What is a Torrent and How Does it Work?

While most of us have used Torrents at one point of time or the other, many do not know what it is and how exactly it works. While torrents have been notoriously synced with piracy, there is a reason it doesn’t get banned. And the reason is that torrents do not just serve the purpose of piracy but helps information spread seamlessly.

Bittorrent Logo To Explain What is Torrent

Now let me answer some basic questions that you probably have in your mind for long.

What is a torrent?

The peer to peer or P2P file sharing system was started by likes of Kazaa, Limewire, eDoneky where users could download large files in less time. The idea was revolutionized around 2005 with the introduction of Bittorent protocol which is a much improved P2P file sharing system. Files can be directly downloaded in parts from different users or peers with speeds reaching 1.5 MB/second. The system uses something called torrent file to track the locations of the content and help the Bittorrent client on your computer to download the file.

What are Torrent Files?

Torrent files are small pieces of computer files that contain metadata holding information about the files and content to be distributed. It also contains a list of network location of trackers which helps downloaders connect easily with fellow peers. Torrent files are generally hosted on Indexers or torrent listing websites and works with the installed Bittorent client to achieve the download.

How does a Torrent File Work?

The torrent files are hosted on Indexers and you have to visit one of them. In the torrent file information like location of the file, main link, encryption methods, name, folder structure, size, etc are contained. It is not the content that is to be downloaded, but a link to it. The torrent file can be downloaded from the indexers or used directly by clicking the magnet link which launches the installed Bittorrent client. Torrent files initiate the download and the client automates and takes care of the whole process after this.

The torrent file can be downloaded from the indexers or used directly by clicking the magnet link which launches the installed Bittorrent client. Torrent files initiate the download and the client automates and takes care of the whole process after this.

How to Download through a Bittorrent Client?

The first thing you need to do is get yourself a Bittorrent client. There are many free clients but you can go for uTorrent which is very simple and fast to use. Then follow the steps below:

Step 1: Access the Torrent File

Liked discussed above, you need to visit the torrent Indexing website to get the torrent file. Then locate the file you want to download by browsing or searching the website. The torrent file will be located on the torrent file page. You can use it in 3 ways

– Directly download the file on your computer and then double click on the saved torrent file which will open the Bittorrent client.

– Click on the magnet link on the torrent website which launches the Bittorrent client to begin the download.

Step 2: Initiating the Download

Other than the ways discussed above, you can also launch your client and then access the torrent file from the program itself by browsing your computer. Before the download begins, you have to select the download location on your computer. You can also choose which files to download if it is multi file content.

Step 3: Tracking Download Details

After you begin downloading, you will be able to see the progress and other details about the download like download and upload speed, number of peers connected, total number of seeders and leechers, etc. These things are not so important for a general user though they can throw the picture on slow downloads and other issues.

uTorrent Interface

You will also be able to see how much time is remaining for the download to finish. You can also pause the download and resume it any time you like.

Tips on Downloading from Bittorrent Protocol

Though Bittorrent itself in not illegal, many files uploaded on it can be against copyright acts of materials. You will be able to find many movies, music albums and other work which generally have to be purchased. The best practice is to stay away from mindless download of copyrighted materials as IP addresses of Bittorrent users can be easily tracked.

You will love to use Torrent. Whether it be downloading media or sending across important files, torrent makes access to information a lot easier. You would love to run it. However, do keep an anti virus in your system. This is because that while most torrents are useful and what you need, there might be some instances where the sender has hidden a virus within the torrent file. Having an anti virus in your system will help you ward off these threats easily.