Friday, August 7, 2009

The ultimate guide for understanding torrents, seeders and leechers!

Ever downloaded a torrent, and remained astonished why sometimes the speed is very fast while some other times, it's very slow(or the download is impossible)? Ever imagined why third party softwares are needed to downloaded these files? Ever thought why downloading torrents is so different from regular downloads? Ever asked yourself about terms like torrents, seeders, leechers and etc? This guide is mainly related to all these things called BitTorrent and how to make the maximum of it. This guide is a bit long, so you might drink some coffee, when reading it. :-)

Let's start off on BitTorrent. BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol used for distributing large amount of data. So you can share your files(sometimes really large) using a technology(or protocol) called peer-to-peer. Now, peer-to-peer is a sort of network composed of participants who make a portion of their sources available directly to their peers without a server. When making normal file downloads, the files are in fact being downloaded from a server. But BitTorrent and peer-to-peer doesn't require a server, because you are downloading the file from someone just like you.
To make things more clearer, let's see how a torrent is made. Ron just like you has a movie on his computer. Now, he wants to share the movie to the whole world. Lying on his desktop is a BitTorrent program called uTorrent, he clicks on the program and he decides to create a torrent with the movie. The movie remains on his desktop, but now a small file(of around 50 KB) is created and now he uploads the small file(with a .torrent extension) to website with a library of torrents). Ron now realizes that uTorrent is actually doing something called seeding, and it's uploading the file in other words. But in fact Ron is not uploading the file to a server, but directly to the person who is downloading it. Robin(leaving far in the Caribbean) is one of the person who is downloading the movie from Ron. He has a super mega-fast internet connection and the file is downloaded is seconds. Now Robin also starts seeding the file just like Ron is doing. Several other persons start to download the movie, but they are at the same time downloading and leeching. Now in this paragraph, there are several terms and actions happening which are explained below:
  • Ron uploaded the file and he was seeding. Seeding is one of the most vital acts on BitTorrent. If no one is seeding, never expect to download a torrent. Seeding is usually done after downloading the torrent and it's in fact uploading the movie to other peers(or leechers) who are downloading the movie. Seeding can be done by any user who has already downloaded the torrent.
  • uTorrent is the "special" software used to download(or leech) torrents and seed. There are several other softwares similar to uTorrent available freely.
  • The small .torrent file is a metadata file which is not the file(or movie) itself but it contains important informations concerning the file to be downloaded. The .torrent file is download from websites like and is opened using uTorrent.
  • is a huge library of torrents(metadata .torrent files) classified in a good order. It's also one of the website where you can upload your torrents(metadata .torrent files). Identical to, The Pirate Bay also exists.
  • Robin is a seeder for the file as he is now uploading the movie from his computer to other peers who are downloading it. Robin has to download the movie first before seeding. Other peers can also seed but only after completely downloaded the file.
  • The other person who are downloading the movie are both downloading the movie and leeching. They are leechers and they haven't completely downloaded the movie, they are uploading what they have already downloaded to other peers.
  • Downloading torrents doesn't apply only to movie but nearly all types of files available for the computer.
  • The story above which you read is on how BitTorrent really works

Below are some valuable tips while downloading torrents, you can share your own below by commenting:
  • Downloading copyrighted files using BitTorrent is still illegal.
  • Seeding after downloading a torrent is a very important voluntary act.
  • Always have a good anti-virus on your computer while downloading torrents.
  • Do try softwares for downloading and uploading torrents and see which one works the best for you. For Windows, mine is uTorrent while for Ubuntu, it's Transmission.
  • It's useless to download a torrent with no seeds though there are several leechers.
  • seems to be a much better website than The Pirate Bay because it has no offensive materials and comments with swear words. But that depends completely on you.
  • Try to download torrents with many seeders, they are more trusted and the download speed is faster. Do read comments before downloading torrents, they contain sometimes valuable informations.
  • BitTorrent is not the only best way to download files, so don't just stick to it. Downloading using regular classical method is also good.

That's all I had to share on BitTorrent. I hope you know understand the BitTorrent protocol more clearly and that the tips would be of great use to you. If you have something to share or ask on BitTorrent, you can write below by commenting. You may also re-tweet this article(above) or subscribe to the feeds by clicking here.


  1. A very well written guide!

    One of the things which took me a while to understand when I first started using torrents was the .torrent file. I think in simple terms you could say that it tells you're "special software" where to download the file(s) from, keeping in mind that there might be more than sources (peers).

    It's a shame you didn't mention ports and DHT settings! :D lol, that might have been a bit too confusing :s

    Might blog a troubleshooting guide on torrents in the future.

    Awesome post, eager to read the next one :)

  2. Nice guide for Sun to understand. :P

    1 more tip.
    Use to search for the torrent you're downloading, & add the list of trackers to your torrent downloader. ;)

  3. @nav
    lol, concerning the ports and dht settings, i truly never heard about them. it's now i'm googling them :P
    i will be posting my next blog post this week, keep tuned :)

    it took some time for me also to understand the torrent concept lol. thanks for the tip, i will be using as from now :P