Featured Extension: Coral Distribution Network

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Coral NYU Distribution Network, here is a short introduction:

Coral is peer-to-peer content distribution network, comprised of a world-wide network of web proxies and nameservers. It allows a user to run a web site that offers high performance and meets huge demand, all for the price of a $50/month cable modem.

Publishing through Coral is as simple as appending a short string to the hostname of objects’ URLs; a peer-to-peer DNS layer transparently redirects browsers to participating caching proxies, which in turn cooperate to minimize load on the source web server. These volunteer sites that run Coral automatically replicate content as a side effect of users accessing it, improving its availability. Using modern peer-to-peer indexing techniques, Coral will efficiently find a cached object if it exists anywhere in the network, requiring that it use the origin server only to initially fetch the object once.

Since I’m currently located in Beijing, I find the Coral Network very useful for accessing sites that have been censored by the Chinese Government. By simply adding .nyud.net:8090 onto the end of a hostname, it will fetch any page and deliver it to you via its cache. There are many other uses for it, such as accessing Slashdotted sites, but I use it primarily for accessing banned sites (for example, anything on Blogspot, TypePad or LiveJournal, amongst a lot of others).

In order to make things easy for us Firefox/Mozilla users, they’ve written a search engine plugin using which you can easily ‘Coralize’ any page, an extension with which you can ‘Coralize’ any links on the current page, and a ‘Coralize’ bookmarklet that Coralizes the currently viewed page.

I’m sure someone out there will find Coral as useful as I do.

3 thoughts on “Featured Extension: Coral Distribution Network”

  1. No Jeff, there isn’t. I’ve been using SSH and VPN software here regularly without any issues. I also connect to irc.mozilla.org:6697 using SSL.

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