Before We Begin:
✳️ In this tutorial, you’ll be learning an entirely new skill set in which having a basic and perfunctory understanding of how computers work is highly recommended.
✳️ For this tutorial, you’ll need to use a desktop computer because Torrent requires a device which supports file storage.
✳️ Understanding the Torrent process also involves learning a series of several different steps. At first, it may seem daunting; but don’t worry. Follow the instructions & after only 2 or 3 completions of this process, you’ll know it.
Ready To Start?
Did you know just about every film, television, video, song, book & software program ever created can be found somewhere on the Internet if you know how & where to look?
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy way to directly access that tremendous amount of online content & information for your personal use, education or enjoyment?
Fortunately, there is & it’s called Torrent.
A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF HOW TORRENT WORKS
Torrent is an open-source digital file sharing protocol. “Open-source” means that it’s not owned by, nor the exclusive, proprietary intellectual property of a big tech company like Microsoft or Google. Open-source means third party developers may modify, enhance or add to it.
Digital file sharing protocol is a fancy description of what Torrent is & does. It’s basically software which establishes an online network over which different users may share files or digital content directly between themselves without having to connect to each other using a centralized sharing location.
Normally, when you watch a movie online with Netflix, Amazon Prime or YouTube, your computer or phone connects directly to a centralized server where a copy of the movie is stored. This is known as streaming.
Traditional central server downloading/streaming configuration
Torrent works differently. It allows you to access, connect & share content by completely bypassing & eliminating any central server connections altogether. This means the exchange of files & content occurs between the computers of individual users instead of passing thru a single, centralized point where it may either be monitored or controlled. It does this by allowing individual computers on the Torrent network to connect & talk directly to one another in order to share the requested content. This non-centralized, file sharing model is called Peer To Peer, or P2P.
Torrent peer to peer file sharing configuration
Unlike a streaming service, whenever you use Torrent, you are not actually downloading any content directly from a Torrent website. Instead, you initially download what’s called a bittorrent file. A bittorent file is usually a small .torrent formatted HTML file (usually less than 100K) which contains instructions telling your computer how to establish network connections with all the other computers (peers) which already have a stored copy of your content.
DISCLAIMERS & ADVISORIES
The following is a step by step, how to, beginner’s guide to set up and use Torrent. Please be advised the United States Federal Government has determined that the duplication & downloading of copyrighted materials is illegal. The New Americanist does not in anyway condone any activities which violate the law.
The following information is offered only as public service; and, is knowledge which is already widely available on the internet. By using this information, you agree to accept all risk & liability. You also agree to completely release The New Americanist from any & all future claims of liability for any & all losses of data or any & all damages which may result from the loss of data. Please read the following thoroughly and make certain you completely understand everything before you actually attempt to do anything.
IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
SAFETY & SECURITY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR USING TORRENT
Use your head: safety & security are key. Everything worthwhile in Life involves some degree of risk and Torrent is no different. Make certain to follow these simple guidelines & recommendations to guarantee your Torrent experience always remains safe, secure & enjoyable:
A. ALWAYS USE A VPN EVERY TIME YOU DOWNLOAD WITH TORRENT
This can’t be emphasized enough. In case you don’t already know, VPN stands for virtual private network. That’s a tech way of saying your internet address is masked (hidden) & nobody can watch your online, internet activity. It’s like a digital, invisible cloak. Whether you plan to use Torrent or not, you should definitely already be using a VPN. A VPN allows you to conduct your online business in complete privacy away from snooping eyes which want to monitor where you go to, how long you stay & what you do while you’re there. The snooping eyes of your internet service provider, the Government, Big Tech, online advertising & tracking companies or anyone who wants to collect & sell your personal data. Some web browsers like Opera come with free VPN already built into their browser software. Free browser based VPN is better than nothing, but can be slow and clunky. You can at least always turn it on & run it during a Torrent session; then turn it off again once you’re finished.
Pay VPNs run anywhere between $6-12 a month depending on the company. They return an extremely worthwhile amount of value & security considering the modest amount of investment. They are much faster and more powerful than any FREE VPN. Most also offer a free trial for the first 30 days so you can try them out. Many offer substantial discounts if you buy a 1, 2 or 3 year package up front and a single subscription will usually cover up to 5 or 6 devices simultaneously. If you spring for a pay VPN, you’ll want to install and run it on all of your devices: home desktop, tablets and cell phones.
