P2P file exchange, Do we know what it is?

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While most people confuse P2P file sharing with piracy, this type of communication has gained many legitimate benefits. P2P file sharing allows content to be distributed securely around the world to anyone from academics to business people. And you don't need a separate platform for that.

P2P file sharing is a useful and somewhat ingenious technology that is likely to be used for many different purposes for a long time to come. However, P2P file sharing presents users with two main problems. The first and main problem is posed by governments around the world, most of which discourage P2P file sharing.


The second problem is security. When a direct P2P link or torrent file is used, its IP address may be visible to everyone using the same file. That's why we have to be careful and choose our 'friends' wisely. You can also choose to use a premium VPN that masks your IP address for one of the servers. These encrypt your device with military-grade encryption when sharing files.


P2P networks have become especially popular for sharing audio-visual files. There are numerous websites where you can find these types of files, such as DivxTotalLinks to an external site.. In Divx TotalLinks to an external site. you can find not only movies and series, but also programs. There are numerous websites that offer this type of categorized and ordered files, and yet, what you can find there is only the information about what the file consists of and the link where you can download it. But to understand this a little better, let's go by parts.


What is a peer-to-peer network?

A peer-to-peer network is a fairly simple technology with incredible value and potential. It can be said that it was not invented as much as it was discovered at the time when the first Internet developers noticed that server computers can send and receive data. This allowed all network devices to become clients and servers at the same time.


Technically speaking, the peer-to-peer network predates the Internet, and ARPANET has a similar system of participating nodes, but without any contextual or content routing function.


The first modern P2P networks emerged in the late 1990s. The first widely used file sharing system was Napster.


While systems and protocols change and evolve over the years, the basic idea behind peer-to-peer networks remains the same: each user sends and receives information from one or more sources.


How does peer-to-peer file sharing work?

Although the P2P technology itself is quite simple, the exchange of specific files and data requires a stable platform used by all parties, as well as a naming system to mark files.


There are three types of networks that describe P2P file sharing. The user chooses a structured or unstructured network, or a combination of both, depending on his or her needs and capabilities.


In addition, the technology used will depend on the type of files being shared and whether there is a dedicated platform or possibly a primary source of content.

Structured networks

Unlike most cases, an overly structured order on the Internet is not suitable for building large systems. While the bandwidth can support a relatively large network of P2P nodes, it pales in comparison to its unstructured counterpart.


A structured peer-to-peer network is placed in a hierarchy using a distributed hash table or DHT.


This type of network is best used in scientific or large organizations where most devices are constantly connected to the Internet. In this way, the data you want can be easily found on the network and downloaded quickly, and the system itself is not affected by the many devices that connect and leave the system, which is also called abandonment.

Unstructured networks

Unstructured networks are much more common, and both past and present P2P protocols use them to connect their users. Protocols such as Gnutella and Kazaa are some of the first to use this type.


Unstructured networks do not have a hierarchy, and each computer connects to the closest peers that have the necessary data, filling the networks with requests and connecting only to those who respond.


The biggest drawback of the system is inefficient data recovery. However, unstructured networks are reliable and anonymous.

Hybrid / mixed networks

The name itself suggests that hybrid networks are a mixture of structured and unstructured networks that share the same data and terminology. These networks make trade-offs between the two types to maximize the benefits of both models.


In most cases, hybrid P2P networks will be clustered, and each regional group will not be structured in its core, but will have a common DHT number.


Generally, this model is more suitable for all types of data because it supports both a large number of users and the search and transmission feature set.


The name "torrent files" comes from the BitTorrent P2P file sharing system, although most people believe otherwise. Because the torrent file extension is now very common, it far surpassed its original developer in popularity.


Torrent is an ingenious solution for finding and distributing peer-to-peer files efficiently. The torrent file only has the full index of the data it shares and connects to the torrent client, bringing other users online.


Therefore, all users share or download the torrent file, using cryptographic hash values to verify the integrity of the file. Finally, if you are using a good VPN torrent, your IP address will be hidden from other users, and you will not experience any jump in download speed.


Because the size of the torrent is extremely small, a user can store data from even the Library of Congress on something equivalent to a floppy disk, which, ironically, was reduced at the same time this type of data exchange became popular.


Using a VPN?

There are several reasons why, in general, everyone should use a VPN, but when P2P file sharing is practiced, they become even more obvious.


Using a VPN provider overrides all the disadvantages that come with P2P, creating an ideal environment for everyone. It allows you to hide your IP address as much as possible to protect yourself from hackers and other types of attacks. 

Some governments are very strict about peer-to-peer file sharing, so a VPN can also provide some peace of mind.


Risks posed by P2P file sharing

The freedom provided by P2P networks is at the same time the main reason for the main risks faced by users when using files. Even if you exchange files with people you trust, it is impossible to be 100% sure that they are the only members of the network.


You are displaying your IP address

When you are connected to a peer-to-peer network, your IP address is always visible. Whether you're on a large platform or using torrents, hundreds of peers around the world see your address.


Therefore, it's best to use a torrent proxy or a premium VPN to mask your IP address and stay safe.

Unknown file source

Always check where your files come from, who the creator of the torrent file is, and what the exchange platform protocols are. If you can't find out, use an antivirus to check if the downloaded content is safe.

Legality of file sharing

First, you must understand between the concepts of legal and illegal file sharing. Depending on your region and country, various types of file sharing may be illegal, although most are harmless.


For example, if you send a song in a voice message through WhatsApp or Viber, it will be considered an illegal submission of copyrighted material, even if in fact there is not much damage from the submission itself. The same is true if you record a concert performance on your phone and send it to your friends.

Downloading ethics

In the words of Electronic Arts Vice President Kerry Hopkins: "This is not a robbery, it's an unexpected discount". Many people think that banning file sharing because of copyright infringes on our rights, as content creators generally try to equate P2P file sharing with the crime of child exploitation.


That said, while sharing a copyrighted movie violates copyright laws, it is still not as serious as many other violations. Most companies do not realize that illegal P2P file sharing generally only leads to increased distribution and consumption of products.


The Pirate Code says that you should buy any game, movie, or song that you like that has been illegally downloaded before. In this way, you will support honest and hardworking developers by helping them create better content.

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