Although torrent file sharing is relatively risky, it is still the most reliable and efficient mean of data transfer. In fact, it is used by millions of people every day worldwide. Torrenting in itself is not difficult at all, however, the stigma surrounding it can be overwhelming for new users.
Therefore, we have made a detailed torrent guide addressing all the terminologies regarding torrent and its downloading. We’ve also covered how to spot fake torrent files, so you don’t face any issues later on.
Keeping in view of any DMCA notice from the government for illegal activity, we highly recommend you to use VPN for Torrenting.
This guide is very lengthy and very in depth, so make sure you grab some snacks for the knowledge journey.
- What is Torrent Metadata?
- How Do Torrents Work?
- How Bittorrent File Sharing Works?
- Common Bittorrent Terminologies
- Legalities Regarding BitTorrent
- Use VPN Service to Protect your Privacy
- Torrent downloading through torrent clients
- How to download your first Torrent?
- How to lookup for Torrents?
- How to Spot Fake Torrent Files?
- Safety rules for torrenting
- How to Create and Share your first Torrent?
What is Torrent and Torrenting?
A torrent is a pointer file that references the original file shared by many torrent users. This file can contain Meta information of digital contents ranging from movies, songs to all sorts of cool stuff that you can download via your torrent client.
In terms that are more technical a torrent is a server less file created by the Bittorrent file sharing protocol, which uses the URLs of multiple torrent trackers for retrieving both the list of peers and the chunks of torrent files for seeding.
Now that you know about torrents, let us understand what torrenting means. To put it in the simplest words, torrenting is nothing more than downloading torrent files by using the Bittorrent protocol and a torrent client.
The files that you are downloading do not reside on a centralized server, but instead is downloaded from a whole slew of peers in a torrent swarm. This might seem overwhelming in the beginning, but torrenting clients and the Bittorrent protocol make it an easy and extremely fast process.
What is a Torrent Metadata?
A torrent file contains a whole slew of Meta information for the file that you wish to download through the peer-to-peer file sharing protocol. Some of the most prominent information that resides in any torrent file is mentioned below:
- List of torrent trackers and their URLs
- Name of torrent file and directory
- Hash list
- File and subdirectory names
- Size of file
When you want to download a torrent file, your torrent client connects to different trackers to fetch the list of peers that are also downloading the same files as you and then begins downloading the file.
How Do Torrents Work?
Torrent files are designed to be server free, so when you download them they are downloaded in a decentralized manner from multiple peers in torrenting file swarm for efficiency.
The data for the complete torrent file is fetched from multiple peers and once your download completes you can choose to seed or delete the file from your computer, but seeding is a general norm in the torrenting world.
How to Torrent
Downloading torrents is no big deal, as you only need couple of stuff and you will be good to go. The first thing you will need is a Bittorrent client for downloading the torrent files of your choice.
There are plenty of Bittorrent compatible torrenting clients in the market, so finding one should not be a problem. If you are having difficulties, finding good torrent clients then definitely check out our best torrents client blog.
Since torrenting does have its inherent risks, it is extremely advisable that you use a Torrent VPN for ultimate security and complete anonymity.
How Bittorrent File Sharing Works
The Bittorrent file sharing process is different from your average single servers based downloads. The whole torrent mechanism revolves around swarming and tracking. Torrent files are split in to little chunks that different peers download from multiple sources. This makes downloading large files significantly faster than traditional file downloading.
Bittorrent Torrenting is also quite different from the popular file sharing protocol by the name of “Kazaa”. Unlike kazaa network, where files are shared through their servers. Torrent files are instead shared by individual user that are called peers. Each file that is downloaded is also voluntarily uploaded in to the swarm to make the whole file sharing process smoother and more efficient.
The downloading speeds in the torrenting world totally depend upon you. The more you contribute to torrent file sharing protocol, the more downloading bandwidth you get. Hence, making you a seeder in torrent community.
However, there are individuals that only restrict themselves to downloading, they are called leeches. These leeches do not get a lot of downloading speeds as the tracker servers limits their bandwidths. This is done to discourage this behavior, as you must contribute to torrent community.
Common Bittorrent Terminologies
To explain torrent terminologies a bit better, we have broken them down in to segments that we are going to discuss individually in our torrent guide.
Peers: To put it in the lamest terms, peers are users or clients that are sharing files through Bittorrent peer-to-peer file sharing protocol.
