Advantages & Disadvantages of P2P File Sharing

By eHow Contributor

Updated July 21, 2017

P2P file sharing connects multiple computers directly together to share files.
i Hemera Technologies/ Images

Peer to peer (P2P) communication has been a cornerstone in the file sharing community for years. Using some of the many P2P services available allows users to download rather large files, in little chunks, from many different people, and do so faster than from one source. But like many things, there are pros and cons to P2P file sharing; research is necessary before partaking in this community of high-rate data transfer.


Because the information is gathered from multiple sources, the P2P file sharing application is able to download information in parallel (at the same time) from those many different sources, which speeds up the downloading process. Also, the information is chopped up in small parts at the different source locations, so the information can be transferred at much higher rates. When multiple computers (peers) are all sharing the same information on a P2P network, larger files are downloaded quicker than using a centralized location.

More Information is Available

Since a P2P network consists of multiple computers all sharing the information stored on them, the database of information available is much more vast than a average search engine query. Therefore, the searches performed with them will be much more comprehensive. The ability to find lesser known information or data is also greater when using a P2P network. There is a redundancy built into the network query that allows for search terms to be handled more leniently than a regular search engine, meaning the terms produce more results.

Slow Browsing Speed

While connected to a P2P network, there will be a noticeable decrease in network speed while on your computer. Your Internet browsing, and other peripherals that require an Internet connection, will decrease in speed, because downloading data takes up a lot of bandwidth. As long as your P2P application is open, it will be consuming bandwidth either downloading data, or sharing (seeding) it with other networked users that need access to files you possess.


Since downloading data using a P2P network is open, which allows anyone to partake, there is a big risk factor pertaining to security. All content is downloaded directly from other individuals' computers, which means P2P networking opens up a hole in which malicious individuals can enter your computer. This is one of the major problems with P2P networking, and is why you must take extreme caution when downloading data from individuals you do not know, and install security suites to protect your computer from any attacks.