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I'm learning more about the design of Tor and had thought that hidden services use names like duckduckgo.onion but apparently it's (54 character thing).onion?

Do they use human readable names and if so how does the name resolution happen?

Or if it's just 54 characters, how is a visitor supposed to know what 54 characters to use?

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  1. no, Tor does not use human readable names.
  2. a DNS (the system used to resolve names to IP addresses at the clearweb, else you would also have to remember numbers like http://50.18.200.106) is a more or less centralized system and therefore censorship-prone.
    this is already used today to censor the clearweb for the majority of the users. - and i'm not only talking about dictatorships and suchlike... this also happens in democratic countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Swiss, Turkey, Tunisia and so on!
  3. beside this, there are other questions like "who decides who may use a specific name and who must not?" (to prevent hijacking etc.) - this would also require a centralized administration.
    although there are interesting approaches like Namecoin to solve some of the issues.

so using existing systems/techniques to provide a kind of a name-system will require much work and will sooner or later be completely useless because of censorship efforts.


additionally this answer starting with number 5. may be interesting for you, to answer "how is a visitor supposed to know what 54 characters to use?"

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