Torrents - Every time we hear this word, the only thing that comes to our minds is free movies, games and cracked software. But little do we know about how they work, the various concepts involved in torrenting etc. So here in this article let’s have a look at torrenting from a technical perspective.
What are Torrents?
Torrents are links to a file’s location on the internet. They are not the files, they are just Dynamic pointers to the original file that you download.
For example: if you click on Google Chrome you can download the Google Chrome browser from Google's servers.
If you click on that link tomorrow, or next week or next month, the file will still be downloaded from Google’s server.
But when we download torrents, there is no fixed server. Files are downloaded from other people’s computers who had previously downloaded that torrent.
How Does this work?
Let’s say ‘A’ has some video that he wants to create a torrent of. So he creates a torrent and sends that link to ‘B’, this link contains information about where exactly is that video on the internet from its IP address. So when ‘B’ starts downloading that file, ‘B’ connects to ‘A’s’ computer. Now after ‘B’ has completed downloading it, ‘B’ will start seeding it i.e ‘B’ will allow another ‘C’ or ‘D’ to download it from ‘B’s’ computer.
So everyone first downloads the file and then uploads, the more uploaders the more, downloading speed you get. And if in any case, someone wishes to stop uploading he can do so. This won’t be a problem unless there are too many downloaders and few uploaders.
Seeders and Leechers
A user who has fully downloaded that particular file and is now uploading it so that new users can download is a seeder.
And someone who hasn’t completed downloading that file and is still downloading it is a leecher.
All torrent files are separated into packets of fixed size so that they can be downloaded non-linearly and randomly. Each piece can uniquely be identified so that once all pieces are downloaded they can be put together to form the original file.
This is done so that if you are downloading a file from someone and if he stops uploading due to some reasons, you can continue your download from another seeder without having to re-download the file.
Peers are basically leechers that are currently connected to you. A leecher who is uploading however many pieces that he has downloaded is a peer.
A user who has downloaded the first 50 pieces of a file is a leecher, but he is uploading those files simultaneously and you are a person who has only 10 first pieces, so you can download up to 50 pieces from him. Here he would be your peer.
Whenever you are downloading a torrent, always try to choose the one that has maximum seeders. Consider this a rule of thumb.
There are no exact minimum criteria but just make sure you choose the one with the maximum seeders.
Torrent laws are no different from other laws and torrenting of copyrighted material is a punishable offense. Most governments have blocked torrent sites and protocols but torrenting is not bad.
Torrents are extremely useful in quickly sharing a file and they are used to share most of the Open Source Community’s software as they can save a lot of server resources. However, many people use them for piracy.
Torrenting is a great technology ideal to reduce the load on the servers. Torrenting can give us speed up to our network adapter’s limit, which is great. However, due to decentralized servers, Piracy is inevitable. It can only be our moral responsibility to restrict what we share and never download the pirated content.
Do share your thoughts about using torrents in the comments section below and share with us your favorite torrent websites to download legal material.