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InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) Meaning

Jul 20, 2023 | Updated Jul 20, 2023
An InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a distributed, peer-to-peer system for sharing, storing and accessing files, digital data, applications, and websites.

What is an InterPlanetary File System?

An InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a distributed file-sharing and storage protocol. An IPFS distributes data to nodes consisting of hundreds of thousands of individual computers connected to the IPFS, rather than storing data in a single centralized server. 

The nodes store the content or files uploaded to IPFS. This means that users can still access their files or content even when there is downtime in one (or several) node(s). It’s difficult to know where the data is in the decentralized storage, which eliminates the risks of a central point of failure and reduces the chances of attack and censorship.

An IPFS works similarly to blockchains in that the information sent to the protocol is distributed and shared across the network, and is accessible via the nearest node. While blockchains will hash transaction records and share them with participating nodes, IPFS focuses on hashing files or content instead of transactions, allowing users to search for content based on hashes. 

IPFS is also ideal for storing large files and efficient file distribution, which makes it highly scalable. Another important use case is delivering content to websites, building towards a decentralized web. The type of data stored in IPFS includes files and hypermedia. 

IPFS vs. HTTP

An IPFS offers several advantages over HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) connections. This includes low operational costs, enhanced performance and security, data integrity, and censorship resistance.

IPFS utilizes content identifiers to fetch the exact information users are looking for, while HTTP connection sends users to a specific address or location. This means that IPFS deals with the “what” (content-focused) while HTTP the “where” (location-focused).

Since information on HTTP is stored and maintained by a central server, the content is temporary and access to it can be affected by downtime or network congestion. On the other hand, IPFS enables users to implement a permanent and distributed web for storing and sharing files and digital data.

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