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.