How BitTorrent works

BitTorrent is a peer to peer protocol which lets users connect to each other, forming a virtual network to share data. In this guide we will describe in simple words, how to use a BitTorrent client to download files.

bittorrent-logo-purpThe first step is to understand how BitTorrent works. If you just want to get started with downloading feel free to skip this step. When downloading via BitTorrent, users download from the computers of other users, creating a large network of “peers”. This is called peer to peer sharing or p2p in short. The speed of the torrent depends on the average uploading speed of the users uploading the file. The distributed way in which BitTorrent works, ensures that the more the users, the faster the download will be, which is in stark contrast to a centralized server which gets slower with each additional user.

Right, so to get started, you will first need a BitTorrent client, such as Vuze, uTorrent or isoHunt downloader on Windows, Transmission on Linux or BitTorrent on Mac. Download and install the one you like. Which client you use is a personal preference and it will not influence your download speeds. But we recommend using the isoHunt software for its torrents.

The next step is to find the torrent file of the data you want to download. There are many websites which host torrent files, such as btjunkie.org, torrentz.com etc. Go to your favourite site and search for what you are looking for, for example “Linux”.
This search should return all the available torrents named Linux, just click on download when you see something you want or like. Now either save the .torrent file on your PC or simply select “open with” and open the torrent using the BitTorrent client you installed.

The torrent client will now open a dialog box enabling you to pick which files in the torrent you want to download and to select the location to save the download. You can disable this dialog box if you like and choose to automatically download to a certain folder. Now just click ok and your torrent will start downloading.

Here are some extra tips to help you get started:

A) Look for torrents with lots of peers. Peers are the users you download from, and the more there are, the faster your torrent will be. It’s worth noting that a torrent with no seeds or peers will never complete downloading.

B) Some torrent hosting sites enforce a minimum download to upload ratio, and violators will suffer from slower speeds or permanent bans. Additionally unless users upload or “seed” after completing a download, others downloading the same torrent will suffer slower speeds, hence it is always a good idea to give back to the community by seeding after you finish downloading.

C) Using BitTorrent to download movies, music and other media is illegal unless the movie is specifically free.

That’s all! As you can see BitTorrent is quite easy to use and setup and you will find yourself downloading data in no time!