, and participate in WebExtensions Community Group.

IPFS and Igalia team up

In 2020 IPFS and Igalia, an open source company with expertise in browser development and the web platform, started a collaboration that continues to this day. This opportunity has started discussions and has risen awareness of the distributed web. Their effort has brought much needed progress to bringing IPFS to Firefox and Chromium-based browsers. One years later, after their official announcement, this collaboration effort has brought ipfs:// support to Chromium browsers!

IPFS and JavaScript

At present, in order to interact with IPFS in a web browser, you must either bundle js-ipfs-core (a full IPFS node in JavaScript) with your client-side application or use the js-ipfs-http-client client library to connect to an external daemon running on a local or remote machine.

DNSLink enables you to map a domain name to an IPFS address (CID or IPNS libp2p-key) by means of a DNS TXT record.

To create a mutable pointer with DNSLink, you need:

  • A domain name you control (e.g.
  • A CID or an IPNS name to link to, such as a website published with -> /ipfs/QmYyg8yU6k5Zxwugiy32UhzJabdNC2Yac2y9nSmPr4K5FS

Finally, you can use an IPFS gateway using the /ipns/[DNSLink] resolution scheme to resolve DNSLink names, e.g. (notice this follows the schema above)

Source: Introduction to DNSlink, IPFS docs on DNSLink

How to Run Your Own HTTP Gateway | Devrel - Daniel Norman

You can use the latest Kubo daemon and follow gateway recipes to turn your local node into a public gateway. Or checkout this step-by-step walkthrough tutorial to launch your own publicly available IPFS gateway to