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The WebTorrent logo is a red heart over a dark grey background with a red border hexagon.
The WebTorrent logo
Original author(s)Feross Aboukhadijeh
Initial release22 October 2013; 6 years ago (2013-10-22)
Stable release
0.108.3 / May 16, 2020; 2 months ago (2020-05-16)
Written inJavaScript
Operating systemCross-platform
Available inJavaScript
Typecommunications protocol, distributed file system, content delivery network

WebTorrent is a peer-to-peer (P2P) streaming torrent client written in JavaScript by Feross Aboukhadijeh, who also created YouTube Instant, and the team at WebTorrent and on GitHub, for use in web browsers, as well as a WebTorrent Desktop stand alone version able to bridge WebTorrent and BitTorrent serverless networks.


The idea behind WebTorrent is to make BitTorrent work on the web in a browser.[1] 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.[2]

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.[2]

WebTorrent Desktop[edit]

The WebTorrent Desktop bridges the two networks of WebRTC-based WebTorrent and TCP/UDP-based BitTorrent simultaneously. The BitTorrent client Vuze (formerly Azureus) less gracefully but adequately functionally incorporated WebTorrent adding simultaneous network bridging to their software. The developers used Electron that makes desktop apps using JavaScript with access to all the APIs from Chrome and Node.[2]


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.[2]

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.[2]



BitChute is a video hosting service that uses WebTorrent P2P technology[3][4] in order to diffuse, redistribute, and ease bandwidth and issues of centralized streaming[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]


Brave web browser and PopChest are "open source supporters" of WebTorrent, as displayed on WebTorrent's homepage.[5]


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.[2]


People may try out the WebTorrent magnets at Instant.io.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ernesto (2018-01-04). "WebTorrent Desktop Hits a Million Downloads". TorrentFreak.com. TorrentFreak. Retrieved 2018-11-03.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Heavybit (2017-07-06). "Demuxed - Ep. #5, WebTorrent: Bringing BitTorrent to the Web". YouTube. Heavybit. Retrieved 2018-11-03. @4:35+
  3. ^ "BitChute is a BitTorrent-Powered YouTube Alternative". TorrentFreak. 2017-01-29. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  4. ^ Beer, Doron. "iTWire - BitChute: the first serious YouTube competitor?". www.itwire.com. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  5. ^ "WebTorrent". WebTorrent.com. Retrieved 2018-11-03.
  6. ^ "WebTorrent support - arvidn/libtorrent". GitHub. 2020-07-01.

External links[edit]