KBA/Downloading a Torrent
This guide will walk you through how to use a Torrent.
In order to download a Torrent you need a piece of software, commonly referred to as the client. There are many Torrent clients available. I recommend uTorrent or the original BitTorrent client. Once this is installed you are ready to go.
To download your desired media using a Torrent you need to get the .torrent file. These are available on sites called Trackers. There are a few big trackers, The Pirate Bay and isoHunt are two of the bigger Trackers.
Once you have your .torrent file you can open it using your Torrent Client.
It is the Trackers job to supple the .torrent file and also keep a record of who has got which part of the media. On a lot of tracker sites you will see some statistics for each Torrent, Seeds and Leechers. In order to successfully download all of the media the Torrent needs to have a Seed available.
Since there is not a big server that has the original media the Torrent needs to have some users that have a full copy of the media so that other users can download it all. Any user that has 100% of the media and still has the Torrent running is referred to as a Seed. The more Seeds available, the better the Torrent.
While you are downloading the Torrent and you have less than 100% of the media then you are called a Leecher. Other people can get a copy of the parts of the media that you already have but they could not get a full copy from just you.
When a Torrent first starts out it is usually slow as there are going to be many Leechers all trying to get a copy of the media from the Seed. As seen in the diagram to the right once a Leecher has received part of the media other Leechers can then get a copy from them instead of getting it from the Seed. This is designed to reduce the load on the original Seed. Usually within a few hours of a new Torrent going up there will be more than 1 Seed distributing the media.
Guidelines for Torrenting
When you download a Torrent you are using the bandwidth and resources of other peoples' network connections. Therefore it is only courteous to offer your own bandwidth to share with others. Most Trackers keep a record of how much you've downloaded compared to how much has been uploaded, this is called your Torrent Ratio. A good rule of thumb is to keep your ratio at 1.5 or higher, that is for every 1 megabyte you download you should allow 1.5 megabytes to be uploaded from you. This ensures that if the original Seed gets overwhelmed then Leechers will still be able to get a full copy. A lot of Torrent Clients allow you to set a target ratio and they will remain active until you reach that ratio.