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What is BitTorrent? | Is Torrenting Safe? | Kaspersky
BitTorrent is an internet transfer protocol. Much like (hypertext transfer protocol) and ftp (file transfer protocol), BitTorrent is a way to download files from the internet. However, unlike and ftp, BitTorrent is a distributed transfer protocol.
BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol finds users with files other users want and then downloads pieces of the files from those users simultaneously. Consequently, transmission rates are faster than with and ftp, which both download files sequentially from only one source.
In 2005, estimates indicated BitTorrent accounted for about 35 percent of all internet traffic. After spiking in early 2008, BitTorrent’s popularity gradually declined as internet speeds increased.
During the same time frame, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime dominated the market with low-cost downloads. As a result, BitTorrent’s 10 percent share of all download traffic in North America in 2010 dropped to 3 percent by 2015.
Is Torrenting Legal?
BitTorrent is a legitimate file transfer protocol, and using it — called torrenting — is legal as long as the content can be downloaded or uploaded legally. However, using it to download copyrighted material — like a brand-new movie — without the copyright owner’s permission is not legal. More than 200, 000 users were sued in the United States between 2010 and 2011 for downloading copyrighted material using BitTorrent.
Since that time, lawsuits have been replaced by copyright trolls who are authorized to act on behalf of copyright holders.
Because the BitTorrent technology reveals the IP addresses of devices connected to its data stream — called a torrent — trolls can identify which addresses download files.
The trolls send settlement letters to the internet service providers (ISPs), who then forward the letters to their clients.
A typical 2017 settlement request by the group known as Rights Enforcement was $300. Because IP addresses aren’t considered legal entities, however, the trolls rarely have individuals’ names and therefore can’t pursue collection.
Is there a Legitimate Case for Torrenting?
Downloading patches, modifications, and updates for older, unsupported video games and user-generated modifications for supported games is a compelling reason for accessing BitTorrent.
Accessing classic movies, B movies, indie music, books, and software in the public domain or available through Creative Commons licenses is another legitimate case for using BitTorrent. Examples of legal sites include Public Domain Torrents and the indie site Vodo, among others.
Is It Safe?
Torrenting should be approached with caution. BitTorrent has a reputation as a technology used to pirate movies, games, and other copyrighted content. ISPs know this and often send warning letters and anti-piracy educational materials to BitTorrent users.
Repeat offenders could find their bandwidth reduced or their accounts suspended. ISPs may not differentiate between legitimate BitTorrent sites distributing material with Creative Commons licenses from those sharing pirated content.
Additionally, hackers often use free content as a malware-laden lure to wreak havoc on users’ computers or launch attacks. To minimize the risk, BitTorrent streaming sites that claim to check files for viruses and other malware have emerged.
Visibility is another danger. The ISP addresses of users and the content they transmit are visible to all BitTorrent users — and this information is often tracked by copyright holders, law enforcement, advertisers, and hackers. It’s important for torrent users to maintain complete internet security by using internet security software, keeping malware definitions up to date, and installing operating system patches as soon as they become available. Encrypting an internet connection by using a virtual private network (VPN) to mask the IP address also helps, but it isn’t foolproof.
How to Use BitTorrent
As noted above, make sure you have a robust internet security tool, and connect to a VPN to mask your IP address. Then download and set up a BitTorrent client. To find content, use your web browser to visit popular BitTorrent tracker sites. Use the BitTorrent client to actually download the files you need.
Remember, although BitTorrent itself is legal, a lot of the content available through other users is pirated. Be careful to download only legal content, and always scan all files for malware.
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What Is BitTorrent and Is It Safe? BitTorrent is a distributed protocol transfer that allows users to download files from others. Before torrenting, be sure learn about its legality and safety.
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How to Use BitTorrent | PCMag
If you’ve spent any time on the internet since the early 2000s, you’ve probably heard of BitTorrent, the popular file-sharing tool used for movies, programs, and other large chunks of data. But BitTorrent is a bit more complex than the file-sharing tools that came before it, so it helps to acquaint yourself with its ins and outs before using it. Our guide can help you get started.
