Downloading your First Torrent: The Definitive Guide (2020 Update)

Downloading your First Torrent: The Definitive Guide (2020 Update)

For a decade now, the torrent has been one of the most popular methods for several businesses, creators, and media to share files.

A single torrent download allows you to share huge media files on the Internet with other users in just a few minutes. And torrents employ a peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing method known as BitTorrent which is an efficient way to transfer big files via the Internet.

BitTorrent Inc is a San Francisco based company that is really popular among the users and around 170 million people use it around the world, in a single month. Did you know that the protocol used in BitTorrent transfers around 40% of the Internet traffic around the world each day?

However, BitTorrent is often seen as a bad website as it is frequently used to share pirated content as well. But that doesn’t mean that you find only pirated content here for downloading.

Torrents are used to share some other software and projects as well like Linux distribution project, Ubuntu Desktop software, and so on. That’s not all, Torrents can also be quite beneficial in determining the content trend.

In fact, Netflix actually uses the torrents site to determine the trends and monitor these sites to figure out what is being downloaded the most. Once they understand what is currently popular among the users, they go ahead and purchase it.

In this article, we will help you understand the different components of torrent and how it all works along with information on how to download torrents with the best clients, and how to protect yourself while using torrents download.

Single-Source Downloading

The most common method of downloading files has always been the single-source downloading method. In this method, you use a single source for downloading the file to your computer which is saved in the string form.

But if many users attempt to access and download the same file at the same time, chances are that the source can get overloaded. So, usually, companies who use a single-source downloading method require powerful servers that are capable of handling the bulk traffic.

Usually, file sharing methods like HTTP, email, FTP, etc. are good for sharing small to medium-sized files but they are not effective sometimes for big files. For example, Gmail has a limitation on size for the files attached and servers like FTPS or SFTP need powerful servers and can be a little slow in transferring large files. You could get more powerful resources but that is not a cheap option to consider.

Instead, you can use BitTorrent to share the files.

Sharing files using BitTorrent

One of the most popular file-sharing methods in a peer-to-peer server, BitTorrent is the fastest P2P protocol for downloading huge files. In contrast to the single-source download, BitTorrent downloads major parts of a media file using different download sources or seeds. As a result, the downloads become quicker and more reliable with the multiple-sources downloading.

BitTorrent does have a unique approach to sharing files though. It allows you to download content from multiple sources and makes the downloader a source as well. This way, downloaders get their required file content and offer file content to other users as well to download.

Basically, BitTorrent changes the downloaders into the sources/seeders themselves so that there are more sources to use for a quicker download. All the peers work together by offering each other the missing piece of the file for a faster download.

Essential components of a BitTorrent

Here are the main components of a BitTorrent that work together to help you download the media file.

Torrent Trackers

One of the main components behind the BitTorrent downloading method is torrent trackers. These trackers are important as they make your computer connect with the peers that store the same file that you have been downloading.

The only drawback of torrent trackers is that they are single-point control servers and are responsible for forming your initial connection with the peers so the bandwidth can be a little slow or jammed at times. Luckily for us, BitTorrent offers updated features like Peer Exchange, DHT, etc. that allow you to find and connect with the peers to download the files without the need of a tracker.

Torrent File

Of course, you need a torrent file in order to start the download process. This file usually consists of information like metadata of your to-be-downloaded file along with a list of torrent trackers. Remember, the torrent file is not the actual content that you wish to download but it basically your map to the content that you are downloading.

You can easily find torrent files for any media content by using online search engines. While opening a torrent file won’t be useful as it will just be directional content, you can open it in a torrent client to start downloading the content.

Torrent Client

The software that you use to download content from the torrent file is known as a torrent client by working in a P2P environment. All you need to do is open the .torrent file in the client and then it will automatically connect your computer to the peers that have your file and will start downloading the content.

You always have an option to further customize your torrent client for better performance. It allows the users to allocate the bandwidth, prioritize the torrent files, download the speed graphs, and so on.

How all the components are put together?

So, now that you understand a little about the components of a BitTorrent download, here is how it all works together to help you with the file download on your PC.

First, you find the torrent file for your desired media or digital file, and this torrent file has the information on the name, length, structure, etc. of the files along with the URL of the assigned torrent tracker.

Next, you load this torrent file into the client and it establishes a connection between your computer and the listed tracker in the file.

The torrent tracker then keeps your PC’s public information safely stored and then shares a list of the peers with the same file.