Here’s a couple of useful page links to allow you to compare & shop the different VPN companies. Currently, I use EXPRESS VPN. That’s not an official endorsement; you should select a company which provides the best fit for you:
If at all possible, you should never use Torrent without a VPN. If you do, there’s always a chance your ISP could log your IP address during a download & suspend your account. Seems they don’t take too kindly to customers bypassing their centralized servers to exchange content. I’ll discuss VPN’s in much greater depth & detail in a future tutorial.
B. PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER FROM POTENTIAL MALWARE INFECTIONS
Always be certain to run an anti-viral & malware scan on every downloaded file BEFORE you click & open them. You’re already doing this now anyway, right? Like everywhere else, there are idiots & very bad people on the Internet who enjoy taking the fun out of everything. If you’re not careful or pay close enough attention, there’s always the possibility you could download a file which isn’t really the season finale of Downton Abbey; but instead, a nasty virus or trojan worm designed to infect your computer. Don’t let this happen to you! Always make certain you run up to date anti-virus/malware software and scan all downloaded files for any possible issues before opening them. Also, please closely follow the following instructions & suggestions to maximize your computer’s safety. If you do, you should rarely encounter any malware issues using Torrent.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are a WINDOWS user, your exposure to risk with Torrent will be greater that of a MAC user simply because hackers who code malware do so predominately for the WINDOWS platform. If you’re on a WINDOWS computer, it’s especially important you ALWAYS have & use anti-virus/anti-malware software.
C. DON’T WANDER OFF INTO THE BAD PARTS OF TOWN
If you do a regular Google search for “torrent websites,” literally thousands of hits will come back. Most of these sites may very well be legitimate, but some are not. Some are digital funnels designed to whisk you away and into other online porn, dating or gambling sites. Still others are traps designed to milk you of your personal information or push viruses, trojans, worms and other wretched forms of malware onto your computer. Stay far away from any Russian, Chinese or African torrent websites. DON’T TAKE ANY UNNECESSARY CHANCES: KEEP EVERYTHING SAFE & SIMPLE!
For safety & instructional purposes, we will be using only the Pirate Bay torrent site. The Pirate Bay has been around since 1996 and is one of the first, original torrent sites. It’s also one of the biggest in terms of inventory & cross references other legitimate torrent sites. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the Pirate Bay, it’s probably not available online. Here’s the Pirate Bay link:
You don’t need to register for an account to download torrent files. In fact, I recommend you don’t in order to remain as anonymous as possible.
D. ALWAYS USE THE MAGNET LINK
A Magnet link is a very intelligent, additional security feature which protects your computer from accidentally downloading & opening a cleverly disguised torrent file which may contain malware. What a magnet link does is download a torrent file directly to your torrent client without ever risking having to actually open it on your computer. A magnet link bypasses your hard drive altogether & sends your torrent file directly to your torrent client. If there’s anything suspicious about that particular torrent file, your client software will either fail to load it; or, give you an error message. Of course, in any instance where your client fails to load or launch a downloaded torrent file, you should delete that file immediately.
E. KNOW WHEN TO ABORT THE MISSION
The last rule to be aware of when using Torrent is to make certain you always close out a browser tab immediately should you ever find yourself navigated to a strange webpage which has absolutely nothing to do with your most current search or download. This sort of thing will rarely happen if you follow A-D above; however, should you ever click on a link to download a torrent file and suddenly find yourself on some strange Anime gamer page, don’t stick around to explore it any further. Delete that browser tab and leave immediately.
OK, now that you’re familiar with some of the most common security risks involved with Torrent & how to avoid them, let’s move on next to how you actually set up & use Torrent.
HOW TO SET UP & USE TORRENT
Perhaps the best way to describe the entire torrent process from beginning to end is to walk through it using an actual example. In this example, we’re going to download Season 5 of Better Call Saul. With television programs, you often have the choice & convenience of either downloading a single episode or an entire season. Remember, this example is for entertainment purposes only. Always respect copyright laws.
