Torrents account for approximately 43% to 70% of all Internet traffic. And I am pretty sure you have heard the word torrents a lot. Some of you may be using it right now. But do you understand what torrent is?
Is it a website or a protocol? How does this torrenting work? And is it legal?
First thing first, What is torrent?
Whenever we are using the word torrent, we are referring to — BitTorrent; a popular peer-to-peer file sharing protocol. In simple words, it’s a method, in which computers talk to each other and share bits and bytes of data among them.
Now, the difference between torrent and BitTorrent is like the difference America and the USA. We know there is no such thing is America. There are either two continent i.e. — north and south America or a country called the United States of America.
Usually, when people say America, they indirectly mean the USA. Similarly, when people use this word torrent, they mean the BitTorrent protocol.
Now, there are few others that called torrent file as a torrent.
So, next time you hear the word ‘torrent’ assume that they are talking about BitTorrent (which is file sharing protocol) or about the torrent file.
So what exactly is BitTorrent?
Now that we know, torrent is a protocol called BitTorrent. Next question is, what exactly is BitTorrent?
Well, it’s a peer-to-peer file transfer protocols, which is use to share large data over the internet like movies, audio tracks, TV serials, software, etc.
I know it may sound too technical for the beginners. So, let’s make it simple.
What is peer-to-peer transfer protocol?
Traditionally, when we download something from the internet, it’s hosted on a single server. (server is nothing but a very big always-on-computer)
But in peer-to-peer network users download files from multiple computers and while they are downloading a file they also upload it to other users.
Let’s understand this with a simple example.
Take a hypothetical person and called her Alice. Now, if Alice wants to download a VLC on her computer, she will go to the VideoLAN websites and get the program from there. In this case, she is downloading from a single server.
Now, if Alice wants to download 1 GB movie using torrent. She will use the BitTorrent protocol. And in this case, she will download that movie from multiple computers. This is done by breaking the movies into smaller pieces and then downloading these chunks separately from a different source.
And when Alice has downloaded a small part of that 1 GB movie, she will also start uploading them to others users on the same network. And this is how peer-to-peer file sharing works.
And this is how peer-to-peer file sharing works.
But wait, you said BitTorrent is protocol, but I have seen BitTorrent as a program just like uTorrent.
Yes, this is another point of confusion. Let’s take another example to clear it.
HTTP is a protocol to access web pages, and Google Chrome is a client to read those web pages. Similarly, BitTorrent is a protocol for file sharing and there also happens to be a client (or program) with the same name — BitTorrent.
uTorrent is another popular torrent client — like BitTorrent. And the interesting thing is both – uTorrent and BitTorrent are owned by same company Bit torrent INC.
However, in recent years these clients have degraded a lot in quality. Their download package comes with adware like ask toolbar and have some intrusice ads on the program itself. This is why I suggest you go for open source clients like transmission and deluge. They are available for all platform.
OK, I get it, but is there a difference between BitTorrent and another peer-to-peer network?
Good Question, BitTorrent is a part of the peer-to-peer model, but it’s somewhat better than other similar services like Limewire and Napster.
●In Torrent, a single file is broken down into pieces which are then uploaded to it’s peers. This increase the overall download speed
●Torrents are reward based. That’s is, more you upload, higher you rank, and greater will be your download speed and vice versa
●Torrent websites host .torrent file which only contains trackers and path file from uploader’s hard drive
I have heard about seeders, peers, and leechers! What are they?
Again, it’s very important to know these term, as they help you to find out better torrents to download.
Seeders are those who seeds i.e. that computer which is uploading the given file even after they have downloaded the complete file.
Leechers are those who only download and do not upload. They disconnect or delete the torrent file after they have downloaded the file. And that is why leechers are considered bad.
Peer is simply the no of people who are running the torrent client on their computer at a given time. So seeders are peer and leecher are also a peer.
In short, Seeders are good for network and while teachers are not. So always download the torrent, which has a number of seeder and less no. of leechers.
Is it illegal to download torrents?
Yes and no.
Torrent is like any other tool, how you use it makes it legal or not.
Some people (OK, many people) use torrents to pirate copyrighted material like movies, music, paid software, etc. And this makes it illegal. But if you use it to download a copy of Ubuntu, then it’s perfectly legal.
Will I go to jail, for downloading copyright material for torrent? Well, it depends on your state’s law. Though there are laws in place for piracy. But as of now, it’s more theoretical than practical. Usually, you will get a warning email from your ISP.
Now tell me best way to download file from Torrent
Downloading a torrent file is easy, but if you are doing it for the first time follow these steps, and you are good to go.
You are going to need two things to download torrent first is a torrent client (like uTorrent and BitTorrent) and a torrent file.
1. To download a file from torrent go to your favorite torrent website. Or use a torrent search engine like torrents. And find what you want to download.
For this instance, I will use Ubuntu.
2. You will see a couple of options in the search results, select the best file. It will bring you to a new torrent website. Click on the link which says download magnet link.
Now there are many misleading ads, so make sure you download file only with .torrent extension.
3. Once the file has been downloaded, open it with a torrent client.
If you don’t have this already, download BitTorrent from here.
4. Open the torrent file inside the torrent client, and it will automatically start the download.
I was able to download torrent, but is there any way I can increase my torrent downloading speed?
Your downloading speed depends on your the data plan you have. But there few tips and tricks, that can
But there few tips and tricks, that can help.
Go for more seeders
Always select the torrent with more seeders and fewer leechers. Like I have said before, seeds are those who seeds/upload while leechers are those who don’t. So more seeder will increase your overall download speed.
Limit you upload
Your bandwidth is limited. And it comprises of both upload and download. So, if you increase you upload rate, your download speed will suffer and vice versa. The best practices are to download torrent at 85% to your download speed and upload at 20%
Encrypt your download
If you doubt that your ISP limits your download speed when you use torrent, then you are not alone. VUZE has made a list of ISP who perform Bandwidth throttling. So if you find your ISP in this list then use the Encrypt your torrent and prevent ISP throttling.
Read more about how to increase your torrent speed from Pradeeep’s blog.