Peer, Seed, Torrent e rede P2P (Peer to Peer)

In previous posts, I commented on the TOR network, which takes advantage of P2P network technology to keep people anonymous on the internet, but what exactly is this type of network?

This is what we will see in this new tutorial to understand exactly how it works and take advantage of its resources.

What is the P2P network

P2P network as the Peer to Peer network is popularly known, or you can say people to people, is a communication network without a centralized server. That is, the data travel only between customers.

A website or any item on the internet, needs a server, a centralized place to keep this information.

One of the big problems in this matter is that centralizing everything in one place, you must also have a good computer and a good connection to the Internet, and hope that the server supports the number of clients expected, or invest in hardware.

The investment in hardware for a medium-sized website can result in 10 servers, a proprietary system for creating a cloud server and spreading a powerful virtual machine on these machines to meet the demand.

The internet also needs to be dedicated to maintain the quality of the service, and we know that dedicated links cost enormous amounts.

By the time downloads started, centralized servers could no longer support delivering so much data to so many people, and download accelerators began to appear, making multiple connections to the server, forcing to bring the file faster through parallel download.

Next to the download management software, a new method emerged so that people who already have parts of the file, can collaborate with others as if it were part of the server too, that is, now the data does not just come from a server , but from several places.

This became incredible mainly for downloading large files, such as Linux distributions, which could be distributed more and more quickly, and increasingly larger.

Until today, the P2P network has its advantages over several other types of services, because currently if you need to have multiple servers to deliver content so that it is possible to distribute worldwide, the best way is to have CDN (Content Distributed Network) services , but at a high cost per megabyte, while the P2P network is free.

Despite its benefits, there are also problems in which when there is no one else sharing the file, then the file ceases to exist, that is, it is not forever. The data needs to be popular to continue to exist.

We have two important nomenclatures for the concept of storing files on P2P networks:

Peer - A network device (today it's not just computers that download content over this type of network) that has part of a file.

Seed - A network device that contains the entire file and is just sending.

In addition to the data storage service among customers, which is the best known, we also have several other types of services that benefit from this network method.

BitTorrent - Application for transferring files through ".torrent" files, a company that approves even electronic devices such as routers and residential arrays to download content from P2P networks.

Torrent sites - There are several sites on the internet with content to search for, and displays the current level of popularity of the file. The greater the number of peers and seeds, it means that the faster your file will be downloaded. But be careful, if there are many peers and no seeds, it is because the link has broken and is waiting for someone to come in to bring the missing part. This can take weeks or even months or never finish.

Download links ".torrent" or magnet link - On several linux distribution sites (Ubuntu, Fedora), there is an option to download the BitTorrent file, ".torrent" or the link to the magnet link, a URL that automatically loads with one click the desired file.

Why is P2P seen as a crime in certain countries?

The P2P network has its benefits, but like everything on the internet has its good side, it also has its bad side, caused by bad people.

There are contents that are protected by copyright, pornography content that is not allowed and that are available on these networks, not limited to these items only, but software, piracy, music sharing, files, secret documents, among others.

We find complete series on the most diverse file sharing sites of ".torrent", all of these created by users.

Since files are created by users and there is no centralized server, holding copyrighted or any other type of content is virtually impossible.

Those who hold files in centralized places, such as download sites, are held responsible for the contents, as happened with the site, which went offline and its responsible was arrested for violation of the laws in the United States. He created a new service called just MEGA, where the files now have a key and are stored on their servers in a fully encrypted form.

In addition to all this, there are other services that start to exist on these networks, such as the TOR network.

Being anonymous on the internet is to guarantee your integrity as a person not to be followed, and so you can either express your ideas in a secret way or commit crimes.

Within the TOR network, in addition to the benefit of accessing the Internet from other computers, there are also sites that are only part of your own network. If you want to know more about TOR, click here to see the article about it.

Internet services using the P2P network

BitTorrent - File sharing, very well known today. There are several client programs that use the same protocol, such as µTorrent.

Tor - It is considered a VPN through P2P, used to host services, websites and use the internet anonymously. (There is also an I2P network that does practically the same as Tor, but with slightly different concepts and different names).

Freenet - Sharing files and content pages via the internet or a pre-established computer network. You can create a small private computer network and distribute content through it. When creating the account, you must also open a space to store data on your computer.

Winny - File sharing, widespread in Japan. - There is a website with the client download and through it it is possible to search for files on the network and download as desired. It is a little different from Torrent, as it has no files to download or magnet links, it is software created to share files using the P2P network through other Winnys installed on clients, and anonymously. Learn more at

Anonymous P2P - Several applications like the ones above, can take advantage of this method (like Winny) to hide who has parts of the files or who is part of the network (as in the case of TOR). It is not an application, it is a way of working with applications. In BitTorrent, it is possible to determine which IP address has part of a file, and its seeds (although it is difficult to track them in their entirety) but for example the Tor network, each IP becomes a secret node on the network, and is replaced using a pseudonym for identification, thus creating anonymous communication.

EDonkey2000, Gnutella or Gnutella2 (G2) - These are types of networks that use the P2P scheme for file transfer. It is similar to Winny, but they are no longer in use as before, and it does not have a structure for anonymous sharing, it is possible to track the nodes. It is still possible to find some files on these networks, but beware as there are many viruses as well. Since these networks do not have a file classification, finding viruses is easy.

Shareaza - A P2P client that was used a lot for a few years ago, but still has its features enabled by supporting various network protocols, such as the ones above and also BitTorrent. Currently the project has been opened and is no longer paid software.

Emule - Also a client and with its own network to transfer files. It needs some centralized servers to update available files, currently in decline due to the success of the BitTorrent network.

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