Standard ZeroNet website addresses, being based on Bitcoin addresses, generally look like a long string of random numbers and letters, beginning with
1. E.g this site's:
But you may have noticed that a few are not entirely random. E.g. ZeroHello's has
1HeLLo at the start:
You can create an address with your own choice of characters at the start by using a software tool called vanitygen. So here I'll write about what I did to get a vanity address for a new zite.
I based what I did mostly on this guide:
However, maybe because that guide is a few years old, or perhaps because I'm just not good enough at all this stuff as the original writer, I found it a little confusing or inconvenient at certain points, and I ended up doing a couple of steps differently. (I thought I might find the issues clarified in the comments, but even though the page says there are 6 comments, I can't see any.)
Part 1: Creating a vanity address
Note: I did this on Windows. There will be slight differences on other operating systems.
1. Get vanitygen for your operating system.
Available through the links on the Vanitygen homepage. I'm on Windows so I used the vanitygen contained in this zip file.
2. Open a terminal emulator / command (CMD) window, and direct it to the location of vanitygen.
After unzipping the file, I opened a command window. ("Start" > search
cmd.) Then in the file manager, I copied the path to the vanitygen folder:
and then in the Command window right-clicked and selected "Paste". (Ctrl+V doesn't work in the command window.)
3. Enter the vanitygen program name and the pattern you want your address to begin with, starting with the obligatory
All Bitcoin addresses have to begin with
So in my case I entered into the command window:
- Vanitygen, a few hours after it started working.
Don't make the pattern too long, as each additional character increases the time needed exponentially (e.g. if I had chosen
1ThePapers, those three extra letters could have made the process last for days). Vanitygen requires a lot of processing power from your CPU, so before I started the process, I closed every other program.
4. Wait while Vanitygen creates your address.
At the start, Vanitygen told me it would take 10 hours to get 50% of the way to creating the address. In the end that was about how long it took to complete the process fully. During that time, the task manager showed my CPU being used at 99% the whole time. Obviously it's not ideal to do other tasks on the computer while vanitygen is doing its work, so plan this for a time when you won't need your computer for other things.
- Task manager showing CPU at 99% while vanitygen is working. Full size
5. Save the result.
At the end of the process, the command window showed me:
- the pattern I had entered (
- the complete address it generated based on that pattern (
- The private key ("privkey"). This is what you will need to "prove" you own this address.
Keep your private key safe and secret. This is the only time you will receive it, and if you lose it, it's lost forever.
This part (creating the vanity address) was, although time-consuming, very simple and according to the guide I linked to earlier.
- Vanitygen showing the results
Part 2: Using the address
I wanted to make a fresh blog based on ZeroBlog but with the 1Papers address. Here's how I ended up doing it, which may or may not be the best way to do it.
1. Create a folder with your new address.
So in my case inside the folder
I created a new folder with the address name, resulting in:
A little confusion on my part
Here's where that guide gets a little confusing for me. It says to go into the folder of an existing site and "copy everything". Really? Everything? I don't think I want everything. Wouldn't that make another version of the existing site with all its associated content and data? Whereas I want to make a fresh, empty site. If I copy everything, am I going to have to manually delete lots of stuff to make it a fresh, empty site? If so, which stuff? No answer there.
E.g. I took a look at the folder for ZeroBlog (
\ZeroNet-win-dist\data\1BLogC9LN4oPDcruNz3qo1ysa133E9AGg8) and just its
\data\users folder contains 2,606 files in 1,303 folders.
So "everything" would presumably include:
- all the posts made
- all media (images, videos etc)
- all data on users who've visited the zite
So, should I instead clone ZeroBlog from scratch and do something with the result? Would doing that create a new key that is then deprived from the pool of available keys?
2. Clone ZeroBlog.
Rather than copy everything from an existing site with data already in it, I decided to make a fresh clone of ZeroBlog.
- Go to the ZeroHello left menu
ZeroBlog. (If you find lots of similarly named sites in your list, the one I chose was the one by ZeroNet creator @nofish:, whose URL is
http://127.0.0.1:43110/Blog.ZeroNetwork.bit/ when you hover over it in the ZeroHello left menu)
- Click on the three-dot menu to right of site name and select "Clone"
That created a fresh empty ZeroBlog with the following address:
Which opened automatically in my browser, showing the "Congratulations" message.
- New clone of ZeroBlog, with
16xTLL1n8pNfdEx8888CivfHGwFj926h8r as its address. Full size
3. Copy everything from new blog folder into the folder of your vanity address.
So in my case I copied everything from
4. Open the new address in your browser.
I opened http://127.0.0.1:43110/1Papers8S7fe6LEsa7BwVVywWVbMpUjgwx/ and got the "Congratulations" message. Yay :)
- New clone of ZeroBlog, with
1Papers8S7fe6LEsa7BwVVywWVbMpUjgwx as its address. Full size
Click and drag the ZeroNet icon (near the top right of the page) to the left, and let it go.
More stuff will now appear below in the sidebar.
In my case:
- SITE TITLE > The Papers
- SITE DESCRIPTION > UK newspapers blog mirror
Then I clicked "Save site settings".
- Sidebar, additional features after clicking "This is my site". Full size
Here the guide gives an instruction that was unclear for me.
Open content.json with a text editor and check that no domain it set.
If it is, delete it.
I don't know what/where such a domain is, but my site works, so I guess I'm OK.
9. Add the private key.
The guide's next step says to shut down ZeroNet and then run a terminal / command window to sign the site. But the sidebar has a button for this. (Maybe it didn't back when the guide was written three years ago.) The sidebar also has a link "ADD SAVED PRIVATE KEY".
(What about the identity address? 15i1fCD9BLVurrTuaN2boWoMX2urQd3CBe. That seems different from my usual.)
I clicked the add private key button and entered my private key.
Private key saved for site signing.
The button changes to a message "Private key saved." And also now there is a link "FORGOT". Oh, so maybe there is a way to recover your private key if you forget or lose it?
10. Sign and Publish your new site.
I clicked "Sign and Publish". At first no reaction, but then some messages appear.
Content publish failed.
I've come to expect when creating a brand new zite. Basically it's because of the next message...
No peers found, but your content is ready to access.
A brand new zite has no peers yet, hence the "Content publish failed" message. Once a few peers visit the site, that shouldn't be a problem any more.
11. Reload your new site and start using it!
At first I couldn't edit my new blog, but upon reload I could, and did a few basic things:
- Changed blog title and description.
- Made an "About this blog" post.
- Added link to the About post in the blog description.
- Already automatically "Following" but only posts (which I already know about; I'm the one making the posts). So I also selected "Comments" to make sure I'm notified of those in my ZeroHello feed.
- Final result: about page with new blog with new address, following comments. Full size
After doing the above steps and adding some content, I publicized the new site a few ways to get some peers for it.
Well, that's how I ended up creating and using a vanity address, and it seems to be working. Let me know if I made any mistakes.