First off, what is bittorent? (Taken from wikipedia.org)
BitTorrent is both the name of a peer-to-peer (P2P) file distribution client application and also the name of the file sharing protocol itself, both of which were created by programmer Bram Cohen. BitTorrent is designed to widely distribute large amounts of data without incurring the corresponding consumption in costly server and bandwidth resources.
How it works: (Taken from wikipedia.org)
The bittorrent protocol breaks the file(s) down into smaller fragments, typically a quarter of a megabyte (256 KB) in size. Peers download missing fragments from each other and upload those that they already have to peers that request them. The protocol is ‘smart’ enough to choose the peer with the best network connections for the fragments that it’s requesting.
I will be showing you how to download/upload files using a program I use called Utorrent.
Step 1: Download the client.
Open your browser and navigate to http://www.utorrent.com/
Click on ‘Download’ from the top menu and select the current stable version. Current meaning the highest version value (Example: 1.4 is more current that 1.3) Make sure you are downloading the windows version. Once you have the program on your computer, extract the zip and place the file where it is easy to find.
Step 2: Find a Torrent
Navigate to your favorite torrent site..
Some of my favorites are:
Note: Downloading from these sites are frowned upon and can be illegal.
Once you are at your site, search for a torrent. For example I will searched for Lost on torrentspy.com.
I get 1000+ results, how do I know which one to pick?
Do some research on your torrent. I want the latest episode of lost. So I go to the Lost website and find out that its season 2, episode 14. Usually in torrent file names they display the season and episode, for example: Lost.S02.E14.
I have narrowed my search down to 15 possible torrents, but now what?
The main thing to look for is Seeders, Down loaders and Health. A good torrent has a high abundance of all three. Unlike HTTP/FTP, the MORE down loaders on a torrent is BETTER! Remember above that I said above, the program sends and receives bits and pieces of the file from many peers. A high amount of seeders means the download will go faster, and a higher health means the chance of the torrent to stop working.
Now download that torrent and save it to your hard drive!
Step 3: Connecting to Peers
Open up Utorrent, go to File -> Add Torrent. Navigate to your .torrent file and open it up. It will prompt you where you want to save your file, click ok and your going!
Depending on how big the file is and the amount of seeders, the time it will take to download will vary. There is an ETA column on utorrent and it is sometimes accurate. If I were to download an episode of lost I would leave it over night and watch it in the morning.
Note: Bittorrent will use up a lot of your upload/download speeds. In other words your Internet will slow down significantly, in utorrent you can specify the maximum speed it can use throughout the day, very handy. For example I have my torrents stopped while I’m at home, but when I’m sleeping and at school they are transferring!
Step 4: Share the wealth!
Now that you have your file it doesn’t mean stop transferring to other people. You are now a seeder and are helping hundreds of others get the same file you just downloaded. Have some heart and let some people get the file before you stop sharing it.
Not all bittorent sites are illegal, a lot of major companies lease the software to distribute their files.
Virus,Adware: Utorrent is free from both, but when downloading torrents make sure they are from worthy sites and make sure what you are downloading is what you intend to download. (Ex. Lost.S02E14. is a .avi, mpg, mov etc.)
For more information check out
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bittorent and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utorrent.