At the tracker on torrent file
Since the question came up in connection with this article: A little guide to using BitTorrent.
Instructions for BitTorrent newbies
Linked torrent files that can be found on the net are never the film or the music or any other digital content itself, but only small placeholder files, a kind of bookmark.
The .torrent file and the client
The file with the ending ".torrent" must be opened with a BitTorrent client (own program) in order to load the film / music / whatever onto your own computer. An overview of such (free) programs for all platforms can be found here. I am currently using Vuze (PC and Mac), but I am testing ÂµTorrent (PC and Mac), which Christoph recommends and which is a lot “leaner” than Vuze, which now comes as a full-fledged media center. Of course there are also tons of clients for Linux.
If you have a BitTorrent client installed on your own computer, you can use it to open the torrent file downloaded for the film / music / whatever. After a few seconds or even minutes, the client starts downloading the film and searches for all other BitTorrent users on the Internet who already have the film in whole or in part on their hard drive. This creates a network of many individual users of this one file (a peer-to-peer network), who move individual fragments of the entire file back and forth until at some point the complete film / music has reached everyone. As soon as you have the first fragments of a file on your own computer, you are in a BitTorrent network both uploader and downloader, seeker and provider at the same time. The exchange of information about who has what and how much of it takes place via a tracker; this software runs on a server in the network, i.e. not on your own computer, as a user you don't have to worry about it.
Speed, seeders and leechers
The download speed varies - the more users offer the file at the same time, the faster the download will be. Should it go very slowly at first: Don't despair, the network takes a while, the speed usually increases in a short time. So you should kindly let the BitTorrent client run for a while after the download is complete, so that others can benefit from it. After all, it's called “File Sharing”: sharing files.
The download of a good quality feature film, for example, can take 10 minutes, but also several days, depending on how popular and therefore available the file is. The client usually provides statistical information. Users who offer the entire file are called “seeders”, those who do not yet have the entire file are “leechers”. In some BitTorrent search engines, the number of seeders and leechers displayed can be used to estimate whether a download will be fast or slow.
Legal and Security
Using a BitTorrent client is completely legal and you have to sign up to legal Don't worry about files offered like the one described here. Bit torrent downloads can However, it can be illegal if, for example, it is copyrighted material, or is at least in a legal gray area. Therefore: know what you're doing!
Unintentional access to your own hard drive, the risk of unwanted offering of your own existing music or film library does not exist with BitTorrent, but you should deal a little with the program and the technology. It never hurts to know halfway what's going on and what you're doing.
This also applies to the torrent files themselves. As in every "scene", there is its own language that describes the quality of a file, for example, in the file name, trustworthy and dubious providers and of course fake files are also circulating that are not what they pretend. Malware, viruses and phishing or espionage programs can also spread via BitTorrent.
For viewing all film formats, I unreservedly recommend the open source player VLC for PC, Mac and Linux.
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