Tuesday, May 27, 2008

[Feature] BitTorrent 101

Remember the golden age of Napster and Kazaa? When they hadn't gone corporate or gotten full of false titles and viruses? When you could very easily download... certain content with little hassle?

Unfortunately, those days are pretty much over. Downloading has become a bit harder these days and BitTorrent has become the best way to get... certain things :x

Today, I'm giving you a quick guide to using BitTorrent....

What is BitTorrent?
BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing protocol that is fundamentally different from things like Kazaa. Instead of one person directly sharing a file to another user, BitTorrent has one person (the seeder) sharing bits and pieces of a file to multiple users (the peers), who in turn, share the small bits that they have to each other until they get the whole file (and become seeders themselves). In this way, the original seeder needs to send the whole file just once for multiple users to get it. Also, this reduces the burden of a single user and lets everyone share small amounts. This diagram (taken from Wikipedia) does a good job illustrating how it all works.

The good thing about BitTorrent is that, with popular files, you will have many seeders (people who are sharing the whole file) and peers (people downloading and sharing pieces of the file), thus, you will have very fast download speeds. Also, since you aren't downloading from one specific person, you don't have to worry about them signing off or just being a jerk and not sharing files.

The bad thing is, if the file is not popular and there are only a few or no seeders, the files will take much longer to get.

Overall, BitTorrent is a good system for sharing files, especially if they are popular.

How you use it
The first thing you need in order to start using BitTorrent is a client. Basically, a client is a program that knows how to read .Torrent files. Personally, I prefer uTorrent for Windows and Azureus for Macs. The setup for these programs are straightforward and as long as you follow directions you should be good to go.

The next thing you need are the actual torrent files, or, the things you want to download. To find torrents, you need to utilize torrent search sites. My two favorites are Mininova.org and ThePirateBay.org. All you do is get on these sites, search for what you're looking for, and choose the file that has the most seeders and peers. Once you found your .Torrent file, download it and open it. This will cause your BitTorrent client to turn on and setup the file.

Once your client is running the .Torrent file, you will be both uploading and downloading at the same time. Since BitTorrent relies on people sharing, it's encouraged that you continue to share a little after you've downloaded the whole file. That way others can become seeders as well and people can continuously download files.

And so that's BitTorrent in a nutshell. Download a client, find a .torrent file, and start downloading and uploading. It is a simple concept wrapped around simple programs.


Julia said...

bittorrent was confusing at first and i only knew nerd boys who used it to download mangas

Jessie said...

I didnt download mangas! But im still a nerd =]

Anonymous said...

seems simple enough

christina said...

ahhhh~!! u totally answered all the questions that needed to be answered.. i am downloading azureus as i'm leaving u this comment now. thanks~!!

sang said...

I currently don't have a comp. But when I get it back, I'll give this Bit Torrent a try.