Filesharing – Some Alternatives to Napster

This page is no longer maintained. Soulseek is still good. Limewire also. I’ve heard good things about Azureus but not used it. 20th December 2005.

You might want to jump straight to the list of filesharing programs

Update 25 April 2004

filesharing image

Soulseek is still the best filesharing program for music that I have used. Corrected a few broken links in this page.

Update 14 December 2003

Still using Soulseek because it still has the best availability. Newest version of the software still crashing on me several times a day. Still concerned that soon the central servers will be shut down by the RIAA. Have used BitTorrent a few times lately. You have to find the link somewhere else so it’s not really a true filesharing app but the way it rewards uploading with greater download speeds is excellent. Kazaalite has been closed down by the people that make the spyware/adware version of Kazaa but Diet Kazaa continues.

Update 25 October 2003

I’ve been using the filesharing system with the very best availability of files I’ve ever seen. Soulseek. Unfortunately it is the flakiest most error-prone bit of software you’re likely to use. It crashes withing one hour of startup almost without fail with some kind of memory protection error. And it requires manual entries in your hosts file which I had to find out about by scouring google when it just stopped connecting one day. Professional it ain’t but it has a hardcore of devoted users and a brilliant (centralized?) search system that gets you what you are looking for.

If you give it a spin you may need these hosts entries

Update 01 June 2003

Big update to the list of filesharing software. Broken links greyed out and about 15 new links added.

Update 03 March 2003

Well, the KaZaAlite people contacted me a while ago now and asked me to update my link to point at KaZaAlite 2.0.0 Build 1 instead of the old 1.7.1 version so I’ve done so. This link is no longer available.

First of course I trialled the new software but its really not very different. A little slicker, a little more information for the user and I guess they’ve been squashing bugs but no major improvements really – I just WISH they had added the ability to Ctrl-Click highlight multiple files in the Traffic section and Cancel the downloads or resume them or whatever. Nothing like having 15 things you want to cancel and two you want to keep downloading to make you realise the limitation of the current software. Nevertheless as far as I am concerned KaZaAlite remains the best filesharing software in the world

Update 14th July 2002

Alberto Treves of Softgap wrote to me about their freeware filesharing program Ares

He says:

“Ares is a next generation Gnutella client being able to search and quickly download any type of file.
Ares can find music, movies , games , images, documents…
Ultrapeer protocol grants low bandwith usage.
Ares features multiple sources downloads, an integrated audio/video player with playlist, a web-browser and an easy to browse library to manage your shared content.
Ares is FREEWARE and doesn’t install spywares or co-bundled softwares.”

I downloaded the software and it is very similar to KaZaALite but somewhat cleaner and better implemented (you can actually sort by all the clickable columns in the transfer window, for example). As for the network there’s certainly a lot on it – not sure if its as good as KaZaA though.

Ares’ main advantage over KaZaALite is in usability. Ctrl-Click and Shift-Click for multiple download cancel works and little touches like that can make all the difference. Give it a spin

Update 10th July 2002

While there is still no filesharing app as good as Napster was, the quality of the apps and networks out there is slowly improving despite the best efforts of advertisers and the RIAA. The best recent improvement is the release of KaZaALite

KaZaALite is an ad-free, spyware-free version of KaZaA which subtitles itself “P2P as it should be” and with good reason (although its still missing simple UI ingredients like Ctrl+Left Click to select multiple items individually and Shift+Left Click to select groups on the Traffic page, meaning you have to cancel each download individually)

In fact, KaZaALite is so good and quite hard to find to download so I’ve decided to make it available to download KaZaALite from this site (* Updated to 2.0.0 Build 1 (from 1.71) on 03 March 2003 *) (* Update — this link is no longer available, try

Update 25th March 2002

Morpheus has cleaned up its interface in the new version, which is top of the download chart at currently. It remains the best network but other strong networks are iMesh and WinMX. All worth downloading. Looks like P2P is here to stay. Other clients such as KaZaA Media Desktop and Grokster attach to the same network as Morpheus but I haven’t used those clients enough to comment

Update 21st November 2001

Well if you don’t know already, the heir to the Napster throne is (bizarrely) a buggy, no-keyboard-shortcuts, hardly-any-mouse-shortcuts, nasty piece of software called Morpheus and the thing is, it works and it has a similar amount of files as Napster did. You can’t fight market forces so abandon Gnuttella and get on Morpheus. Honorable mention goes to AudioGalaxy Satellite but they seem already to be buckling under copyright issues

Alternatives to Napster

Here are some alternatives to Napster posted by an Anonymous Coward on slashdot. Updates to the list since September 2001 by me!

  • Alpine — “Adaptive Large-scale Peer2peer Information NEtworking”
  • ANAP — “Anonymous Napster” – no website just CVS access and not touched since 2000
  • AudioGalaxy Satellite — Now a pay service called Rhapsody
  • Ares — Gnuttella UltraPeer client with more usable version of KaZaA interface
  • Bearshare — Powerful Gnutella client
  • BitTorrent — Use other sites to search for files, and download with this software.
  • Blocks — open source distributed sharing client with encryption (no longer active)
  • Blubster
  • BuddyShare — Defunct DivX network
  • Carracho — MacOS file sharing program
  • CuteMX — now WinMX (see below)
  • DC++ — “Games, Software, Keygens, Cracks, anything you can think of, just a little harder to use and overall slower, unless you use the 1stleg hublist.”
  • Diet K — Post install cleaner of Kazaa Media Desktop
  • Direct Connect — claim to have 1 petabyte of data (3x as much as any other network as of 1st June 2003)
  • DFSI — Distributed File Sharing over IRC – no longer active
  • eDonkey 2000 — “Harness the power of 2000 electronic donkeys”, now recommending Overnet
  • eMule — Client for eDonkey network
  • Espra — No longer active
  • FileSwap — now defunct
  • Filetopia
  • Filenavigator
  • FreeNet — Anonymous uncensored network
  • Gnutmeg — peered file sharing system
  • gnutella — distributed P2P file sharing tool (this website no longer active but network lives on in many of the applications linked here)
  • Grokster
  • Hotline — No longer active
  • IMesh
  • Jungle Monkey — Open source program from the University of Michigan
  • KaZaA — Windows Media Desktop – great network but use Kazaa Lite instead of this adware-ridden monster
  • Kazaa Lite — great app, too much of a target for the RIAA, virus writers and record companies uploading blank MP3s?
  • Konspire — open source distributed client in java
  • LimeWire — Java Swing client for Gnutella
  • OFSI — Open File Sharing Initiative — Orphaned project removed from sourceforge
  • Overnet — Based on eDonkey protocol.
  • Piolet
  • ProjectELF — anonymous distributed sharing system
  • Shareaza
  • SongSpy — no longer available but “coming soon”??
  • Spin Frenzy — No longer active
  • Soulseek — Flakey but truly brilliant client.
  • Splooge — P2P file sharing by file extension
  • Swapoo — Napster like service for sharing video game ROMs (No longer available)
  • Swaptor — Online File Sharing Community (Now defunct)
  • VNN – secure file sharing app (no longer available)
  • WASTE — Not a filesharing application as such but a peer-to-peer networking app for small groups
  • WinMX
  • XNap
  • Xultrax – Searches Gnuttella plus it’s own network.

If you know an app that’s missing or having any other comments on this list please mail me at

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