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Exclusive Article

An Interview With Fleek

Fleek Network is an edge-optimized, decentralized cloud platform. Think AWS meets Uber., In an exclusive interview with BitcoinWorld, We bring up how Fleek Network help developers in building and hosting websites and applications, What is the main goal of Fleek as a platform, & Many More, 

 

Can you explain in simple terms what Fleek is and what it does?

Fleek Network is an edge-optimized, decentralized cloud platform. Think AWS meets Uber. Fleek Network algorithmically operates a global network of web infrastructure operators (called nodes) to create a superior cloud platform for developers to run their software and applications on. Better performance, lower cost, open source, verifiable, and no central operator (meaning no corporate nonsense like confusing pricing, data abuse, censorship, deplatforming, etc.).

Who is Harrison Hines, and what role does he play in Fleek?

Harrison Hines is the Co-Founder and CEO of Fleek. When he joined the Ethereum space in 2017, Harrison saw that many smart people and projects were focused on building decentralized financial infrastructure, but not nearly as many focused on decentralizing the internet’s infrastructure itself. So, Harrison felt he could have the biggest impact and contribution to web3 in that area.

What is the main goal of Fleek as a platform?

Fleek believes that using corporate-controlled web infrastructure has the same inherent risks as using banks. Things like censorship, de-platforming, data abuse, tampering, and more run rampant. This is the opposite of what the web was supposed to be. The internet was envisioned to be open, permissionless, borderless, and free of centralized gatekeepers.

 

Fleek’s goal is to help solve this problem by offering cloud infra and services that aren’t owned and operated by centralized companies at all. This would hopefully break the current cloud oligopoly plaguing today’s internet.  The catch is that in order for this to work, the cloud infra and web services built on top need to perform as good, or better, than traditional cloud infra. Because developers simply won’t switch to inferior infrastructure, especially given the high demands of modern web users in terms of latency and load times. However high performance and low cost infra still isn’t enough. Developers also need an equal or better developer experience in order to switch. That is where the Fleek platform comes in. 

 

Fleek Network is the decentralized cloud infrastructure layer, whereas Fleek is the modern, open source, edge-optimized cloud platform that surfaces Fleek Network-powered web services and use cases (Edge Functions, CDN, Next.js hosting, etc.) and makes it super quick and easy for web developers to build highly performant apps and/or migrate existing infrastructure to Fleek Network to enjoy the performance, cost and decentralization benefits. But the longer-term goal is not to compete with all these other developer platforms; the goal is to showcase to them that Fleek Network is a viable infrastructure option to run some of their own infra and services on (instead of AWS or other traditional clouds where they currently run) due to the performance, cost, and verifiability advantages.  

How does Fleek help developers in building and hosting websites and applications?

We help developers by providing permissionless, irrevocable access to highly performant, low-cost, open source and censorship-resistant infrastructure and web services (powered by Fleek Network) without any of the corporate nonsense you deal with on traditional cloud platforms. Plus, you don’t have to worry about any DevOps or infrastructure maintenance or scaling or anything. You get all the edge, performance, and auto-scaling benefits out of the box with no added work or effort required. All you need to do is link your git repo and deploy your code and Fleek handles the rest. The goal is to provide a growing suite of products, services and use cases that cover the full stack needs of modern developers and their applications, all in one seamless platform and developer workflow. 

What does “Web3 development” mean, and how does Fleek contribute to it?

Web3 is sort of a catch-all term for the blockchain industry, but we actually don’t love it as a term and are going to start moving away from it, as we feel it unnecessarily pigeonholes us from connecting with traditional web developers, who might assume web3 development is not for them. Because the products and services Fleek builds are relevant and provide benefits to all web developers, regardless of what industry they work in. But with that said, in terms of how we contribute to the blockchain industry, we feel Fleek is a big missing piece of the current decentralized web stack, because every blockchain-based protocol, middleware and app today uses traditional cloud infrastructure (Cloudflare, AWS, etc.) to meet the performance demands of modern web developers and users. If Fleek can provide those same highly performant cloud and web services in a fully decentralized and permissionless manner, we feel that is going to add a lot of value to almost every project in the space, and be an extremely attractive infrastructure option for the industry. 

Can you explain what “decentralized edge network and protocol” means in the context of Fleek Network?