Swarming: It is the process of breaking down a large file in much smaller bits and then sharing them with multiple users in a swarm. Swarm members are called peers, these peers can download and upload files using a special computer software called a “torrent client”.
Tracking: Is a process of routing data packets and finding others peers that are part of specific swarm, making file sharing process smooth.
Index: The term index is self-explanatory, like the term suggests, it is basically a searchable index of all the torrent listed for download on a particular torrent site.
Share ratio: Share ratio means the amount of data a peer has uploaded against the data he downloaded. The formula is pretty straightforward (UL ÷ DL). The share ratio of peers should be greater than one and anything less than 1 is considered to affect the torrent community in a negative way.
Bittorrent client: These are programs then help download and recompile the chunks of file that you downloaded from various sources to make it functional. The client requires a special file having a .torrents file extension, which is basically a pointer to the file that you wish to download.
Legalities Regarding BitTorrent
Peer to peer file sharing is just an efficient way of sharing files, therefore is absolutely legal. Unless you use it to download copyrighted content. Which is infringement of individual property and is illegal.
However, not all countries label this activity as illegal and you can download torrents with an intent to use it personally. Sharing copyrighted digital content through any mean is a criminal offence. For this basic reason, many torrent indexing websites have been taken down by regulatory authorities.
You your self can be individually identified through your IP address, which your internet service provider would gladly hand over to concerned authorities if you were caught downloading torrents.
Therefore, always make sure you are aware of copyright laws and abide by them. However, if you are a rebel then you can always cloak your identity by using a VPN.
Use VPN Service to Protect your Privacy
A VPN is a virtual private network, which encrypts all the traffic to and from your network. Meaning, no one can decipher your data packets. It also masks your IP address. If you are not aware what an IP address is, it is like your home address on the web. By having your IP masked, no one detect your location.
VPNs are also widely used in regions where a lot of content is blocked due to government regulations. You can easily access all blocked websites and contents by spoofing your location. This means you can be sitting in Iran but appear as if you are in America.
Torrent downloading through torrent clients
Torrent files have a .torrent file extension, which can only be downloaded through a dedicated computer software. These special programs require a file path, which allows the client to look up all the different chunks of particular file to download.
Now when it comes to torrent clients, you can choose between two basic options. A client software or a cloud software. A client software is a program that you install on to your computer’s hard drive. Whereas a cloud software is an online, service that you can subscribe to and download your torrent through it.
Both options get the job done. It is just the amount of options and features that they have which distinguishes them from one another. It is also worth mentioning that not all torrent downloads, be it client software or cloud software are reliable and efficient.
Optimize your Torrent Client
Most torrent clients are already optimized right out the box, which any average user would appreciate. However, not everyone has the same network speeds or providers. So tweaking the setting of your torrent client can significantly improve you torrenting performance.
To optimize your settings, you can run a series of tests. For example, you can check your internet speed through speedtest.net and verify it with the actual speeds your ISP guaranteed in their pre service agreement. This is a universal and widely used method.
However, if you stick with the more trending torrent clients in the market like Bittorrent or uTorrent then configuring your client setting is a breeze. These clients have a built in setup guide that allows you to run tests to check your bandwidth and network settings. Upon completion of these tests, your client will automatically adjust and configure itself to provide the most optimal performance.
We know not everyone is tech savvy, therefore, for your convenience we have added all the necessary steps to configure the settings on your Bittorrent or uTorrent client in our torrent guide.
- The first thing you want to do is fire up your uTorrent or BitTorrent client
- Head over to Options and then Setup guide, alternatively, you can also use (CTRL + G) on BitTorrent
- Now you should see a configuration screen. Select the closest test location
- Go ahead and check both the Bandwidth and Network options and click on Run tests
Firstly, the test checks your uploading bandwidth. This means that the Bittorrent or uTorrent client will use the maximum available bandwidth of your internet connection for uploading and determine an adequate threshold. Doing so would allow you to upload at an optimum speed without disrupting your entire network.
The second part of the test checks your router settings. By default, Bittorrent or uTorrent automatically assigns you a port. If you are not familiar with ports, it is the point where your computer receives data packets from other networks.
Therefore, this test checks and determines that whether the assigned port is open for communication or not. Typically, a firewall on your router can block some ports. At the end of the tests, results will be presented to you.
How to download your first Torrent
Torrents have a really bad reputation on the internet. Search engines are making it harder to find torrent sites. After all these websites, mostly host illegally obtained copyrighted items. Google and other major search engines are jointly working to take down major torrent sites off their search indexes.
