The YouServ Project

YouServ is software that forms a webserving "grid" by allowing its users to pool their desktop computing resources to create one large, virtual web-space. Unlike running standard webserving software, content hosted with YouServ can persist even when your machine is offline. It also allows publishing your content from your own machine when behind firewalls or NATs.

YouServ leverages its community in other ways to increase the utility of personal webservers. First, each YouServ node can interact with an integrated single sign-on system. People who share content with YouServ and wish to access-control certain files can simply list the user ID's of those who have access. (No need to assign and maintain passwords.) Users who access content on YouServ need only obtain one and only one account for accessing secured content on any node. YouServ also provides its users with instant and automatic support of strong encryption (SSL) via an integrated certificate authority. Finally, YouServ provides fast, fresh and complete search over YouServ-hosted content, even in the presence of node transience (which renders standard web search results stale and incomplete).

Unlike other p2p systems, YouServ does not require those who access YouServ-published content to install special purpose software or plugins, as it relies entirely on the ordinary web browser. Its high availability, wide accessibility, and low cost provide a superior alternative to paid hosting services and other content sharing networks for a wide class of users.

YouServ was deployed internally within IBM as an experimental tool. Its userbase grew organically, primarily through word of mouth, to a peak of over 2000 unique weekly users.

More information on YouServ and related research can be found in the following papers:

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