The Internet as we know it today is predominantly built on a centralized infrastructure, where a small number of large entities control the majority of the data and any traffic that flows through it. This centralization has led to a number of issues, including outages, vendor-lock-in limitations, and overwhelmed infrastructure which results in slow loading times. Decentralized technologies, such as IPFS, are providing a solution to improve how the world wide web operates.
InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a new way to store and retrieve data that is helping to make the web faster and more efficient. Instead of relying on a centralized server or intermediary to maintain the network and store or distribute data, IPFS uses a network of peers to distribute and store data. IPFS is a peer-to-peer distributed file system that is used for file storage and sharing across a decentralized network of nodes around the globe.
Additionally, IPFS uses a content-addressable system, where data is identified by its content, rather than its location. Content addressing allows for data to be verified through its IPFS CID, assuring that the data hasn’t been altered, changed, or tampered with in any way since the file has been uploaded to IPFS. Any change in the data would result in a new, unique CID value.
The combination of IPFS’s decentralized architecture along with its content addressing data storage workflow has the potential to greatly improve the performance, security, and accessibility of the web worldwide.
Data Retrieval Speeds
One of the important advantages of IPFS is its ability to speed up the delivery of content when the network is accessed directly. Traditional web protocols, such as HTTP, rely on centralized servers to deliver content to users. These traditional centralized servers can become overwhelmed with traffic, leading to slow load times and even outages.
Public IPFS HTTP gateways are subject to these bottlenecks as well since they are currently the most common method used to access files stored on IPFS since HTTP gateways can be used within any application that supports HTTP. As an alternative, dedicated gateways such as the ones offered by Filebase can be used to create a more reliable, less-trafficked HTTP gateway that can be used in applications that support HTTP. However, IPFS native support is quickly being added to many popular apps, such as web browsers like Brave.
When the IPFS network is queried for a file, the node that takes in the request first queries its own file storage to see if the file is pinned or stored in its cache storage. If the node doesn’t have the file locally, it queries its direct peers to see if any of them have the file. If one of the peers has the file, or know who does, they are able to return that information to the node that asked for it. If none of the peers know where the file is stored, the first node will query the Distributed Hash Table (DHT) which is a database that keeps track of what files are stored on what IPFS nodes.
Through this architecture, a file can be retrieved from IPFS using a wide variety of different paths. In comparison, when a file is retrieved from a traditional file storage server, the file can only be retrieved in one specific way. Since the file is stored in one specific location on the server, such as C:/files/storage/file1, every time the file is requested it is accessed in the same way. If that path is long, it can take a while for the file to be returned.
Expanded Data Access
IPFS also has the potential to improve access to information in underserved or undeveloped regions. Since IPFS doesn’t rely on a centralized server or authority to facilitate the network, it allows for the sharing of files and information. This can help to promote the expansion of access to information across the world.
Another advantage of IPFS is its ability to improve the security and reliability of the web. With traditional web protocols, files are stored on centralized servers, making them vulnerable to outages. The distributed nature of IPFS makes it more resistant to outages and other types of failures. However, if a file is pinned to IPFS with only one copy stored on one node, that file is still susceptible to outages or failures. If the node hosting the single copy of the file goes down or has a hardware failure, then the file is inaccessible unless it’s been cached on another IPFS node.
That’s why Filebase pins every file stored to IPFS with 3x redundant copies stored on nodes across 3 diverse, geographic locations.
Filebase is an IPFS pinning service, providing users with a reliable and efficient way to store and access their data. Pinning is the process of keeping a copy of a file on the IPFS network that isn’t subject to being removed during the periodic garbage collection process, assuring that the file is persistently available. Through Filebase’s geo-redundant IPFS pinning, it assures that files pinned to IPFS are as reliable, redundant, and accessible as possible.
You can sign up for a free Filebase account to get started with your IPFS journey today.