It is a matter of common knowledge that for publishing your website online, you need to have access to a web serve that can serve your site’s pages through a domain name. The web server is needed because it always stays online (at least most of them claim to be always online) and can serve your web site non-stop round the clock. But now BitTorrent has started a new project called Project Maelstrom that can help you publish your websites even without a web server. Instead of a web server, Project Maelstrom hosts your web pages in form of torrents through the P2P file sharing and you can access such a site using the BitTorrent protocol traditionally used to download large files.
Project Maelstrom consists of two things – Maelstrom browser which is based on the Google Chrome browser and some developer tools that can help you put your website online. If you are not going to publish your website then you do not have to worry about developer tools. For browsing the bittorrent protocol based web sites, you have to download and install the Maelstrom browser.
Maelstrom starts with a welcome page bittorrent://welcome which gives you some magnet links (bittorrent based links) that you can follow to open some of the already created websites. When you follow such a link, it shows you the DHT (distributed hash table) visualization as the torrent is loaded. As with the torrent file downloads, a site loads faster if there are more seeders (those who offer files to others over P2P) and less leechers (those who are downloading files over P2P).
Other than the URL and the protocols used, there is no difference in how you access these websites. Since such websites are not hosted on dedicated web servers that allow server-side scripts like ASP.NET and PHP or database connections like mySQL or PostgreSQL, you cannot make dynamic websites through Project Maelstrom. Only static HTML pages can be used in such sites.
Verdict: Project Maelstrom is a very interesting experiment but it lacks encrypted connections (SSL/TLS), database connections and server side scripting. Without these basic features, only static web pages can be put up which is not very exciting news for the modern times.
You can find more about Project Maelstrom from http://project-maelstrom.bittorrent.com/.