How do torrents work?


Isn’t a torrent just, like…directly sharing a file from your PC? What’s all this business about “seeding” and “leeching”?

In: 517

Seeders have the whole file and you can download any chunks of it from them. Leechers and in the process of downloading the file from seeders, although they do have some complete chunks and you can download certain chunks from them.

It is basically like directly sharing, but not quite. A file (it can be anything) is separated into many smaller pieces, each getting a special name. The torrent basically holds this information and the instructions on how to assemble the smaller pieces into one piece, the original file.

This instruction (a torrent) is coupled with additional information which keeps track of various computers across the internet which have the same torrent and which pieces of the original file they have. This additional information is called Trackers.

When you download a specific torrent and run it using software made to read it, the software knows what smaller pieces of the larger file you lack (when you begin you lack all of them) and it checks which computers have those smaller pieces. Then it downloads the smaller pieces from any available computer which has them. Once it has all the pieces, they are assembled into the original file.

Seeders is the name for the computers which the entire file and thus all the smaller pieces.

Leechers is the name for the computers which do not have the entire file, but rather any amount of the smaller pieces.

The benefit of the system is that you can download any piece from any computer which has it, be they seeders or leechers, as long as those computers are currently running the torrent software and are connected to the internet.

So, in short, torrents help by distributing a file to as many people as possible and allow anyone to download that file by taking pieces from everyone until they have the whole thing. This way nobody is dependant on one place that holds the file. If someone disconnects or deletes the file it is still available to download from the other people who have it. Of course, if everyone who has the complete file were to delete it, nobody would be able to get the full file anymore.

Direct download : imagine a person have a book in Spain and you in England need that book. The Spaniard give you a link to his book, and you download it sheet by sheet to your own computer

Torrent : imagine you in England need a book, and there are people in Spain, German, USA, Iraq, China, have the book you want. They seed the book and let you leech it. Sheet by sheet. Even if the Spaniard died, you still have other sources. Even an Argentinian who only have half the book can seed it for you, as long as you didn’t have the sheet he have. In the process of leeching from all over the world. You open an access to other people to leech part of the book you already own. Maybe someone from Nigeria need it too

Moral of the story …. Please seed

Let’s say you’re connected to 10 people who have the complete file. If you have the bandwidth, you can download portions of the file from all of them at the same time. That way, if they all have limited upload rates, you can download it 10x faster than if you were downloading from just one of them.

They’re seeding the file to you. You’re leeching the file from them. You can also seed the already downloaded portions to someone else, one of your peers.

seeders are people who have a copy of the file and are sharing it, leechers are people who dont have a copy of the file and thus arent sharing it.

if a leecher downloads the whole file and sticks around, rather then leaving and turning off their torrent client, they become another seeder helping to share the file.


now imagine you got some [banger wallpapers]( and each of your 5 friends wants a copy of your collection, but you got really slow internet and it’ll take ages to send a complete copy to each of them.

so you send 20% of your collection to each friend, and then they share their copy with each other, and with the 5 of them combined they get the whole thing.

thats basically how torrents work in groups of users.

much easier for the uploader, only needing to send 1 copy worth of data.

much quicker for the downloader, being able to get the file from multiple places at once.


additionally they can also pause and resume ***really really well***, so you can just turn off the computer and go to bed in the middle of things, and as long as the file is still available later you can continue like nothing happened.