How BitTorrent Works

BitTorrent is a protocol that enables fast downloading of large files using minimum Internet bandwidth. BitTorrent costs nothing to use and includes no spyware or pop-up advertising.

Unlike other download methods, BitTorrent maximizes transfer speed by gathering pieces of the file you want and downloading these pieces simultaneously from people who already have them. This process makes popular and very large files, such as videos and television programs, download much faster than is possible with other protocols.

In this article, we'll examine how BitTorrent works and how it is different from other file-distribution methods. In addition, you'll learn how to use BitTorrent and what the future might hold for this innovative approach to serving files over the Internet.

BitTorrent Speak
Like most Internet phenomena, BitTorrent has its own jargon. Some of the more common terms related to BitTorrent include:

Leeches - People who download files but do not share files on their own computer with others

Seed or seeder - A computer with a complete copy of a BitTorrent file (At least one seed computer is necessary for a BitTorrent download to operate.)

Swarm - A group of computers simultaneously sending (uploading) or receiving (downloading) the same file

.torrent - A pointer file that directs your computer to the file you want to download

Tracker - A server that manages the BitTorrent file-transfer process