When you set up a gateway with a DNSLink record, that gateway is restricted to a particular piece of content (either a specific Content Identifier (CID) or an Interplanetary Name Service (IPNS) hostname).
A gateway with a DNSLink - otherwise known as a restricted gateway - differs from a universal gateway, which allows users to access any content hosted on the IPFS network.
What is it?
When you import anything to the IPFS, that item gets a unique content identifier (
CID) similar to
Such a long CID can cause issues when you want others to be able to access a website hosted on IPFS (
https://cf-ipfs.com/ipfs/bafybeiaysi4s6lnjev27ln5icwm6tueaw2vdykrtjkwiphwekaywqhcjze). It is a similar problem to websites in general, where end users would have difficulty remembering an IP address (
192.0.2.1) instead of a domain name (
The problem is solved the same way, via a DNS record. To make a website hosted on IPFS more accessible, you can put your entire website inside of a directory and create a DNSLink record for that CID. End users can then make requests to a Universal Gateway URL like
https://cf-ipfs.com/ipns/en.wikipedia-on-ipfs.org/ and have their requests translated to the correct CID in the background.
DNSLink records also help with content maintenance. When a new version of your website is ready to be published, you can update your DNSLink DNS record to point to the new CID and the gateway will start serving the new version automatically.
How is it used with Cloudflare?
You have the option to specify the DNSLink when you create an IPFS gateway, which serves as a custom hostname that directs users to a website already hosted on IPFS.
By default, your DNSLink path is
/ipns/onboarding.ipfs.cloudflare.com. If you choose to put your website in a different content folder hosted at your own IPFS node or with a pinning service, you will need to specify that value.
For example, the default DNSLink record for
www.example.com would look like this:
For more details about the DNS records created by the IPFS gateway, refer to Gateway DNS records.