It is really important to understand the crux of the matter, Torrent themselves are not the problem; it is the sites that are illegally distributing them. For instance, the most infamous torrenting website “The Pirate Bay” is blocked in many countries.
The irony here is that these websites also host legal content. Open source software and copyright free movies and music are also widely available on these websites. Despite this almost all torrent, sites are deemed illegal and therefore are blocked.
Not all torrent sites have a bad reputation as they simply fly under the radar unnoticed. However, identifying one can be a bit tricky. We have a blog on complete list of best torrent sites that you should definitely check out.
However, for the sake of this blog we are going to briefly list and discuss some of the best torrent sites in our torrent guide that we feel should be your first choice.
This site takes verified torrents to whole another level. You can download torrents if you are registered with them, therefore its much simpler to spot fake or malicious torrent files.
The first priority for torrent sites like these is to get rid of fake torrents. Torlock takes this one-step further. In order to ensure 100% verified torrents, Torlock claims to pay their users $1 for every fake torrent they discover.
RarBG has a huge database of verified torrent files, which makes it very a popular and desirable torrenting site. If you are having troubles with pirate bay then this website is definitely a good alternative.
This is also a great website with millions of trusted torrents. Therefore ensuring all your torrent downloads is trusted and verified.
Demonoid is a very trusted torrent site that has been out in the industry for a long time. They are a private torrent community meaning that you cannot share torrent without being registered first. This could be an issue since they have registration slots.
How to lookup for Torrents
Searching a torrent files is easy as downloading any other file, you can look one up yourself by following along our torrent guide.
Head on over to your favorite torrent site, if you are not sure just go through our list mentioned above. Almost every site has as search bar located somewhere at top of the page so you should not have problems finding it.
Type in the keyword for the file you wish to download and results should start populating. When you do find the file that you were looking for, it is important that you also check the health of the torrent. This can be determined by the number of peers and seeders a particular torrent has. Some websites also show a small-verified icon determining that the community has passed the file.
Now that you have found yourself a verified torrent, it is time to download it. The torrent files are really small in size, since they are not the actual file, but instead just a reference. Just like a torrent file, there are magnet links as well. Magnet links are not downloaded from a server but instead downloaded from a peer.
Once your torrent file downloads, you can open it with any torrent client of your choice. Just go to your downloads folder, locate the file and double click it to open it in your torrent client. Magnet links are bit different, since they are not downloaded on your computer; they directly open up in your torrent client.
After getting the torrent file or the magnet link of the file, the torrent client begins connecting to the tracker servers. The tracker server tells the client about the other peers that are also downloading the same file. After getting all the necessary information, your torrent client begins downloading the file. The download speed depends upon the size of the swarm and the speed of your internet connection.
Torrents for Movies and Music
There are tons of torrents sites out there that have all the latest releases. Of course, the most popular sites are going to be the ones that have files with good number of seeders and peers.
How to Spot Fake Torrent Files
Fake torrents are used by scammer and hackers to do all sorts of unethical acts. These individuals can trick people in to giving their sensitive bank information or even ruining their computers by injecting malware.
However, identifying fake or malicious torrents is not that difficult. There are some telltale signs that should tip off any torrent user. However, if you are not sure what signs to look for, we are mentioning some tips in our torrent guide that should help you avoid any potential fake torrent.
Some torrent sites have their download counts falsified. Torrents would appear to have thousands of downloads tricking any one in to thinking they are legit. If you stumble upon such torrents, the first thing you should check is the comments underneath the file. If there are no or very few comments, then it is best that you avoid such torrents.
Clean bill of health
Trusted torrent sites like the ones we discussed in this blog, have a strong community of legitimate users. These users act as a regulatory body and approve torrents that are safe to download while removing fakes. These verified or trusted files are small in number, since there are literally millions of torrent files on the web.
Whenever any new movie is announced, we want to get our hands on it before anyone else. Doing so we often forget to verify the actual release date of movies. Many torrent sites upload fake files of upcoming movie titles, enticing us to download it.
However, it is a simple issue that can be easily avoided. Go to any movie review site and verify the release dates of the movie you want to watch prior to downloading.
Safety rules for torrenting
The world of torrent is very vast. It can be quite overwhelming for new torrent users to know which torrents are safe to download. As majority of torrents are malicious in nature. However, there are some rules that anyone can abide by to stay safe in the torrenting world.
