Everything you need to know about torrent and Bittorrent.
In this technological era in which we are immersed, many of you will have heard about free downloads, file sharing, P2P networks, etc. Well, all these terms can have a common denominator such as torrent or BitTorrent. But what is this BitTorrent?
If you want to know what these terms are, how they work and how to share ( download ) files , don’t miss this compilation where we show you everything you need to know about the subject.
Table of Contents
What is a torrent?
A Torrent is a file with a .torrent extension. These files are used by programs called BitTorrent clients and are used to exchange files between users over the Internet.
We can say that Torrent files are the representatives of the files that we are really going to download and that is why they have specific information about the file they represent and that we want to download. The information contained in these files is encoded using Bencoding. These Torrent files can be opened by a text editor, in which case we can access and view the file dictionary which contains:
info: In this dictionary, as we have said previously, we can know all the information about the file it represents and we want to download. It is true that not all .Torrent files have to have the same structure, since this will largely depend on whether the torrent only represents the download of one file or, on the contrary, represents another structure depending, for example, on the download of several files with a directory hierarchy.
- announce – String representing the tracker URL
- announce-list : (optional string list). Used to represent lists of alternative trackers. It is an extension to the original specification.
- creation date – (optional integer) The torrent creation date in UNIX epoch format.
- comment : (optional string) Free field for the torrent creator.
- created by : (optional string) Name and version of the program used to create the torrent file.
The torrent information dictionary that we have mentioned also contains the following keys:
- name : As its name indicates, this field will show the name of the file that we really want to download or the directory where the files are hosted.
- piece length : Normally large files that are shared through Bittorent Networks are usually divided into smaller parts so that their downloads are much easier. Well, this parameter will represent the size of the part we are checking. Normally a number is shown right next to the parameter that will indicate the number of bytes of each piece. In general, it is advisable to divide large files into parts of about 500 KB, this way they will not produce inefficiencies or very large files that would hinder their downloads.
- pieces : This parameter refers to the string that represents the concatenation of the list of hash keys of each fraction of the shared file. These hash keys are generated using SHA-1 with a 160-bit hash and a maximum size of each chunk of 2^64 bits. These keys are used as a kind of mechanism in order to ensure the integrity and consistency of each fraction, once said fraction has been completely downloaded to your computer.
- private : (optional). In this parameter, the user will see a number between 0 or 1 that indicates whether peers can be searched outside of the trackers specifically described in the information or not.
- length : (integer) In this parameter the user will observe the length of the file in bytes through numbers.
- md5sum : (optional string). It is a 32-character hexadecimal string corresponding to the MD5 sum of the file.
- files : This parameter will only be displayed by the user if the torrent we are using is multi-file. It is a list of dictionaries (one for each file, but which have a different structure than the information). Each of these dictionaries will in turn contain information about the length of the file, the MD5 sum and a path where the file should be located in the directory hierarchy.
What is BitTorrent?
BitTorrent is a software with a protocol focused on sharing files using the peer-to-peer technique over the Internet. It is one of the most shared and widespread large file sharing protocols on the planet.
The BitTorrent client can be used by the user with the aim of minimizing the impact that the distribution or sharing of large files may have on the servers where said files would be stored. These clients allow users to create ties and connections between them (like a spider web) with the aim of uploading and downloading files in a more direct and simultaneous way. Therefore do not depend on downloading a single file from an internet server. This type of client becomes a good alternative to server-based file upload and download systems, which consist of having several mirror servers from which users can download complete files. Normally these server systems can operate on networks with little bandwidth, thanks to this smaller devices such as smartphones are capable of sharing or uploading large files or videos via streaming to many other users.
This protocol was created in April 2001 and its first improvement was included in July of that same year. However, currently this protocol is the property of the Cohen company, BitTorrent, Inc. Furthermore, today there is not only a single Bittorent client that can use this protocol, but there are many that can be chosen depending on the operating system that we use or the client that best adapts to the user’s characteristics.
Two years ago; In 2012, the BitTorrent protocol had 150 million users who used the service. If you do the math, it can be assured that the number of users who use this protocol annually amounts to 250 million or more. In addition to this we can add the number of users of the Megaupload platform who, after a period of activity, have decided to switch to the use of BitTorrent.
In summary and to differentiate torrent from BitTorrent, we can say that: .torrent (extension), is an address that you download from BitTorrent websites to download a file. (This file normally does not exceed 500KB.). Subsequently, through a Bittorrent client (software) you open the file and begin your download.
How does it work?
