The decentralized web is gaining popularity, snowballing into mainstream popularity. However, many parts of the decentralized web feel like the early days of the internet. The decentralized web today is very much like the Wild West. There are no default pages to go to for a new Web3 user to explore all that Web3 has to offer. Instead, a fractured and sometimes-inaccessible network of applications welcomes new users. You can't go to something like Google and find a web page on the decentralized web. How do you manage to browse the new websites and find one that suits your interest?
Well, say hello to Esteroids (opens new window).
# Remembering the Earliest Days of the Internet
When the web approached mainstream adoption and users first logged on in the 90s or early 00s, they started at a landing page. Companies like Yahoo and less popular competitors like Altavista would set up pages where users could explore directories that fit their interests. These pages also provided search functionality, but they gave users the chance to discover things they might not have even known existed. As the internet shifted its focus towards search engines, these directory pages fell out of popularity. Even now, Yahoo's landing page doesn't attract many people exploring its options. And Altavista is a remnant of the past. Though early internet users are well acquainted with the ability for directories to help in website discovery, few of today’s users are familiar.
Thanks to users from that era, these early attempts at offering users a chance to see what's happening at the fringes of the internet aren't entirely lost. A single entity doesn't control the decentralized web, and websites don't need to conform to the rules of central search engine algorithms to be discovered by users. As a side effect, however, decentralized websites can be difficult to find, especially for newer users. Esteroids is building a search engine that indexes decentralized websites and a landing page where users can discover the wonders of Web3.
# The ENS and IPFS
IPFS provides storage for the decentralized web. Data is stored through IPFS, which generates content IDs (CIDs), enabling anyone to access those files. Websites don't need to have a server to store data to load a website anymore. They can just access the content through the CID provided by IPFS. The decentralized web operates slightly differently in how it serves data. When a website joins the regular internet, it's hosted by a provider, and the website name propagates across the world's domain name servers (DNS). The equivalent in the decentralized web is the Ethereum Name Server (opens new window) (ENS).
Esteroids collects and catalogs these new ENS sites, which use IPFS, keeping track of them as they're added to the decentralized web. Every hour, Esteroids updates their list of new and fresh sites allowing users to scroll down their landing page and discover websites they may not have heard about. Esteroids even maintains a Twitter account that regularly broadcasts new additions to its directory: [https://twitter.com/e_steroids]( "Community Highlight: Esteroids")
# A Two-Person Job
So, who are the people behind Esteroids? The two-person team of Eyal Ron and Tomer Leicht are responsible for developing and maintaining Esteroids. The team is currently building out the backend of the website and ensuring that it can keep up with a more demanding load as more people start to build decentralized websites. The team is looking to get a microgrant to improve the project by hiring a new design and UI/UX person or group.
# The Future of Discovery?
How do you find the websites you typically use?
Most likely, it’s through a search engine or someone suggesting the site to you. Search engines are one of the core features of today’s internet; but site discovery is still beholden to shadowy, centralized algorithms. For the decentralized web to continue to grow, it must have a way to give users access to sites they might enjoy. Esteroids is allowing users the freedom to discover new websites, coupled with search functionality to direct users to the sites they want. It's a much-needed addition to the decentralized web and something that may change the way non-specialist users interact with it forever. Learn more and explore Web3: [https://esteroids.eth.link/#/]( "Community Highlight: Esteroids")