What Is BitTorrent?
When you download a file from the internet, you’re typically downloading it directly from a server somewhere. How fast you download that file can vary depending on the server’s location, speed, and how many people are trying to download the file at the same time. So, while you might have a 200Mbps connection from your internet provider, you may download a file much slower than that if the server providing the file is slow or getting hammered with requests.
BitTorrent is an alternative way of downloading big files that doesn’t share the same weaknesses. BitTorrent isn’t just a program—it’s a peer-to-peer (p2p) protocol that any program can use (though there is a program called BitTorrent, owned by the company of the same name that develops and maintains the protocol itself).
Instead of downloading a file from a single server, with BitTorrent you download pieces of that file from other users across the globe who have the same file on their PC (hence peer-to-peer). The file or group of files you download is called a torrent, sharing those files is called seeding, and the group of people you download from is called a swarm. The more people connected to a given swarm, seeding a file, the faster you’ll be able to download that file.
BitTorrent is commonly known as a piracy tool, thanks to its efficiency in sharing large movie files, music albums, software, and porn. Using BitTorrent isn’t inherently illegal, and the protocol has seen many legitimate uses as well, including the sharing of open-source software like Linux, delivering updates for programs like World of Warcraft, syncing files between computers Dropbox-style, and sharing media released over BitTorrent by the artists themselves. Microsoft even uses similar tech to optimize Windows updates.
All that said, BitTorrent is often used for piracy, since its efficiency, decentralized nature, and popularity have produced a bustling community around sharing those files. If there’s something you want to download, there’s a good chance someone’s sharing it with BitTorrent, legally or not. To be clear, we at PCMag do not condone piracy. If you use our instructions for that purpose, you do so at your own risk.
How to Download a Torrent
1. Get a BitTorrent Client
Downloading files with BitTorrent is a bit more complicated than just clicking a link in your web browser. Most browsers don’t have built-in support for BitTorrent, so you need a specific program, called a BitTorrent client, that knows how to download and assemble the pieces of a file in a torrent.
I’m personally a fan of qBittorrent, a free open-source client that’s easy to use, available on multiple platforms, and provides a good amount of advanced features for those who like to dig in. Other popular programs include Transmission, and Deluge. We’ll discuss the differences between all these in a future article.
2. Find a Torrent to Download
You can find torrents to download in a few different ways. If you’re downloading something that the creator has made available on BitTorrent, you’ll probably find a link to download the torrent somewhere on their site—for example, the Linux distribution Ubuntu offers torrents on its Alternative Downloads page. You can also visit a torrent search engine like the aptly named Pirate Bay to find things.
3. Download the Torrent File
Once you find what you’re looking for, you’ll need to download the. torrent file—a tiny piece of data that points your BitTorrent client toward the swarm, so it can download the actual files you’re looking for. So, if you’re downloading a video, you’ll download the small. torrent file first, then double-click it to open it up in qBittorrent, where it’ll start downloading the actual video.
This may seem a bit roundabout—downloading a small file that points you to another file—but that’s the way BitTorrent works. Many BitTorrent sites and clients also support “magnet links, ” which allow you to bypass the. torrent file and point your client to the swarm with a simple click of the mouse. You’ll find. torrent files and magnet links on the download page of the file you want (if the creator supports BitTorrent), or on a BitTorrent search engine like Pirate Bay.
4. Open the Torrent in Your Client Software
You just double-click the Torrent and tell your OS to open it in the client software. From there, you will need to tell the software where to download your file and you may also be able to prioritize it among whatever other things you want to download at the same time. These are client-specific steps, however.
How to Torrent Safely and Speedily
These are the absolute bare minimum basics you need to get started with BitTorrent, but they won’t likely give you an optimal experience. Below are a few things that can help you stay safe and keep your downloads moving fast.
Watch Out for Malware and Fake Torrents
Just like elsewhere on the internet, you need to be careful about what you download. While many, even most, torrent files contain what they purport to contain, some will trick you by promising one thing and offering malware instead—especially if you’re browsing shadier corners of the web for torrents.
