eMule servers enable peer-to-peer file sharing and are particularly useful for sharing large files. Anyone can start an eMule server by downloading the eMule application.
The eMule servers function as part of the eDonkey or Kad networks. These networks provide alternatives to BitTorrent, which is a common file-sharing system. With a large user base estimated at three to four million users, eMule is known for providing rare content.
A credit system rewards eMule users for uploading files. As users upload data and acquire credit, they are able to download files with increasing speed. Credit is stored on remote eMule servers to prevent cheating. Users of eMule should always exercise caution, as many eMule servers are fake servers designed to distribute malware or gather information about eMule usage. These servers dispense garbled or empty files.
Though versatile and popular, eMule is rarely updated. Updates only provide modest improvements instead of innovative new features. In comparison, many BitTorrent applications are updated regularly and comprehensively. In light of this slow development, eMule servers may become less popular and relevant over time. Even so, eMule remained quite popular as of November 2014. That month, users downloaded eMule from software site SourceForge over 676 million times.