What Is Torrenting? | How To Download Torrents In 2020? Torrents Defined
- What Is a Torrent?
- What Is Torrenting And How Does It Work?
- History of Torrents
- Torrenting: A Few Key Terms
- What Are Torrents Used For?
- What is the Difference between torrenting and downloading?
- How to Use Torrent & Download Torrents?
- Is Torrenting Safe/Legal?
- Consequences of Unsafe Torrenting
- Tips for Staying Safe While Torrenting
- Why do you need a VPN for Torrenting
- Final Thoughts
Do you want to download your favorite movies at blazing fast speeds? Do you want to share many memorable photographs with your friends? Do you want to download the game that you love to play in your spare time? Most importantly, do you want to be able to do all this for FREE?
If the answer to all these three questions is a big YES, then torrenting is something you should be checking out. In this detailed guide, we shed light on what this insanely popular, yet controversial phenomenon is, and how it works exactly.
You may consider checking out a list of the top torrent sites and choosing one of them – all of whom have been carefully vetted and tested by our team before making them a part of the list.
What Is a Torrent?
The term “Torrent” might refer to the metadata files related to the files and folders to be downloaded. A Torrent file does not contain the actual content you are downloading, but only the information regarding those files such as their names and sizes.
Torrents serve as fast, and reliable protocols allowing users to download and share large volumes of data.
What Is Torrenting And How Does It Work?
Torrenting usually refers to the process of downloading data through Torrent clients – file transfer protocols that break down large files into many bits and later connect those bits together. One example of such a file transfer protocol is BitTorrent which helps users download and share data, including files, movies, games, etc. via a peer-to-peer network, without affecting the performance of the web servers involved.
Torrenting works by using centralized servers to download files and each participant in this file-sharing activity is engaged in downloading and uploading files. In other words, all Torrent users rely on each other to successfully carry on the file transfer activity. Essentially, you are sharing the file being downloaded, while it is still in the process of downloading, without having to wait for the whole file to download.
History of Torrents
Torrenting: A Few Key Terms
Before we go into further details, you must have developed concepts about the terminologies that are most associated with torrents. These terms include indexers, trackers, seeders, leechers, torrent clients, etc.
Indexers: Indexers are websites that have a huge collection of torrents. You can call them a sort of forum or a channel that contains many torrent files. Whenever a user wants to share a torrent file, the individual begins his search from within an indexer.
Trackers: Trackers are servers that work as a bridge between the peers of the network. They can be conceptualized as assistants that direct and help a user maintain a smooth flow of operations among the peers within the network. Whenever a user downloads and uploads a file for another user, a tracker unzips all the files along the way, thus avoiding any unwanted delay. This helps other users with different files to streamline their sharing process as well.
Seeders and Leechers: When a user downloads a file from a torrent client, he/she becomes a ‘Seeder’. To remain a seeder, the user should continue to upload the downloaded files for other users. If the user continues to download the files while not uploading any file, he becomes a ‘Leecher.’ As a good practice, a user must upload as many files as he has downloaded.
BitTorrent Clients: A ‘Client’ is a computer that does the bulk of work for the user. It is the ‘client’ that is responsible for managing your torrents. It also helps a user to connect with other peers within a network. And most importantly, it is with the help of a client that you download and upload a file that you need. There are a host of free torrent clients available. Some of the most used torrent clients include uTorrent, Vuze, etc.
What Are Torrents Used For?
There are multiple methods used for downloading files over the Internet. When it comes to traditional downloads, you simply copy files from remote servers or clouds, but Torrents do not depend on a single server. You take pieces of data from other people’s computers to carry on a download to your device.
The unique nature of Torrents makes them ideal for downloading huge files. Torrent downloads can carry on for months or even years without resulting in connection failures or complete in seconds depending on speeds.
What is the Difference between torrenting and downloading?
The main difference between a regular download and torrent download is that a torrent download lets you download the data through torrent clients that support peer to peer networks and direct downloading eliminates such systems. A standard download relies on the browser instead, while also depending upon a single source rather than other users.
How to Use Torrent & Download Torrents?
To use torrents efficiently, you need to follow the below-mentioned steps:
Download and Install Torrent Client
To use torrents, you need to search and download a torrent client such as BitTorrent. You can download torrents from any torrent clients you choose. You should also go for the best torrent VPN available. There are many VPNs available, but you should search and select the best VPN for torrenting, to enjoy your experience to the fullest. A VPN also helps in easy torrent download. Once the torrent download is complete, you need to install the torrent on your system.
Search for the Torrent File
Once the torrent client is installed, you need to search for a torrent file that you want to download on your system. Remember, the torrent files have a .torrent extension. Therefore, if you want to down a video file or a music file via torrent, search for that file with the .torrent extension.
Download the Torrent File
If you want to download a particular torrent file on your system, you need to click on that file and then “Get This Torrent” in the subsequent window, to launch the torrent and download the file to your system.
A pop up of uTorrent will appear with a dialog box presenting options for various torrents available for download. Select “Open uTorrent,”
Now, you need to select a specific file that you want to download. Once you have selected the file to download, click O.K.
You can now easily manage your torrents from within the main uTorrent window.
- The ‘pause’ button allows you to pause the download while keeping the connection open.
- With the ‘stop’ button, you can stop downloading a file. The connection will be disabled.
- You could use the ‘play’ button to restart downloading your desired torrent file if the downloading were paused or closed.
- The ‘red x’ button allows you to delete your selected torrent files if any.
- By using the ‘up arrow’ button, you can raise the priority of your torrent file amongst all the other active torrent files.