Many torrent sites have comments on each page, which can help you determine a given torrent’s authenticity based on what other users have written. Some directories put badges next to the uploader’s username, denoting users with good track records of uploading safe files. And, of course, you should be running good antivirus software, which scans everything you download automatically.
Use a VPN
Since you’re connecting directly to other users in order to download your torrent, you can see the IP address of every user in the swarm—and they can see yours. That IP is traceable to you, allowing anyone who joins the swarm to see what you’re downloading. Some ISPs, particularly those outside the US, may also throttle your speeds if they see you’re using BitTorrent. In order to prevent both of these issues, you should use a trustworthy VPN whenever torrenting—it’ll obscure your IP address from the swarm and encrypt your traffic so that your ISP doesn’t know what you’re doing.
Avoid Dead Torrents
BitTorrent allows you to download files faster and more efficiently than a direct connection to a server—as long as there’s a big enough swarm sharing the file. If a torrent only has a couple seeders, you’ll probably download the file very slowly, and if there aren’t any seeders, you won’t be able to get the file at all. When you download the torrent, make sure you download a recent one that has a lot of seeders to ensure the best speeds (many sites will list the number of seeders on the torrent’s download page).
Make Sure You’re Open to Connections
These days, most torrent clients are set up optimally out of the box—they create a Windows firewall rule for themselves, and use UPnP or NAT-PMP to automatically open a port so that seeders can send you their pieces of the file. If a program has a lot of seeders and the file isn’t downloading, though, you may need to manually forward a port on your router, or go through other troubleshooting steps to ensure you’re connectable to peers in the swarm.
Follow BitTorrent Etiquette
While this isn’t crucial to success, it’s generally considered nice to pay it forward and seed files after you download them, allowing others the opportunity to download the data themselves. After all, if there were no seeders, BitTorrent wouldn’t work very well, and we’d all be stuck downloading files at a snail’s pace. If you can’t seed the file forever, at least seed it until you’ve shared as much as you’ve downloaded (also known as having a 1:1 “ratio”) before deleting the torrent from your client.
There’s even more we could delve into here, as BitTorrent is a remarkably powerful tool if you’re willing to dig into your client’s settings. But for most beginners, this should get you started, keep you safe, and allow you to avoid the dreaded “slow download server” as much as possible.
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BitTorrent Classic | The Original Torrent Client for Desktop
FeaturesBitTorrent Classic Safe Torrenting Software FeaturesBitTorrent Classic is a bulk torrent downloader that helps you to download dozens of files wnloading more than one torrent? Allocate more bandwidth to a specific torrent to download it download/upload speed limits to free up network resources for your other internet the remote feature to add torrents from BitTorrent Android or through a browser on any moreQuickly check the health of a torrent’s swarm before starting and during a a scheduler to specify the times of day when to download or seed RSS feeds to automatically download torrents from your favorite to download hundreds of torrent files from new and emerging artists.
Frequently Asked Questions about my bittorent
Is BitTorrent illegal?
Is Torrenting Legal? BitTorrent is a legitimate file transfer protocol, and using it — called torrenting — is legal as long as the content can be downloaded or uploaded legally. However, using it to download copyrighted material — like a brand-new movie — without the copyright owner’s permission is not legal.
How do I access BitTorrent?
How to Download a TorrentGet a BitTorrent Client. … Find a Torrent to Download. … Download the Torrent File. … Open the Torrent in Your Client Software. … Watch Out for Malware and Fake Torrents. … Use a VPN. … Avoid Dead Torrents. … Make Sure You’re Open to Connections.More items…•Sep 11, 2019
How do I download from BitTorrent?
Downloading and Installing the BitTorrent ClientOpen Internet Explorer or your favorite Web browser and go to BitTorrent.Locate the Download BitTorrent heading and choose the operating system you use by clicking the appropriate link. … Select the location from which you want to download the BitTorrent installer.More items…