Now, when your computer connects with the peers, it transfers the files to your PC via seeds and ends up redistributing to other seeders who wish to download the same file too.

But the best part about BitTorrent is that you can easily pause your download whenever you want and then resume the download later on. Sometimes our network connection might be broken or the PC might crash but that won’t affect the BitTorrent download. Once everything is normal again and you restart your client, the trackers will resume their work of reconnecting you to the peers for downloading the file.

Is downloading from torrent legal?

Yes, BitTorrent has a bit of reputation for distributing pirated content but the actual technology and all the related platforms are completely legal, at least in most countries. There is no doubt about the legality of the technology itself, but the real concern is the copyrighted files that are shared on this platform.

BitTorrent is one of the best and most efficient ways to share files which is why it was started being used by pirates to distribute illegal copyrighted content with users around the world.

In fact, the state courts have faced a lot of challenges when trying to control the torrent activities since all torrent files are not illegal. There is a major portion of the torrent that distributes illegal copyright accusations but there are a lot of torrent files that are 100% legal.

The main challenge is finding the users that share these pirated content with other torrent users. Basically, the pirate sites are not really uploading the files but just sharing the information about the seeders that share this file.

Torrent is as legal as most other downloading platforms when you use it properly to share legitimate content with your office and family members.

Here are a few real case scenarios where the torrents have been used legally:

  1. In 2010, the UK government used BitTorrent to release their financial data about the country to the general public. With the help of torrents, they released some data resources so that they could save on both power and resources.
  2. Facebook also regularly uses BitTorrent to push the code updates internally. This is because BitTorrent has been found to be the best method for server deployments.
  3. There is also a gaming company named Blizzard Entertainment that employs its personal BitTorrent client to share the gaming files with its users. When you buy their games online such as World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Starcraft, etc., they provide you with a game launcher consisting of a torrent client and a file to download the game.

Did you know that it is not at all possible to get pirated content on the official website of BitTorrent? Apart from offering amazing products like uTorrent and BitTorrent Sync, BitTorrent Inc also provides File bundles to the torrent users. The file bundles are completely legal and can be easily downloaded from any of their platforms.

BitTorrent hosts 100% legal content but it is not responsible for what the torrent clients end up being used for.  

Which is the best free torrent download client?

Frankly, you cannot do much with just the torrent files on your computer. You also need a torrent client in order to open the torrent file and start the actual download.

Thankfully, there are many good torrent clients out there that can help you with the downloads and are super easy to use. Below, we have shared the top 7 torrent clients that will be most effective while downloading content.

uTorrent

One of the most popular torrent clients, that I am sure most of you would have heard of, is the open-source torrent client known as uTorrent. This torrent client is maintained directly by BitTorrent and was released in 2005.

Ranking as one of the top torrent clients, uTorrent is widely used because it is lightweight, easy to use, and is 100% free of ads and 3rd party software. Make sure that you are careful when installing this software on your computer and uncheck any tools that you aren’t sure of or don’t wish to install. If you have an older version of uTorrent and are plagued by the embedded ads then simply update your uTorrent as the newer versions have an option to disable the ads.

Although uTorrent displays a few unwanted advertisements, it still happens to be the best torrent client due to its features, lightness, and ease of use. That’s not all, you can also make your client have a faster speed and offer a better user experience by using a few tips and tricks. You can check out uTorrent’s official website to download the free version of this client.

BitTorrent

BitTorrent is the official BitTorrent Inc’s client and is quite similar to uTorrent client’s user interface but is slightly heavier.

This torrent client is free to download but is supported by 3rd software and advertisements. So, if you wish to disable the ads and the 3rd party software, you need to pay for its premium version. Another great thing about this client is that it includes a free browser toolbar that can be used by torrent users to search for the required torrents.

BitTorrent client offers some other amazing features as well like web-based seeding, reviewing, commenting, etc. A major advantage of BitTorrent over uTorrent client is that it is compatible with private trackers as well that usually reject the uTorrent client.

If you wish to download the free version of BitTorrent then you can check out their official downloads page.

Deluge

Released in 2006, Deluge used to be one of the most popular torrent clients at the starting as it ensures that ISPs aren’t able to suppress the bandwidth.

After a decade, Deluge is still one of the top clients as it is extremely lightweight and highly customizable. And with the help of a few plug-ins, you can make it the most powerful or the simplest platform available online. What’s more, Deluge happens to be free and completely ad-free as well!

