Bittorrent Essay

1389 Words 6 Pages
If you’ve spent any amount of time browsing the internet in the past half-decade, you’ll probably have heard about BitTorrent, a popular program used for downloading media. Whether or not you know how to use it is another thing altogether. I’m here to tell you that it’s invaluable and to show you how to get started with it.

Disclaimer: BitTorrent is an entirely legal program and infrastructure. Downloading copyrighted material through it is not. If you follow my instructions here, you will have done something wholly illegal and morally reprehensible. Good people pay for their media. If you don’t intend on downloading copyrighted material, BitTorrent is still extremely useful, as it is a powerful method of distributing legal
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It differs from client-server downloads (the standard “save as” protocol you see in web browsers, for instance) in that it does not access a server and download a file that is directly stored on that server. It differs from other peer-to-peer (distributed) protocols, such as the original iteration of Napster or the newer Kazaa, by using a truly distributed means of finding the trackers.
Trackers report on “who” has “what” of a particular torrent’s information and may actively maintain torrents’ health. The actual “torrents” are small files that tell the client where to find the actual files. People who have the actual files and are willing to allow you to download from them are called “seeds.” Seeds help the growth of the torrent by spreading its information to people who are downloading it, called “leechers.” Everyone beginning to download a torrent is initially a leecher. Some trackers may cut your download off if you never seed while continuing to leech. It all sounds complicated but is behind the scenes and very seamless, as you’ll see.
An Overview of Clients To get started with “torrenting,” a term that’s come to be used commonly and summarizes the act of downloading and using torrents, you need a client. Clients allow the tracker information to be processed onto your computer and generally smooth the experience by automating many processes and managing your downloads.
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