What are torrents?

It occurred to me after reading the last post I wrote about TV Shack and I referenced a few torrent sites that some of you may not know what torrents are.  Everyone knows who Napster was (especially anyone who was in college in the late 90’s/early 2000’s) and maybe a few other similar peer-to-peer sites that were around like Kazaa, Bearshare, and WinMX.  With those sites/applications, you were downloading files from a shared server that users would upload their files to.  With torrents, you are actually downloading files from other users directly in a true peer-to-peer.  Usually you are not downloading/sharing from/to just one user at a time.  What happens with torrents is you are grabbing small bits of the file from many users who all have the same file that they are sharing.  Sites like Mininova and ThePirateBay are not hosting files.  They are merely hosting the torrent (a small file) that points you to the files.

In order to download/share files, you need to install a torrent client.   BitTornado and BitTorrent are a few examples.  So what happens when you go to a torrent site, you search the file you are looking for, download the torrent and then using your client, you can then download/share the file.  Your download rate depends on whether you are seeding (also sharing) or just leeching.  Of course, be sure to read the comments on each of the files to make sure they are legitimate (meaning, they’re not fakes or do not contain viruses).  Definitely make sure you have anti-virus software installed on your computer if you are downloading files from strangers.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *