What Is the File Extension Torrent?

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    Definition

    • If you've ever tried to download a file from a website and ended up with something that ended in the extension ".torrent" that was a lot smaller than you were expecting, and that you couldn't seem to open, then it's probably because a torrent file only points to the file you're trying to download. Once you use a torrent program to open the torrent file, it will connect you to many other users, who are all downloading and uploading the movie, song or program that you wish to download, all at the same time. Each user provides different pieces of the same file to the other users, which allows for a more efficient use of the process.

    Uses

    • In order to actually use a torrent program, you have to first find a torrent tracker, which will connect you to the file you want to download. The best way to find one of these is to search for the types of files you want on a torrent site. An example of such a site is Isohunt.

    Programs

    • Torrent files have to be opened with a torrent program. Otherwise, you'll just download the torrent file and your computer won't know what to do with it. This file is useless to you unless you use a program to connect to the tracker. An example of a program that can open these files is the original Bit Torrent. After you download and install this program, you should be able to click on any torrent file and have the program immediately give you the option to open the file for you.

    Legality

    • When opening files with the torrent file extension, it's important to be careful about what you download. There is some illegal content on the torrent trackers: people can upload files they've illegally copied from DVDs, video games and programs to torrent files. There is plenty of content that is completely free and legal to download, but you have to be careful if you wish to avoid breaking copyright laws. If you're unsure about a particular file, it can be a good idea to do a little research first to make sure that the file is legal for you to download.

    Other Safety Concerns

    • Just like anything else you download on the Internet, it's a good idea to be careful about what you download via torrents. There are viruses and spyware disguised as other files in some torrent downloads. Many torrent websites have an active community that can make torrent files a bit safer than other formats. You can check the download page of a particular torrent before you download it, and look for other user comments as to whether that particular torrent is safe to use.

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