The Interplanetary File system (IPFS) is a peer-to-peer decentralized data sharing and transfer protocol developed to change how information is distributed over the internet. Developed by Protocol Labs, the IPFS is an open-source project with a primary aim to address the shortcomings of the HTTP/HTTPS internet protocol used today.
How exactly do you access content on IPFS?
Since its inception, data distribution across the internet has significantly increased from simple web pages to petabytes of data. The current protocols leverage a data transfer protocol known as the client-server model.
Accessing information on the web is done by a client (i.e. your computer) sending requests to a central server (or collection of servers), usually managed by a centralized entity and often located miles away. In response, the server sends over the requested information once the client is able to find a path across the internet to the location of the server(s).
Although this model currently serves billions of internet users and has fostered the development of the internet from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, the advent of a blockchain-like system of internet communication (commonly referred to as Web 3.0) begs for improvement in existing measures of data sharing and data transfer.
While the client-server model is based on the location of the content, IPFS is developed to focus on the content in itself.
This means that the content is not stored in a central location but across several network nodes, which make up the decentralized, distributed peer-to-peer network.
This way, a client simply requests the information on the network, and the closest node containing the requested content sends the information in response to the client. This ensures data sharing and distribution at faster speeds, highly secure, and tamper-proof given the information is distributed across multiple network nodes.
Protocol Labs are still developing the IPFS with sizeable contributions from the developer community. If the protocol is successful, its rapid adoption promises a significant boost to information sharing across the internet in more secure and faster ways.