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If you are a big fan of file-sharing software Torrent, you should have the most primary knowledge about it and how it works.

What is Torrent?

Torrent downloading is the quick and unlimited sharing of large files between internet users – it is also, by name, a software company that facilitates this.

It uses a small amount of internet bandwidth and works in a similar vein to old school peer-to-peer sharing services such as Napster and Kazaa.

Torrent is faster because the file is broken up into small segments and downloaded from multiple people also hosting these pieces.

The company BitTorrent is trying to encourage the legal use of the technology to get music published, such as with musician Thom Yorke who today announced he is releasing his second solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, via BitTorrent for £3.68.

How does Torrent work?

Torrents work is in a decentralized manner. Every user downloads and uploads the torrent file, making the entire process more efficient. Here is an illustration (courtesy Wikipedia) showing how torrents work:

The figure shows seven clients (users) and one seed (the large system at the bottom). The original file is initially transferred from the seed to each client only once. The file is then transferred piece by piece between different clients. Each color represents a specific piece of the file being transferred; showcasing simultaneous upload and download.

For all torrent newbie’s, there are certain terminologies that you will come across when you use torrents. To help you out, here are some of these terminologies explained:

Peers: It is a generic term used for any client (user) that is involved in file sharing in a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.

Swarms: A collection of peers that are sharing (downloading & uploading) the same torrent are called swarms.

Seeders: When you are downloading and simultaneously uploading a torrent, you are a seeder.

Leechers: When you are only downloading but have disabled uploading, then you’re a leecher. Many trackers ban users who disable uploading. From an ethical standpoint, it is a good practice to upload the same amount that you download.

Indexers: Websites that compile torrents and provides information about torrents are called "indexers". They also act as a forum where you can find, share, download, or request for torrent files.

Trackers: They are the servers that help to direct data packets between peers and also aid in finding other peers in the network. You can imagine them as bridges between different torrent users, helping in smooth and fast transfer of data by routing small pieces of files between each torrent downloader and uploader.

BitTorrent Clients: Programs that enable file transfer using BitTorrent protocol are called BitTorrent clients. You can use them to manage your torrent files while the clients handle all the download and upload, connecting to peers, and providing you with statistics about the torrent.

Step by Step Guide to Use Torrents

Using torrents is very simple and not complicated as it may sound. To demonstrate how easy it is to use torrents, we have created this step by step guide just for you:

  1. Download a Torrent Client

    The first step towards using torrents is by downloading and installing a torrent client on your desired platform. There are many torrent clients that you can use. We have used uTorrent for our demonstration on Windows PC. uTorrent is also compatible on Mac and Linux operating systems and it is very easy to use; not to mention it is also free. You can also choose from other torrent clients such as qBitTorrent, Deluge or Transmission.

    Torrent Guide

  2. Lookup & Download The Torrent File

    Now that you have downloaded the torrent client, the next step is to search for the torrent and download that file. There are many torrent websites (indexers) that you can use to search for torrent files.

    After you have searched and found the torrent you were looking for, download the torrent file. You can also click on the ‘magnet’ icon listed next to the download option. This way you don’t have to download the ‘.torrent’ file. Instead, you will be automatically promoted to choose a torrent client of your choice.

  3. Add The Torrent File To Client

    Once you have selected the torrent client you want to use (uTorrent in our case), it’s time to add the torrent file to your BitTorrent client. Select the drive (or path) where you want to save the downloaded files. You can also choose the files you want to download via torrent and any other instructions you have for the BitTorrent client.

    After you have selected the file you want to download and the path where you want to save the downloaded files, click ‘OK’ to add the torrent file. Once the file is added to the BitTorrent client, it will start downloading.

    In the uTorrent client, you can control certain features such as pausing the torrent, starting the download of the paused torrent files, adding more torrents using the ‘+’ sign, or deleting torrent files. You can also move torrents up or down the queue (using the arrows) to select their priority.

    Torrent files at number 1 will have a higher priority than the torrent file at number 2. The uTorrent client also gives you additional information such as the peers you’re connected too, trackers, the download and upload speeds, and other information.

    BitTorrent is considered as an efficient, decentralized way of distributing large online files to many people at the same time. If you would like to learn more about it, you can search more on Google.

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