If you’ve spent any time on the internet since the early 2000s, you’ve probably heard of BitTorrent, the popular file-sharing tool used for movies, programs, and other large chunks of data. But BitTorrent is a bit more complex than the file-sharing tools that came before it, so it helps to acquaint yourself with its ins and outs before using it. Our guide can help you get started.What Is BitTorrent?
When you download a file from the internet, you’re typically downloading it directly from a server somewhere. How fast you download that file can vary depending on the server’s location, speed, and how many people are trying to download the file at the same time. So, while you might have a 200Mbps connection from your internet provider, you may download a file much slower than that if the server providing the file is slow or getting hammered with requests.
BitTorrent is an alternative way of downloading big files that doesn’t share the same weaknesses. BitTorrent isn’t just a program—it’s a peer-to-peer (p2p) protocol that any program can use (though there is a program called BitTorrent, owned by the company of the same name that develops and maintains the protocol itself).