When you're browsing Ethereum network using Ethereum-enabled browsers (such as Mist), do you have to constantly pay fees in order use it (a gas fee based on the usage)?

For example when I go to some Ethereum-based websites where Javascript is executing some contracts (Dapps) in the background (which I may or not aware of it), like the following sample code:

function get() {
    var param = document.getElementById('query').value;
    var res = contracts['Sample'].contract.get();
    document.getElementById('queryres').innerText = res;

function set() {
    var key = document.getElementById('key').value;
    var res = contracts['Sample'].contract.set(key);

does it mean that most of users browsing such websites have to pay (gas) fees for the its usage?

If so, what's the point or what are the benefits of browsing Ethereum network by constantly paying for it over the standard Internet where you can browse most of pages for free (where everything is executed at least locally, rather than on thousands of external nodes)? I may missing the point.

2 Answers 2


Imagine a social network Dapp. You've got a lot of friends on it. You won't have to pay anything to read each of your friends messages as reading don't need to propagate any transaction to the blockchain and is only reading on your local node.

But once you want to write a message or add a comment or "like" a post, you will pay gas fees to make the new state propagate to the whole chain. Also content would be more interesting as spending gas for cute cats could stop most of the cats post (but I really like cat post, so maybe I would spend some money for it). In any case, I guess (to be verified) that no transaction would be sent without your explicit acknowledgement.

What we know today as the common model will have to change. Most websites are free because they use ads or because they sell our data and most of the time they do both. In an Ethereum world you would have more control over the value you provide to websites as you would know how much you pay for an action. But that doesn't mean that using Dapps would cost you any money. If you use a register Dapp as some are being built (see Regis), you will pay fee in order to register, which looks very normal. If you only browse your friends profiles on your social Dapp however, you could even receive Ether in exchange of viewing ads, which you could then use to pay posting fees. You could see a gauge right to your profile icon indicating your ratio between earned and spend ether. In the end, as Dapps provider won't have to pay for hosting, we can imagine that they use their money to make you use their Dapps for free which would make them earn more money because they have more users. You could also win some money by filling forms. You will then know what data is the more valuable.

But all is to be invented here, it's a fresh new planet. Today ethereum is running with people that are ready to spend some money to make it happen (see the dao) but we are all aware that average user won't be ready to pay as they won't see any difference with standard web...at least at the beginning.

  • 1
    Things like brave browser brave.com are being built so it's not so far than what I described in my answer. They just have to adapt it to be able to run Dapps and you could earn ether by watching ads that would be selected by your browser that would make you able to pay gas fees. Commented May 6, 2016 at 21:07
  • Akasha is a social network on Etherium. akasha.world
    – Chloe
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 2:41
  • 1
    I just spent my last 0.0002 Ether to upvote your answer and let this comment. Commented May 22, 2017 at 8:15
  • 1
    @JérômeMével it's cheap for such a useful comment ;) Commented May 22, 2017 at 8:24

dApp usually have a frontend written in JS/HTML, which runs in your browser. It is the associated smart contract, written in Solidity, which runs on every node of the Ethereum network. In general, you need to pay gas fees only if your interactions with smart contracts are changing either some of the data it contains or the value, in ether, it contains. Those interactions are in fact simply network transactions. If you are only querying data from a smart contract, than you won’t pay any fee, because that data is already available on your local node.

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