How to use Torrent Networks

First, you’ll need a torrent client.  It’s the software that will download the actual content (movies, music, books, etc) from a torrent network to your computer.  If you run Linux, then use Transmission.  Many newer Linux distributions ship with Transmission pre-installed.  Otherwise use apt-get or yum to find, download, and install the program for you.

If you run Windows or OS X, then use the uTorrent client.  There are many many torrent clients for both Windows and OS X, but I’ve had good experience with uTorrent.

Once you’ve installed your torrent client, it’s time to find the content you want to download!

Two of the best “torrent tracker” sites are The Pirate Bay and Kick Ass Torrents.  Both have good internal search engines so give the name of the film, album, computer application, artist, etc.  – or simply browse the site’s categories and genres to see what’s available.

When you find content you want, click the link and then click the button that looks like a little magnet.    Your torrent client should start up automatically and begin downloading.

Some tracker sites do not offer the magnet link.  In that case, there will be a link to download a tiny file with the .torrent extension.  Download the .torrent file to your desktop, then drop it on the icon for your torrent client (or start the client and use File -> Open).

About seeds and peers.  In a peer-to-peer network there are seeds (peers that have the entire content downloaded and available) and peers which are still downloading the content.  Your torrent client can obtain all the pieces of the desired file from any seed, traffic permitting; but it can also obtain missing pieces from other clients (peers) that have already obtained the needed piece(s).  For faster downloads, look for torrents with more seeds or with lots of both seeds and peers.

High numbers of seeds and peers are also good indicators the content is functional.  In the case of “protected” software applications, it’s a sign there’s a hack or workaround included which defeats the protection without breaking anything.

Until next time, have fun and keep the greasy side down!