A peer-to-peer, commonly abbreviated to P2P, distributed network architecture is composed of participants that make a portion of their resources (such as processing power, disk storage or network bandwidth) directly available to other network participants, without the need for central coordination instances (such as servers or stable hosts). Peers are both suppliers and consumers of resources, in contrast to the traditional client-server model where only servers supply, and clients consume.
Peer-to-peer was popularized by file sharing systems like Napster. Peer-to-peer file sharing networks have inspired new structures and philosophies in other areas of human interaction. In such social contexts, peer-to-peer as a meme refers to the egalitarian social networking that is currently emerging throughout society, enabled by Internet technologies in general.