Bigger, better, stronger: Everything you need to know about our decentralised network

April 04, 2022 / Alex LintonPrivacy, Technical

One of the most unique and important parts of Session is that it is decentralised. You might not realise just from using the app, but behind the scenes there are thousands of independently operated servers working together to send and receive every message on Session.

This might not seem like a big deal, but it has huge benefits when it comes to protecting you (and Session) from attacks, protecting your metadata, and making sure Session is always serving the community's best interests. However, there is no secret that sometimes things that actually aren't very decentralised like to claim that they are — so it's always worthwhile check in and make sure there is real decentralisation. With that in mind, let's take a look at Session's decentralised network! 

Session uses the Oxen Network, a community-operated network of incentivised nodes (called service nodes). Let's take a look under the hood of the Oxen network — here are some quick facts to show you just how decentralised the Oxen Network is. 

1. There are nodes in 39 different countries

With servers in 39 different countries and every continent except Antarctica — Session is truly global. This means that Session is not especially vulnerable to changing laws and regulations in any one country — making sure your data is always safe from the prying eyes of surveillance. Session servers are popping up in new countries all the time, who knows, maybe you could be the first person to set up a node in Antarctica 😉

A map of every country which has a Session server in it there are nearly 40 countries

2. There are over 1,800 servers around the world

What happens if a Session server goes down? There are over a thousand more to take their place. In the past we’ve seen the effects of shutdowns and outages in apps like Messenger and WhatsApp. Messengers are an essential part of people’s daily lives — and they rely on them to talk to their friends, do business, and stay up to date. With over 1,800 independently operated servers, Session's network is diverse and resilient.

3. Session's network is growing

Since Session was first released in 2020, the number of service nodes in the Oxen Network has doubled — from 900 nodes to over 1,800. This is thanks in part to the success of Session and the support of our amazing community — many people who operate service nodes are just normal Session users. The more the network grows — the stronger it becomes. 

Since Session launched the number of servers has doubled form 900 to 1800

4. Session's servers are open source

Absolutely anyone can run a service node — and anyone can check the code. That means you can be sure there is no funny business going on behind closed doors. While some apps, like Signal, have open source clients, their server code is not open source. Session’s server and client code are both open source — so anyone can independently verify their security, privacy, and stability. 

5. The servers can never read your messages

All of your messages are end-to-end encrypted and onion-routed — so your messages are never exposed to Session's servers. Not only are the contents of your messages kept safe and secure — but so is other important information, like your IP address. 

How you can join in

The best part about Session's decentralised network is that it is owned and operated by the community. People just like you are the ones making Session possible. It is a team effort — and everyone from the users, to the operators, all the way to the Session team themselves are playing their part. 

If you're a Session supporter, one of the single best ways that you can support the project is by becoming a node operator. The more nodes that Session has, the stronger the app will be. 

If you're interested, you can read more about service nodes here. If you need, you'll also be able to find help in the Oxen open group channel or via the Oxen Service Nodes channel on Telegram.

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