Before torrents became dominant in P2P file sharing, there were other networks and apps that facilitated P2P file sharing for years. While some are still active, they are not as popular as they were two decades ago.
A P2P (peer-to-peer) network is a decentralized network architecture where each participant (peer) shares a part of their resources (such as files, disk storage, or network bandwidth) directly with other participants without the need for centralized coordination by servers.
EDonkey2000, Gnutella, and Gnutella2 are examples of such networks, each supporting file sharing among users. EDonkey2000 is known for its large file transfers, Gnutella for its decentralized nature allowing peer discovery without central servers, and Gnutella2 (an evolution of Gnutella) for improved scalability and efficiency in search and file sharing.
Gnutella, a decentralized network protocol for P2P file sharing, remains operational in 2024. It served as a model for other P2P networks and introduced innovations like ultrapeers to enhance scalability. Despite the shutdown of LimeWire, the Gnutella community continues with forks like FrostWire, ensuring the protocol’s persistence without compromising user experience.
This post provides a brief overview of these networks and apps.
Shareaza is a free, open-source peer-to-peer client for Windows that supports connecting to multiple P2P networks, including EDonkey2000, Gnutella, BitTorrent, and Gnutella2. It offers features like “Collections” for organizing files and has a customizable interface.
The Shareaza application is still usable. It is actively maintained and offers compatibility with various P2P networks, making it a viable option for users interested in file sharing through peer-to-peer networks.
- Harnesses the power of up to four separate peer-to-peer networks
- Completely free with no annoying ads or pop-ups
- Fast downloads by utilizing multiple sources
- Sophisticated file-hashing to detect and fix corruption
- Global searching across the entire network
- Multiple results tabs for organized searching
- Previews, user comments, and ratings for authentic downloads
- Customizable interface with different looks and skins
- Translated into multiple languages with full Unicode support
- Extensible with plug-in modules
- Media player for playing various audio and video files
- Preview filters for incomplete files
- Chat functionality for one-on-one communication
- Enhanced security with IP and client filtering to block malicious entities
DC++ is a powerful open-source client for Windows that enables seamless file sharing over the Direct Connect and Advanced Direct Connect networks. With DC++, users can freely share files on the internet without any restrictions or limitations. It boasts a clean and intuitive interface, making it incredibly user-friendly.
Plus, it offers support for multi-hub connections, auto-connections, and the ability to resume downloads. DC++ is proudly licensed under the GNU GPL 3, ensuring its commitment to open-source principles. It is compatible with Windows 7 SP1 and newer versions.
- No ads, spyware, or bundled software that you don’t need
- Open source software, code freely available under the GNU GPL
- Joins multiple hubs at the same time
- Multiple protocol support (ADC & NMDC)
- List of bookmark-like favorite hubs and users
- Shares large files and many files per your organization scheme
- Tiger Tree Hashes (TTH) used for file integrity
- Search across all (or selected) connected hubs by file type, size, name or hash
- Resume of downloads, with optional automatic search for alternate sources by TTH
- Logging options and configuration for chat, private messages, downloads, and uploads
- Automatic connectivity setup with autoconfiguration of UPnP and NAT-PMP routers
- MAGNET link support for linking to specific content
- Automatic and manual download priorities
- Saving of user’s file lists for browsing and queueing
- GUI is translated into many languages using community supplied Gettext .po language files
- Segmented downloading
- NAT-Traversal support
- SSL encrypted secure hub-client communication, file transfers and direct private messages
- Bandwidth limiting capabilities
- Plugin support
3- Gimme P2P
Gimme P2P is an exceptionally powerful and efficient program for file sharing. With its robust support for both Gnutella 1 and Gnutella 2 networks, you can enjoy stable and secure downloads, along with highly comprehensive search results. It easily surpasses LimeWire and BearShare in every aspect!
eMule is a free P2P file-sharing client for Windows, launched in 2002 as an alternative to eDonkey2000. It is known for its advanced search features, file checks, preview while downloading, and credit system. It also supports the Kad network and has a queue and credit system.
- Kad network support
- Queue and credit system
- Intelligent corruption control
- Simultaneous downloads with preview
- Built in Web services/server
- Advanced search
- Messaging system
Envy is an incredibly powerful multi-network p2p filesharing and torrent client for Windows or Wine. It is a well-established mainstream fork of Shareaza. Envy is highly customizable with the ability to change its appearance, and it supports various protocols including BitTorrent/DHT, G2/Gnutella², Gnutella, ED2K/eMule, DC++, and http/ftp.
Additionally, Envy has built-in support for blacklisting. Share your public files and allow others to easily browse them.
6- Ares Galaxy
Ares Galaxy is a free, open-source BitTorrent and chat program with its own decentralized network. It has a user-friendly interface, supports various file types, and allows publishing and downloading files through its peer-to-peer network. It also supports the BitTorrent protocol and Shoutcast radio stations. Additional features include advanced search functionality.
The app has not been updated for years, and the official website is also down. However, the app is still receiving approximately 1,500 downloads per week.
- Advanced search
- Quick downloads
- Built in audio/video player
- Chat rooms
- Powerful library organizer
Phex is a multi-platform P2P filesharing client that connects to the Gnutella network. It is malware-free and offers advanced functionalities such as multi-source downloads and advanced search features. It also provides advanced configuration options.
Alliance is a free and secure platform for sharing files and communicating with people you know. Simply download and run Alliance, invite your coworkers or friends, and start sharing files and communicating with them easily.
It works for Windows, Linux and macOS.
PeerProject is a peer-to-peer filesharing client and file manager that supports various networks and features, including BitTorrent, G2, Gnutella, eDonkey, DC++, IRC, and http/ftp.
It is a mainstream fork of Shareaza p2p designed for Windows and WINE. Note that the project is currently idle, and further development can be found in the Envy fork.
EiskaltDC++ is a cross-platform program that supports the Direct Connect and ADC protocols, allowing file sharing and peer-to-peer communication. It is compatible with various DC clients and hub software.
11- ANts P2P
ANts P2P is a third generation P2P network that prioritizes privacy by hiding your identity and encrypting all communication. It is an open-source Java implementation with features like multiple sources download.
- Multiple sources download
- Swarming from partial files
- Automatic resume and sources research over the net
- Search by hash, string and structured query
- Completely Object-Oriented routing protocol
- Point to Point secured comunication: DH(512)-AES(128)
- EndPoint to EndPoint secured comunication: DH(512)-AES(128)
- Serverless GWebCache-based peer dicovery procedure
- IRC based peer discovery system
- IRC embeded chat system
- Full text search of indexed documents (pdf, html, txt, doc etc)
- Distributed/Decentralized Search engine
- HTTP tunneling
- ANts allow P2P communications through any kind of HTTP Proxy
- ANts allow P2P communications through any kind of NAT or traffic filtering system
- Fully automated NAT detection and setup via UPnP
- Fulltext indexing of shared documents using Lucene indexing engine
LimeWire was a popular peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing application that allowed users to share and download files over the internet. It operated on the Gnutella network and was known for its easy-to-use interface and wide range of shared content.
However, due to legal issues, LimeWire’s services were shut down in 2010 following a court injunction. While the original LimeWire service is no longer usable, various unofficial forks and versions appeared afterward.