25 Apr 05
How can you make this magic happen on your computer? You start by installing the BitTorrent client. The original BitTorrent program is available here. There are several variations on the original program, most of which are compatible with each other.
Recently, BitTorrent mergeed with uTorrent, so uTorrent is now the official client. uTorrent (pronounced microtorrent) uses the least memory of any client (around 4 MB compared to 30 MB for BitTornado and even more for Azureus.) uTorrent is easy to use and has plenty of features, including support for RSS feeds. uTorrent is in active development with frequent releases, and has won a very large fan base.
Azureus is another great BitTorrent client. Written in Java, it has many advanced features that have attracted a large following since its Version 2 release. If you need all of the features you can possibly get, then Azureus is for you. The only downside to Azureus is that it will take up more memory and CPU resources when its running.
I should mention that all three clients are completely free, courtesy of the open-source community.
Download and Install BitTorrent
Download uTorrent to your computer. When the download finishes, double click the program to install it. The installation should go quickly. You won’t get any extra icons or folders, so you'll hardly notice it’s installed.
Finding .torrent files
Now that you have the program, it's time to find a good file to download. To download a file, BitTorrent needs to have the tracking information on the file. This information is stored in a torrent (a small file with the extension ".torrent"). If the site you are trying to download from offers a torrent (like Ubuntu Linux, for example), you are ready to get started.
If you know what file you want but don't know where to find a torrent for it, try a Google search for .torrent files. There are sites that have hundreds of torrents ranging from freeware programs to independent films. Some of the advertisements on this page will take you straight to those sites. The Official BitTorrent Homepage also has a torrent search engine, but it will only find a limited amount of content.
Since BitTorrent relies on people who already have parts of the file to give those parts to people who don't have them, it is good etiquette to leave the download window open for a while after your download finishes. This is known as seeding. You should seed as long as you can to help ensure that the torrent remains active. The BitTornado client reports your ratio of bytes downloaded to bytes uploaded, and you should try seed at least long enough for that ratio to be greater than 1. That way, you have given back as much as you have received.
File transfer rate still too slow?
Many things affect the speed of your download. The most common cause of slow downloads is a firewall or router. BitTorrent adjusts your download speed to keep it proportional to your upload speed. While you are downloading a part of the file you don't have yet from people, they are downloading the parts you do have from you. That’s what makes it so fast - everyone who is downloading is also being downloaded from. Read on to find out how to use BitTorrent behind a firewall, router, or both.
20 Sept 07