The InterPlatery File System is a peer-to-peer, distributed system for storing and accessing files, as well as websites and applications, which relies on content addressing rather than location.
The InterPlanetery File System (IPFS) was created as one of the first completely decentralized and distributed file storing and sharing systems. While traditionally, information on the web is stored on servers with a specific location, IPFS relies on a blockchain-like system to store and distribute information.
For example, if you are trying to access a Wikipedia page, you would traditionally type in the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) address in a web browser and be redirected to a web page stored on one of Wikipedia’s servers. On the other hand, if you try to access the same web page through an IPFS Gateway, you will receive a completely identical result; however, it would have been distributed to you through the nearest computer that has already accessed that page from IPFS.
In essence, IPFS functions just like a blockchain-based network of nodes, where all information is shared between the network and distributed by the closest possible source. As a peer-to-peer (P2P) distributed storage network, IPFS allows users to access content distributed across the network from the nearest available peer. This significantly increases both the speed of access and the security of the information stored on the network.
One of the main advantages of IPFS is that it utilizes a content addressing mechanism to identify the information requested by the user. While traditionally, information on the web is accessed through a specific address, or in other words, a specific location, IPFS relies on content addressing to recall relevant information. Content addressing works in much the same way as a library works. When you are looking for a book in a library, you usually ask for the book by its title, which in essence, is a content item. On the other hand, if you said that you are looking for the book located on row 3 of aisle 7 on the second floor, this would have been location-based searching. In other words, IPFS relies on relevant content keywords to fetch the information that you are looking for, rather than searching for the specific location this information is saved in.
IPFS is becoming an industry standard in blockchain projects because of its flexibility and security. With the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), IPFS has become an important tool for NFT marketplaces to store information about the works they publish.