What is a Torrent? Using Torrents Is it Safe? How does a torrent work? Torrent Sites
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What is a Torrent? Using Torrents Is it Safe? How does a torrent work? Torrent Sites

One of the simplest and most accurate ways to download heavy content from the Internet is Torrent, however, it is not a tool that all users are willing to use, either because of fear or the assumption that downloading things by this means is more complicated than through direct downloads.

However, downloading through the torrent is very simple, and it also makes things much easier for us as it does not have complications such as waiting, captchas or other things that we find in direct downloads. In this article we will know what torrents are and why they are considered by many to be the fastest and easiest way to download content.

One of the fastest and easiest ways to download content on the Internet is through Torrent. But do you know what they are or what they consist of? We will tell you.

Torrent is a small file that contains all the information about other content that we want to download. This torrent does not have a single fragment of what we are going to download. That is why some people define this concept as a contact list , since it feeds on it and takes fragments of what others have already downloaded.

But what does this system consist of? When we open a Torrents client , it starts reading the data in the small file to find out where to download the content snippets.

This system uses a P2P protocol , or peer to peer, which means “peer to peer”. By this, he means that instead of users downloading X content from a central server, they do so directly from other users’ computers. 

In this sense, there are two important terms: seeders (or planters) , who are the ones who share the files from their computers, and leeches (or leeches ) , who are the ones who download them.

Keep in mind that if there are many leeches and few seeders, a virtual queue will be formed to access those files . Therefore, the more users share this content, the faster the file we want will be downloaded, since we will find that ‘fragment’ earlier.

However, getting one of these files is somewhat more complicated than hitting a download button. So how do torrents work ? The first thing to do is download a Torrents client, that is, a program that will allow us to get hold of the content that other users share. 

Next we will need the torrent file , which is nothing more than a very long address that will allow us to locate the content that we want to download and the computer on which it is located among the entire Internet network.

Generally, these types of documents have a bad reputation because many use them to download illegal or copyrighted content. However, there are also legal options like Vuze, Vodo or Mininova .

Furthermore, the P2P system has been used for years in scientific processes , allowing researchers to share the results of their research with others around the world. 

Basically , a torrent file is a container where all the information about the download of certain content is hosted, including the locations and other important information that the torrent client will use to download the content. At this point it is necessary to highlight that the file “. torrent ”itself does not contain even a fragment of what we are going to download.

The magic happens when we open the file in a torrent client, it begins to read the data contained in the small file to know where to download the fragments of the content, generally from other users who have the parts they need.

As we can see, the P2P technique or protocol is used in the torrent system, which does not require centralized servers, but rather takes what it needs from the users who have those parts. In other words, the more users share this content, the more opportunities we will have to download it completely and quickly.

The system of “Seeders” and “Leechers” has a lot to do with it , being the former who sow the seeds and the latter who take them. The more quantity of both elements, the faster the download will be.

Using Torrents

Although the entire torrent system is very simple to use, the truth is that it requires some preparation so that downloads through this medium are as comfortable as possible , that is, it is not enough to simply press a button with the label “To download”. However, the advantages that the torrent offers over any other type of download system far outweigh any inconvenience.

The first thing we have to know is that a torrent file corresponds to specific content, that is, a torrent can be a documentary, a movie, music, books or software. Now in order to download it and have it on our computer we will need to complete two steps: access a website that provides us with the torrent file for that particular movie, book or software, and a torrent client installed on our computer.

Basically, the steps to follow are very simple, we access a torrent download site, there are many on the net, we search for the content we want to download, and once we find it, we download the file with the extension “.torrent” to our computer, this file being only a few Kb. in size.

It should be noted that in this regard we have two download options available, the so-called “Magnet Link”, which will automatically open the torrent in the client, and the direct download of the “.torrent” file to our PC, and then open it with the client, the which is generally indicated by a down arrow icon or the like.

As we can see, for both situations, a torrent client is necessary. In the event that we do not have any, we recommend uTorrent, one of the best torrent clients on the market, and that we can download for free from this link.

How does a torrent work?

The BitTorrent network is often defined as a swarm of bees because its operation is similar. Thus, instead of downloading a file from a single server, the protocol allows you to join a swarn (swarm) where thousands of users simultaneously download and upload pieces of a file to complete its content.

At the user level, its operation is very simple. Let’s take as an example a provider like Canonical that intends to distribute one of its GNU / Linux distributions by BitTorrent. The company creates a .torrent file and advertises it on its website, by email or other means. The user downloads the file and runs it in a BitTorrent application that will be in charge of managing, downloading and sharing it among multiple users until completing the download of an Ubuntu .ISO image on their computers.

Under this system, Canonical saves a large amount of infrastructure on dedicated servers for direct download avoiding collapses. In a very short time, the Ubuntu image (remember “chopped” in BitTorrent) will have spread enough among thousands of users and they will be the ones who will contribute to its distribution at the same time that they download it. If the users are “honest” enough (as we will see later) the download speed of a massive torrent file will not envy that obtained by a direct download.

Torrent Terminology

There are several terms that a user approaching this file-sharing system should be aware of. Some we have referred to above and they are:

Enjambre . It includes all the structures and users of the network, with a design and operation similar to a swarm of bees and hence its name.

Tracker . (Tracker). Special server that identifies the swarm and helps the client to share the parts of a file with other computers and users.

Peers . (Points). All users who are currently connected to the network.

Seeds or Seeders . (Seeds). Refers to users who own the complete file. Essential for effective distribution.

Leechers . (Leeches). They are the users who are downloading parts of a file and have not yet completed it. It is also used to name “suckers”, those who once complete the file do not share it.

Torrent Sites

These are the websites that advertise Torrent files. They always post links to them but not their content . They may (or may not) include search engines for their location since clients (applications) do not usually include it and some also function as a tracker.

Torrent sites have been criminalized and legally prosecuted since their inception accused of being the source of piracy, for example in The Pirate Bay and many others. Certainly, all these sites offer a multitude of pirated files, but their “illegality” is not clear by including only links, in the same way, that Google or other search engines do. Also, the original torrent is neither created nor shared by these sites, nor does it appear for the first time on them because the content is already widely distributed on other private channels when it reaches the BitTorrent network.

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