Torrents are one of the most popular ways to share files over the Internet. Using torrents can instill quite a bit of fear in the minds of laymen. However, once you know the ropes, you'll have access to just about any file you can think of. Using a torrent client is not illegal if you own the rights to download, view and distribute (share) the file. Always make sure you have legal permission to download any file. Check out Step 1 below to learn how to use the BitTorrent client.
Part 1 of 4: Installing BitTorrent
Step 1. Visit the BitTorrent website
You can download the program for free from the website. The download link is in the middle of the homepage. If you need an installer for another operating system, click on "Other Platforms + Betas" under the "Get BitTorrent" button.
Step 2. Download and install the program
You will be asked to choose between the free version or the paid BitTorrent Plus. Most users will not need the plus version; you can download and open as many torrents as you want with the free version.
Download the BitTorrent client only from the BitTorrent website. There are also other clients available, but the one called BitTorrent should only be downloaded directly from the developers
Step 3. Make sure the file associations are correct
If you want BitTorrent to be the default program you use to open a torrent, make sure that BitTorrent is associated with both.torrent (.tor) files and Magnet URIs. You can check these boxes during the installation process. If you don't, your browser will only download the small torrent file. If the BitTorrent program is associated with the correct files, it will automatically detect the browser that is downloading the.tor file. The BitTorrent program will then open it, locate the actual file (video, program, movie, etc) and download it.
BitTorrent will try to offer you some free music. This is accompanied by necessary advertisements during the installation process. Make sure to disable these during installation (unless you want them)
Step 4. Let the firewall allow BitTorrent
When you open BitTorrent for the first time, you will probably be asked to allow the program. If you want to download files, you will need to enable BitTorrent to bypass the firewall. If you don't see an automatic message appear, you need to adjust the firewall manually.
Step 5. Set your preferences
Once BitTorrent is installed you can open the program to set your preferences. In the main screen, click Options -> Preferences. There are a number of options that you can check before you start downloading:
- Click on the "Directories" option. This page allows you to select a location for the downloads. You can also move downloads to another location once the download is complete.
- Click on the "Bandwidth" option. Here you can set the maximum limits for uploading and downloading. This is useful if you have a data limit. If you set these options to "0", the transfers will take place at the maximum speed of your internet connection.
- Click on the "Queuing" option. Here you can set how many different torrent files you can upload and download at the same time. This setting can help you focus on one download, or download many files at once. You can also set your seeding goals here. Sets how long you want to share certain files.
Part 2 of 4: Download torrent files
Step 1. Find a website that offers torrents
There are several websites that offer torrents. Some are more reliable than others. There are two types of torrent trackers: public trackers and private trackers.
- Public (public) trackers are available to everyone. These are sites you will find if you enter "torrent tracker" into search engines. Due to their public nature, many of these sites are monitored by copyright holders. Downloading copyrighted material can lead to consequences. For example, the internet provider can impose certain sanctions on you.
- Private (private) trackers require an invitation. These sites are not accessible until you have been invited by another user. They often demand things like payment for access, maintaining a certain download/upload ratio, etc. Using private trackers is much less likely to lead to lawsuits from copyright holders.
Step 2. Search for your desired file
Most public trackers offer every new series, movie and game in addition to popular old files.
Use the popular short format to find the file you want. For example, if you're looking for the third episode of the fifth season of "Law and Order", and you want it in HD, search for: "Law and Order s05e03 720p" or "Law and Order s05e03 1080p"
Step 3. Download a torrent with enough seeders
The speed at which you can download a torrent file depends on a number of variables. For example, a torrent with the most seeders is a desirable variable, and a torrent with the fewest leechers is too. The interaction between the two influences how quickly a torrent can be downloaded. You don't have much influence on the other variables - these are related to your own internet speed and that of the seeders.
- Most torrent sites allow you to rank search results by the number of seeders. Look for files with many seeders. Not only will the download be faster, it is also less likely that it is a fake file that contains a virus.
- The number of leechers also affects your download speed. A leecher is someone who is downloading but not seeding. A leecher becomes a seeder when the entire file is downloaded. If there are significantly more leechers than seeders, the amount of bandwidth you receive will be lower. This will slow down the download.
Step 4. Find the right balance between size and quality
This is especially important when downloading video files. Often there are different versions of a particular movie available. These vary in size and quality. The difference in size is caused by the way the video and audio are encoded. In general, the larger the file, the better the quality. Look for good torrent providers. Some sites offer additional tags/icons next to the name of the torrent provider. Click on it to find out its meaning.
- The downside of large files is that they take significantly longer to download.
- Read as many of the comments as you can. This way you can find out if downloading that torrent is worth it in terms of quality. Some trackers have a scoring system that allows users to show whether they like the file or not.
Step 5. Download a magnet link if possible
Magnet links contain no actual files, and are just small chunks of text. These unique bits allow the torrent to attach itself to the content and download the correct files. Magnet files take a step out of the torrenting process, reducing the chance of a corrupted torrent file.
Step 6. Open the torrent file with BitTorrent
If you have BitTorrent associated with.torrent files, it should start automatically when you open the file. Your download will start when you are connected to the first seeder.
