What is torrent and how does it works?

If you often download things like movies, music albums, video games, etc from the internet then possibly you know what is torrent. OR you may have used it for downloading large files from the internet.

In this article, I will discuss torrenting and how it works.

What is a torrent?

The torrent is a metafile that contains the information of files and folder that is to be distributed. Torrenting uses the BitTorrent communication protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing which enables users to share data over the internet in a decentralized manner.

A torrent file has .torrent extension you can download and open it with a torrent client application.

Some popular torrent clients are –

  • uTorrent
  • BitTorrent client
  • Vuze
  • qBittorrent
  • Transmission
  • WebTorrent, etc.

The creators of a torrent can provide you a .torrent file or a hash of the torrent often called a magnet link.

For example, the following image shows the download links of Arch Linux first one is a magnet link and the second one is for downloading a .torrent file.

download links torrent

How does torrent work?

When you search for a webpage or a file in your browser the request made by you goes to a central server which then responds with the appropriate result. But when it comes to the peer-to-peer file-sharing method all the users who are downloading a file from the same torrent transfers data to each other without the need for a central server.

The following diagram shows how data is shared among peers while downloading files using torrents.

p2p file sharing

People sometimes use the torrent network to share files that are protected by copyright so it is often associated with piracy. However, torrenting has legitimate uses as well for example it reduces the load on a central server by distributing the hosting burden among the users.

How to use torrent safely

You can keep your activities private and safe by using a VPN while torrenting. But it does not prevent you from viruses and malware that are often linked to pirated copies of movies, TV shows, and software. This also depends on the source from which you are downloading a file.

The viruses and malware are generally in the form of executable files that gets download and installs sometimes from torrent. To prevent your system from this you can use a good antivirus program on your system.

How can I make torrent faster?

By keeping a few things in your mind you can make torrents to download a file faster.

  • Make sure you have a good internet connection
  • Download a torrent that has more seeders, more the seeders faster will be download. Seeders are people who are uploading a file after they have completely downloaded it.

Common terms related to torrent

Some common torrent terms are –

  • Client – Client or BitTorrent client is a computer program that allows peer-to-peer file sharing of files via BitTorrent protocol.
  • p2p – In a p2p or peer-to-peer network, each node acts as both a client and a server. OR you can say each node or computer is capable of downloading and uploading files simultaneously.
  • Peer – A peer is a client to which other clients connect and transfer data.
  • Seed/Seeding – A client or peer who downloaded a complete file and continues or starts uploading a file to which is to be downloaded by other users is called a seeder and the process is called seeding.
  • Leech: Leecher is a downloader or anyone who downloads more than than they upload. It is also possible that he upload nothing at all.
  • Swarm: A group of people(including seeder) downloading and sharing the same torrent.
  • Tracker: A tracker is a server that tracks all the seeds and peers in the swarm. It receives information from a client and exchanges it with other clients.
  • Distributed Hast Table (DHT) – DHT is used in BitTorrent for peers to send a list of other peers in the swarm directly to a client without the need for a tracker.


I hope now you understand what is torrent and how to use it. Now if you have a query then write us in the comments below.

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