Bit torrents are files and programs that are shared between computers that range from small amounts of data, such as music or word processing files to entire feature length movies and multi-thousand paged company reports. Torrents are ways to spread information and files without having to go to the same source material every time and clogging up a computer’s internet server so that it is unable to process the requests. Bit torrents, in short, allow files to be disseminated quickly and efficiently by allowing downloads from computers that have already downloaded the file.
How Torrents Work
Say you want to download a copy of File A, whether it is music, an article, a movie, or picture, from the internet to your computer. You do a search through your favorite search engine and you find the file on many different websites or many different computers. Instead of finding the first and original source of the file to gather the information from, a torrent is able to find it on other computers so that the file is shared between users instead of going to the source material.
Large files can even be broken up into smaller “bits” sent to many computers that share a common code that can be found and accessed. Dividing the entire file into smaller chunks also takes up less internet speed for each individual computer instead of waiting hours for one large file.
Torrents on Your Computer
If you have never downloaded a torrent to your computer before, there will be an extra bit of information or code embedded into your computer that will allow you have other users gain access to the file you just completed downloading. This is why torrents work so well and are popular. The files are able to be shared from one computer that is on the internet that already has the file. Torrents are free of advertising, spam, and don’t have security breaches because the coding is so simplified and small that no viruses could be embedded in them.
Once you have a torrent on your computer, you have become a bit torrent client and are able to share information and files and you won’t even know it. When someone queries your computer for the file it will automatically copy the file and send it out to whoever requested it.
Another way to think of a bit torrent is the term itself. A torrent is a very heavy rain that can cause catastrophic flooding. But if you break up a large rain into its individual raindrops, the torrent because much more manageable as you gather many raindrops simultaneously from different sources.
The End Result
Torrents are efficient ways of storing information, much like storing the ingredients for a salad. Keeping a salad in the fridge with dressing on it can be messy and inefficient every time you want to eat a small salad. The lettuce is wilty because the dressing stayed on it and the tomatoes have become to liquidy and cucumbers aren’t crisp. Instead, you make a salad fresh with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and then add the dressing last for something that tastes and looks better. Torrents are the same way. As opposed to clogging up one computer with the entire messy code that will have to be discarded eventually, small bits of the code are waiting there until they are needed so they keep things neat, tidy, and fresh.