A Complete Guide To File Sharing Using Torrents

Trends come and go on the Internet, but some technologies claim a long-term place in the online world. In file sharing, one of those technologies is BitTorrent. Designed by programmer Bram Cohen in 2001, BitTorrent permanently changed the nature of online file sharing. While outdated networks like FastTrack and WinMX have faded away, BitTorrent has grown, cementing itself as the preferred file sharing system of millions.

Here’s how it works and how to get started:

What Torrents Are

Warning: The following information can be used for both good and evil.  I’m going to assume that you will use this info based on files, videos, music that you have the correct access to. Not to be used for sharing copyrighted works.

The earliest file sharing network – Napster – operated on a centralized model. Person A downloads a song from Person B, but it’s all controlled and managed by a server at Napster headquarters. That server was the glue holding the whole network together. The next generation of software (programs like KaZaA and Morpheus) added a twist: not only did Person A download from Person B, they did so directly, with no assistance or monitoring from a central server that could be shut down by the courts. The users were the network.

BitTorrent operates basically the same way, but with another twist. Rather than downloading, say, an entire song from one person, you instead download pieces of that song from dozens of different people – all at the same time. This is called “swarming.” Once all the pieces are downloaded to your computer, they are assembled into the full song and you can play it just like normal.

Torrent Sites: Where Your Downloads Live

With older tools like Napster and KaZaA, you searched for whatever you wanted to download inside of those applications. Not with BitTorrent. Instead, you visit one of many “Torrent sites” (or trackers) and search for your software or song or video there. Think of these sites as file sharing search engines. You visit them and search for what you want to download: say, a recorded classroom lecture that a major university has decided to share with the Internet. When you find what you want, you click it and the download begins.

Key point, though: the search results you’ll get at these sites are NOT the downloads themselves. They’re .torrent files, which are basically data files containing information about the download: what it is, the file size, and, crucially, which BitTorrent users have pieces of that file for you to download. So the file would look like “HarvardLecture.torrent” rather than “HarvardLecture.avi” or the real file extension. Don’t be concerned about that, as these .torrent files are what tell your torrenting application (discussed below) where to download the real file from.

[See TorrentFreak.com’s list of the Top 10 Most Popular Torrent Sites of 2012 for a list of torrent sites to start using.]

Burning Torrent Files to DVD

One of the more popular activities with torrent downloaders is to burn a video file torrent to a DVD.  You don’t actually burn the .torrent file, instead you burn the movie that was included in the torrent file. For this you would need to use a Video to DVD converting software such as ConvertXtoDVD.  This is a one step software where you load the downloaded movie and it will convert it into a DVD format and then burn to a blank DVD. You can then take the DVD to your DVD player (either on your PC, Mac, or standalone player) and watch it just like it was a store bought DVD.  Of course the video you downloaded in the first place was not a bootlegged copy right?  I’ll assume that it was a movie of the Holiday parade that someone recorded that you were not able to attend to. 🙂

Continue Reading >>> Popular Torrenting Apps

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Digital Poet at BurnWorld Inc.

I am the Team Leader here at BurnWorld. I am an audio/video enthusiast and have been in this industry for over 10 years. I love testing DVD/Blu-Ray and Video software.

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