Pin Me

How to Use Torrents to Download Files

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 2/13/2010

Surely by now you've heard all the fuss about torrent files. BitTorrent this, uTorrent that. Take a look at how to use torrents to download files!

  • slide 1 of 7

    About

    Torrents are files that are used with the BitTorrent protocol (a set of rules and description of how to do things) to allow people to quickly download files. The BitTorrent protocol uses a BitTorrent client (a program) to load and connect to trackers (sites that host the files) in the torrent file. The BitTorrent protocol basically allows people to upload and distribute parts of a file at the same time. This means that you'll be working with several other computers and internet connections to get your file, so it is much faster than other ways of downloading. It works well for very large files, and is cost effective.

    In order to properly work, you must forward ports to allow incoming connections to your computer. This will increase your download speed. You will still get download speeds without properly forwarded ports, but they definitely will be slower. For information on port forwarding, check out: PortForward.

    Also, torrents must have seeds. Seeds are the number of people/computers hosting complete versions of all the files in the torrent. Some torrents may download and stop until a new complete full version is made available. Make sure that the torrents you download have seeds; and, as a common courtesy, seed the file for at least as long as it took for you to complete the download. The longer you seed the file, the better, as it gives more people a chance to obtain the full torrent of whatever you just downloaded.

    Steps One and Two of this article are interchangeable.

  • slide 2 of 7

    Things You'll Need

    • Torrent File
    • Torrent Program

  • slide 3 of 7

    Step One

    Use a torrent search engine to find torrents for files you are looking for. Examples of commonly used torrent search engines are:

    Search for the torrent file. Read the comments to see what other people who have downloaded the torrent think. Download the file to you computer. You can choose to open the file, which will automatically open the torrent in your program; or, you can save the torrent file to your computer and then open it with your program. Saving the torrent file will allow downloads to pick up where they've left off if your download gets interrupted for any reason.

  • slide 4 of 7

    Step Two

    Download a torrent program. Here are a couple of options:

    Install the program by following the on screen instructions. Using the programs options menu, you'll want to set the folder that the torrent downloads go into so that you'll be able to easily locate the files when the torrent download has completed. Typically, the My Documents folder is the best one to use. Also, check to see if ports are properly forwarded, and select any other options you prefer.

  • slide 5 of 7

    Step Three

    Open the torrent file in your torrent program, and let it download. If you see the file does not have any seeds, you will likely have problems getting the download to complete, and therefore should seek another torrent file from your torrent search engine. When the download completes, you'll be able to open the files included in the torrent.

  • slide 6 of 7

    Tips, Warnings, and Other Information

    • Remember: Using Torrents is legal, but using them to download copyrighted material is not!
    • Try multiple torrent search engines until you find what you are looking for.
    • If your download speed is slow, you'll need to make sure that your ports are properly forwarded.
    • Some torrents are password protected. Either see if you can find passwords in the torrent comments, or find a different one.
    • The more seeds the torrent has, the faster it will download. No seeds, no full download.
    • Torrents need trackers to function, so if there is an error with the tracker, you may have an issue. Many torrents have multiple trackers, though.