Download & Install Your Torrent Client Software
You’ll first need to download and install a Torrent client. A Torrent client is a very handy piece of software which allows you to connect & network with other computer users who also have that same Torrent software installed on their computers. It’s what enables all the other computers on the network to talk to one another and share content. It also provides a visible interface for you to direct & monitor all your Torrent activities. Torrent client software is FREE & there are many different versions available, but they all basically do the same thing. The one I like & use is VUZE.
You can download & install the VUZE Torrent client here:
Because Torrent clients are free, most will try to convince you to buy extras like their upgraded PRO version or their own in-house VPN service. Many will also try to hit you up for a donation whenever you open their program; or, pitch you other kinds of software from their associates & affiliates. Of course, you don’t need to go for any of that unless you want to. The FREE version will work perfectly fine for everything you plan to do.
Once you’ve installed & opened your Torrent client software, you should see an interface which looks similar to this:
Like any new piece of software, the interface may first appear intimidating because it’s completely unfamiliar. Yes, there are bells & whistles, but don’t become discouraged; it’s really very simple to operate.
✳️ From this point forward, we’ll concentrate on our actual example to demonstrate & explain all the steps of the Torrent process. To do this, we’re going to download Season 5 of Better Call Saul:
HOW TO FIND A TORRENT FILE & DOWNLOAD IT TO YOUR CLIENT
Use the link provided above & go to the Pirate Bay homepage. Go ahead and enter “Better Call Saul Season 5″ in the search window. Next, check “Video” to focus the search and then click Pirate Search. If you select & click the I’m Feeling Lucky search option instead, you’ll just get lots of random, arcane torrent listings.
Next, a search results page should appear which looks like this:
The actual search results page on my computer returned more than 100 different listings; however, for the sake of simplicity in this example, I have included only the top ten or eleven. Let’s zero in & take a closer look at each of the different column notations & explore what they mean:
Each one of these listing rows represent a separate download file of Better Call Saul. With a television series, you usually have either the choice of sharing individual episodes or complete season collections.
The Category, Upload Date & file Size columns are pretty much self explanatory. ULed by is the username of the person who uploaded the file to Pirate Bay.
A. The Name column is actually an active link & contains helpful information about the quality of the file; 720P is the resolution, WEBRip means these episodes were probably taken from somewhere else on the web & uploaded here. BluRay means the episodes are sourced from a BluRay disk collection. HDTV means they were probably recorded directly from Netflix on a DVR. x264 is a standard, digital video compression format.
B. The horseshoe magnet symbol indicates there is a magnet link available for this file & the little green skull symbol to the right means that magnet link is active & functional.
C. These two smaller columns contain perhaps the most important file information of all. SE stands for SEEDERS. A seeder is another computer on the network which has already downloaded & contains this particular file in it’s entirety. As you can see, 131 different people have already downloaded this file of Season 5 of Better Call Saul and are now online. This information is important for two reasons. First, when a particular file has a high number of seeders, that usually indicates it contains both excellent image & audio quality; IOW, it’s very popular. It also means there’s virtually no chance of it being a covert malware bomb; because if it was, this many people would not have already downloaded it.
LE stands for LEECHERS. A leecher is someone who has only downloaded a part of the file instead of the file in its entirety.
When you share files using torrent, your torrent client doesn’t only connect to a one other sharing source, it connects to as many as it can find. This characteristic is called swarming. It pulls different pieces of the file from as many different, available seeder & leecher sources as it can connect with and then assembles them all together on your computer in a completed, finalized version. The process of collecting these bits & pieces from numerous sources and then reassembling them is called muxing.
A good rule of thumb to remember is the greater the number of file seeders and leechers, the faster your download will be because torrent is utilizing a greater number of sources to transfer the information. Whenever you see a file listing with zero seeders and leeches, that means there are NO sources available for your client to connect with. Such files are called dead torrents. In addition, you may do a torrent search for an older or more obscure film and discover only a single file available containing only one seeder. In such instances, the download transfer time will be slower and longer because your computer will only be able to connect to & transfer from a single source.
You might think transferring & downloading a 5GB, two hour, Hi Def movie file is cumbersome: however, if it’s a very popular file with 750 online seeders, torrent can do it in only 2-3 minutes.
