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Peer5 Downloader - Frequently Asked Questions

(You can join our discussion in Peer5 Google group and ask questions there)
Website owner
What is this product?
How is it better than the browser’s downloader?
How can I quickly test it?
How much can I save in bandwidth costs?
What happens if my users are on an unsupported browser?
End user
Do you keep uploading from the user after download is completed?
How can users stop sharing?
Technology
What is this sorcery?
How is it possible? I thought P2P was impossible without a plugin or client?
Do I have to open ports for it to work?
Where do you store the file while it’s downloading?
Is it secure?
Is it really fast?
How do you resume downloads?
Does it work with any server or CDN?
What file types are supported?
What happens if Peer5’s servers are down?
Can I use this technology for things other than file downloads?
How is it different from Sharefest?
Where can I find more about how it works?
Do you use BitTorrent protocol?
How is this different than BitTorrent?
How does it find peers?

Website owner

What is this product?
The Peer5 Downloader is a new kind of file downloader that downloads files using web servers and peers. It’s pure javascript, and requires no plugins or installations. The experience is entirely immersed within your web page. Our peer mesh network allows us to really help you scale your downloads.
How is it better than the browser’s downloader?
Peer5 downloader has several features that you’ll love:
  • It uses P2P - which means the more downloads you have, the more money you save on infrastructure.
  • It’s blazing fast - we use several techniques to maximize the user’s downlink.
  • It has pause and resume - if the users have something important to do, they can simply pause and resume from where they left off later.
  • It uses smart caching - even if the browser crashes, users can resume as though nothing happened.
How can I quickly test it?
You can test out your downloads here: https://peer5.com/downloader/#example (reminder: you’ll have to enable CORS).
How much can I save in bandwidth costs?
The amount of bandwidth Peer5 can save you depends on a number of factors, including: how many concurrent users you have, how big the files you’re hosting are, and how many of your users use supported browsers (Chrome/Firefox/Opera). If most of your traffic downloads a few specific files, we can reduce the load on your servers by up to 90%.
What happens if my users are on an unsupported browser?
If the user uses an unsupported browser, the download will gracefully fallback to a regular download managed by his or her browser.

End user

Do you keep uploading from the user after download is completed?
Yes, but only until the user closes the page.
How can users stop sharing?
Once they close the tab, the download and the sharing stop immediately. We plan to add an option to control the sharing during the download.

Technology

What is this sorcery?
It is HTML5.
How is it possible? I thought P2P was impossible without a plugin or client?
WebRTC is a new API that allows browsers to connect. We’re using part of the API, called Data Channels, to send data between peers. To learn more checkout: http://www.webrtc.org/ or http://www.html5rocks.com/en/tutorials/webrtc/datachannels/.
Do I have to open ports for it to work?
No, WebRTC uses ICE protocols to go through firewalls and NATs.
Where do you store the file while it’s downloading?
We use a Filesystem API to create temporary storage for the files being downloaded. On top of that, we’ve implemented a smart caching mechanism.
Is it secure?
Yes, all communication between peers is encrypted. So is the communication between peers and our servers.
Is it really fast?
Yes, using both P2P and advanced HTTP download techniques, we maximize download speeds. The downloader is typically faster than your regular browser download, because we employ multiple HTTP requests. When peers are available, it can be much faster, especially when they are nearby (for example in local networks).
How do you resume downloads?
We use a Filesystem API and an IndexedDB to create temporary storage for the files being downloaded. On top of that, we’ve implemented a smart caching mechanism. That enables us to see if you’ve previously started downloading the files.
Does it work with any server or CDN?
Yes, we can work with any HTTP server, Apache, Nginx, Dropbox, AWS, Google Cloud Storage, etc. You only need to enable CORS
What file types are supported?
Any static file that your HTTP server hosts can be downloaded.
What happens if Peer5’s servers are down?
The download will gracefully fallback to a regular download managed by the user’s browser.
Can I use this technology for things other than file downloads?
Yes… For example, it can be used to deliver images on your website.
How is it different from Sharefest by Peer5?
Sharefest is P2P only. With the Downloader, the file will always be available from the HTTP server.
Where can I find more about how it works?
Checkout out our open source project sharefest
Do you use BitTorrent protocol?
While we borrowed a few ideas from it, we don’t use the BitTorrent protocol. The BitTorrent protocol, though very stable and scale proof, is less suitable for quickly bootstrapping a connection, which is very important in the web environment.
How is this different than BitTorrent?
BitTorrent is a protocol in which a user needs to download a client before downloading a file. Our technology is built for the web. One of our goals is to be as simple and seamless for end users as possible.
How does it find peers?
The Downloader finds peers by communicating with our coordinator server, which has a directory of peers currently available and can determine which ones can be the most helpful with a download.