Peer-to-peer file sharing

Users can use software that connects in to a peer-to-peer network to search for shared files on the computers of other users (i.e. peers) connected to the network.

Files of interest can then be downloaded directly from other users on the network. Typically, large files are broken down into smaller chunks, which may be obtained from multiple peers and then reassembled by the downloader.

This is done while the peer is simultaneously uploading the chunks it already has to other peers.

File hosting services

File hosting services are a simple alternative to peer-to-peer software.

These are sometimes used together with Internet collaboration tools such as email, forums, blogs, or any other medium in which links to direct downloads from file hosting services can be embedded.

These sites typically host files so that others can download them.