The fact is that you can legally download all kinds of large files using torrents, and chances are you’ve done this before. But do you know what torrents are?
Let’s see what torrent files are and how to use them in the following article.
What are torrents?
A torrent file is a file that contains detailed metadata where files and folders distributed on the Internet are found. Torrent files typically contain information regarding a list of trackers (basically the servers that list where to find files and directories online) that the torrent requires to complete a download.
Torrent files do not contain files you download. It includes information about those files and acts a bit like a table of contents for the files you want to download. A torrent file uses a standardized structure:
– Announce: Include at least one URL for the tracker.
– Info File : Varies depending on how many files are shared. Includes a complete list of files to share when multiple files are included in a single download, including file size in bytes and the path to the actual file.
– Length: File size, for a single file.
– Name: Suggest a file name and path for a file.
– Piece Length: Indicates the number of bytes per piece. Each file is divided into sections of a fixed size, and the Piece Length indicates how many bytes are expected on each of those sections.
– Pieces: A list of hashes that link the parts of the file together. In the case of multiple files, the section list refers to Info File for the order of the files.
Why do people use torrents?
Torrent files are a core part of a distributed P2P (peer-to-peer) file network. Torrent files tell the BitTorrent client where to find the files you want to download from other users connected to the P2P network.
People use torrents for many reasons, but the crux of the matter is how easy it is to share files between users. Consider a Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu or Debian. These Linux distributions offer a way to download operating systems for free using torrents to reduce server strain, reduce hosting costs, and potentially reduce the time it takes to download a particular file.
Are torrents legal?
Have! So as long as you’re downloading legal content, it’s perfectly acceptable to use torrents. However, if you start downloading illegal content using torrents, things will be different.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP), copyright holder, etc. can monitor your Internet connection for evidence of torrenting. If you want to prevent your ISP or anyone else from snooping on your data, you need a VPN . Reference lists of today’s best VPN to have a few suggestions.
How to use torrents?
The first thing you need is a BitTorrent client. There are many clients available. qBittorent is highly rated and available for all major operating systems. Plus, it’s a free and open-source tool, so it’s a great place to start.
After installing qBittorrent, you need a torrent file to test the BitTorrent client. Many Linux operating systems use torrents for file distribution. Go to the Ubuntu download page and scroll down to the BitTorrent section . Select the latest Ubuntu Desktop version (20.04 at the time of writing) and wait for the file to download.
When the file finishes downloading, double-click to open it. The torrent file will automatically open the BitTorrent client. If you have qBittorent installed, it will open and ask if you want to create a client for your default torrent option. Select Yes if desired, then continue.
BitTorrent client tabs
qBittorent . window
The Ubuntu Desktop torrent file will load in qBittorent and start downloading automatically. At the bottom of the qBittorent window, you’ll see tabs labeled General, Trackers, Peers, HTTP Sources, and Content .
Select the Peers tab . Here you can see a list of all the users to which the BitTorrent client is currently connected, to download files, upload files or prepare one of those actions depending on the client settings.
Now, select the Content tab . This tab displays the list of files you are downloading for the selected torrent file. The Ubuntu Desktop torrent file contains a file that you can see in the Content tab . If you have downloaded a torrent file that links to multiple files or folders, you can manage them from this tab.
For example, you can deselect specific files or folders so they don’t download, or designate individual files with higher priority to download over the network.
Finally, below the tabs, you’ll find two small boxes. One with a green arrow, indicating download speed, and one with an orange arrow, indicating upload speed. If you want to limit the client’s download or upload speed, you can change the option here. Remember that these speeds apply to your entire BitTorrent client, not just an individual torrent file.
Green arrow indicates download speed and orange arrow indicates upload speed