How Does BitTorrent Work

How Does BitTorrent Work

BitTorrent has been people’s favorite choice for downloading stuff. The best thing about BitTorrent is that it lets you download files more quickly than you normally do. In this blog, I will explain to you how this works and why it’s that fast. 

But it’s essential to first understand what this is, then gradually we will explore more details about its working.

What Is BitTorrent? 

Many of you still might not know what BitTorrent is. So, here is what you need to know about it. This is software that makes it easy to download larger files quickly and easily. 

It uses distributed P2P file-sharing systems that enable users to share and download files. To download files from BitTorrent, you need to download BitTorrent clients on your computer. 

Why do you need BitTorrent clients/protocols for downloading?

BitTorrent clients are necessary because they share all the downloaded files with other users on the same network. Their protocols basically break the downloaded file into small chunks. It enables users to quickly share a file with other users/computers after downloading it. 

If users will not share their downloaded file then no one can access the complete file. Therefore, users are required to share their downloaded parts so that there comes a point when all the downloaded parts of a movie or song are available in the form of a complete download. 

Users who share downloaded files on BitTorrent are called seeders. Whereas, users who only connect to this for downloading and don’t share files are called leechers. The whole network of connected computers where file sharing and downloading take place is called a swarm. 

Where to get a BitTorrent Client?

There are various BitTorrent clients available you can choose any one as per your device. For example, it works well for Windows, and Transmission is a good choice for Mac. 

Keep in mind that without downloading a BitTorrent client, you cannot participate in the peer-to-peer protocol. 

Once you get your app, now you must download a .torrent file then open your app to download your preferred file. A .torrent file is important to download because it informs your BitTorrent client about peers who are sharing the same content which you are looking for. 

You can also find magnet links from any torrent download side. Both the .torrent file or magnet links do the same job. 

How BitTorrent Works?

Now, I will explain to you in detail how BitTorrent works, but before getting into the details, do remember these terms: 

Swarm – All the computers participating in sharing and downloading using BitTorrent 

Seeders – Users who upload downloaded files 

Leechers- Users who download, but don’t share files on BitTorrent 

Peer-to-Peer decentralized network- A network that works without centralized servers.

This is a P2P decentralized network where every party has the right to initiate a communication session. 

Every connected computer agrees to the BitTorrent protocol. Any user can have a file of a song or a movie on the computer (this file is called torrent). 

The computer that contains the original torrent file is known as the seed. The seed computer will break the file into small chunks. 

Any user can use his  BitTorrent client to request a torrent file from the seed. The user who requests a torrent file can easily get the chunks of the torrent file and upload it when received.

Later, other users can also have the same file as they request it from the first user through P2P communication.

Every computer in the swarm participates in uploading different chunks of the same file and the whole process gets even quicker. 

The process is quite fast for popular movies and music videos. As soon as a user downloads something popular, the same user remains online for some time to share the same file for other peers. 

Is BitTorrent Legal?

BitTorrent itself is not illegal. As I defined earlier, it is just software that helps users to quickly move files for downloading. However, it depends on what you’re downloading. 

For example, if you’re downloading any copyrighted material then it will be totally illegal for you to have the copyrighted files without paying anything. 

In case, if a copyright holder sues you or your ISP, then serious cases will report against you as per your country’s law. 

How to safely use BitTorrent? 

I will recommend you to connect to a paid VPN before start torrenting. A VPN conceals your IP address and encrypts your online traffic. In this way, no one can see your online activities and you can securely finish your download. 

Moreover, a VPN masks your real IP address. For example, if you’re living in the USA, you can connect to the Australia VPN server and your IP address will locate Australia as your location. 

Similarly, you can connect to any of your preferred server locations. It also helps you to unblock region-restricted content. 

Why it is important to use a VPN for BitTorrent? 

Just after the COVID-19 global lockdown, everyone is concerned about online security and there is a drastic increase in VPN sales globally. Businesses are paying more attention to online security and that’s why it is crucial to take no risk. 

A VPN is highly recommended these days since anyone can attempt tracking your network, or throw malware in your system. If that’s not happening to you still your ISP may monitor your torrenting activities and impose bandwidth throttling or other legal actions on you. 

A VPN is the only solution to continue browsing and downloading securely without any intervention. 


There you have it! A BitTorrent software is designed to help you download great amounts of data in the form of small chunks. It is the best resource for torrenting but, it is sensible to connect to a VPN to avoid all the potential risks. 

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