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|
|Initial release||22 October 2013|
0.108.3 / May 16, 2020
|Type||communications protocol, distributed file system, content delivery network|
|Part of a series on|
|Video sharing sites|
|File sharing networks|
|Anonymous file sharing|
|Development and societal aspects|
|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 is 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 PeerCDN (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. WebTorrent primarily relies on WebRTC connections, while BitTorrent uses TCP connections and UDP datagrams directly.
Online video is the core focus as that is where WebTorrent is most useful. It is less suited for smaller files or data sets but is ideal for larger files.
File availability, as with BitTorrents, is dependent on torrent seeding. If few users are sharing a file a HTTP server providing webseeding would be the fall back. There is no sharing without webseeding. However, this could have some positive implications. 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 is going to be in iOS 11, however, it will be requesting permissions from users for access to webcams according to rumours.
People may try out the WebTorrent magnets at Instant.io.
- This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2018)
- BitChute, uses WebTorrent
- PeerTube, uses WebTorrent
- libtorrent, implements WebTorrent
- 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.
- "WebTorrent support - arvidn/libtorrent". GitHub. 2020-07-01.
- 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!"