This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. Please help improve it to make it understandable to non-experts, without removing the technical details. (November 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The WebTorrent logo.
|Original author(s)||Feross Aboukhadijeh, John Hiesey, etc|
|Initial release||22 October 2013|
0.102.4 / 30 August 2018
|Operating system||web browsers|
FreeBSD, Linux, macOS, Windows
|Type||communications protocol, distributed file system, content delivery network|
|Part of a series on|
|Networks and protocols|
|Development and societal aspects|
|Non-public file sharing|
|Websites and services|
|By country or region|
The idea behind WebTorrent is to make BitTorrent work on the web in a browser. Any web browser should be able to connect to a peer-to-peer swarm, fetch content, verify that it's correct, and display it to the user - all as much as possible without centralized servers relying on a network entirely of people's browsers.
Before WebTorrent the developers first tried Peer-CBN (content delivery network) as a start up that sold to Yahoo in 2013. A goal of WebTorrent is to maintain compatibility with BitTorrent as much as possible. WebTorrent uses the same protocol as BitTorrent but uses a different transport. BitTorrent uses TCP connections and UDP packets that currently don't work on the web for security reasons, while WebTorrent uses WebRTC facilitating peer-to-peer connectivity and functions on the web as the only option to avoid using servers (ie. web sockets and middlemen servers, etc). There are also interesting hybrid application combinations with HTTP URLs where a server is accessed by the first peer, starting the sharing process, crossing over from server based to P2P based content.
Online video is the core focus as that is where WebTorrent is most useful. If not combined with HTTP in a hybrid approach then P2P alone has a higher latency up front as peers must be found. It's less suited for smaller files or data sets but is ideal for larger files.
File availability, like with BitTorrents is dependent on torrent seeding. If few users are sharing a file an HTTP server providing webseeding would be the fall back. There is no sharing without webseeding. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Rather than using a middleman upload site to share a large private file with another person, with WebTorrent you may directly connect without leaving traces somewhere or potentially being archived on some upload site. You simply drag and drop your file to create a magnet link you may share with your friend. Connections are already encrypted but you may add extra layers of encryption with keys to send another way. RAM limits may be managed with IndexDB.
BitChute is a video hosting service that uses WebTorrent P2P technology in order to diffuse, redistribute, and ease bandwidth and issues of centralized streaming and to make it much more difficult for governments and corporations to censor, disrupt, and/or block access to videos after they are uploaded and sharing.
The Safari web browser is incorporating WebRTC and data channel support, as it's going to be in iOS 11, however for some reason they're requesting permissions from users for access to web-cams, according to rumours.
You may try out the WebTorrent magnets at Instant.io.
- This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2018)
- Comparison of BitTorrent clients
- InterPlanetary File System
- List of video hosting services
- "tube" sites of the MindGeek porn monopoly
- YouTube Instant
- Ernesto (2018-01-04). "WebTorrent Desktop Hits a Million Downloads". TorrentFreak.com. TorrentFreak. Retrieved 2018-11-03.
- Heavybit (2017-07-06). "Demuxed - Ep. #5, WebTorrent: Bringing BitTorrent to the Web". YouTube. Heavybit. Retrieved 2018-11-03. @4:35+
- "BitChute is a BitTorrent-Powered YouTube Alternative". TorrentFreak. 2017-01-29. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
- Beer, Doron. "iTWire - BitChute: the first serious YouTube competitor?". www.itwire.com. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
- "WebTorrent". WebTorrent.com. Retrieved 2018-11-03.
- Official website
- Instant.io for WebTorrent magnets.
- Demuxed - Ep. #5, WebTorrent: Bringing BitTorrent to the Web on YouTube, 2017-07-06, is an audio interview (not video) that starts as an excellent introduction to WebTorrent, drifts into past projects for context, then gets very technical about hacking streams, before concluding on vacuum frying banana chips.
- PopChest.com, The Pop Network, "the hottest [new] video platform built on the Ethereum netowrk!"