Torrenting, a method of sharing and downloading files, is getting increasingly popular. In spite of the fact that torrenting has been around for decades, a great number of Internet users are starting to discover for the first time. Getting started with torrenting might appear to be somewhat confusing for a beginner because there is a great amount of terminology as well as rules you’ll need to know before you can properly torrent anything. If you want to know what is torrenting and how to download files with it, the given review is for you.
Here below, we’ve just broken up our review into several parts. First, we provide a quick start guide for those who just want to get started. We then provide a general overview of what torrenting is with some helpful graphics and information, including demystifying the terminology and providing some guidance on torrent legality, including how to download a torrent.
Disclaimer: This guide is intended to help readers access content they already have purchased the rights to access, but are for whatever reason unable to access either temporarily, or permanently. aileyiz.biz does not support software piracy, and bears no responsibility for what you decide to do with the contents of this article. Moreover, keep in mind that aileyiz.biz in no way develops, hosts or produces any of the software highlighted in this review. For more information, please see our full disclaimer here.
- 1 Our Recommendation
- 2 How to Start Torrenting – Quick Start Guide
- 3 What is Torrenting?
- 4 Torrenting Visualized
- 5 Is Torrenting Legal?
- 6 Can I Torrent Without Seeding?
1 Our Recommendation
Having tested several VPN services ourselves, we’ve found that is the best VPN solution for people that torrent. It enables you to remain absolutely anonymous while torrenting, ensuring that nobody (including your ISP) can see what you’re actually downloading. It’s also worth noting that purchasing a 12 month subscription will give you two months free.
2 How to Start Torrenting – Quick Start Guide
For those looking to get started on torrenting right away, here’s a quick guide on how make this process work. We suggest you keep reading to learn for a more detailed guide on what torrenting is, how it works, and other crucial issues on the topic.
2.1 Step 1: Download a torrent client
Here are some tips how to download uTorrent and how to get a torrent file. Click here to go to the uTorrent website and download the uTorrent client. After installing, you are free to open the uTorrent client. You won’t see anything happening yet, however, as you won’t have any files available for upload or download.
We recommend uTorrent for its ease of use and simplicity, however, you can utilize any torrent client.
2.2 Step 2: Find a magnet link or torrent file to download
To find a file, you can head over to any one of the many torrent websites available. Here, I’m downloading a torrent file for Ubuntu:
Clicking on any one of the versions downloads a .torrent file onto my computer. Clicking on the file launches uTorrnet client automatically:
From here, I decide where to save my downloaded torrent file, and then click “Ok” to get the download started.
As you can see, my download speed is good enough:
uTorrent also shows me my upload and download stats:
If you decide to employ a magnet link from a website, you might have to copy and paste the link into your torrent client. For uTorrent, that involves opening up File > Add torrent from URL and pasting the URL into the empty space:
You’ll get a fresh screen showing where to put your torrent download. We suggest putting your torrent files in their own folder. Click OK. The client will then begin the process of looking for peers todownload your torrent.
3 What is Torrenting?
Torrenting is a type of file sharing in which all people on a network not only download bits and pieces of files from each other but also share this stuff with others on the network. This process is also known as “peer-to-peer” file sharing. The basic idea is for individuals to share files with each other, as opposed to downloading them from one centralized location. There are several different peer-to-peer file sharing methods. Torrenting takes a unique approach to this method, which we will explain below.
To better understand how torrenting works, we’ll need to define a few key terms first.
3.1 Torrent Peers
When you torrent files, everybody on the network either downloading or sharing files is considered to be a “peer.” This is the essence of the concept of a peer-to-peer network. As long as you are on the network, and sharing files, you’re considered a peer.
When utilizing a torrent network, if you are sharing parts of a file, you are labeled as a “seeder.” Many torrent networks and communities place a significant amount of emphasis on sharing and being a seeder.
Torrent networks only work efficiently when everybody that is downloading files is also sharing those files. For example, if only a small minority of people on the network shared files, the network would crash. Your computer can only accept a limited number of connection requests from others. File downloads would be slower than with a normal FTP site, and it would make the peer-to-peer file sharing process useless.
That’s why a great number of sites as well as torrent communities have certain sharing ratios as a requirement for being part of that network. What that means is that if you are a part of a torrent network, the networkadministrators may have software in place that monitors everyone’s seeding and downloading percentages (for example, you share 60% of the time, and download 40% of the time). Some have a set criteria for what’s required, which can vary among different torrent networks.
If you find you get kicked from a torrent website or that your attempts to download don’t work any longer, it might be because you simply were not sharing enough.
When you download files from other users on a torrent network, you’re considered to be “leeching.” However, in the torrent community, the given term can also be employed as a negative. If you do more leeching than seeding, being called a “leech” is a bad thing. Being a leech can get you kicked from a torrent network.
For more information, check out our article on Seeders, Leechers, and Peers.
3.4 Torrent Client
When you go to download torrents, you do it by making use of a torrent client. Note that torrents are not the same as regular files downloaded through a website that hosts the file. You can only download torrents using a torrent client. The reason has to do with how torrenting works – by breaking up the files into smaller parts, with each peer network sharing different parts of the file in what is often known as a “swarm.”
