Most likely, you’ve heard of a torrent, used a torrent, or at least seen that term on the internet somewhere. And whether you have actually used them or not, a lot of people don’t know what it actually is. Let’s talk basics.
When you hear the word “torrent” in the tech world, it usually refers to a computer file that contains metadata holding various information. A torrent file normally comes with the extension .torrent but it does not contain the actual contents to be distributed.
This information will then be used by a BitTorrent software such as uTorrent, Transmission or BitTorrent for the “real” distribution – which essentially allows for users to easily download torrent files to their personal computers.
In retrospect, due to the ease of use of BitTorrent technology, many torrent users end up downloading copyrighted materials unknowingly. This is of course frowned upon in many countries and some have been prohibiting illegal torrents by means of incarceration. Now, that doesn’t mean all torrents are unsafe for consumption. There’s plenty of legal torrent sites out there which you can use. Check out our own list of these legal torrent sites below.
In short, a torrent file acts as the key to initiating downloading of the actual content. When someone is interested in receiving a shared file (i.e. books, music, documents, etc.), they must first obtain the corresponding torrent file – by either downloading the .torrent file directly or by using a magnet link.
A BitTorrent software is then required to open this file/link. Once the BitTorrent software scans the torrent file/link, it’ll then need to find the locations of seeders which are sharing the corresponding file. To do so, it will attempt to connect to a list of defined trackers (from the torrent file metadata) and attempt a direct connection. If it’s successful, the appropriate content will then begin transferring.
To find torrent files, users commonly flock to popular websites such as The Pirate Bay and Kickass Torrents. Although these websites are crazy popular, they have been getting shut down left and right, causing mirror sites to sprout up around the internet. Even though torrents are technically legal, over the years it has become synonymous to illegal activity due to a myriad of users abusively sharing pirated content.
Essentially, you’ve got to know what content is legal and what’s illegal before starting any torrent connection. If you’re looking for torrent sites which provides legal torrent contents, check out our list of sites that allow you to download torrents legally.