- Always go through comments of any particular torrent file
- Only download torrents from trusted and reputable source
- Make sure you are aware of copyright rules of the website you are downloading from
- Never download from unsafe public torrenting sites
How to Increase Your Torrent Downloading Speed
There is nothing worse than slow downloading speeds for torrents, fortunately there are few tips and tricks that any torrent user can utilize to boost up their downloading speeds. We are mentioning some of them in our torrent guide for your convenience.
Verify Your Bandwidth
Checking your allotted bandwidth should be your number one concern as internet service providers can throttle your speeds depending on the load of your downloads. Therefore, make sure your ISP is providing you with their promised bandwidth to ensure speedy download. You can perform a simple test by using online speed testing services like Speedtest.net or Battle for the Net for cross checking.
Use Proper Torrent Client
Not every torrenter is the same and has different torrenting habits. Same goes for torrenting clients, while some are jam packed with features others provide a more simplistic user experience. Most popular torrenting clients are cross platform compatible so you can use them on any device you prefer.
Use Healthy Torrents
You must always choose a torrent with a good balanced ratio of seeders. Doing so will not only prevent you from accidently downloading malware filled torrents but also ensure that you get a working torrent file. This can be a bit tricky to accomplish however, there are torrent sites that mention verified torrents to ease up the process.
Prioritize Your Torrents
If you are downloading multiple torrents simultaneously, then you might want to prioritize you downloads. You can do this by selecting any of your ongoing downloads and then go to the bandwidth allocation tab to prioritize from high, normal to low depending on your preference.
Schedule Your Torrents
Scheduler in torrent clients is a very cool feature, the way it works is it lets you throttle or completely stop torrent downloading during specific hours of the day to ensure that your internet works properly. For instance, you would prefer downloading torrents at night during your sleeping hours for maximum bandwidth.
Restrict ISPs from Throttling Your Speed
Internet service providers often limit bandwidths of its users to compensate for traffic load; this is done during the peak hours. However, there is a simple setting that you can tweak in most torrent clients called the Protocol Encryption. Toggling this setting on will make it difficult for ISPs to detect the source of your downloads.
Determine Good Share Ratio
Torrents work on the efforts of the community for optimal file sharing. The whole essence of peer-to-peer file depends upon seeding. It is a general rule that you should at least upload the same amount as you downloaded. Torrent clients can automatically set a good share ratio so that you do not have to worry about harming the community.
Create and Share your first Torrent
As we mentioned earlier, torrent community strongly believes in the concept of pay it forward. In order to become an integral part of the torrenting community you must share your own torrent files with other torrenters. Fortunately, the torrent sharing and creation process is very easy and can be done by following our steps mentioned in this torrent guide.
It is also important that you only share torrents files that belong to you. Never share someone else’s intellectual property without consent as it can get you in serious trouble. With that said, let’s look at the steps for creating and sharing your first torrent file for the community.
- First things first open up your torrent client; in our case, we are using Bittorrent client. Look for the Create New Torrent option located in the ribbon at the top of the client. You can alternatively use the File option to Create New Torrent.
- Now you should be presented with a window for uploading torrents. For a single file you can select the Add File option, however if you are uploading a bunch of files then you can choose Add Directory option and browse to the location of you file.
- Now that you have selected the files that you wish to share, you now have to add a list of trackers, or more technically known as announce URLs. There are plenty of tracker lists on Google or you can use Github as well since it also has a regularly updated list of public trackers.
- Now that you have pasted the list of trackers, you can check the Start seeding box and click on Create button at the bottom of the page.
- Save the newly created torrent file with a unique name and it should be automatically added to your list of active torrents in your torrent client. The status of the file should either say seeding or finished depending on the progress.
- Now your torrent file is ready to be uploaded on your favorite torrent tracker website. Usually torrent sites provide an upload button that you can use to upload your torrent on their site. However, one thing to keep in mind is that most popular torrent sites require you to create an account therefore; you must go through their copyright rules before uploading.
- You can also share your newly created torrent file with your community by sharing the link of your torrent file on any social platform of your choice.
The peer-to-peer technology is expanding rapidly. New technologies and business models are revolutionizing how we share data. The whole concept of single hub centralized internet is changing. Decentralized internet is the way of the future.
Therefore, it is important that we understand the core concepts of P2P file sharing and how we can contribute to the cause. As the entire system would not simply exist, without the contribution of other peers that believes in the freedom of internet.
We hope our torrent guide helped you understand the whole concept of torrents and change any misconceptions you had about peer-to-peer to file sharing.