Replit offers everyone the power of their own computer in the cloud. Access it from anywhere, program it to do (almost) anything, and share your programs and apps with whoever you want. It’s a computing superpower that we deeply believe will change the world.
School-age users have always been integral to our vision. There are so many stories of successful tech entrepreneurs – including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and our own CEO Amjad Masad – who began their engineering careers while they were still in school, learning to code and coding to learn. It thrills us to know that Replit will be a part of many future such success stories of people who graduated from writing their first line of code to creating fun and useful software.
When teens who use Replit access their computer in the cloud, we believe it should be treated like the computers that they may use at home or at school. As part of that, caregivers should be able to ensure that they are kept safe from online dangers or have controls where needed.
Today we’re announcing a step that will make this easier than ever before. Announcing firewalledreplit.com, an additional domain to access Replit that takes its place alongside our original replit.com, but offers a safer experience. This dual-domain solution is an innovative solution for all users, fully free, and allows you to customize Replit’s power.
What does firewalledreplit.com offer?
As the name implies, firewalledreplit.com is basically the same replit.com that you know and love, but behind a firewall that blocks certain potential online dangers. Users of the new site will be able to code just as they did before – even including web apps – but these apps won’t be able to access the Internet. This eliminates the risk of young users using Replit to access content they shouldn’t, and keeps their focus on coding.
This isn’t our first move to make our young users safer; last December, we announced that we would be filtering all Internet access to prevent adult content and malware being accessed through Replit. That safeguard is still in place, on both our new and original domains. However, over the months since that feature rolled out, enterprising young users discovered some holes, such as the ability to access proxy websites, which in turn could be used to bypass both our filter and their school’s filters.
The firewall that we’re offering at firewalledreplit.com dramatically changes this from a “cat and mouse” game between young students and their caregivers into a slam-dunk for safety. Users can’t access unsafe content through a repl hosted at firewalledreplit.com because they can’t use it to access the Internet at all. (The only exceptions that we make are for a limited number of trusted software package repositories.)
That’s not quite all that firewalledreplit.com offers. This version of our site also hides our community features, so that users won’t be able to browse and search for other users’ apps, or view discussions. However, they will still be able to communicate and collaborate with their teachers and other students in their class, through the multi-player and collaborative features that are core to Replit's design.
How do I use it?
Although we first conceived this feature for use in schools, it’s free for everyone. It is as simple as loading firewalledreplit.com into the browser instead of replit.com. You’ll notice the difference because of some subtle design changes – keep an eye out for the “firewall” icon (shown here) that indicates that you’re on the firewalled domain.
Most repls will function normally on firewalledreplit.com, but those that depend on being able to access the external internet might not function as expected. Users are free to switch between using firewalledreplit.com and our original domain replit.com at any time. For example, students may be required to use firewalledreplit.com for their work at school, while being permitted to use the unrestricted replit.com domain when at home.
It’s also now possible for schools or parents to block replit.com in their own firewall or router settings, while leaving access to firewalledreplit.com freely available. This FAQ explains more about the differences between the original and the firewalled Replit experience, and this document for IT administrators explains how educational institutions can block the original replit.com domains, if required.
Safety and power go together
We’re not done with raising the bar for safety on Replit. We’re also investing in improving our moderation tools, and building out our team of trust, safety, and security experts. We’ve added new reporting features that make it easy to report content that violates our terms and conditions. We’re strengthening our policies against inappropriate content such as self-harm and gambling. We're also working to improve our image moderation tools to filter out inappropriate content before anyone else sees it.
Keeping our youngest users safe is an integral part of our mission to bring the next billion software creators online. We’re proud to be the only collaborative coding website that has taken these steps to put safety first. But computing power and safety shouldn’t be an either/or choice – we’re committed to providing both, so that Replit can continue to be for everyone. If you have questions or ideas about trust and safety at Replit, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].