NEXT: OK, let’s keep going! Click on the link in the Name column. That will open a file information page which will look similar to this:
The amount of information found on these file pages varies wildly depending on whether the uploader is thorough or lazy. Some of these pages contain NO information whatsoever, while others toss in everything but the kitchen sink. Some file info pages also contain notations & reviews about the file from other users. Personally, I always scan reviews because if everyone is bitching about poor sound or image file quality, I won’t waste my time downloading it. This particular uploader has included a list of the individual episodes contained in the download (C), as well as a brief narrative synopsis of the season (B). The most important thing you are looking for on these pages is (A) the Magnet Link. Go ahead and click it.
Once you click on the magnet link, a popup like this will appear on your screen. That’s the Pirate Bay asking for your permission to open up VUZE and send over the torrent file. Select & click “Open Vuze.app”
At this point in the process, we are now completely finished with the Pirate Bay. Everything moving forward will happen exclusively in VUZE. Once you click on the magnet link, VUZE should automatically launch and present you with a TORRENT OPTIONS popup window.
BE PATIENT: sometimes, this popup will appear immediately or take up to one or two minutes to load. During this time, VUZE is checking out the new torrent file from Pirate Bay to make certain it’s clean & legit. VUZE is also scanning the Web and linking to available seeder & leecher sources.
At the bottom of this TORRENT OPTIONS popup window, you can create or designate a particular location where you want VUZE to place your files once their transfer is complete. If you’re on a MAC, the default location will be a Vuze Downloads folder inside your Documents folder on your MAC hard drive. If you’re using Windows, it will probably be somewhere on your C Drive.
Once the TORRENT OPTIONS window finally appears, click on “OK” to officially start the transfer. Once you click OK, the OPTIONS popup will disappear & the actual download begins in VUZE.
NOTE: Again, BE PATIENT. Torrent downloads always start slow with connections to only one or two seeders, but then pick up speed as they progress & add seeders. You can watch all of the action in VUZE. Below is a screenshot example I captured about 30 seconds after the download began:
A. The number of seeder connections (it eventually increased up to a total of 112).
B. The current download (transfer) speed (increased up to 17 MB per second).
C. Estimated time left until download completion: at this point with only 14 seeder connections it was almost 23 minutes; however, the entire file downloaded in slightly more than 2 minutes after connecting to a final total of 112 seeders.
D. Current activity status; downloading, paused or stopped.
E. Amount of data already successfully transferred at this point.
F. Total file size to be transferred.
NOTE: The number of seeder connections will usually fluctuate up & down during the download. This is completely normal. The transfer rate & speed can also repeatedly cycle wildly up & down during downloads. This too is normal.
Once your transfer is complete, it will completely disappear off the VUZE screen. That’s your cue to go check your download location to make certain the finished file(s) are all there, present & accounted for:
Presto! Success! Congratulations! Welcome to the big wonderful world of Torrent!
DON’T FORGET: BE CERTAIN TO SCAN THOSE NEW FILES WITH ANTI-VIRUS/ANTI-MALWARE SOFTWARE BEFORE YOU OPEN THEM IN A MEDIA PLAYER!
I understand I have included tons of information & detail in this tutorial, but that’s only to make certain you don’t become sidetracked by any blind spots or trip up over pot holes. Once you’re able to follow these instructions through to completion 2-3 times, you’ll have it and be amazed at how easy it all really is.
A PARTING SUGGESTION: COMPUTER MEDIA PLAYERS
The default media software included with Windows & APPLE computers is usually Windows Media Player & Quick Time. Both are extremely fickle apps which are written with blatant biases in favor of their own corporate video formats at the expense of not working very well with others. You may encounter difficulties opening and viewing different video & music file formats in either of these two players. To avoid this issue, I recommend using a UNIVERSAL media player which will open and run almost every media file format under the Sun. The one I have used for many years with great success & enjoyment is VLC. VLC is a FREE, open source, cross-platform media player. You may download & install it from the link provided below:
BONUS: MORE USEFUL INFORMATION!
⭐️ Pi In The Sky ▶️ 16 minutes 15 seconds
⭐️Turning A Windows Computer Into A Plex Media Server ⭐️
“It’s Like Having Your Own Personal Netflix”
VLC is just one way to play media files on your computer, while a PLEX Media Server is a central server that can be accessed remotely via PLEX clients (available for most platforms, including most TV boxes, such as ROKU, AppleTV, etc.).
That’s all for this time! Until the next time, cheers!