What are Torrents and how do Torrent work

One of the most common advice which you will get to download files from Internet is by using Torrent. Though many people are still are not aware “What are Torrents” and here I’m sharing basic guidelines for Torrents which will help people to start downloading torrent files.
What are Torrents
Most people use torrents to download music, movies,  ebooks , software etc. Copyright violation and piracy are rampant in the torrent world. Most people I know, just don’t care. When you can get something for free why would you consider spending even a nickel?

So, how do they work and how different are these from the regular downloads?

Unlike, sites from where you can download stuff directly from the web server. Torrents just keep record of what is called a “Tracker“. A Tracker is the server which keeps track of the swarm. The swarm consists of many seeds and peers.

What are Torrent files

Torrent files come with .torrent extensions and there are many popular clients like uTorrent, iTransmission which will help you to download torrent files from internet.
A torrent file may be just 16KB while the file it contains the tracker to i.e the file which you wish to download might be over 1GB. For example Movie torrents or linux OS torrent which is legally available on LInux site.
There are couple of basic torrent terminology and we will look popular once:


A seeder is the one who has completed the download and has 100% of the file you want. Normally any torrent file is uploaded with 1 seeder and once other people start’s downloading torrent, they become seeder too.

Leechers and Peers:

A peer is the one who has completed only a part of it, and is currently downloading just like you. He downloads and uploads. Where as leechers are those who have finished downloading the file but they are not uploading any more. Most of them control Torrent upload speed or stop the torrent after downloading.

In that sense, the larger the swarm, better are your chances of downloading the file. A 2:1 ratio of seeds and peers is considered great while 1:1 although fine may not give the best downloads speeds. Anything less than that means its not worth the time.

When you start downloading, bits and pieces are downloaded one by one and combined together at your end by a Torrent client example utorrent for windows/linux, transmission for MAC.

The speed at which you upload is called upspeed and the speed at which you download is called downspeed. Downspeed is what is important to you while upspeed is of importance to the peers who are downloading the same file.

The reason why torrents are so popular is because people are compelled to upload while they are downloading. If you cap your uploads speeds, your download speeds are automatically reduced! If you wish to do some social work, you can continue seeding after your download is complete.

You can easily search torrents using Torrent search engines and one site which I perticularly like a lot of Torrent butler for downloading movies.

Two direct torrent sites which I prefer are :

I hope this tutorial will give you basic knowledge about Torrents and if you still have questions regarding How torrent works, do let me know via comment.

Article by Harsh Agrawal

Harsh has written 152 articles.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Vaibhav Kanwal April 22, 2009, 9:17 am

    I’ve on purpose not mentioned those sites as they have a lot of irrelevant sponsors and at times silly adult ads too.

  • dinodig

    June 20, 2010, 5:12 pm

    Can any one tell me what leeching means?