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What Is Torrenting? How does It work? – A Complete Guide

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what is torrenting

Summary: Torrenting is the process of downloading large files through peer-to-peer-based connections. These connections are mostly established within “peers” to “seeders” and to the “swarm.” user needs torrent clients and torrent sites to make this happen. just make sure you are downloading torrents safely and anonymously.

Torrenting is a distinguished file-sharing process that involves numerous individuals (peers) in the downloading process.

This procedure utilizes P2P technology to distribute torrent file among thousands of users. However, a torrent file is a computer file containing metadata related to the files and folders to be shared. You might listen to torrent and BitTorrent as synonymous terms, but they are different.

BitTorrent is a file transfer protocol that helps break down torrent file into small bits to make the downloading process faster.

Similarly, numerous terms are used to describe the torrenting process, and you need to understand them before going to working of the torrent.

Common used terms:

  • Peers: The individuals (torrenters) involved in the sharing process of a torrent file in a peer-to-peer network.
  • Seeders: Those who are uploading parts of a torrent file and downloading it.
  • Leechers: The torrenters who are just downloading and not uploading anything in a file-sharing process.
  • Swarm: A group of people is involved in downloading and uploading the same torrent file.
  • Tracker: As implied by the name, the tracker in a torrenting process is a server that locates the peers of the same torrent file present in different areas. They connect the torrenters (peers) and help to direct data packets between them.
  • Torrent Client: Torrent client is the program that enables and manages the file-sharing process using the BitTorrent protocol. These BitTorrent clients arrange the disassembled torrent file handling its upload and download while providing the statistics about the torrent.
  • Indexers are websites that have a collection of torrent files along with information about the host. Users get the torrent file link at these websites, which are shared by another torrent downloader. Therefore, it’s a channel to get, share and request a torrent file.

How Does Torrenting Works?

what is torrenting - infographic

Torrenting helps you to share a file of any type while it is in the process of downloading. Thus, without waiting for the entire file to download, you can start sharing and transferring correctly when the file begins to download. In other words, torrenting divides a larger file into small segments while it is still in the process of downloading. In this way, the user’s time is hoarded, and it keeps putting pressure on the computers within the network.

Previously, users downloaded any file directly from the website. The major drawback of such downloading was when the connection fails; the entire downloading also gets no matter how much percent was left. Moreover, the downloading rate also depends on the size of the file.

However, in torrenting, things are not like that. The peers involved in P2P sharing can download or share the file or data concurrently with each other. When you are torrenting so, there is no central point of failure. The peer can continue downloading from the remaining links even if the connections fail. Furthermore, since the peers can download and upload parts of the torrent simultaneously, the entire process happens much quicker.

Torrent works excellently with VPN services. If you use a VPN service, you will witness fast torrent downloads. A VPN not only increases the speed but also makes our identity hidden.

Why People Torrenting?

Torrenting is how people download music, videos, applications, games, and images, mostly of larger sizes. Not just downloading, but many individuals share files on their computers.

Some of you might be wondering why people use torrents instead of that traditional downloading. One of the primary reasons is that the torrent files, which are present for everyone, are provided by anyone who has paid or might have gotten it through hassling means. Due to this reason, torrent files are generally present on conventional downloading.

Besides, torrenting has a few significant perks, which have boosted the use of torrenting extraordinarily.

  • The P2P uses a decentralized process, meaning the file you are downloading is not hosted on a central server. Therefore, if one downloading source lefts or deactivates in between the downloading process, you can complete the downloading process with other sources. Besides, the regular downloading procedure involves only one central server, and you cannot complete the download if it gets down.
  • You don’t need to restart the whole downloading from the start if your internet disconnects suddenly due to any reason.
  • It is a noticeably fast downloading method compared to the regular downloading process.
  • You can easily find, download and even request any file.

Increasing The Legitimacy Of Torrenting

As discussed before, torrent sharing is a fast and effective way of downloading and uploading large files. However, the name “torrent” probably gives a general spring to mind that it involves something illegal or ignoring copyright laws.

