Why Trust Techopedia

What Does Freenet Mean?

Freenet is open-source software that is used for peer-to-peer data sharing over the Internet while providing stringent privacy protection methods.


Freenet exists on a decentralized network and is designed to allow freedom of speech without censorship. By enabling users to anonymously share data by sharing bandwidth and hard drive space (known as data store), Freenet can be defined as an Internet within the Internet because users are not limited to sharing files, but may use Freenet for any purpose.

Techopedia Explains Freenet

The Freenet software and data storage concept was originally developed by Ian Clarke, but Freenet has been undergoing constant development since 2000. Freenet is different from traditional peer-to-peer sharing applications in terms of both its security features and its interactivity. Freenet can be used only for accessing content that was uploaded to the Freenet network.

In general, Freenet is used for publishing "freesites", communicating through message boards, distributing content, activating forums and also for downloading. Communication on Freenet is routed through alternate nodes, which decreases the chance that Freenet users will be traced. Freenet also allows other users to continue to download a file even after the user who uploaded it is offline.

The main features of the Freenet application are as follows:

Survival: It is virtually impossible to attack or destroy the system due to its decentralized processes and user anonymity. Hence, Freenet is able to survive malicious attacks and counterfeiting.
Anti-Spy: It is extremely difficult to spy on the activities of a Freenet user.
Cryptographic Security: Its cryptographic security system is highly secure against malicious counterfeiting
Efficiency: Freenet is designed so that each user may access the required information and file it in the most efficient way. It offers minimum bandwidth usage and efficient service irrespective of load.
File Removal: Freenet has its own criteria for removing files, which is out of the control of users. Files that are least frequently used are deleted; files that are most frequently used (the most popular files) are kept.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.