The torrent client helps to connect you to however many peers it can that are sharing the file and downloads pieces of the file from different people at once. This assists in making torrents much faster than regular file download methods.
Popular torrent clients include:
However, there’re a lot of different torrent clients on the market. Almost all are free, although some do come at a cost for increased services. Nevertheless, in general, you’ll find no reason to pay for a torrent client and can find one quite easily that will help you get started downloading torrents.
3.5 Torrent Website
When looking for torrents, you will most probably utilize a torrent website first. There are a large number of torrent websites around that list where you can find different files to download through a torrent. Perhaps the most famous and most notorious of these is The Pirate Bay.
It’s crucial to realize that while torrent websites often are on the receiving end of negative press, lawsuits as well as government takedowns, the vast majority of these sites do not host any files. Unlike traditional download websites where files are stored on a website’s servers and delivered through a file transfer protocol (FTP), torrent sites provide links to where those files are located. This brings us to the next concept you’ll need to understand.
3.6 Magnet Links and Torrent Files
When downloading a torrent, you’ll simply use a torrent website to find the link to the file you require. As stated, that link is not located on the torrent site but shared among different users on a torrent peer-to-peer network.
When you find a file on a torrent site you want to download, you’ll begin the process by using either a magnet link or torrent (.torrent) file. These two files turn to be different but serve similar purposes.
A torrent file sits on a server and works to help your torrent client to spot the bits and pieces of the file located on other folks’ computers. The torrent file helps handle the file compilation as it’s getting gathered from multiple sources and, upon completion, helps combine that file back into one complete and usable package.
A magnet link, however, cuts out the middleman. Magnet links work directly to find the hosts sharing the file, allowing the file to start downloading and compiling without the use of a torrent file. Furthermore, magnet links will also look for file locations on the network where the file can be downloaded without torrents. This means you may be able to use a magnet link and find a file served up through a more traditional FTP method as well.
The key benefit of a torrent file is that it can help start the download must faster. However, torrent files do take up space on the hosting servers, and the use of torrent files may be more likely to get a website in trouble. With magnet links, the download process is slower as the client searches for peers on the networkwho have the file, but with the added benefit that the magnet link searches for more than just torrents to download the file. If the magnet link finds other download locations, such as FTP, it will attempt todownload from there as well.
Regardless of whether you’re employing a torrent link or a magnet link, your download requests (and uploads) are handled by a server dubbed a tracker. The entire purpose of the tracker is to help the torrent clients regulate which computers should be connecting to each other, and where files should be going. As you can imagine, with a lot of people on a network, sharing bits and pieces of different files, the process can get pretty complicated.
However, every torrent file comes with a code, showing exactly where it should be going and what larger file it should be part of when it’s pieced back together. The tracker ensures that all files you are trying to download from other peers on the network successfully make it to your computer.
4 Torrenting Visualized
As the terminology around torrenting might suggest, torrenting can be quite technical, as many computer-related processes often are. However, here’s a graphic to explain what torrenting might look like, visualized:
Image credit: Doug Vitale Tech Blog
This image, credited to the Doug Vitale Tech Blog, offers a detailed overview of how torrenting works. As a newcomer, there are four main things in this image that you’ll need to pay attention to:
- Torrent Site Web Server
- The Beatles (all of the other individuals on the network)
In this particular example, Alice is a representation of you, the person looking to download files through a torrent network. Alice is acting as a seeder and a leecher attempting to access the torrent site web server to find either a magnet link or a torrent file she wants to download.
Having found the required type of torrent file or magnet link, she simply copies the link or opens that torrent download by means of her torrent client. The torrent client connects to the tracker server and begins to look for where it can locate the file Alice wants to download. The torrent tracker locates John, Paul, George, and Ringo on the network, and finds that each of them has the file Alice is looking for. The tracker then works with Alice’s torrent client to begin downloading bits and pieces of the file from as many people that have it as it can handle.
As Alice is downloading from the network, she also starts sharing to it. Any file, which she has partially downloaded is made available to other users, so even if she only has half of the file downloaded, other folks can start leeching it from her. Additionally, if Alice has a file others are looking for that no one else has on the network, as long as the file is in the proper location on her computer, she can start seeding it on the network.
5 Is Torrenting Legal?
The legality of torrenting is rather a complex issue. In general, torrenting is legal, as the process of peer-to-peer file sharing is completely legal in all countries.
However, file sharing of copyrighted stuff, which you do not own is illegal in many countries. While in many countries it is legal to download a version of files that you already own a copy of, it is illegal in most places to share those files with others who do not have a copy themselves. This is usually referred to as illegal file sharing.
AddonHQ does not support illegal file sharing or piracy of any kind.
The laws can get tricky enough when it comes to different types of torrenting, however. For example, torrent streaming, in which you only stream the torrent content and do not download the entire file, may be legal in some parts of Europe, but not legal in the United States.
However, our advice should not be regarded as legal advice. Please consult with legal professionals if you have any concerns over the legality of the torrenting that you are looking to do.
6 Can I Torrent Without Seeding?
Sure, you can! Please check out our guide on How to Torrent Without Seeding.