Internet is a big network of networks serving countless computers and mobile devices. But the basic idea remains the same as we were taught in our Primary schools i.e. the server and the client thing.
How Internet Works (Brief)
Suppose you go to Google and search for VLC media player. The site gives you a Executable (.exe) file which you download and then use it to watch movies for the rest of your life. What just happened here in the background is that you requested for a file from the dedicated server of that company, the server sent you the required link of that .exe file and then you were able to complete the downloaded. Simple enough!
Now, the speed of this transfer will strictly depend on the performance/capacity of the host and the client server.
Let’s take another sweet example. A company recently launched their brand new game and suddenly at the day of the launch, the game became so popular that the servers were not able to serve all of the requests of their customers and the site ultimately went down. What happened here is that the resources were not able to fulfill the request of the customers, so the site ultimately went down!
We can understand well from the above example how requests-resourses thing work.
Now, Let’s come back to our topic that was Torrents. We all have come across the terms like Seeders, Peers, Trackers, Leechers etc. Don’t we?
So, before 2001, everyone was using the traditional method of using the internet, then things started to change. The introduction of torrents changed lives. It is a great technology with a lot of advantages. Unlike everything on earth, it too has downsides, which we will discuss in this post.
How torrents Work
It is basically working on the Peer To Peer method of distributing files unlike the client and user method.
Here, there are numerous servers holding a small quantity of file who may be uploading and downloading at the same time. The user can itself became a server during or after the download of the files.
The idea here is that unlike the traditional method, there is no dedicated server for the same file.
The speed of the transfer in this case will totally depend upon the availability of seeders.
Now, what the heck is a seeder. I have heard of these terms like Seeders, Leechers, Peers, etc. Let’s explain them first in simple language:
Seeder- It is the person who have completely downloaded the file and is now uploading the same by exhausting their resources.
Peers- They are the ones, who are uploading the same files during the download itself.
Leechers- They are the bad guys, who chose to download the file and then stop uploading, so that there resources are not being used. They imbalance the system and lower down the download speed resulting more load on seeders.
Trackers- These are special servers, which independently provides the location and IP addresses of the required pieces to the users. Remember, trackers don’t provide the files itself, rather they provide the locations of the pieces. The .torrent file has the information of the tracker. If the tracker is down by some reason, the torrent may not work.
Some more Discussion
Now you know what are the nodes behind the torrent network called and how they work.
You start downloading your torrent file, at the initial stage you just download a few segments of the original file. Then after gathering some of the pieces, your torrent client (like bittorent) starts uploading them at the same time. This uploaded piece is then served to one of the identical users like you. The whole network gets benefited as this boosts everyone’s download speed which divides and lowers the load on the seeders/peers. This creates a win-win situation and is a big advantage of torrenting files.
Let’s talk about the pieces, suppose you are downloading a 1 Gb file and it’s divided into pieces of 2 Mb each. When this download gets complete, it means you have gathered these small files from many seeders and peers. This bring us to the fact that seeders are very important for sustaining the torrent and keep it alive. When the torrent is dead or too old in many cases, it simply means that there is no seeding given for that torrent.
Some Additional terms
Swarms- They are referred to the pool of peers which are contacted time and again for the transfer of the pieces by the trackers.
DHT- It is Distributed Hash Tables, it was introduced for making the torrent network super reliable. Basically, it makes the entire system decentralised i.e. now the torrents don’t rely just on trackers for the location of the pieces. Earlier, it happened that the tracker went down and the torrent stopped working.
With the introduction of DHT, every node (seeder/peer/leecher) now becomes an individual tracker, which directly eradicates the dependency on trackers. Another benefit was magnet links i.e. now users were able to add their torrent file with just a magnet link!
But I Have Heard Torrents Are Bad!!!
There is a very bad image of torrents on the internet as they contribute a lot in circulating Pirated content on the web. True!
Not only this, ISP and other bodies like the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) find it much more difficult to block/ban these content from circulating around due the above stated reasons.
To answer this question, these bodies are actively blocking the websites which are hosting these copyright contents, which is good and we should also promote these practices by our end.
Is it legal, or i will end up in jail?
Well, torrents are completely safe to use, in fact it is a great technology which circulates files around the web. The only problem comes when the users use this great tool in a bad way. Needless to say, if you are downloading Pirated or any Protected Copyright Materials by torrent or any other means, it’s obviously a criminal offence under different cyber security laws.
Torrents are being promoted and being used by many companies and organisations worldwide as they posses various benefits. These include various Linux distributes and other sites.
These are tools which by the law of nature has its positive and negative sides. It’s up to you, how you use them.
Anyways, if you have any doubts about anything related to Torrents, or want to point out any correction in this article, please feel free to contact us in the comments.
Thanks for reading this article and visiting GeekyIsHere.