Introduction to BitTorrent
BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer system that simplifies the transferring of large files (or groups of files) between a large number of people. This network has a different behaviour and utility compared to a normal P2P network, meaning that you actually don’t search for files that the other users have using the file sharing application as you would with traditional clients. Rather, you go to websites that have lists of recently released files. BitTorrent system does its managing of users’ downloads using a central location, that is, a tracker, which is connected to when you download and launch a .torrent file. The tracker’s role is to monitor all those who have the file (both partially and completely) and connect users to each other for downloading and uploading.
There are websites where you can find the torrents listed – they are called indexing sites and have enjoy great popularity. However, this popularity didn’t go unnoticed and by the MPAA and other law enforcement agencies which are constantly making efforts to close them down.
The purpose of going to these websites is to get a certain file you want – for that you have to download the torrent file and once you’ve done that you can let your BitTorrent client do its job.
The BitTorrent network is impressive mostly for the speed and reliability with which you get files that have been recently released. As long as a .torrent file has enough people sharing then you can be assured that it will start quickly and maintain a good download speed. Most indexing sites have a system of listing the number of Seeders and Leechers for a particular archive.
A seed(er) is a client on the BT network that has a full copy of a certain archive. It takes at least one seed (to download from) in order for any archive to function. However, there’s another possibility – if there are enough people with all the portions to form the complete archive there’s no need for a seeder: the term for this is a distributed copy.
There are some unwritten rules of the torrents – a most important one is that once you have obtained an archive you should leave the BT client running for at least the amount of time that it took you to download the archive to keep the torrents going and help other users get the file(s) in question.
A leech(er) is a user on the BT network that, unlike a seed(er), does not yet possess a full copy of a particular archive. If you are a new client and start downloading a file, you remain a leecher until you have completely downloaded the whole archive. Then you can call yourself a seeder. Usually, a leecher is a user who only downloads without uploading – he/she takes without giving. Yet, here, a leecher doesn’t have a pejorative meaning – he/she represents part of the network and is uploading as well, and not seldom more KB than they actually download.
You can only download something using BitTorrent if you have a .torrent file. Basically, there’s a location hidden in this file due to which the BitTorrent client knows where to trace the tracker that is enables the uploading and downloading of the archive.
An archive represents a complete set available for downloading which can consist of one or more files. Using this network to download is the job of six-year-old – you only need to click on the .torrent file in your web browser; then the BitTorrent client comes into play, firstly asking you the directory where you want to save the downloaded archive.
With the hope this introduction into BitTorrent downloading has been useful we wish you happy sharing!