document updated 5 years ago, on Nov 23, 2017
Resources for downloading files via BitTorrent:
- search lots of torrent sites at once:
- clients, the program you install on your machine to be able to download .torrent files
- seeders — people who have finished downloading a given file, and are uploading only (the more of these for a file, the better)
- leechers — people who are still downloading a given file (when there are many more leechers than seeders for a file, it may take a long time to download it)
- ratio — for any given file, the amount of data you've downloaded, divided by the amount you've uploaded. If you stop sharing the file before you get to a ratio of 1.0, you're freeloading. Though that's considered bad etiquette, people often do it anyway. If you're frustrated by too many files with too few seeders, then you may be interested in finding a private tracker community to login to, because they make sure ongoing users seed files they download (so downloads at those sites are almost always fast).
- availability — if this is less than 1.0, that may mean that no matter how long you continue downloading, you'll never be able to download a complete copy of that .torrent (so go back to the search engine, and find a different .torrent for what you're looking for)
- for files over 500MB, BitTorrent is king, it's not worth trying to download that file from any other P2P network (no, seriously... BitTorrent consumes a sizable portion of the internet's bandwidth because it's the clear solution for the largest files) (for example, full-length high-quality movies)
- for files less than 50MB, BitTorrent may not be the best solution. However, for things like .mp3 files, often you'll be able to find the one file you're looking for grouped in with many other files, inside one .torrent. In that case, you can tell your client to only download the one file you're interested in, and ignore all other files in that .torrent.