Bit torrents, most commonly referred to as simply “torrents,” are small files that can be used to download files from dozens or hundreds of people who have the original file. It’s a form of peer-to-peer file sharing that works great for large files, especially, as it speeds up download speeds by downloading different pieces of data from multiple users simultaneously. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the basics of bit torrent files sharing, and how you can get up and running with a bit torrent downloader.
1. Find a Bit Torrent client. These are programs that open up torrent files and begin to download files from other users who are “seeding” those files (offering those files up for sharing). My favorite is uTorrent, which you can get for free at uTorrent.com. It’s a small, lightweight, basic client that functions on the major operating systems. Once it’s installed, all you’ll have to do is download the small bittorrent feeds, and they’ll open automatically and begin to download. uTorrent also has helpful utilities that can spot errors in your connection, so if you’ve got slow download speeds, check out their help section.
2. Find a tracker. Trackers are websites that list hundreds or thousands of bit torrent files for users to download and use with their bit torrent clients. There are different trackers with different purposes out there; you can find a list of good legal trackers on BitTorrent.com. There are a ton of illegal trackers, the most popular being PirateBay.org, which also host legal files, and there are private trackers, which are bit torrent trackers that must be joined through invitation from one of the existing members.
3. Download files and seed. Once you find a file you want to download, get the torrent file and open it up with your torrent client. It should begin to download unless you’ve got problems with your network (see step 1). The download speed will vary according to how many users are trying to download the file versus how many are seeding the file. Once it’s done, be sure to seed the file (leave it open for other users to download). Many private bit torrent trackers require you to share a certain percentage of the files you download, and this is listed on their websites as a required seeding ratio.
4. Be careful. Downloading torrent files can clog up your connection in a hurry, as can seeding files for long periods of time after they’re downloaded–cable companies, in particular, don’t like torrents, so they impose bandwidth restrictions to keep their use down. Also, remember that downloading copyrighted material is illegal, and you’re pretty easy to track if you use a torrent program for illegal activities, even if you use a private bit torrent tracker with a password.
Do you have any other tips for bit torrent file sharing? Post in our comments section below.