Screenshot of a PeerTube test instance run by the Blender Foundation.
|Developer(s)||Framasoft, et. al|
|Initial release||11 October 2018|
1.3.0 / 3 June 2019
v1.3.0-rc.2 / 22 May 2019
|Written in||TypeScript, HTML, CSS, SQL|
|Size||2.49 MB (tar.xz), 30.70 MB (zip)|
|Available in||Catalan, German, English, Spanish, Esperanto, Basque, French, Italian, Occitan, Polish, Portuguese, Slovenian, Czech, Russian and Chinese|
Started in 2015 by a programmer known as Chocobozzz, development of PeerTube is now supported by the French non-profit Framasoft. The aim is to provide an alternative to centralized platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion.
Each PeerTube instance provides a website to browse and watch videos, and is by default independent from others in terms of appearance, features and rules.
Several instances, with common rules (e.g. allowing for similar content, requiring registration) can form federation, where they share their videos, even though each video is stored only by the instance that published it. Federations are independent from each other.
Videos are distributed on a peer-to-peer basis. Users connected to the platform act as relay points that send pieces of video to other users.
Origins and history
PeerTube was created by a web developer known as Chocobozzz as a peer-to-peer alternative to YouTube, utilizing the WebTorrent protocol to share videos. He was contacted in 2017 by Framasoft, which had a campaign called Contributopia, the goal of which is to create alternatives to centralized platforms. In order to support him and his work, notably on improving the design and usability, Framasoft hired the developer.
A first beta of PeerTube was released in March 2018 and the first stable version in October 2018. In June 2018, only a few months after the first beta, 113 instances are publicly available on the web that together host more than 10,000 videos.
In June 2018, as a result of its videos disappearing amid changes regarding the monetization of YouTube channels, the Blender Foundation began experimenting with hosting a PeerTube instance to distribute ad-free copies of the foundation's videos.
PeerTube uses WebTorrent technology. Each server hosts a torrent tracker and each web browser viewing a video also shares it. This allows to share the load between the server itself and the clients as well as the bandwidth used through P2P technology.
The system works via a federation of instances run by independent entities. Each PeerTube server can host any number of videos by itself, and can additionally federate with other servers to let users watch their videos in the same user interface. This federation permits to collectively host a large number of videos in a unified platform, without having to build an infrastructure comparable to that of the web giants. Each server is operated by and stays under the sole administration of a distinct entity.
PeerTube uses the ActivityPub protocol in order to allow decentralization and compatibility with other fediverse services, which can prevent a vendor lock-in and makes it more resilient against censorship.
- Comparison of BitTorrent clients
- Cooperative storage cloud
- Decentralized computing
- InterPlanetary File System
- Peer-to-peer web hosting
- Self-certifying File System
- Solid (web decentralization)
- List of video hosting services
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