BitTorrent is a protocol used for transferring large files over the internet that was created in 2001 and is supported by all major platforms. Users act as sources for each other, with no centralized server existing. BitTorrent equally distributes the load on the user’s machine, with downloading being quicker than uploading. Initially, BitTorrent was used for piracy, but with the popularity of legal movie streaming services, BitTorrent traffic has sharply declined. Torrents are files transferred via BitTorrent, where large files are split into smaller files. File-sharing systems are constructed in various ways.
What is BitTorrent?
BitTorrent is a protocol used for transferring large files over the internet. It was created in 2001 by a programmer named Bram Cohen and is now supported by all major platforms. What sets BitTorrent apart from other file-sharing protocols is that there is no central server that holds all the file data. Instead, every BitTorrent user simultaneously serves as both a downloader and an uploader, sharing parts of the file they have already downloaded with other users.
How Does BitTorrent Work?
When a BitTorrent user wants to download a file, they search for it on a BitTorrent search engine or website. Once they find the file they want, they download a small file called a “.torrent” file. This file contains metadata on all the file pieces and their locations on other users’ machines.
Once the user has the .torrent file, they open it with a BitTorrent client. The client then connects to the BitTorrent network and begins downloading the file in small pieces from other users who already have those pieces. As the user’s machine receives pieces of the file, it also serves as a source for other users who are also downloading the same file.
Because downloads are typically faster than uploads, the BitTorrent client evenly distributes the load on the user’s machine, ensuring that they don’t become heavily overloaded. This also means that the more people downloading a file, the faster everyone’s downloads will be.
What Are Torrents?
In BitTorrent parlance, a “torrent” refers to a file that is being transferred via the BitTorrent protocol. In practice, this means that large files are split into many smaller files, and each of these files is then shared amongst users on the BitTorrent network.
Torrents can come in many forms, from movies and TV shows to software packages and music albums. Because BitTorrent is a decentralized protocol, unscrupulous users have historically used the service to share unauthorized copies of copyrighted material. However, the rise of legal streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube has seen a sharp decline in BitTorrent traffic in recent years.
BitTorrent has played an important role in online file-sharing since its creation in 2001. Its decentralized nature has made it possible for users to share large files easily and efficiently, without having to rely on a central server. Despite some early controversies, BitTorrent has become a mainstream tool for sharing legitimate files, and it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.