What is Torrenting?

What_is_Torrenting

Have you ever found yourself wondering, “What is torrenting?” Well, you’ve come to the right place for the answer.

In the early 2000s, internet speed was a fraction of the speeds we experience today. Downloading large files was a torturous experience. It would take hours to download a file, only to have it disconnect at 90% file transfer. If this happened, the user would have to start the download again and wait even longer to get the file. To solve this problem, developers came up with a solution by creating a method (known as a protocol) that reliably shared files across the network even if a disconnect occurred. 

What is BitTorrenting and How Does It Work?

The name of the file-sharing protocol that revolutionized the internet was BitTorrent. BitTorrent came on the scene in 2001. It was, and is, an ingenious way to split a file into multiple packets and share it across a network of connected users. This is known as “torrenting.”

In the world of torrenting, you’ll come across specific terms that mean the following:

  • Seeders — Users who share the complete file on the torrenting network.
  • Leechers — Users who download the files but are unable to or do not share files in return.
  • Peers — Peers are users who download and upload simultaneously on the torrenting network. 

Tracker — A torrent server that determines the fragments of files available amongst the users and matches users with the relevant downloads.

  • BitTorrent client — A software program used to share files amongst torrent users.

All torrenting processes start with seeding where one or more seeders share a complete file via the app.  A seeder or leecher who requests downloads for the file will then receive fragments of the file from one or more seeds.

Torrenting is not like a usual download because there is no specific sequence for the packet transfer. Peers can receive the available file fragments in any order from anywhere across the torrent network. Once all the fragments are received, the BitTorrent client will assemble them into a complete file. 

What Are the Advantages of Torrenting?

The BitTorrent protocol has been around for almost two decades, and it remains a popular file-sharing method thanks to the following advantages.

No Interrupted Downloads

Torrenting involves breaking up and transferring files in packets. The process can be halted and resumed without losing the segments that have already been downloaded. This is a great advantage over conventional downloads where you have to restart the download from the beginning if there is a disconnection. 

It’s Fast

If torrenting helped overcome the lack of speed in the early days of the Internet, it will also boost the speed of downloads in today’s world. As the torrent download is not a sequential process, you can download multiple packets simultaneously. 

Server Redundancy 

Another advantage of torrenting lies in the decentralized architecture of the network. It doesn’t rely on a single server, which means you’ll never have to suffer because of server issues. On a BitTorrent client, the tracker will connect you to other seeders or peers if one has become unavailable.

Free

Torrenting clients like uTorrent, LimeTorrents and BitTorrent are available for free. The same goes for searching and downloading the files that are hosted across the peer-to-peer (P2P) network.

What Are the Dangers of Torrenting?

Despite the simplicity of file-sharing via BitTorrent clients, there are some dangers lurking underneath the platform. 

Viruses and Trojans

While you won’t get into trouble by installing the torrenting client software, you may find your PC infected with nasty trojans when opening the downloaded files. Just because a file is named “YogaPilates.mov” doesn’t mean that it’s exactly what it is.

It’s best to pre-check the file with an antivirus scanner to help prevent your PC from being infected by viruses and trojans.

Cyberattacks

The moment you start seeding or downloading a file with a BitTorrent client, your public IP address is exposed to the users connected to the same file. Giving away your IP address is never a good idea.

You’ll be susceptible to attacks from hackers and personal information can be stolen from your computer. You could also have your PC being used in a DDoS attack against another target. 

Copyright Infringement Lawsuits

The harsh truth is, many of the files shared across the torrenting network are copyrighted. If you’re downloading movies, games, animes, or music on a torrenting client that are copyrighted, you’re breaking the law. At VPN Coffee, we do not condone illegal file-sharing or copyright infringement. We do, however, want you to be aware of the risk if you do so.

In some countries, punishment for illegal downloads is harsh, and enforcement agencies do clamp down on torrent users. In 2018, hundreds of Canadians were hauled to court for downloading movies on torrent software.

Best VPN for Torrenting

Now that you know the dangers of torrenting, if you are going to be torrenting, it’s important to make sure you are sufficiently protected. Installing a torrenting-friendly VPN is the best way to go.

You’ll need to look for a VPN that has a strict no-log policy and with perfectly secure encryption to protect your identity online. Good server speed is also an essential factor for torrenting.

Some VPNs also provide features that block your ISP (Internet Service Provider) from being aware that you’re using a torrent client. This is helpful as some ISPs throttle the internet speed when torrent downloads are detected.

Here are some of the best VPNs that will allow you to torrent in safety.


FEATURES
CyberGhostNordVPNExpressVPN
Dedicated Torrenting ServersNo
ISP Obfuscation
High-Speed Servers
AES-256 Encryption
Server Counts6,100+5,5253,000+
Number of Countries90 5894
No-logs Policy
24/7 Customer Support
Number of Devices765

Summary

By now, you should have a better idea of what torrenting is all about and the reasons why many internet users are sticking with this decade-old technology. Despite its popularity, it’s important that you keep the risks in mind and stay protected with one of our recommended VPNs.

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