BitTorrent Terms You Need to Know.

By Anurag -

BitTorrent is the leading peer-to-peer (P2P) client used to download large files from other users that have the file available to share. A client is needed to download torrent files which are actually pieces of large files that are downloaded simultaneously from many available sources.We will go over the most important terms you need to know to use BitTorrent successfully when downloading torrents.

1. Availability – this refers to the number of complete files that can be downloaded with the client. The number is displayed as a whole number with two decimal places, and if the availability shows less than 1.00 it means the full file is not available.

2. Peers – this number represents the number of people up or downloading pieces of the file you are looking at.

3. Seeds – the numbers of people that have downloaded the complete file and are capable of sharing it. The connection to the P2P network must remain open to keep the file accessible by others.

4. Leeches – this word has two definitions in the torrent world. The main definition is a person that has not downloaded the complete file yet remains connected to the network. The second part of the definition refers to the number of peers that have downloaded the complete file yet have disconnected from the network and are not sharing the file.

5. Swarm – the total number of peers (seeds and leeches) that are connected to the file you wish to download. The higher the number of seeds compared to peers means the faster you will be able to download the file. If the number of peers is very high and seeds are very low, the download will take much longer to complete.

6. Tracker – a vital part of BitTorrent, the tracker is the server that manages and tracks your connection to other peers in the swarm. When looking for a torrent file to download, check to see when the tracker was last updated to make sure you have the most current information on the number of peers that are seeding and leeching.

7. Torrent File – this file differs from the actual torrent in that it holds the information the client will use to reassemble the torrent pieces into one large, usable file.

8. Lurker – a peer that downloads torrents but does not upload new torrent files for others to download. A lurker can still be a seed, so they differ from leeches.

9. Fake – a torrent that does not contain the information stated in the description. At times you will get only small pieces of a movie file, or possibly even a virus.

10. Scrape – also known as a tracker update. This is when the client sends a request to the tracker to get the latest information on how well the file is being shared.

11. Index – normally where you find details about the torrent files available for upload. Usually contained in a website the index is searchable and contains a description of the torrent. Index sites can also be trackers in some cases.

12. Super-Seeding – a practice some clients use with new torrents where only pieces that have never been downloaded before are initially sent out to peers trying to upload. Using this method, the full torrent file gets sent to a range of peers and creates a ‘spider-web’ effect so there are more peers to download pieces of the file from. If super-seeding is not used, peers would have to wait much longer for seeds to get parts of the torrent from.

That is the dirty dozen in the terms you need to know about BitTorrent clients. Armed with this information, you will have great success when downloading your torrent files.

Jessie Brannen is a long time BitTorrent user. She has been keeping up with the latest developments in the field and her articles mainly appear on file sharing blogs. Do you know this year’s contender for the best web browser? Visit the link to find out more

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