The operation is quite simple. When a user wants to make a certain file available (Share) to other users, the first thing he should do is create a .torrent file that represents the file he really wants to share. Once created, this user must distribute said torrent so that other users can have access to it. It then makes the file available on the network through a BitTorrent node that acts as a seed. This will allow other users who wish to download the files we are sharing to obtain the torrent and in this way they can create a new BitTorrent node that acts as a client or “leecher”. This will allow the exchange of fractions of the file that is shared with the seed and with other clients.
The file that the user makes available to other users is normally divided into smaller parts (pieces) (it will also depend on the size of the file that you want to share). This will make it easier for other users to both download and distribute it since every time a part is downloaded to a user’s computer, it will be available for download by other users immediately and freeing the original seed from the The burden of having to send a copy of that part to all users who wish to download the file. In summary, we can affirm that the task of sharing a file or parts of it is everyone’s task that improves the number of sources available for download as well as improves the download speed. It is also possible for the user who decides to upload a file to limit the number of users who could have access to the download of a certain file.
For those more obsessed with security, they should know that every fraction of the file that is shared is protected by a cryptographic hash which is included within the torrent file. In this way the user will be able to immediately know any possible modification that may occur. This is very effective to prevent some accidental or malicious changes from being distributed and received on other nodes. When a user downloads a file from a node, the node will be able to verify its authenticity without any problem.
Normally the fractions of a file are not downloaded in an orderly manner, since this will depend in part on the fractions that are active at any given time. Furthermore, when we connect to the BitTorrent network, the client will identify the parts we have and which ones we are missing in order to proceed with the selective download of the parts we are missing. The files that are downloaded are downloaded in fractions of equal size, this will make it easier for the user to stop the download at any time and resume it whenever they want without the parts of files that have already been downloaded being lost and having to start over. That is why this protocol is so suitable for the transfer and distribution of large files.
The moment a user downloads a complete file (all its parts) this file will automatically become a seed, allowing other users to more easily download the file and create a new source to download from. The more users completely download the file, the better the health of the file and the higher the availability of the file.
This makes Bittorrent a powerful file transfer and sharing structure that will become stronger the more files are shared and downloaded. We can really say that this network is built by the users that make it up. Without a doubt, one of the advantages of this type of service is the incredible savings in terms of software and hardware, since the weight of storage and bandwidth for downloading a file does not reside on a single server or source but rather is shared among all users that make up the BitTorrent network. Another advantage of this network is that by not depending on a single source, if something happens to one of the users who hosts the files you want to download; This file would still be available since it would also be stored on other users’ computers.
The first thing the user who wants to download through this client must do is find a source, that is, the Torrent that will represent and give access to the file download. On the Internet there are specialized pages which offer huge amounts of torrents. These .torrent files contain information about the file we want to download, such as: the address of the tracker to which we have to connect to join the network that contains that file. The .torrent file is usually very small in size.
In order to open, use and download through .torrent files, the user must install a BitTorrente client (software) on their computer. This program will open and read the information contained in the .torrent file and proceed to download the correct file that this torrent represents. Currently on the market, there are a large number of Bittorrent clients. Among the most popular are BiTtorrent, Bitcomet, Vuze and Uptorrent. These clients often implement improvements to the BitTorrent protocol, such as searching for .torrent files directly from the program.
The tracker and the peer communicate through an ‘HTTP connection’. The tracker offers information about all peers and seeds that contain fractions of the file that the user wants to download. The tracker is updated with the information of the new peer that has just entered.
When the peer knows where to look for the necessary fractions, this peer communicates with others using ‘TCP’ or ‘UDP’ sockets and the file we want to download begins to be downloaded to the user’s computer. The moment a fraction of the file is downloaded, it will be automatically shared with other peers.
At this point, as we have already mentioned before, the speed at which the fractions of the file we want to download will be downloaded will depend on the number of sources that are active at that moment.
BitTorrent compared to other P2P networks.
BitTorrente is a file distribution protocol very similar to that of other networks such as the eDonkey 2000 network. However, the biggest difference that we can find between these two networks is that in the second the nodes contain a greater number of files and therefore These nodes can become saturated due to the large number of users downloading files from the same node, since this causes a considerable reduction in the bandwidth available for each transfer. On the other hand, the BitTorrent network is more selective, making each node only dedicated to sharing a specific file or a set of files related to each other. In this way the number of users who use a given node will be relatively smaller than the eDonkey2000 network. Another big difference is that most clients for the BitTorrent protocol allow users who share the most to be rewarded, allowing them greater speed and download sources, while in eDonkey2000 protocol clients it is not usually common, only in the popular eMule It is possible to enjoy this improvement.
However, a negative point of BitTorrent networks is that the user will at all times be in charge of searching for the source from which to acquire the .Torrent files that give you access to the files you want to download. It will not be difficult to find websites dedicated to storing Torrent files on practically any subject.
