A Hands-on Introduction to IPFS

The Interplanetary File System is going to be a big deal.

Jonas Bostoen
Published in
9 min readMay 23, 2018


This article will be divided into two parts:

  • A theoretical introduction to IPFS
  • A practical guide on using IPFS

The first part aims to show you how IPFS works, while the second part will walk you through using IPFS and interacting with the already existing network. The second part assumes some technical knowledge and a *nix based system.

Also read: The Best Hardware wallet

If you’re looking for a more in-depth explanation of the technologies that make up IPFS, I’ve made a youtube video on that as well. Check it out below.

Theoretical Introduction

HTTP, or the HyperText Transfer Protocol, is the peer-to-peer communication protocol that governs the internet now. It’s how you access websites, watch video’s, download files. There are some problems with it however, a lot of it stemming from the fact that the current model is largely centralized.

What’s wrong with the Internet of today?

When you want to visit a website today, your browser (client) sends a request to the servers (host) that “serve” up that website, even when those servers are across the globe from your current location. This is location-based addressing, and it uses IP-addresses to show your location. That process eats bandwidth, and thus costs us a lot of money and time. On top of that, HTTP downloads a file from a single server at a time, which is way worse than getting multiple pieces of that file from multiple computers. It also allows for powerful entities to block access to certain locations, like Turkey did with the Wikipedia servers in 2017.

HTTP vs. IPFS [Source:]