IPFS may be the future of file hosting and content delivery

In 2006, Amazon Web Services (AWS) enabled independent web developers to build applications at an affordable price. IPFS is well positioned to transform the industry again with its free and highly available distributed web model.

The peer-to-peer (P2P) hypermedia protocol, IPFS, is emerging as a legitimate alternative to conventional file and site hosting. A key feature of IPFS is its scalability. The IPFS architecture is designed to manage “load balancing, deduplication, caching, and high availability.“Any computer can act as a server (node), and it elegantly leverages peer nodes to create a Distributed Content Delivery Network (CDN) as demand increases. In addition, the Cloudflare IPFS Gateway and DNS Support removes any concerns one might have regarding the delivery, performance and use of the domain name.

IPFS made it easy for anyone to participate as a node with its Desktop application. The app, which runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux, allows users to add files and automatically connect to peer nodes. Files added to the application will be distributed to other nodes, and files from other nodes will be copied locally and served from the computer.

IPFS Desktop Application
IPFS desktop app for macOS

IPFS works so well that it is possible to host a high availability site using its desktop application from a personal computer, acting as the seed (pine) for free.

IPFS to the Web
File downloaded and pinned to the IPFS Desktop application used for the etiquette.fyi site

IPFS File Storage Services

It is not always practical or ideal to trust a personal computer as an IPFS node. Fortunately, there are a growing number of IPFS storage services that can be used to pin files.

Fission Drive

Fission is a native web application publishing tool that leverages IPFS for file delivery. It supports existing front-end frameworks like React, Vue, and Elm and can host fully interactive websites or web applications with user accounts.

They have an app called To drive which shows what developers can do with Fission. Drive is intended for use by developers to store and share their app files, but it can also be used as a standalone cloud drive.

Fission Drive
Fission Drive application using IPFS

The Web Drive app is simple to use and has a great user interface (UI), but it focuses more on basic file management for Fission and less on showcasing the unique features of IPFS.

Pinata

Out of all the IPFS file storage services I have tested, Pinata was my favorite. Pinata doesn’t have the nested folder-based file management user interface that Fission Drive does, but it’s still easy to use and has the IPFS features that most people will want and expect.

Pinata File Manager
IPFS Pinata Pinning Service Web Application

One of the key elements of IPFS is that it is distributed and files are immutable. Each file is assigned a unique content identifier (CID), which can be used to add and pin folders and files to another node.

I recently imported and pinned my Label for electric vehicles (EV) site that was originally created and pinned to my home computer using IPFS Desktop to Pinata. All I had to do was copy the CID of the pinned folder that contains the site, then import and pin it into Pinata using the same CID.

Pinned by CID in Pinata
Pin a folder in the Pinata pinning service with a CID

Pinata instantly imported the folder. Once I verified that the site was publicly accessible from their gateway, I unpinned and removed it from IPFS Desktop and deleted the app from my home computer. The site has experienced no downtime due to the immutable and distributed nature of the P2P IPFS network.

IPFS services integrating Filecoin

piece of money, which strives to be the world’s largest and most autonomous IPFS-based decentralized storage network, has experienced explosive growth.

Filecoin uses a cryptocurrency template which allows anyone to participate as a storage provider and earn Coin (FIL). The network is designed to be self-sufficient and rewards nodes for data storage and performance.

They recently announced a major donation to the Internet Archive, which aims to ensure the sustainability of archive.org data via the distributed web.

This donation of 50,000 Filecoin is the largest donation ever made to the Internet Archive. And what are we going to do with it? We are going to invest it in decentralizing the Internet Archive, so that files are available from thousands of computers, not just a few. The idea of ​​creating a robust, private internet that has a history that cannot be erased.

Brewster Kahle, Internet Archives

IPFS and Filecoin are separate protocols meant to complement each other.

IPFS allows peers to store, request, and transfer verifiable data between themselves, while Filecoin is designed to provide a persistent data storage system. As part of Filecoin’s incentive structure, clients pay to store data at specific levels of redundancy and availability, and miners earn payouts and rewards by continuously storing the data and proving it in a way. cryptographic.

What is the relationship between IPFS and Filecoin?

There are several companies that are creating services that leverage the decentralized protocol of IPFS with the data persistence model of Filecoin. ChainSafe Files, Space, and Slate are three important services.

  • ChainSafe Files – An IPFS drive that has clean and fast UX but no sharing capability.
  • Space – An IPFS drive similar to Google Drive with advanced sharing options.
  • Slate – An IPFS reader with basic sharing capabilities with an emphasis on file presentation.

The future of decentralized web file storage and delivery

The most compelling part of IPFS is that anyone with an internet connection can use it without a subscription or a large investment. Similar to Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2006, IPFS further removes cost as a barrier to entry, allowing individuals and lean startups to access the same level of web-based content distribution as the one big companies are used to. This will result in new services and applications that otherwise would never have been released.

There are several other reasons why IPFS is positioned to disrupt traditional file hosting services.

  1. There is no content locking with IPFS – Moving and pinning data to another SAN only requires entering unique CIDs.
  2. It adapts to nodes as needed – The protocol is designed to exploit nodes exponentially and intelligently as the demand for files increases.
  3. It supports multiple data persistence models – File pinning services are supported by traditional merchant services, blockchain (e.g. Filecoin) and service sharing.
  4. Cloudflare has an IPFS gateway – Cloudflare has a distributed web gateway for IPFS, which makes it easier to use custom domains and operate their network.
  5. IPFS is cheaper – As businesses learn that IPFS is cheaper and just as reliable as their conventional file hosting service, they will switch to IPFS to save money.

Web applications that rely solely on IPFS for content delivery will soon become more common. We should also expect to see more pinning services like Pinata will emerge over the next several years, with the tipping point occurring when established businesses and hosting providers begin to migrate to IPFS.

Jon henshaw

Jon is the founder of Coywolf and the EIC and senior reporting writer for Coywolf News. He is an industry veteran with over 25 years of experience in digital marketing and internet technologies. To follow @henshaw