Torrenting has gained lots of popularity in recent years, along with its fair share of threats as well.
Torrenters utilize the widespread technique to download files hosted globally.
Some interesting facts about torrenting:
- Approximately 3.35% of total internet traffic is handled through BitTorrent bringing over 100 million active monthly users.
- It’s used to download files such as movies, books, songs and games through the torrent client.
The most commonly asked questions will be covered extensively in this piece.
Torrenting can put you at risk in the following ways:
- Malware infection
- Exploit system vulnerabilities
- Data safety
- Legal trouble
How to Torrent Safely?
- Subscribe to NordVPN here.
- Download and install the VPN client on your device.
- Enter your credentials.
- Select the nearest ‘P2P VPN Server.’
- Click the ‘Connect’ button.
The topic is covered extensively if you’re new to the world of torrenting. Continue reading to increase your knowledge.
What Is Torrenting? (Torrent Definition)
Torrenting is a kind of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing technology where a number of users can connect and share their files rather than being dependent on a single website or source for downloading files.
A user can not only download the file from the direct source but also from other users of the same torrent, facilitating a smoother transfer among users.
Each peer acts as a mini-server, which significantly reduces the network load.
It’s easy to search a file of your choice on the internet and download it through a torrent. However, the torrenting experience might improve to a surprising extent once the users get to know the techniques that take place every time a file is downloaded.
How Torrent Works
To understand the peer-to-peer process, it’s essential to know a few terms.
- Peers: All users involved in sharing files through torrent P2P sharing. They are said to be peers as long as they keep sharing files on the network.
- Seeders: A user who is downloading a file from a torrent and simultaneously uploading it to be used by other users.
- Indexers: Websites that work as a search engine for the files and content to be downloaded through a torrent. Some famous indexers are Piratebay, Extratorrent or Torrentz, which are widely used.
- Trackers: Servers that act as bridges between the peers. They direct the packets from user to user and help find peers on the network for a particular download.
- Swarms: A number of peers downloading or uploading the same torrent files.
- Leechers: The peers who download a torrent file but restrict uploading from their server or stop the torrent as soon as their file is downloaded to prevent the upload. Their intention is not to help the other peers download.
- BitTorrent Client: One of the main requirements for torrenting is the presence of a client. Usually, uTorrent enables the process by combining the fragments from many seeds, assembling them and managing the download.
Why Do People Use Torrents?
Direct downloading and torrenting are two options for downloading files on the internet.
When having an option for downloading a file from the source, why do people prefer torrenting over the regular download option? Here are a few reasons that make torrent outshine the latter option.
- The most prominent reason for using torrent is that it’s free. Downloading files begins with no charge.
- The download server will never be down. As the torrent file is not fully uploaded on a single server, there will always be other servers supporting the download process.
- Managing downloads is much easier with torrent as it can pause and resume the process.
- A faster download is possible through torrents that are better seeded.
- Torrent also enables the downloading of several files at once, which is convenient for users.
How to Use Torrent?
Step 1: Download a Torrent Client
These clients facilitate the download of torrent files by connecting to peers and managing the upload/download process.
Step 2: Search for a Torrent to Download
After downloading a torrent client, the next step is to look for the file you want to download on the torrent websites (indexers). Upon finding the desired file, make sure it has many genuine seeders and good reviews on the website. This helps you find out if the file carries viruses that might corrupt it.
Step 3: Download the Torrent File
The torrent file can be download either by clicking the download button or the magnet icon next to it. The magnet button lets you download it without having to download the ‘.torrent’ file.
Step 4: Add the Torrent File to Your Client
Once the .torrent file is download, the next step is to open the file in the torrent client. Add the .torrent file to the client and select the desired destination for your download. This will start the download in the client.
uTorrent allows you to pause or resume the download, as well as add or delete torrents. It displays information about the number of peers you’re connected to, the seeders of the file, and the upload and download speed. Note that speeds may depend on the strength of your internet connection.
Is uTorrent Safe?
Yes, it is safe. The platform, along with BitTorrent, is free from all malware and viruses. The risk of torrenting being unsafe lies with the files downloaded.
Files available on the internet can be safe or unsafe. It is important to know the file and the data it contains.
Warning:Some files may contain malware-ridden content which can damage your computer.
It also shares your device information and IP address to other peers, and your personal information can be easily tracked down by copyright trolls and internet service providers. More on that further in this guide.
Is Torrenting Illegal?
There’s always been a debate on whether torrenting is legal or illegal.
To understand this, it’s important to know that torrenting is a way of file sharing among users and the act of torrenting may not be considered illegal.
Rather, the legal aspect of torrenting depends on the file that is being downloaded. If the file (and the content therein) is not restricted or copyrighted, then torrenting it is legal.
However, the act of downloading and sharing unsanctioned and copyrighted files is illegal. So, sharing such files has its own consequences.
Copyright trolls have been known to come after torrent users for sharing content that has been licensed with rights reserved to the work’s creator. Copyright trolls are individuals or groups who work on behalf of copyright-holders/creators to sue users who distribute that content without their permission or license. Users could face litigation for copyright infringement.
Staying Safe While Torrenting
It’s essential to do torrenting through a private network where you can avoid the copyright trolls without falling into the legal risks.
1. Use a VPN
A VPN is the smoothest method to protect your personal details and metadata while downloading/sharing torrent files. It hides your actual IP address and changes it to another IP, thereby making it impossible for copyright trolls and ISPs to track you down. Read about the best VPNs available here.
Note:Another benefit of using a VPN is that it encrypts your internet traffic so you can’t be tracked down by hackers.
It shields all your web activities and thus provides a secure and private internet experience, even when you’re not torrenting.
Most VPNs also come with a “kill switch” that automatically shuts off your internet connection if you get disconnected from the VPN server you’re on. This way, your data and real IP address won’t be leaked once you’re no longer connected to the server.
2. Avoid Downloading Illegal Content
To avoid any legal consequences, it’s best to not download copyrighted files and materials from torrents.
Though they may be available on the torrent network, copyrighted files may not be shared without permission. You may be subjected to legal charges if you break these rules.
Therefore, it is better to keep yourself away from downloading such material.
If in case, it is still your priority, then use a VPN to download torrents anonymously and avoid getting caught by the legal authorities.
3. Use Private Trackers
It is very important where you are downloading your torrents from. Hackers and copyright trolls use trackers to interfere with your download and gain access to your information.
If you’re using a public tracker, use a renowned one with lesser risks attached. Or you could register for a good private tracker. The r/trackers subreddit is a decent resource for finding information about public and private trackers.
Above, we covered the background, terms, techniques and privacy tips you need to understand torrenting. Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions:
What does torrent mean? / What is a torrent?
A torrent is a file that contains movies, TV shows, games, songs or any other type of digital content. You can access these files on torrent sites.
What’s the best torrenting program?
The best torrenting software available today is uTorrent and BitTorrent. Both clients are offered for free.
Is BitTorrent safe?
Yes, but the individual torrent files stored and shared on BitTorrent’s network may contain malware or copyrighted content. The same applies for uTorrent.
Can you download torrents anonymously?
If you use a VPN service, you can remain anonymous while torrenting. VPNs hide your IP address and activity from being revealed to your ISP.