InterPlanetary File System (IPFS)

WebTech Team
IPFS & DWeb
05-12-2023
Basic Concepts
IPFSDWebweb development

IPFS network

IPFS, or the InterPlanetary File System, represents a groundbreaking paradigm shift in web development, embracing decentralization, distributed content, and censorship resistance. At its core, IPFS reimagines the traditional client-server model by enabling a peer-to-peer network where each node stores a portion of the shared content. This decentralized approach not only enhances data redundancy and availability but also mitigates reliance on a central server, reducing the risk of single points of failure. In contrast to traditional HTTP, IPFS employs a content-addressed system, wherein content is identified by a unique hash derived from its contents. This ensures data integrity and facilitates efficient content retrieval, as any change to the content results in a different hash. IPFS, therefore, stands as a censorship-resistant solution, as there is no central authority capable of controlling or restricting access to information. By eliminating the need for a central server, IPFS fosters a more resilient and efficient web infrastructure, paving the way for a decentralized and truly interconnected internet ecosystem.

IPFS = content decentralization

Today's web is centralized, which means that your web browser (HTTP protocol respectively) downloads files from one computer (server) at a time instead of getting pieces from multiple computers simultaneously. IPFS efficiently solves this problem by content distribution and decentralization, so once the content is requested by your computer, it can be easily downloaded from any source (node) which share it at that time.

IPFS = content is censorship-resistant

IPFS brings great opportunity to make hosted data (files, images, videos, websites etc.) censorship-resistant. HTTP servers can be blocked or censored by authorities, may fails or can be hacked. In IPFS this is not easily possible because all data can be decentralized over many nodes around the world and each node can serve the requested content. IPFS is also DOS/dDOS attacks-resistant.

IPFS nodes

An IPFS node is a fundamental component of the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) network. It refers to any device or computer that runs IPFS software, allowing it to participate in the decentralized and peer-to-peer storage and retrieval of content. IPFS nodes store and share data with other nodes in a distributed manner, contributing to the resilience and redundancy of the network. Each node in the IPFS network has a unique identity, and content is addressed using cryptographic hashes derived from the content itself. Nodes can request and share content directly with each other, eliminating the need for a central server. Users can run IPFS nodes on their computers, servers, or even on devices like smartphones, contributing to the growth and sustainability of the decentralized web ecosystem. Whether a node is contributing storage space, serving as a content provider, or simply accessing content, it plays a crucial role in the collaborative and distributed nature of IPFS.

How to use IPFS

Connecting to the IPFS network involves various methods that cater to different user preferences and needs. Users can become nodes in the IPFS network by running IPFS software on their devices, allowing them to contribute to the distributed storage and retrieval of content. Additionally, users can access IPFS content through IPFS gateways (e.g. https://ipfsgate.com), which act as bridges between the traditional web and the decentralized IPFS network. Popular web browsers, like Brave and Opera, have integrated native support for accessing IPFS content, enabling users to seamlessly browse and interact with IPFS-powered websites. Furthermore, browser extensions and plugins, such as the IPFS Companion for Firefox and Chrome, enhance the user experience by simplifying IPFS integration directly into the browser interface. These tools make it easier for individuals to harness the power of IPFS, fostering a more user-friendly and accessible decentralized web experience.

IPFS pinning

IPFS pinning is the mechanism that allows you to tell IPFS node to always keep some data available for other nodes. IPFS has a fairly aggressive caching mechanism that will keep a data local for a short time after you perform any IPFS operation on it, but these data may get garbage-collected regularly. To prevent that garbage collection, data can be pinned so they persist on that node and gets available for other nodes. An IPFS pinning service is an IPFS node or collection of IPFS nodes dedicated to pinning other people's content on IPFS.