Often considered a controversial subject, torrenting is literally just another form of the file transfer. Ideally, it comes with several possible uses and many benefits. Although torrenting is mostly associated with privacy, the use of BitTorrent protocol is efficiently legal provided you stay out of the picture of copyrighted content.
One thing is for sure; technology isn’t inherently evil or good, but it depends on how you use it that will determine whether it’s bad or good. For instance, P2P file sharing already has a reputation that it’s only used for privacy, but the truth is that it can be used literally for anything.
From newbie to nerd fellows, almost everyone uses P2P file sharing to download various content. Unfortunately, the most important thing is that most individuals still don’t know too much about Torrents.
If you’re in that category, you don’t have to worry; here’s everything that you need to help you understand safe torrenting.
In simple terms, torrenting is an act of downloading as well as uploading files via the BitTorrent network. Unlike when downloading your files to the central server, with torrents, you download the files from other user devices. Therefore, it means that other users will be constantly uploading files from their devices for others to download.
Torrents are arguably the best way of sharing legal content, including videos, images, and more. A torrent file has a text – the metadata about the content. It includes info pieces, info name, info length, and much more. BitTorrent interprets this data.
However, a torrent file is more like a pointer file without content and it only directs the software to where the content is located.
How Torrenting Works
Usually, when downloading files from the internet, it’s a matter of clicking the “download” button and all your files get into your device just like that. However, torrenting, it’s a different scenario.
Sharing of files works under the principle; activities of every individual sharing a file help to facilitate the process of accessing that data – every user is a potential server.
Moreover, instead of taking the files, torrenting makes it two-way traffic. In fact, the more the users making certain files available from a hard drive, the better for new users to easily access those files.
Ideally, when several users download a single file (leeching), they’re generally simultaneously uploading pieces (seeding) of the file to one another. The BitTorrent protocols then take every piece of the file that’s downloaded and place it into the gaps that haven’t been downloaded yet.
The beauty of the torrents is the fact that a peer can be a seeder as well as a leecher at the same time. That way, you’ll be able to achieve excellent download speeds as you leech from the other seeders.
Therefore, unlike in the linear fashion, whereby files are downloaded from a single source, BitTorrent applies the 1+1=11 approach and utilizes the power of numbers to deliver the files quickly as well as efficiently.
Unfortunately, the upload and download speeds are linked to some degree; therefore, the more you contribute, the more you soak up, meaning it can hinder your general speeds. Moreover, the download connection is usually less stable, and hence you might have several interruptions during your sessions more than direct downloads.
Risks of Torrenting
When it comes to the risks associated with torrenting, most folks start off by asking whether torrenting is illegal or legal. Now, simply put, torrenting itself is not illegal, however, downloading unsanctioned copyrighted content is.
Unfortunately, it’s not always immediately clear which content material is a legal torrent and that that’s not. In fact, most content is in the grey area, meaning you might find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
The most common threats associated with torrents are malware and legal status.
Threats of Malware
Whenever you’re using the P2P file sharing sites, there’s no doubt that you’ll have to face the challenge of malware presence. Besides, malware is everywhere on the internet.
Most files that you access might be infected with malware, and the moment you download such files, the malware automatically installs in your device and infects it. Usually, files with executable features tend to have malware; therefore, you need to avoid as much as possible downloading executable files.
Some malware could be uploaded by cybercriminals and once they have installed it on your device, they give hackers access to your personal information. It’s a no-brainer what a hacker can do with such precious information at their disposal.
BitTorrent Legal Status
The most risk with torrenting is copyright infringement. You definitely don’t want to be sued, right? Most files that you’ll access are copyrighted, and copyright holders simply consider it illegal – an act of piracy accessing such content.
In fact, most countries across the globe have blocked access to file-sharing sites, and law enforcement agencies are on the lookout for folks that access those sites. Therefore, if you’re caught downloading copyrighted content, then you’ll be sued.
So, does that mean you won’t download your best-copyrighted movie?
Apparently, you won’t stop torrenting, so the best way to go is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). There Are several top VPNs in the market that you can consider to help you get your job done; for instance, ExpressVPN can be your ideal destination.
Generally, a VPN helps you to mask your trails online, meaning that the authority via your ISP might see you but not what you’re doing.
How Do You Download Torrents?
One thing is for sure; torrenting without using a VPN is not an option. Ideally, torrenting without a VPN just means that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can see all your internet activities including all the sites that you visit together with the content you view.
A VPN hides your IP address, meaning you’ll be browsing anonymously.
Now, no matter the device you’re using, it could be clear that your OS doesn’t cooperate by default with the torrent files. Therefore, you need a torrent client – an app that recognizes the torrent file and one that knows how to use that info contained in such a file.
There are several torrent clients available that you can choose from, but ensure that you consider their functionality and not their looks. The most used torrent client is BitTorrent or uTorrent. The fact that they support an array of devices makes them an excellent option to consider.
After installing your best VPN and the torrent client, the next step is to proceed and find a torrenting site. Like torrent clients, there are several torrenting sites that you can consider, but the major ones are Kickass Torrents and The Pirate Bay.
Always look for a “healthy” torrent – the one with several leechers and seeders. Preferably, 3 leechers per seeder should be your starting point, and with over 5 per seeder will be pushing it. Besides, you can go through the comments section to ensure that you’re getting the real deal of a torrenting site.
On Windows, to download torrents you need to double-click on your torrent file or just drag-and-drop the file onto the client’s window. Your data will be saved in the Downloads folder by default and is accessible through Windows Explorer.
On macOS, you simply open the torrent file that automatically opens the newly installed torrent client. Once it has finished, you then access it in the Download folder – accessible through the bottom-positioned Dock.
On Android, uTorrent is the most recommended client and is a malware-free option. Moreover, it allows you to stream video files.
By now you should be aware that torrenting in itself is legal, but downloading copyright content is illegal. Moreover, when torrenting, always use a VPN to ensure that you get away from the big brother who could be watching. Nevertheless, torrenting is fun if only you stick with the legal torrent repositories, use a VPN, and never share legally acquired files.