What it means and what each of the elements and components of a BitTorrent network are:
- Peers (points): This is the term used to name the users that make up the BitTorrent network.
- Leechers (leeches): This term is used to name users who only use the network to download and not to share. This can be for two reasons: 1 because the user has not yet been able to completely download any file so they cannot yet share it and 2 because the user does not want to share any files and when they are downloaded they are removed from the folder intended for the files. to share.
- Seeders (seeds): This term is used to refer to those network users who are sources from which other users can download files since they have complete files.
- Trackers : This term is used to identify a special server that contains the information necessary for users to connect with each other. At startup it is the only way by which a user can locate another user who contains the file they want to download.
- Swarm : This is the term used to name the network of users connected to each other by having complete files. The Tracker allows the user to search for the correct swarm in which to join in order to have access to the download of a certain file.
What are those BitTorrents clients (software)?
On the Internet you can get multiple BitTorrent clients, these are the best and most used:
We use Bitorrent for P2P file exchange between users. The main cause of slow downloading of normal files is due to the reduced data flow and its remoteness. From the Bitorrent network you can download files from several users at the same time and share them instantly with other users. The greater the number of clients, the greater the bandwidth since users help each other. The main features that Bitorrent offers us are: dynamic bandwidth management – files can be downloaded without blocking other programs over the Internet, the health of the files in detailed information – so as not to expose ourselves to the danger of virus. Ability to set the download time. Ability to include a global limit and an individual limit for each download. The program can retrieve RSS.
Utorrent is a small, powerful and lightweight Bitorrent client. As of today, it is the most famous P2P based on torrent files. Utorrent was designed for speed and fluidity. This App allows you to download several files at the same time, keep torrents in queue, control the download and upload speed and establish the priority of using torrent links that you want.
BitComet is a fast and easy-to-use BitTorrent/HTTP/FTP download client. It is a free P2P file sharing program and one of the most popular P2P protocols designed for high-speed distribution. BitComet supports simultaneous downloads, DHT (trackerless) networking, download queuing, fast resume, disk caching, rate limits, automatic port mapping, proxies, and IP filtering.
Vuze is a very powerful Bitorrent App with it you can download, search and play content such as HD videos on the web. The latest version brings powerful new search capabilities, plus playback HD videos on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, and Tivo. The award-winning Bitorrent P2P technology allows fast and efficient downloading of HD videos with just one click. An App designed to improve the features of Bitorrent.
What files can I download?
Well, thanks to torrents and BitTorrent clients we can download practically any file, software, etc. The only requirement is that the users who own those files wish to share them through the protocol. However, most users use it to share (download) mainly: Movies, music, software and books.
Where can I find and download Torrents?
The Pirate Bay
The Pirate Bay (in its translation “the pirate bay”), abbreviated as TPB, is a search engine and Bitorrent tracker file (.torrent) where searches can be carried out for any type of multimedia material. Today, it is the largest Bitorrent tracker in the world.
Torrentz is a torrent search engine that uses various sources to offer the best files such as movies, series, games and music in direct download with BitTorrent.
Torrentreactor.net is a portal for downloading torrent files, the default page is in English but we have the option to choose to show us its version in Spanish, this page offers us the service of downloading torrent files for free we can see links movies, music, television series, games for different types of console. Registration is free and quite fast but we can access the download links without having to register in the community.
Torrent and Bittorrent Legality:
The use of the BitTorrent protocol to share unauthorized copyrighted content has given rise to a variety of new legal issues. While the technology and related platforms are perfectly legal, police, prosecutors and agencies around the world are developing new tactics in search of ways to address this avenue of infringement. It should be noted that use of BitTorrent in connection with copyrighted material may subject the issuer of the BitTorrent file, link or metadata to liability for infringement under the copyright laws of various governments. Likewise, using BitTorrent to acquire illegal materials could potentially make end users liable as an accessory to violating various laws.
In general, a BitTorrent file can be viewed as a hyperlink. However, it can also be a very specific instruction on how to obtain something on the Internet. BitTorrent files may also transmit or include illegal or copyrighted content. Decisions from various Courts in various nations have been classifying some BitTorrent files as illegal.
To complicate the legal analysis, we have to take into account jurisdictional issues that are common when nation-states try to regulate any Internet activity. BitTorrent files and links can be accessed in different geographic locations and legal jurisdictions. Therefore, it is possible to host a BitTorrent file in geographic jurisdictions where it is legal and others where it is illegal. Therefore, the same link, file, or data may be actionable in some places, but not actionable in others at the same time. This analysis applies to other technologies and exchange platforms.