Does IPFS automatically download data from the other peers when daemon is started?

Hi all,

I’m confused with how IPFS works and what role FileCoin is playing here.

I started with trying IPFS-Desktop. When IPFS-Desktop is launched, the size of hosting files is increasing.

  1. What are these files that IPFS-Desktop is hosting? Are these some files generated by other peers?
  2. I understand that FileCoin and IPFS could work independently. So if these are the files generated from other peers, we basically host these files “for free”, is my understanding correct?
  3. Will it eat up all the storage available in my computer? Is there such a setting that I can configure to allocate a certain amount of storage?
  4. Can it be stopped? Can I choose not to download any data automatically? Can I fetch the file that I’m only interested at?
  5. How about IPFS private network? If we cannot stop data from being automatically downloaded, then will it only download data that are generated by other peers within the private network? The reason why I’m asking is that I’m currently working on a blockchain project, and I would love to use IPFS as the file system so to share some files between parties, however, there is such requirement that the files can only be obtained within the private network. Any suggestions on this?

Any help would be highly appreciated!



Your deaemon will by default download DHT datas (who owns what) for a part of the network, these files are likely one you browsed (example: the geoip database, …) or file added by default when creating a new node.

Should just be DHT records (small records, not content itself). See Distributed Hash Tables (DHTs) | IPFS Docs

They work independently. They different networks. You are not hosting anything for free. Your peer only downloads the content you request, though it may contribute to the DHT if it is dialable.


A private network is isolated. Only content stored in the private network is available to peers within it. Public and private networks do not interoperate.