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BitTorrent: How does it works?

Today I will explain how it works and what the BitTorrent protocol is. It is one of the most popular when it comes to sharing files over the network massively. The protocols are standards, and BitTorrent belongs to the p2p family, decentralized protocols for file exchange. If you've gotten a bit lost with this set of words, don't worry because I'm going to try to explain everything to you. We will explain to you: what exactly is the BitTorrent protocol, also known as a torrent. And then, we are going to explain how it works so that you understand how it works in your downloads.


The torrent is not a stream of water that comes out of a mountainous area with an irregular flow, and that can create erosion with its impact; it is a data exchange protocol in a decentralized way. This system has been prevalent when it comes to exchanging files. Although it has fewer uses nowadays, they have returned, like torrents. There are pages like those of gnu / Linux distributions and some institutions that use this protocol to download files. Unlike the direct download with which you download a file from one point to another, In the BitTorrent protocol is to download a file from several computers from different servers simultaneously; they are generally other people's computers that have the same file.





I'm going to try to explain it: imagine that you, for example, want to download a file for this. You will need to open a small ".torrent" file in the program you use to download torrents called BitTorrent clients. This small file is not the one that you are going to download. Instead, a kind of map that makes the download data to be added. Sometimes this also can be added through a type of link called "magnet." Once you add this map, your BitTorrent client will connect with other clients with the same file. In this way, you can download fragments of the same file from different people, making the download much faster. This also means that your file is not only in one place. So you have less chance of it disappearing or being erased in the ether of the network; however, if you need several people to have this file to maintain a specific download and keep this file available.


Finally, you should know that the BitTorrent protocol belongs to the p2p family of protocols, which means peer-to-peer. A p2p protocol is one in which clients connect directly to each other without going through a central server, which I have explained to you before.


I have already explained the general operation of this network, but how do these users connect? For this are the trackers, they are the ones who organize the Archived Distribution, and they are the ones who have the necessary information for the different users to connect. Therefore, these trackers would be like the only meeting point to which the clients must necessarily connect. There are several trackers, and you can add as many as you want to your BitTorrent client: more active trackers, more user networks to access and more download speed. The file or file shared through torrents is split into small fragments between 64 kilobits and 4 megabytes. Each segment has an identifier, and the torrent files you use to start the download have the identifiers of these fragments. They also specify the location of the tracker to which you must connect. Therefore, by executing this file or adding a magnet link with the information, your BitTorrent client can start the download. When the download begins, the first thing your BitTorrent client does is connect to the tracker to ask for the information. The tracker will provide you with an initial list of piercing or users with this file chosen at random, and from there, you can start downloading the file. Once the connection is established, your client will complete the map, obtaining more users or more users to connect to the torrent.





When you start to download a file, you will do it for two users: the seeders and the leechers. This is very easy to understand since seeders have the complete file in the folder where their BitTorrent client downloaded it to continue sharing it. While the leechers are the ones who are downloading the file, but they have not finished completing it yet, but they already have fragments of that file downloaded, so their program makes them share them with the rest of the users that are part of the network to speed up the download. If you want to download a complete file, there must be at least one seeder that has it, and if they are all leechers, there will always be a fragment missing that no one has. When you delete a file from the folder where it has been downloaded or turn off the computer, you will stop appearing as a seeder, you will stop participating in the network, and the rest of the users will be harmed having one less user who shares it. There are no problems with large files, but if your file has very few sources, there is one more minor source being you, the one who leaves causes its dissemination to be seriously impaired. Suppose you want to share the compressed file with your summer photos. In that case, you will have to try to have the computer turned on so that other people can leave it directly from you, and once other people have it, they will become part of the seeder network, and the more there are faster the file will be downloaded to others.




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