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The Difference Between a Public IPFS Gateway and a Dedicated Gateway?

Lindsey Mazy

Published on

3 min read

The Difference Between a Public IPFS Gateway and a Dedicated Gateway?

Uncover the pivotal contrast between Public and Dedicated IPFS Gateways, empowering web3 developers with faster, reliable content access and enhancing the decentralized landscape.

IPFS is a unique protocol, separate from HTTP, which the majority of the internet relies on. Imagine creating a stunning image of Pinnie and pinning it to IPFS using Pinata. You'd receive a content identifier (CID) – a unique reference for content on IPFS. But if you tried to access this link via a traditional browser, you'd probably end up with an error or a random search result. The only way to view the content directly would be with a running IPFS node or a browser with built-in native IPFS support.

The InterPlanetary File System, or IPFS, offers a powerful solution for developers. It allows them to host vast amounts of content on a decentralized peer-to-peer network, providing an invaluable tool for the blossoming world of web3. However, accessing IPFS content can be a hurdle if you're used to the regular internet. Gateways bridge the divide between IPFS and HTTP.

The Role of Gateways

Gateways serve as a bridge between IPFS and HTTP, allowing content from IPFS to be displayed on regular websites we use every day. Using our Pinnie image as an example, we can feed its CID through a gateway, enabling us to view the file via a regular browser.

There are two main types of gateways: Public and Dedicated.

Public Gateways

The most common kind of IPFS Gateways are Public Gateways. These are typically run and maintained by IPFS Pinning Services, protocols, or even smaller groups eager to support the IPFS ecosystem. Public Gateways, as the name suggests, are open to everyone. They're incredibly useful for testing and experimentation, especially since they're integrated into platforms like Pinata's file manager. However, they come with their own set of challenges. Due to their open nature, they can become congested, resulting in slower loading times. Moreover, they often employ rate limits to manage traffic, which can hinder content access.

When you begin using Public Gateways extensively, the speed and rate limits can become evident. These gateways experience heavy traffic from users worldwide, and because of that, they can naturally slow down, similar to how a highway might bottleneck during rush hour. Hence, while Public Gateways offer a convenient starting point, they're not recommended for production and are best suited for testing purposes.

Slow loading of an image using a public gateway to retrieve the file

Dedicated Gateways

Upon signing up for a Pinata account, users immediately gain access to their Dedicated Gateway. Dedicated Gateways are the solution to the limitations posed by Public Gateways. They offer faster, more reliable access to content, making them an ideal choice for production use. Pinata’s Dedicated Gateways, for instance, leverage a global CDN to cache content for rapid retrievals. These gateways can also be personalized to align with your brand, offering URLs that resonate with your brand identity.

Fast loading of a file using a dedicated gateway

In essence, while Public Gateways can be likened to congested highways, Dedicated Gateways are akin to toll roads, offering a private, swift avenue to ensure unparalleled speeds. Moreover, the robust infrastructure behind Pinata's Dedicated Gateways, inclusive of a vast network of IPFS nodes, guarantees reliability and simplicity.

The Importance for Web3 Developers

Dedicated Gateways are a cornerstone for web3 developers engaged in building a range of decentralized projects, from dApps to DeFi platforms and DAOs. These gateways provide the speed and consistency essential for optimal performance, ensuring a seamless user experience. As web3 technology continues to evolve, the scalability and reliability of Dedicated Gateways will become increasingly vital, setting the foundation for the next generation of innovative, decentralized solutions.

Looking Ahead

The convergence of crypto, web3, and IPFS marks the beginning of a new digital era. Developers are now equipped with tools to exert unparalleled control over their content. Among the myriad tools, the choice of gateway is paramount. While Public Gateways offer a gateway into the IPFS realm, the formidable performance of Dedicated Gateways, as furnished by Pinata, is preeminent.

Ready to experience the power of Dedicated Gateways? Explore Pinata's offerings and get started today! Happy pinning ✨

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