- It can take some time to connect to a seeder, especially if you have a bad connection or if you are downloading a weak torrent.
- You can monitor your downloads on the main BitTorrent screen. Each file has its own progress bar.
Step 7. Download a good media player
Torrents can be used to transfer any file type. However, many of the popular movie file types are not supported by Windows Media Player or Quicktime. You will need a media player that supports a wide variety of codecs and file types.
- VLC Player is a free, open-source media player that can play almost any media files you download. It is highly recommended if you are downloading many different movie files.
- ISO files are disk images. These must be burned to a disc, or played through a virtual disc in order to open them. They can be direct copies of disks, or packages of folders.
- If you want to play the media files on another device, you may need to convert the files to a file type that will work on the device.
Step 8. Watch out for viruses
Because torrents are rarely legal, there is no overview of which files are made available. This means that hackers can add viruses to torrents in the hope that they will spread to other users. Viruses are often included in popular searches so that they can cause as many victims as possible.
- Scan every file you download for viruses.
- Try to download files provided by trusted sources within the community.
- Always check the comments and ratings to see if anyone else has already picked up a virus from the torrent.
Part 3 of 4: Seeding a torrent file
Step 1. Start seeding when your download is complete
Once you are done downloading a torrent file you will become a seeder. This means that you upload data to other clients that are connected to the tracker.
Seeden is what keeps the torrent community going. Without seeders, no one can download files
Step 2. Maintain a good ratio between downloads and uploads
If you use a private tracker, you are expected to maintain a positive relationship in the community. This means that you upload at least as much as you download.
Step 3. Run your torrent program in the background
With most internet subscriptions, the upload speed is lower than that of download. This usually means that you need to keep uploading longer than you downloaded–to maintain your positive ratio. Let your torrent program run in the background while you go about your daily tasks. You will see that your upload totals have increased significantly.
Running a torrent program in the background won't have much of an effect on browsing and word processing. More intensive processes, such as playing games or streaming movies, run better if the torrent program is closed first
Step 4. Set a ratio limit
BitTorrent allows you to share a torrent until you reach a preset ratio. In the "Queuing" section of the "Preferences" menu you can set which ratio you want to use. If you use a private tracker, this ratio should be at least 200%. This means sharing a 300MB torrent until you've uploaded 600MB.
Part 4 of 4: Opening the files you downloaded with BitTorrent
Step 1. Many of the files you download are compressed, or are of a file type that you cannot directly play or open
In short, they require a different program to enable you to do this. Programs and other non-media files are often compressed to.zip,.rar,.001,.002, etc. Many movies are contained in "containers" such as.mkz,.qt, etc. These containers require a special codec to to be able to play. Fortunately, the most popular codecs are often available as bundles. It is the same in the case of K-Lite (www.codecguide.com/download/kl.htm). WinRAR can open.zip,.rar,.001, and.002.
Step 2. Create a new directory and move your downloaded file to it
You can limit the damage that malicious software inflicts on your installed software by moving it to another partition or hard drive that does not contain any important information or data. Open the program you need to open or extract the file. Carefully check these extracted files for suspicious files (movie files, MP3s, etc. do not require extensions such as.exe or.com and may therefore contain viruses).
Step 3. Scan the directory with your virus scanner
Don't skip this step! Analyze the results to determine whether you should continue or not.
Step 4. Open or play the file
If you have extracted the contents of a file, can see the individual files of the program or video and they are of an expected recognizable file type (.avi,.mp3,.mkz,.exe,.com, etc.), then you can open or install them.
- Install a protective program to keep prying eyes from seeing what you are downloading. PeerBlock and Peer Guardian are highly recommended. These programs are similar to firewalls, but provide better protection for P2P programs.
- A virus usually cannot move from one drive to another on its own. However, if you copy the file from one drive to another, you may have infected BOTH drives. That's why it's a good idea to use a partition (or disk) of at least 10 GB, where you don't have any other files on it, to test that the downloaded files are safe. By moving downloaded files to this drive, a possible virus can only damage this drive. In this case, if there is nothing on this drive, then the drive can be easily erased/formatted without damage or loss to the operating system or your personal files. If you are sure there is no threat, then you can move the file to your regular disk or partition and delete it from your test partition.
- A torrent without seeds, but with a lot of leechers, you might be able to download in full. However, without seeds, there's a chance that the entire file doesn't exist at all.
- An alternative to BitTorrent (uTorrent) is also available, but can carry many viruses if you are not careful about where (and what) you download. Incidentally, this is the case with all P2P clients.
- In general, sharing copyrighted material will get you in trouble. Owning it usually presents no problems. If you decide to share a copyrighted product, you risk a fine. The BitTorrent client makes it impossible to download a torrent without also sharing it. You will see that when you set the upload speed to 0, the download will stop. For this reason, it should be understood that when you download something (both copyrighted and unprotected products) you are also sharing it.
- You can download and upload torrents anonymously by using a VPN service. This way you will not get caught. Make sure to read the reviews beforehand and see if the VPN service allows BitTorrent traffic, keeps logs and offers fast speeds. Speed is an important factor that is often overlooked. Incognitoline has done extensive testing in this area.