I get asked by a lot of people how to use BitTorrent clients and sites. Many people get themselves into trouble when downloading from sites such as thepiratebay or kickass torrents because these sites are full of deceptive advertisements and dodgy torrents, if you aren’t sure exactly what you are doing it is very easy to fill your PC up with all kinds of viruses and spyware; something I see time and time again. With a bit of common sense and caution you can use these sites with confidence to obtain a lot of handy files though, which is what this article is all about, so without further delay, I present ‘Torrents For Dummys’. A guide for people who have never heard of and/or used this powerful technology before…
What is BitTorrent?
Rather than rewrite it, I’ll quote the definition from the uTorrent site.
BitTorrent (often abbreviated to ‘BT’) is a protocol that allows you to download files quickly and efficiently. It is a peer to peer protocol, which means you download and upload to other people downloading the same file. BitTorrent is often used for distribution of large files or popular content as it is a cheap, fast, efficient way to distribute files to users like you.
As a disclaimer, I just want to say that I do not endorse or encourage the illegal acquisition of other people’s property (data) through the use of this technology, which is what it is primarily used for. There are however, legitimate uses for this technology and for the sake of this article we will assume that you are reading this with the intention of using it legitimately, this goes without saying that I take no responsibility for any damages or legal action that may come against you when using BitTorrent technology.
Now that I’ve covered my backside, we can move on to the tutorial.
First things first, you will require a BT client, I prefer to use uTorrent. It is lightweight and spy/malware free. When you install it, you may be prompted to install various browser toolbars and other similar free offers. You can decline these offers without affecting the installation, so make sure you read what you are doing when installing the program. Do not just rush through (Next, Next, Next, Accept, Install, Finish) you may end up junking up your browser with stuff you don’t need.
Now that you have installed uTorrent, you will need to find a torrent to download. These can be found on many sites. The two I prefer are thepiratebay.se and kickass.to. As I mentioned earlier, these sites are filled with suspect advertising, a lot of pornographic and NSFW type stuff so if you are underage or easily offended by such things I would recommend searching elsewhere.
Simply search for the torrent you are looking for in the search box, you can also browse torrents if you wish. Once presented with the results you should sort them by the number of ‘Seeds’ and find the most relevant result closest to the top of the list, you can sort the list by clicking on the word ‘Seed’ (Or SE on TBP) at the top of the column (see screenshots below). The more seeds there is the faster and more consistent your download will be. Torrents with a lot of Seeders tend to be more trustworthy as well.
Once you have found what you are looking for click on the ‘magnet link’. I have illustrated the seeds column and magnet links from TBP and Kickass in the screenshots below (I have censored the ads, search terms and results).
Your browser may prompt you to allow it to open uTorrent, you need to accept this. uTorrent will open and present you with a summary of the torrent, you can look over this summary and deselect files in the torrent that you do not require but this is beyond the scope of this article. To move on, click OK. The torrent will appear in the download list in uTorrent and will connect to other peers/seeds who are hosting the files you are requesting and begin downloading. This is fairly straightforward, the only thing you should be aware of is that once the download has completed it will go into ‘Seeding’ mode, this means that other users (Leeches) are able to download the files from you thus using up your bandwidth and chewing through your ISP-imposed data-limit, if you have a small data-limit you should select the seeding torrent by left clicking on it in the list and then press the Stop button (big red square) in the uTorrent toolbar at the top. This will cause the status of the torrent to read ‘Finished’. You can now right click on the torrent and select ‘Open Containing Folder’.
Your download will open and voila! You’re done.
I hope this helps someone, if I have left anything out or didn’t explain something properly please let me know in the comments below.