A few days ago, I covered the registration of Handshake domains using Namebase as part of a series on web3 domain registrations. While I wrote about the registration process in detail, I left out the part on accessing the domains from traditional web browsers and applications. Today's post addresses that.
Interestingly, just a couple of days after my previous post, Namecheap - a traditional domain registrar - announced the acquisition of Namebase! The acquisition has expectedly received mixed reviews, with questions about independence and future direction being raised. Obviously, it's too early to tell which way this will go, but I'm still bullish on Handshake and its importance in building a stronger internet for everyone. FWIW, Namecheap has supported registration of HNS TLDs for several months. On to the post now.
Resolve Natively via a Web Browser
Handshake domains live on the Handshake blockchain, which is not yet supported natively by popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox or Safari. However, Opera just announced an integration with Handshake which will launch sometime in 2022. Opera isn't big enough to immediately spur the other browsers into action, but it will offer a decent choice for native domain resolution.
Access via Proxy Gateways
HNS.to is a proxy gateway that you can use to access Handshake domains without making any changes to your DNS settings. Just append
hns.to to the domain and go. You can test this by launching
alphasec.hns.to in your browser.
Change Your DNS Resolution Settings
NextDNS is a popular DNS service that offers security controls to protect your DNS requests. It supports Handshake domains; you just need to enable support for Handshake domains in NextDNS, and update your client DNS resolver to the NextDNS servers.
Namebase offers HDNS, which is similarly a public DNS resolver for Handshake domains. It supports DNS-over-HTTPS, which encrypts your DNS queries and shields them from prying intermediaries. Point your DNS to
188.8.131.52 to resolve Handshake.
You can also use browser extensions like Bob Wallet and LinkFrame for Chrome, or Resolvr for Firefox. And finally, you can run your own light or full nodes locally to trustlessly resolve Handshake names. If you'd like to explore these options, here is an article from Namebase that explains it in more detail.