- By using the ‘down arrow’ button, you can lower the priority of your torrent file amongst all the other active torrent files.
Is Torrenting Safe/Legal?
We attempt to answer this question through a series of crucial points that you should consider:
It Is Unless You Download Something Copyrighted
Torrenting is only a file-sharing method, such as when you attach a file to Google Drive for others to download. Therefore, the act of using Torrents software itself is not illegal, but if the content being transferred is copyright protected, you are doing something illegal. The reason is, people who are creating the content, stand to lose millions in potential revenue if their work is being made available and distributed for free.
Of course, you are not doing something wrong if you are downloading open-source content or software – pieces of work that have been made freely accessible by their owners. The method or process of Torrenting is not illegal.
Majority of Torrent Content Is Copyright Protected
Nearly 95% of the content being shared through the torrents is copyrighted, and it includes movies, TV shows, books, music, software, and much more. Accessing it for free without paying for it is illegal as it violates copyright law.
Torrenting Adds Insult to Injury for Copyright Holders
When you are torrenting, you are not just downloading protected content yourself but contributing for it to be made available for others too. Peer-to-peer nature of torrents means that you become part of a network of users who download it in small chunks from each other and depend on each other. Therefore, every time you download a torrent file, you are becoming a host for others to download too.
Consequences of Unsafe Torrenting
Torrents have long been perceived as an illegal downloading activity. Copyright holders and ISPs easily track down the IP addresses involved in doing it and initiate legal action. During the past decade, significant legal actions have been undertaken against torrent sites with many of them shut down and many users being fined for torrenting.
Tips for Staying Safe While Torrenting
It is paramount that you stay safe while torrenting – not only from the threats lurking around in the form of fake torrents but the “copyright trolls” that remain on the hunt for users engaging in piracy. Here are some excellent tips you can practice to ensure safety while torrenting:
Only Rely On Legal Torrents
The single most effective way of keeping yourself safe while torrenting is to download legal torrents only. It is quite risky to download illegal content, especially if it’s a recent episode of a major TV series or a trending Hollywood movie.
It is with these latest releases that the copyright holders and their enforcers are most diligently watching for copyright violators and clamping down upon them.
You may not realize, but there is a myriad of legal content available for download including independent movies release for free, older content that has come into the public sphere and open source software available for free for the public.
You can find completely legal torrents at the following sites:
Select Torrents Hosted By Authentic Sites
Beyond legal issues, when you download a torrent file, you don’t always see the content of what is being downloaded until it’s complete. Malicious elements such as viruses or malware find their way to some users’ devices, and in this way infect them.
You can escape this problem by finding torrents only on trusted sites rather than shady sites that you’ve never heard about. Major torrent websites moderate torrents are existing on their site to ensure they contain no malware. Some even mark the safer torrents as verified.
Why do you need a VPN for Torrenting
Using a VPN stands to be one of the best ways of safeguarding yourself when torrenting. It hides your IP address and your torrenting activity from the ISP. The VPN software achieves this by encrypting all data incoming and outgoing and routing it through servers located elsewhere around the world. The data is then decrypted before being sent over to its destination. This method makes it impossible for your ISP to see the sites you are visiting or the content being streamed or downloaded by you. If you want to keep safe while torrenting, a VPN is your best bet to avoid any legal ramifications whatsoever.
Torrents also enhance your Torrenting experience as they work best with VPN service providers. Using a P2P-enabled torrent VPN will make your file-sharing activity safer and more secure than ever, while also letting you experience fast torrent downloads.
How to spot fake torrent files?
Here are a few actionable tips you can follow to spot fake torrents and stay away from them:
- Check the Seeder/Leecher Ratio
Always go for the healthy torrents – the ones with a higher number of seeders and leechers. For instance, when a torrent has 2,000 seeders and 1,200 leechers, it’s a good sign and the download will be as fast as the internet connection allows it to be.
It is a good idea to go for the torrent that has the highest seeder/leecher ratio
- Stay Away from WMA and WMV Files
Most of the video files you download will come with the AVI or WEBM extensions. In case you come across movie files with WMA or WMV extensions, know that they are fake because both of these formats are obsolete and no longer in use. Seeing these file types should ring the alarm bells for you.
- Double-Check File Types
You need to be careful with RAR, TAR and ZIP files and run them through an anti-virus. Some torrents are located in a single RAR file and there’s a high chance of malware getting launched with such files and infecting you. Moreover, EXE files are another way through which malware can creep into your PC’s registry as they can be used to hide malicious code.
Whenever you encounter a file with the above-mentioned file types, note that movies, music, and TV shows don’t have anything to do with them. Therefore, if you have downloaded media content and such a file extension opens up, it’s a major red flag. In such a case, you need to delete the torrent altogether instead of opening it up.
Why can’t I download torrent files on my iPhone?
Since Torrenting is strongly associated with piracy and copyright issues, Apple doesn’t allow torrent clients such as BitTorrent or uTorrent on its app store. However check this guide for complete knowledge.
Why a file or torrent does not start downloading?
The main reason why your Torrent may not begin downloading is due to a lack of seeders and leechers owing i.e. if the torrent is a new addition. However, seeders and leechers eventually begin increasing on top sites such as PirateBay. If the Piratebay is not working here are some Piratebay Alternatives that are working perfectly fine.
We have now reached the end of this tutorial. This is the first article in a series of tutorials aimed at helping beginners use torrents to their advantage. We hope that you will find it an interesting read. Do not hesitate to contribute towards these tutorials for beginners with your valuable ideas and suggestions in the comments section.