But with the overwhelmingly increasing popularity and feasibility of Torrent sharing, it is steadily moving into the mainstream.

Torrenting downloading mainly involves illegally extracting music, films, and games. Therefore, Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of games like World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, and Diablo III, has adopted torrent technology. They have incorporated the torrent process in the online version of their games to be a default way of downloading for individuals.

Another included feature is the option they provide to the players to choose if they want to participate in speeding up the downloading of others by contributing any of their bandwidth.

Similarly, torrent websites (indexers) are now moving video and music streaming to the mainstream. Now, many websites have numerous ready-to-download torrent files that are all legal and free from copyright issues.

Why Are Torrents Better Way To Download?

When a file downloads from a website, it is usually drawn from a single server. This technology is ancient and straightforward, resulting in slow downloads and limited availability due to geographical restrictions.

On the other hand, torrent files are much more innovative than enduring file-sharing technology. While torrenting, when a file gets downloaded, it is drawn by several users instead of servers. Each peer part of the file swarm benefits their bandwidth to make the file available for download, instantly increasing speed.

Also, if a user downloads a torrent file, they must upload it to other peers. This is why this technology is widespread and better than any other technology. It means the number of peers in a file swarm, the stronger it will be.

How To Torrent Safely?

The only thing that risks the users while torrenting is that they don’t get caught by IP addresses exposed during seeding.

It is because torrenting laws vary from country to country. To perform torrenting securely, the most important thing is to hide your actual IP address from copyright trolls and encrypt internet traffic data. To do so, you have been given two choices. You can either use a Proxy Service or use a VPN service. Both are known to hide the user’s IP addresses and show them anonymous while torrenting.

A proxy is a gateway between your server and the source you seek. A proxy hides the IP address but doesn’t offer an encryption facility. However, a VPN hides the IP address and encrypts all internet traffic by secure protocols and encryption keys.

Is Torrenting Regarded Outside The Law?

Torrenting laws are different in different countries. In some states, torrenting is legal, and some view it as illegal.

For example, in Switzerland, torrenting is regarded as a legal process until the downloaded material is not used to make some profit. Thus, a Switzerland national can easily download every sort of content, and also, they don’t have to worry about copyright trolls.

Likewise, in Spain and the Netherlands, torrenting is banned and illegal. However, there are no laws regarding copyright protection in Mexico, making them a safe and secure place for torrenting.

Most countries smirk upon torrents and have regarded them as illegal. Generally, torrenting is considered to be unlawful where there are strict copyright laws. These countries have also imposed severe penalties in money and imprisonment on anyone found guilty of copyright violations. The users at first receive warnings from service providers and DMCA and are later fined and even imprisoned.

Torrenting is both legal and illegal. The difference between the two is as follows:

  • Torrenting in which you download a file with expired copyright, which is now in the public
  • Torrenting is legal when you download a file and gives a license granting permission for file sharing and distributing.

Illegal Torrenting:

  • Torrenting is unlawful when you download a file that violates copyright and is not open to the public.

Pros And Cons Of Torrenting:

Like every other thing, torrenting also has both positive and negative sides. The pros and cons of torrenting are as follows:

Free and Easy:

Torrenting is an open process and doesn’t cost you anything. A simple setup does it and, in return, gives you access to a vast abundance of information.

An excessive number of files:

The torrenting websites are in abundance. All these sites offer many downloadable files, making it easy for users to find and download their desired files.

No point of failure:

In torrenting, there is no central point of failure. Even if the connection fails so still, you can download the file from other servers.

Exposure to Viruses:

Torrenting puts your system at risk of malware and viruses and can easily expose your system to viruses because the file’s contents are hidden at downloading.

Risk of trial:

Downloading a copyrighted file can put you at risk of legal litigation. You can be fined and even sent to imprisonment in extreme cases.

The possibility of getting exposed:

While torrent, your IP address is public to everyone using the same torrent web. It increases the chance of getting detected by websites blocking or tracing torrent traffic.

Final Thoughts:

Torrenting is the best way to download torrents and enjoy all your shows. however, there are some threats involved with the whole process; you need to be careful of all threat actors by

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Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.

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