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About ucanet

What is ucanet?

ucanet is a project which aims to provide a web ecosystem/network for retro computers that is separated from the modern web. ucanet is powered by an alternative-root DNS server, with a completely fresh set of domains you can register.

Why a DNS server?

The goal of this project is to separate the internet/web ecosystem that retro computers operate on from the ones modern computers operate on. Sites and services accessible on the modern web may not be accessible, or may be entirely different over ucanet. A DNS server is utilized to separate the set of domains that are accessible over ucanet from the global root. The purpose and function of the ucanet DNS server is NOT to provide access to any registry entries originating from any domain nameservers aside from ucanet's. In the future, we may utilize other technologies and techniques to further separate ucanet from the modern internet such as a custom VPN, IP address allocation, and dial up connections. For now, the DNS server provides a cost effective way to isolate the web for the purpose of creating ucanet's ecosystem.

Why separate the web?

Creating a separate network/web ecosystem for retro computers would allow retro computer users/hobbyists to access sites and services that are specifically designed for their older hardware and software without ever having to come across any modern sites or services that won't load properly or "look too new". ucanet can also serve as a good platform for retro projects to operate on, as the userbase of ucanet should be made up of users on retro hardware or software. While sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Gmail may not be accessible over ucanet, these websites are usually non-accessible on retro computers anyway, and as ucanet grows, alternatives will pop up on ucanet and provide functionality that is supported on older browsers.

Do I need to change my DNS settings?

No. You can use the HTTP Proxy listed on the main page of this site. If you are using Windows, you can download and use the ucanet browser.

How do I create a domain/site?

To create a free domain, head over to Register-a-Domain. This page will also teach you how to link your domain to a server, a website, Neocities, and more.

How do I access ucanet/ucanet sites?

ucanet is made available through a free DNS server you can set up. To access ucanet, visit our Installation webpage.

What does Ü mean?

If you have seen this symbol beside an internet url, it signifies that the url is only guaranteed accessible when using ucanet.

How do I tell people that my site is on ucanet?

You can tell people specifically it is on ucanet, or use the Ü shorthand. You can place the Ü symbol near your web address to indicate a visitor must access it over ucanet.

Can I contribute/Is this open source?

Yes, ucanet is open source. To view/contribute code, visit github.com/ucanet.

There are also other ways you can contribute to ucanet beyond code. Here are some possible ways:

  • You can help by providng a mirror DNS server. Our registry is hosted on github, and a Python script is available to easily run a mirror server. Follow the instructions at github.com/ucanet/ucanet-server to set this up.
  • If you would like to donate, you can email me at [email protected] (make sure to email me on the main net!).
  • You can register a domain and build a website! The more websites/services in our ecosystem, the better! :)
Info about Protoweb forwarding.

Protoweb is a free service that hosts historical Internet websites to demonstrate the Internet in it’s early days. ucanet's DNS server is configured to proxy certain sites from Protoweb! Click here for a list of Protoweb sites that are accessible over ucanet. Note: Protoweb FTP sites do not work out of the box over ucanet yet. If you would like to access Protoweb's FTP services over ucanet, you can set their FTP proxy in your browser. Click here for instructions on how to do so. Your browser must support the Host header.

Info about Neocities forwarding.

Neocities is a webhost for static webpages. You can register a domain on ucanet and host your site on Neocities. To learn how to do this, head over to Register-a-Domain. Note: Your browser must support the Host header to access Neocities sites over ucanet.

Does ucanet run on modern computers?

Yes, ucanet will run on a modern computer :) But it is encouraged to use a vintage computer to get the best experience. If you are designing a website for use over ucanet, make sure it works on older computers too!

Can I trust this DNS server?

This is entirely up to you. If you are skeptical about changing your DNS to the one we provide, try running the DNS server locally first (follow the instructions at github.com/ucanet/ucanet-server). Use ucanet on a separate retro computer or VM, or try out the ucanet browser. It is not recommended to do secure activities like online banking, shopping, etc. over ucanet. If you are on a retro computer, you might not even be able to use TLS without updating root certs.

How can I report a website?

Abuse reports are taken at [email protected]. Make sure to include the website and description of abuse!

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