Current proposals for web querying systems have assumed a centralized processing architecture wherein data is shipped from the remote sites to the user’s site. We present here the design and implementation of DIASPORA, a highly distributed query processing system for the web. It is based on the premise that several web applications are more naturally processed in a distributed manner, opening up possibilities of significant reductions in network traffic and user response times. DIASPORA is built over an expressive graph-based data model that utilizes simple heuristics and lends itself to automatic generation. The model captures both the content of web documents and the hyperlink structural framework of a web site. Distributed queries on the model are expressed through a declarative language that permits users to explicitly specify navigation. DIASPORA implements a query-shipping model wherein queries are autonomously forwarded from one web-site to another, without requiring much coordination from the query originating site. Its design addresses a variety of interesting issues that arise in the distributed web context including determining query completion, handling query rewriting, supporting query termination and preventing multiple computations of a query at a site due to the same query arriving through different paths in the hyperlink framework. The DIASPORA system is currently operational and is undergoing testing on our campus network. In this paper we describe the design of the system and report initial performance results that indicate significant performance improvements over comparable centralized approaches.