A few cool features offered by Deluge are access to private torrents, streaming along with downloading, managing the speed to meet the network conditions, supporting encrypting downloads, and using the remote web to control your client. Deluge is compatible with systems like Windows, Linux, Mac, and FreeBSD.

You can download the full, free version of Deluge from its official site.

qBittorrent

One of the most widely used open-source torrent clients, qBittorrent is free and offers a balance in features, speed, and simplicity.

A few highlights od the qBittorrent client includes IP filtering, integrated torrent search engine, torrents creation, torrent prioritization, web-based remote control, built-in media player, and a lot more. That’s not all, qBittorrent is also 100% free and free of ads. This torrent client can be installed on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linus systems.

qBittorrent client can be downloaded from their official website.

Vuze

Previously known as Azureus, Vuze was released along the same time as uTorrent and is another top torrent client to use.

Vuze offers the largest list of highlights and is a free torrent client as well. Some features of this amazing client include file conversions, built-in HD video player and browser, remote web control, cool statistics, and visualization tools. Upon that, Vuze is really easy to use and is a password-protected client as well.

Since it offers so many features, Vuze can be slightly resource-heavy. While you do have a free version of Vuze available, you can also get a yearly paid premium version that offers more features and doesn’t include embedded apps.

Download Vuze from the official website to give it a shot.

Transmission

Transmission client was released as the sole torrent client for Linux and Mac OS users and is actually available in a few Linux distributions by default. This free, open-source client is now supported by Windows as well but with a few small modifications.

This client offers users features like encryption, remote web control, IP filter, and download scheduling. But the best thing about Transmission is that it is minimalistic, extremely lightweight, and consumes fewer resources. All these features you get for free and without having to get frustrated with embedded ads.

You can download the newest free version of Transmission from their official website.

ruTorrent

Finally, there is ruTorrent which is not really popular but is definitely one of the best torrent clients to consider. Initially released as a web front end from the rTorrent client, ruTorrent client has a look similar to the uTorrent WebUI.

This torrent client is extremely easy to use, super lightweight, and absolutely free. A perfect option for managing the torrents remotely, this client doesn’t take a lot of your resources and can even be used to make a torrent from zero.

While ruTorrent has highly customizable features, adjusting the client and the features can be slightly difficult. However, one of the most amazing things about ruTorrent is that it can be installed on low-end servers along with SOHO routers. Due to this very reason, this is one of the best clients to use with Seedbox platforms.

How to download torrents using a web browser?

Although torrent clients connect you to the trackers effectively, there are some downsides to using these dedicated clients as well. Firstly, the ISP can really suppress the Internet speed for their respective port while a few clients also include a 3rd party software or might just not be useful for a frequently traveling user.

Thankfully, a few web browsers like Opera 12.18, Web Torrent, Brave, and so on provided support to BitTorrent by allowing the users to conveniently download and manage all their torrent downloads directly from the web browser. Sure, there are limitations in features that are ideally present in a torrent client but you can enjoy good speed and direct downloads.

Nowadays, there are a few extensions also for BitTorrent support that you can add to your favorite web browser to use it for downloading torrent content.

Torrent downloads maintain anonymity

There is no doubt that BitTorrent download has a lot of advantages but it is still a public sharing method. The technology needs to focus more on anonymity in its downloading process.

While torrents do have a bad reputation, the bigger issue remains that it is an unsafe method. With the torrent, it is extremely easy for black-hat hackers to lure in users. All they need to do is create a torrent with an attractive name that contains malware in one of the files so that when you download the torrent file using the client, it gets infected with Trojan or Ransomware.

Apart from that, a few ISPs also tend to block the torrent connection and can even reduce the Internet speed. In the worst-case scenarios, a few copyright holders might also be able to track your IP address quite easily.

P2P users require safe downloading in order to keep their identity and their computer protected. And anonymity can help you with, it can keep your hidden from ISPs bandwidth suppression, crazy copyright holders, and even a few malicious hackers. Don’t worry, there are a few options out there for torrent users who are concerned about security like owning a Seedbox.

What is a VPS Seedbox?

In layman terms, a Seedbox is a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated physical server that are specifically built to allow you to upload and download the torrents. These servers are usually placed in the cloud and offer a high-speed Internet connection to the users that is available 24*7.

Seedbox servers are really useful for private torrent trackers that require a high upload ratio as the server stays active all the time. And the best thing about seedbox servers is that since it is placed in the cloud, they need no extra bandwi