Fleek Network is a decentralized, edge-optimized cloud platform that consists of two main layers: the blockchain protocol underneath and the edge network that sits on top of it. So, when we refer to the protocol, we are typically referring to the blockchain parts of Fleek Network. When we talk about the edge network, we are typically referring to the developer-facing parts of Fleek Network. The edge network in the case of Fleek Network is pretty similar to other edge/cloud platforms – it’s a multi-location, geo-aware infrastructure setup that offers different web services on top. The blockchain protocol, however, is where the main differences are from traditional clouds because in a decentralized setting, you need to somehow replace the management, security, and governance of the underlying hardware/infrastructure, which typically gets handled by the centralized corporation running the network (ex. AWS). But in a decentralized setting like in Fleek Network, the blockchain is what handles all of that through a combination of cryptography, algorithms, and incentives. While it might seem harder to do it in a decentralized way, the cost, performance, and reliability benefits make it a worthwhile endeavor, especially considering the world’s increasing dependence on the internet and performant web infrastructure. 

Could you explain the difference between http://Fleek.co and Fleek.xyz?

Fleek.co was the original platform which only focused on static capabilities like static hosting and storage. Fleek.xyz is the new platform that will support full stack development and is much more aligned with the open source, onchain future, and where all Fleek Network powered features/functionality will be surfaced. Sometimes, in software, it’s just easier to start from scratch rather than try to retrofit new ideas into an old foundation. That was the case here. The Fleek.co platform will be fully sunset this summer and all future use will just be on Fleek.xyz which will avoid any confusion. Having both platforms is just a temporary thing. 

What are some of the key features of Fleek, particularly regarding IPFS hosting and Internet Computer site hosting?

We don’t support Internet Computer hosting anymore because users weren’t interested in it. The key things developers like specifically about our IPFS hosting is that we make it super seamless, performant, and we have other supporting features that pair with it that onchain developers in particular love, such as ENS domain support. 

How easy is it to deploy a website or application using Fleek?

Extremely easy. Any developer can deploy their app in under 1 minute. All you need to do is link your github and pick your repo and you are good to go. As we release more types of infrastructure/web services we will keep the theme the same: seamless devex, and little to no configuration or code changes to migrate to Fleek. 

What options does Fleek offer for customizing domain names for hosted projects?

Fleek offers the same customization that any other cloud platform offers. Fleek does not get opinionated about domains, developers are free to use whatever domains and whatever domain providers or customization they want in conjunction with their Fleek usage. We work with any/all of them. What’s unique is we also support onchain domains, such as ENS, which not many other cloud providers do at the moment. And we also make it easy to link/route IPFS CID’s (content identifiers) to domains which onchain developers also appreciate. 

How does Fleek support DNS, ENS, and HNS domains?

Exactly that, we support DNS and ENS, meaning a developer can seamlessly link any DNS or ENS name to their app and Fleek will handle any future updates to your app automatically so that you never need to touch the records again. We don’t support HNS anymore. Similar to Internet Computer hosting, developers just weren’t interested in using it, so it didn’t make sense for us to continue supporting it.

What is Fleek Storage, and how does it differ from traditional storage solutions?

The main difference is that we offer decentralized storage solutions like Arweave and Filecoin which are typically cheaper and provide better security and reliability guarantees compared to traditional cloud storage. In traditional cloud storage your files just live on somebody else’s servers where it’s subject to data abuse (like using it to train AI models), tampering, censorship, deletion, etc. Using decentralized storage solutions eliminates most of those concerns. 

Where can users find additional resources, such as documentation, support channels, and community forums, for Fleek?

First and foremost would be our website, https://fleek.network/, which also has links to extensive documentation on all of the details, services and use cases for Fleek Network. For application developers, we offer comprehensive guides and documentation at https://fleek.xyz, We also have a social media presence on X, available at https://twitter.com/fleek_net, as well as our Discord, https://discord.gg/fleek. Lastly, our GitHub is available at https://github.com/fleek-network

Are there any upcoming features or developments in Fleek that users should be aware of?

The testnet launch for Fleek Network will be in mid-May. Fleek.xyz will also debut new features in conjunction with the testnet launch, such as Edge Functions and full Next.js app hosting support. And a lot of new products/features will continuously follow after that as more functionality gets added to Fleek Network and packaged/surfaced by the Fleek platform team into Fleek.xyz. 

 

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