A Beginner's Guide to Torrent File Sharing

New to torrents? Here are some important things to know

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Downloading torrent files using the BitTorrent protocol is a convenient way to transfer information. It's used for updating and downloading games, sending large datasets, syncing files between computers, and downloading media (such as videos and music) whose owners have given permission to do so.

Torrents, also known as bittorrents, are pointer files that help you locate dozens of other users' computers. You then connect to those private computers with your special torrent software, and copy their files to your own computer.

If you'd like to try using torrents, we've gathered together several articles to help you get started. For best results, read the articles in the order presented.

Many people use torrents to download copyrighted materials, such as movies and books. Downloading copyrighted items without permission is illegal.

Understand How Bittorrent File Sharing Works

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If you're new to torrent downloading, you'll appreciate this overview of how the system works.

Protect Your Privacy with a VPN Service

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By subscribing to a virtual private network (VPN) service, you can mask your connection and identity as you share files. Your VPN will cipher your connection so that eavesdroppers will only see illegible data when they try to view your downloads. Simultaneously, a VPN will bounce your signal off multiple servers, making you physically very difficult to trace.

Use Torrent Downloader Software to Download Files

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Torrent downloading requires special software that can read torrent files. Without these programs, you can't download the actual files you're after, just a text file. These torrent software products also provide management control over download and upload speeds, priorities, and cataloging.

Find Torrents for the Content You Want

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Once you understand torrent swarming and have the torrent downoader software installed, it's time to find the torrent pointer files that get you the content you want. Many torrent sites offer searching services for free (but with the annoyance of banner advertising). Some torrent sites are private communities that closely guard their catalog of torrents.

Learn to Spot Fake Torrent Files

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Sadly, there are vandals, thieves, and scammers out there who use phony torrent files to put malware on your computer. By disguising their nasty software as attractive downloads, these scammers try to trick you into installing their stuff. Watch for RAR files, WMV files, and password-protected files, which are just some of the ways torrent files are faked.