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emule serversBelieve it or not, eMule is still alive and kicking. These days, file sharing is all about BitTorrent and file-hosting websites 5 Free Browser-Based P2P File Sharing Sites With No Size Limits 5 Free Browser-Based P2P File Sharing Sites With No Size Limits Read More like RapidShare and the ill-fated MegaUpload Why MegaUpload, And Who's Next? Why MegaUpload, And Who's Next? In the middle of some very aggressive anti-SOPA/PIPA protests, the feds managed to prove that they don't need to pass such a bill to pull the plug on a certain internet website. The casualty this... Read More . Many of the older file-sharing applications have long-passed – LimeWire, Kazzaa, AudioGalaxy, Napster – they’re no more. But eMule is still with us. It’s a peer-to-peer file-sharing application that uses eDonkey servers and its own decentralized Kad network.

Unlike many peer-to-peer applications, eMule is an open-source project 8 Ways To Help Open-Source Projects If You're Not A Coder 8 Ways To Help Open-Source Projects If You're Not A Coder We’ve covered why it’s important to contribute to open-source projects, but what if you’re not a coder? You don't have to learn how to program to help your favorite open-source projects. Many non-programmers volunteer some... Read More and it doesn’t come bundled with any adware or spyware. With an integrated search feature and a shared files directory, eMule represents another era of file sharing.

Popularity

It may be hard to believe – given all the attention paid to BitTorrent and other file-sharing methods Top 10 Largest File Sharing Websites On The Net Right Now Top 10 Largest File Sharing Websites On The Net Right Now According to Google’s search engine rankings, only 2 of the top 10 most visited file sharing websites are related to BitTorrent. This isn’t to say that torrents aren’t still popular, but five years ago the... Read More – but eMule is still quite popular. When I wrote this article, eMule had received over 761,000 downloads this week and was the 10th most popular download on SourceForge.

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eMule is a Windows-only program, but Mac OS X and Linux users aren’t left out. They can use aMule, which is cross-platform. aMule has a similar interface to eMule and uses some of the same code.

Fake Servers

In 2007, TorrentFreak estimated that as many as 60% of the available eDonkey servers were “fake” or “spy” servers. Fake servers have different motivations – some return results filled with malware What Is The Difference Between A Worm, A Trojan & A Virus? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is The Difference Between A Worm, A Trojan & A Virus? [MakeUseOf Explains] Some people call any type of malicious software a "computer virus," but that isn't accurate. Viruses, worms, and trojans are different types of malicious software with different behaviors. In particular, they spread themselves in very... Read More to try and infect your system, while some monitor your eMule usage and may send it to anti-peer-to-peer companies.

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Fake servers often return search results full of garbled, nonsensical, or empty files. They won’t display actual, real files – if you’re connected to a fake server, your files won’t show up in other users’ searches.

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eMule’s Kad network does bypass the need for servers, helping with this problem. After eMule finds a few other Kad-supporting clients, it can connect to the Kad network. It’s sort of like DHT in torrent clients.

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Like with other peer-to-peer networks, bad clients can also poison the network with fake files that appear in search results.

Lack Of Updates

eMule was last updated in April 2010 – nearly 2 years ago. While development isn’t completely stalled, future updates will likely only contain minor changes and bug fixes. uTorrent 5 Different uTorrent Add-Ons You Should Try Out 5 Different uTorrent Add-Ons You Should Try Out The most popular torrent client, uTorrent, has been getting a lot of extra effort put into it to simplify its use while expanding its feature set. I must say that the uTorrent developers have done... Read More and many other BitTorrent clients The 4+ Best BitTorrent Clients To Get The Most Out Of Your Downloads The 4+ Best BitTorrent Clients To Get The Most Out Of Your Downloads BitTorrent is still a reliable and pretty fast way to download large files. It might not be the best method out there, but sometimes it sure is the easiest. The clients are straightforward enough and... Read More release updates at a comparatively breakneck pace.

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eMule lacks a few features we take for granted in modern peer-to-peer programs. It doesn’t support IPv6 IPv6 & The Coming ARPAgeddon [Technology Explained] IPv6 & The Coming ARPAgeddon [Technology Explained] Read More , which will likely be important in the future. It also doesn’t support NAT traversal – if you can’t use UPnP or forward ports manually 5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed 5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed For many people, the distributed peer-to-peer download power of torrents isn’t all it’s made out to be. If you’re feeling drowned in fake files, choking from ISP speed throttling, and sick of being told you’re... Read More , you’ll get a “low ID” which indicates that other clients can’t connect to you. This will reduce your download speed – uTorrent, for example, gets around this with its NAT traversal feature.

Its interface also feels a bit out-of-date and would likely be confusing to many users who are only familiar with torrent clients.

Usage

Today’s most popular file-sharing methods – both BitTorrent clients and online file-hosting sites – make you search the Web for .torrent files 11 Online Sources to Find Legal Torrents 11 Online Sources to Find Legal Torrents Recent events have seen well-known torrent directories like BTJunkie closing their doors or being threatened with closure, leaving many people wondering about the legalities of torrents and which directories are still open to find them... Read More or links to downloads. eMule is more similar to Napster and other old school peer-to-peer applications – it includes a search tab. After connecting to a server on the Servers tab, you can search for files and start downloading them.

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This approach may help you find older, rarer files that may not have torrents, but it also has some downsides. Not as many people use eMule and other eDonkey clients, so it may be hard to find some files. And if a file only has a few sources, the file may not be what it claims to be.

While eMule’s interface may feel a little outdated, it does support multiple sources. When you start downloading a file, eMule will download pieces of the file from various users that have the file, so you aren’t just downloading a file from a single user.

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eMule uses a credit system. When you upload to another eMule client, that eMule client remembers you’ve uploaded to them and gives you download priority in the future. This encourages users to upload as well as download.

For more information, check out our free, full guides to file sharing, BitTorrent, and Usenet.

Do you use eMule, or do you prefer a different file-sharing application? Let us know in the comments.

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