How to Make P2P File Transfers on PC and Android Directly from the Web

Khamosh Pathak

There’s no shortage of file transfer apps and services on the web. You can use something like Xender to transfer files between Android and iOS devices, Dukto to easily share between PC and Android, Dropbox to stay in sync everywhere and BitTorrent Sync to do the same without involving any servers.

Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

But one thing all of these services have in common is they’re just that – services. And they come with the baggage of proper services as well. You need to sign up for accounts, download apps, make sure everything is set up just right and more importantly, have the other party do the same. There’s clearly a need for a dead simple, fast, secure, web-based service to take care of this issue.

There’s an answer in the form of file.pizza.

How to Use File.pizza

Other than a clever and playful use of the new TLDs, What file.pizza does is almost poetically simple. It uses a combination of P2P networks (just like torrents work) and WebRTC protocol (that enables things like video chat right in the browser) available in many modern web browsers.

File Pizza

When you go to the website, you’re asked to upload a file, just 1 file at a time and the website generates a link instantly. No matter the size of the file, the link generation will be instant because the file isn’t going anywhere, it’s staying there in the browser’s cache.

File Pizza

After the link is generated, you can send it to anyone in the world, they don’t need to be on the same Wi-Fi network. Now, as long as you have the web page open, the other party can open the link on any compatible device – Chrome/Firefox on desktop, Chrome on Android (but not in iOS browsers or Safari on the Mac) and they can click Download to start downloading.

More on P2P: Using a P2P network for syncing or sharing files means a much faster syncing time between devices (more than 10X difference sometimes) and it also means no one can easily track your data. Learn more about downloading torrents right on your Android device and learn how to use BitTorent Sync to create your own decentralized Dropbox clone.

File Pizza

When that happens, the website is sending the file directly from your computer to theirs. No servers involved, no uploading/waiting times. This way, not only is it fast, it’s also secure. When the transfer is going on, make sure either of the devices don’t time out or go to sleep (especially your Android phone) or the transfer will fail.

How Well Does it Work?

When it works (that is, if you’re using a supported browser), it works pretty well. On Android, I encountered a weird issue where the native Downloads app wasn’t able to open the downloaded files but switching to ES File Explorer did the trick.

No support for iOS right now: On iOS, I tried multiple third-party browsers including Chrome and UC browser, but I got a “No WebRTC support” error every time, as you can see below.

File Pizza

I also tested it on 3G and the transfer for small files worked just fine.

Right now, the website only supports 1 file at a time but if you want to send more than 1 file, a workaround would be to create a zip file or just send them one by one (but as each file has a unique URL, this can become a chore). Honestly, the transfer speed isn’t great. It took more than 5 minutes to deliver a 260 MB file. But as it’s P2P and entirely web-based, it’s impressive that file.pizza pulled it off without any issues.

Screenshot_2015-06-02-15-49-33--Screenshot_2015-06-02-15-49-52_result

What Will You Use it For?

File.pizza is great for sending your friends TV shows or music files when they’re on the same network but don’t want to install any apps. It’s also a great way to send files to your family members without creating much fuss. And, of course, when you’re sharing something private that you don’t want someone else to snoop around in.

What do you plan to use file.pizza for? Share with us in the comments below.

Also See
#bittorrent #file transfer

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