What’s Up With eMule These Days? Is The File Sharing Network Slowly Becoming Obsolete?

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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 like RapidShare and the ill-fated MegaUpload. 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 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 – 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.

emule servers

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 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.

emule free

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.

emule free

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 and many other BitTorrent clients release updates at a comparatively breakneck pace.

emule free

eMule lacks a few features we take for granted in modern peer-to-peer programs. It doesn’t support IPv6, 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, 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 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.

emule

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.

emule servers

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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Comments (42)
  • Rudolph Davis Strazds

    I’m using eMule only on my VPS, because speeds are too slow to keep my home PC on for 24/7, but yeah I’m still using it only because there are files that have never been on torrents or DC++ , old TV shows, etc..

  • P2P expert

    eMule is the best!

  • joe bloggs

    Did you know you can get traced to your home with bit torrents and torrents,a fine or even a prison sentence for illegally downloading stuff,emule is the best as they can’t trace you when you just use kad,severs are crap,they are like a telephone exchange,traceable,not good,emule kad goes straight from client to you.
    Anyway,it’s all illegal so you get what you get no matter how quick or long it all takes.Simple,it’s not rocket sience.Bye.

  • jimmy james

    Article published 6 Apr 2012. now April 2015 From above “Unlike many peer-to-peer applications, eMule is an open-source project 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.”
    I rarely download programs from sources I don’t know, but stupid me….
    Emule now (4-2015) is loaded with adware, spyware and other unwanted nasties. Especially Dragol search engine. I’m having a hell of a time getting rid of it an a weather app that also tagged along. I’m not very cpu savvy but I should have checked into Emule first.
    DON’T DOWNLOAD IT !!! IT’LL F*** YOU UP!

    • Jorax

      Where did you get your copy of eMule? What the heck is Dragol search Engine?

      eMule v0.50a downloaded from the official eMule source has no Dragol search engine, or any spyware/malware included with it to this day. Try getting it from http://www.emule-project.net, instead of whatever site you used.

      As far as fake servers, and cops tracking what you’re sharing, that’s what the IP filter in eMule is all about, try http://upd.emule-security.org/ipfilter.zip, and you won’t be connecting to fake servers, or downloading from MPAA spy sources. And using obfuscation should keep your ISP from getting involved and throttling your connection.

      No eMule community? Files not being what they claim to be? Try an eMule hash site out: such as TVUnderground, ShareTheFiles, PhantomP2P, or any of a dozen others, which complements eMule quite nicely, generally offering free registration, and at most asking for your donation to keep the site going if you find the site useful.

      When it comes to the eMule network being dead, as of April 2015, it is still very much alive and kicking. If you want files that were around over a year ago, eMule, coupled with plenty of patience, will get you most any file you’re looking for (and if you want something released in the last 2 weeks, there are usually plenty of sources just like any BT, and you can often get it in 24 hours or less).

  • Ventsislav Atanasov

    I’ve been using emule since it got out but I also use torrents since the BT was invented and I can’t think of not having one of them – they complete each other so well.

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.