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I understand that a browser aimed domainless web application (BADWA) is a web marketing disaster, because:

  • A domain allows TLS certification - without, a BADWA might be inaccessible at least by some browsers

  • A domain, especially short, contextualized and intuitive, allows SEO and helps bringing people to web application not only from web address bars of browsers (and search engines) of browsers but also from desktop icons if the web application is a progressive web application

  • A domain is IP independent, so even if a server environment's IP address is replaced, the site is still accessible (although a manual routine of IP search and replace and possibly also dedicated CMS could help combat that)
    credit to user:idk for putting these arguments similarly and beatifully

My problem

Practically it seems to me that relying on IPs solely is at least impractical, although, there is at least one philosophical argument against using domains, such as:

Domains costs money, sometimes lots of money and cost is almost always totally unpredictable or always hard to predict.

My question

Can one represent a web application without a domain but without relying on IP addresses solely?

Derivative question

Is there any other alternative for (non IP only) web app representation, besides going full native as with (domainless) appstore web applications?

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    .com domains have been $10 to $15 per year for the last 20 years. I can't say with 100% certainty that they will remain so, but I wouldn't expect prices to rise substantially. The majority of that fee is the $8 per year fee levied by Verisign. If they want to increase it, they have to get it approved by ICANN – Stephen Ostermiller Jan 18 '20 at 10:08
  • "besides going full native as with appstore marketing" - What do you mean by this? – DocRoot Jan 18 '20 at 11:46
  • @DocRoot - a web application which is not a progressive web app but a purely_native one doesn't have a domain; it has just a name by which it is represented in one or more appstores ; to some extent, such native web apps replaced websites since the smartphone "revolution" in 2007 with Apple's iphone 1 --- for these I meant. You are welcome to suggest an edit or comment here to help me clarify. – user58733 Jan 18 '20 at 11:55
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Can one represent a web application without a domain but without relying on IP addresses solely?

No - I cannot see that this is possible. IP addresses are fundamental to the use of the internet. Domain names allow some abstraction away from the direct use of the IP address. Without the domain name, you're back to using the IP address directly.

Is there any other alternative for (non IP only) web app representation, besides going full native as with (domainless) appstore web applications?

No. How would you envisage accessing this "public"(?) web application? If you are on your own private network then you can use any kind of local DNS / naming convention you like (within reason) - no need to register a domain name. However, on the public internet, you need a publicly registered domain name.

"Appstore web applications" must be installed locally and communicate with remote servers in order to have a centralised "web application". This is probably still using a domain name to talk to the remote server in the backend - so I don't see how even these are "domainless"?

...one philosophical argument against using domains, such as:

Domains costs money, sometimes lots of money and cost is almost always totally unpredictable or always hard to predict.

  1. "Domains costs money" - True. But in terms of the cost of hosting and building a website it is usually very minimal.

  2. "sometimes lots of money" - Well, that can be true if you want a specific domain that is "premium" or is already registered and you want to buy it from an existing owner. But otherwise, for "new registrations" this is false (see #1). Since you are debating the need for a domain name at all, the name would not seem to be important to you, so just register a regular .com or reasonably priced gTLD or relevant ccTLD.

  3. "cost is almost always totally unpredictable" - Unless you are purchasing an already registered domain through an independent 3rd party then this is false. Domain prices are generally upfront and predictable. And once you have the domain registered in your name then the renewal costs are totally predictable.

  4. "always hard to predict" - (See #3), but otherwise false.

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