What is a torrent?
Torrents are specialized files utilized in peer-to-peer (P2P) network environments. P2P is a network of personal computers that communicate with one another by running proprietary P2P software. The first P2P software designed to utilize torrents was BitTorrent by Bram Cohen. Other torrent clients have followed.
What is a .torrent file?
To start the download of a file, a user clicks on a link pointing to .torrent meta-data file. These meta-data files are not stored on the torrent trackers server, but are distributed among a number of .torrent file servers. In turn, each .torrent file points to a tracker, which keeps a global registry of all the downloaders and seeds of the corresponding file. The tracker responds to a user’s request with a list of some of the peers having (part of) the requested file, with whom the user can establish direct connections to barter for chunks of the file. One tracker can supervise the simultaneous downloads of multiple files.
What is a torrent tracker?
A Bit Torrent tracker centrally coordinates the P2P transfer of files among users. BitTorrent trackers are software server “toolkit” applications that typically run on Web sites.
Tracker software serves up torrent files for download from a web site. The torrent tracker maintains information about all BitTorrent clients utilizing each torrent. Specifically, the tracker identifies the network location of each client either uploading or downloading the P2P file associated with a torrent. It also tracks which fragment(s) of that file each client possesses, to assist in efficient data sharing between clients.
What is a bit torrent client?
A BitTorrent client is any program which implements the BitTorrent protocol. Each client is capable of preparing, requesting, and transmitting any type of computer file over a network, using the protocol. A peer is any computer running an instance of a client.
BitTorrent clients connect to a tracker when attempting to work with torrent files. The tracker notifies the client of the P2P file location (that is normally on a different, remote server).
How does it work?
What basically happens is a users browses a torrent tracker to find a torrent file of interest, download it, and open it with a BitTorrent client. The client connects to the tracker specified in the torrent file, from which it receives a list of peers currently transferring pieces of the file(s) specified in the torrent. The client connects to those peers to obtain the various pieces. Such a group of peers connected to each other to share a torrent is called a swarm. If the swarm contains only the initial seeder, the client connects directly to it and begins to request pieces. As peers enter the swarm, they begin to trade pieces with one another, instead of downloading directly from the seeder/
Okay…, So how do I start downloading?
After you have learned the basics of torrents above, you can start downloading all the files you want.Below I have compiled a list of my personal favorite bit torrent clients and bit torrent trackers, of course there are hundreds of torrent trackers and dozens of bit torrent clients but these will get you on your way.I have taken the liberty of writing a small tutorial for each client to get the Optimal settings, that will allow you to receive higher speeds and make your first torrent experience memorable.
Some useful tips to improving speed:
» Make sure all your hardware (routers/NICs/computers) have up to date firmware/drivers and are set up properly to allow incoming/outgoing connections from your clients port.
» check if your environment is clean (no conflicting software,bad drivers,virus/malware infected,registry errors…)
» Check and see if your ISP doesn’t block or throttle file-sharing.
» Try to sign up or get an invite from private torrent trackers, they have friendly communities and good torrents with lots of seeds,feedback,variety. I personally use Demonoid.com, a great community that you should keep an eye on since every once in a while they open sign ups for free.
» Also check your firewall is not blocking the bit torrent clients port, this usually slows down speed dramatically.
Some must have software:
» SG TCP/IP Optimizer – A great application to improve your download speed by optimizing your connection.
TIPS: A big mistake I see alot of noobs do is use Force Start, by right clicking a torrent that is queued and selecting Force Start, you will spread out your upload capacity over too many upload slots – and your overall download speed will actually suffer.