Using the Torrent Protocol and Magnet Links

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Magnet Using the Torrent Protocol and Magnet Links

Post by MagnetGames »

What are Magnet Links?
Magnet links are an increasingly popular way to make downloading and sharing torrent files even faster and easier!
Sometimes called "Magnet URIs," magnet links let you download content through a torrent client by just using a plain-text link!
How do Magnet Links differ from .torrent files?
With magnet links, you no longer need to download a ".torrent" file to download a torrent.
Magnet links have the same functionality as a ".torrent" file. To use magnet URIs, you need only ensure that your torrent client is associated with them.
Then you can just click a magnet link and your browser will let a torrent client do the rest! If not, you can always copy the magnet link manually into a torrent client
Torrent Clients? Torrents? What are they?
Torrent clients are software that are capable of using ".torrent" files and Magnet Links.
In the BitTorrent file distribution system, a ".torrent" file or "METAINFO" is a computer file that contains metadata about files and folders to be distributed, and usually also a list of the network locations of trackers, which are computers that help participants in the system find each other and form efficient distribution groups called swarms.

A torrent file does not contain the content to be distributed, it only contains information about those files, such as their names, sizes, folder structure, and cryptographic hash values for verifying file integrity.
The term torrent may refer either to the metadata file or to the files downloaded, depending on the context.
The three most popular Torrent Clients are:
qBittorrent is a cross-platform free and open-source BitTorrent client.
qBittorrent is written in C++, and thus is a native application. It uses Boost, Qt toolkit, and libtorrent-rasterbar library.
Due to being free and open-source, this is the client MagnetGames recommends most.

BitTorrent is the original Torrent Client, it is a desktop application that initiates, truncates and manages the downloading and uploading of data using BitTorrent file-sharing protocol.
Unlike qBittorrent, BitTorrent is proprietary and contains ads.

μTorrent (or uTorrent) is a Torrent client owned and developed by BitTorrent, Inc. With over 150 million users it is the most widely used BitTorrent client outside China.
Like the BitTorrent client, μTorrent is proprietary and contains ads aswell, but is more actively developed.
Downloading from Magnet Links
Once a torrent client is installed, simply clicking on magnet links in your browser should bring up a prompt.
Clicking allow will forward the magnet link directly to your torrent client! Which should then begin to download from other peers/leachers.
Alternatively, you can also copy the link itself and paste it directly into your torrent client.
Seeders, Peers and Leachers
There are generally 3 terms for the users on the other end of the torrent client.

The term seeders refers to users who have all the content and are sharing it.
In other words, these are the users you'll be downloading most of the data from.
This also means that the more seeders present per torrent, the quicker the torrent will download!

The term peers refers to the users who are also downloading the files, but don't have the entire thing downloaded yet.
In some cases even if there are no seeders connected, if there are enough peers that have different parts of the torrent then the whole torrent can still be downloaded.
E.g. A peer has 50% of the torrent, and a 2nd peer has the other 50%.
As long as both are connected to your client, you can still get the whole torrent.

But if there's just a peer with 37% of the torrent, and another has 58% of the torrent...
Then only 95% of the torrent can be downloaded (unless more seeders/peers connects later on).

Then there's the term leachers.
These users often aren't listed in the torrent clients themselves (they're just seen as peers), but are often listed separately on torrent index websites.
Leachers are basically peers (so users also downloading the torrent), however the difference is that they barely upload back to others.
Users are labelled as leachers if they have a very slow upload connection, or are just limiting their uploading speed in the client.

Sharing Magnet Links
Most torrent clients have the ability to copy the Magnet Link to the clipboard!

Then it's as easy as pasting it in the magnet BBCode on these forums! Like so:

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What are trackers?
A Torrent tracker is a special type of server that assists in the communication between peers using the BitTorrent protocol.
The "tracker" server keeps track of where file copies reside on peer machines, keep track of other peers, and helps coordinate efficient transmission and reassembly of the copied file.
Clients that have already begun downloading communicate with the tracker periodically to negotiate faster file transfer with new peers, and provide seeders/leacher statistics.
After the initial peer-to-peer file download is started, peer-to-peer communication can continue without the connection to a tracker.

Since the creation of the distributed hash table (DHT) for "Trackerless" torrents, trackers have largely become redundant.
However, they are still often included with torrents to improve the speed of peer discovery.

Here's a large list of public trackers you can use in your torrents!
Last updated July 2023

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That's all folks!
I hope this guide helps educates you on the Torrent Protocol, and an understanding of Magnet Links a little better.
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