In this article, we’ll explain everything you should know about the torrent, such as what is a torrent, is torrent safe, is torrenting illegal, what happens if you get caught torrenting, and how to torrent safely.

Michelle | Jan 15, 2021
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You might have noticed that a lot of people are using torrents to download files these days. And you may also want to try torrent yourself. But before that, you may want to know several things about the torrent, like what is a torrent exactly, is torrenting illegal, how safe is torrenting, and whatnot. And we will cover these questions in the following article. Please read on to know more!

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What is a Torrent? What is Torrenting?

For a very long time, we only download files through a central server, which is a patience-taking process if there are hundreds of people downloading at the same time. But in 2001, the computer genius Bram Cohen designed a far more efficient way to distribute files through the Internet, the BitTorrent protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P). And the torrent is the file used under the BitTorrent peer-to-peer protocol for downloading digital resources.

A torrent file contains only the metadata (name, size, chunk size, etc.) of the files to be distributed, and usually also the torrent trackers that will help you find other peers to form efficient distribution groups called swarms. When you download files using torrent through a BitTorrent client (the software that connects you to the BitTorrent network), you are not downloading from a central server but from other peers who, at the same time, are downloading or have downloaded the files. Also, during the downloading process, you are uploading portions of the files for others to download. And if you leave the BitTorrent client open after the download, you will become a seeder who is still uploading the files for other peers/leechers to download. And the whole process of downloading and uploading files through the BitTorrent network is called torrenting.

Is Torrent Safe? Is Torrenting Illegal?

The quick answer is that the BitTorrent protocol is legitimate, but the torrent file may not be safe, and torrenting might be illegal.

As you can see from the last part, torrenting has bypassed the central server and makes everyone a mini server. And that has greatly encouraged the distribution of copyrighted content, like software, movies, games, and music, through the Internet. If you are torrenting a copyright-infringing file, then it is completely illegal.

The torrents could be unsafe, too. Some torrents are injected with malware. And if you download such torrents, your device will be at risk.

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What Happens If You Get Caught Torrenting?

There’s nothing to worry about if you are downloading authorized content. But if it is the unsanctioned copyrighted files you are torrenting, you should stop it now. Because your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is monitoring your every action from the BitTorrent traffic. And they might slow down your Internet connection or send you a warning letter or take legal action (though rarely) if they find you illegally torrenting.

You might also be targeted by the copyright trolls if they catch you downloading copyrighted materials. They will send you a letter containing your IP address and threaten you to give them money if you don’t want to go to court. But you don’t have to be panic receiving this kind of letter. If the letter only has your IP address and no other information such as your name and home address that could show your actual identity, just ignore this letter. They could do nothing about you.

How to Torrent Safely?

The best way to protect yourself is not to torrent at all. But if you still want to torrent, you have to make sure your every step in the torrenting process will be safeguarded. You can do the following things to create a safer environment for torrenting:

1. Turn on your anti-virus software;
2. Use a reputed VPN to hide your IP address;
3. Go to big torrent sites like The Pirate Bay;
4. Download torrents that have more seeds;

Wrap-up

Torrenting is one of the most common download methods these days. You can download all kinds of digital resources, from movies to games, through torrents. But we do not advocate downloading any copyrighted content, and we hope you can find this article helpful. Thanks for reading!

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