What is it:
Many of you still today ask yourself "What the hell is this torrent thing?". BitTorrent is a protocol* created by Bram Cohen to share files worldwide, being them small or large, with efficiency, through a network of people (each computer of this network is referred to as peer) creating many servers* and many clients* that interact and exchange data between the server and the client and between clients.
*Server means:The computer that hosts (has) the file.
*Client - in this case - means: The computer requiring the file.
How it works:
Imagine you have a CD you want to share with your friend but it is too large to send by e-mail, and too expensive to use conventional mailing service, what to do? Create a torrent file: Create a small text file named as mycd.torrent (or whatever name you choose), this file is going to tell a tracker (tracker means: a software that will tell other people in the world about the location of the file - that being your computer) the location of the file and share it with your friend and worldwide.
How to create a .torrent file: There are softwares called BitTorrent clients wich automate the process of creating a .torrent file and downloading .torrent files that you obtain from the internet, some examples are Transmission, µTorrent and Vuze. Once you have one of these, creating your file is as simple as choosing the directory on your computer with the files you want to share, go to your torrent client and find the option "create a new torrent" or something similar, press "save and start seed" or "create" or whatever it is, and start seeding (seeding means: sending the files you have to the tracker so it will be available to others) after that you have a ".torrent" file with the content you want to share saved in your machine , now you have to upload it to a tracker in order to distribute it worldwide.
Uploading to a tracker (e.g.: The Piratebay):
The Complete Guide to uploading on Piratebay
1. Go to http://thepiratebay.org/register to register on piratebay.
2. You will recieve a confirmation e-mail. Confirm it.
3. Then go to http://thepiratebay.org/login and login yourself.
4. Create the required torrent using anyone of the torrent clients like µtorrent.
5. Start seeding it.
6. Then go to http://thepiratebay.org/upload and upload the torrent file.
7. Thats it you are done.
8. Have fun!!!
Guide created and uploaded on piratebay by: NITGuy
Downloading a .torrent file:
Now that you have learned how to share your files, it is time to get something out of the community.
you can go to many sites like The Piratebay, Demonoid and many others, and browse for a torrent file with the content you want, download the .torrent file and open it on your torrent client, it really is as simple as that.
1 - Seeding and Leeching: Be aware of this ratio -> less leechers means faster download (the website shows this ratio in front of the file). A seeder is somebody who has the complete file and sends it to others, a leecher can be two things, one: somebody who hasn't finished the download , therefore doesn't have the complete file - which is okay since you are already sharing smaller bits of it, or two: somebody who downloads the file and doesn't seed - which is very selfish (do not be a selfish leecher, share your torrents).
2 - After you finish downloading, seed your torrent, which means leaving it there on your BitTorrent client (Transmission, µTorrent, etc.) and keep sending it to people for some time or for as long as you want - or can (your client may do it automatically like transmission for example, or you will have to right click the file and tell it to do it for you). BitTorrent is all about sharing so don't be selfish and do seed your torrents.
BitTorrent is a wonderful and powerful tool that has forged the future for media distribution worldwide,
broken barriers, and provided access to a universe of knowledge in an easy way with a beautiful spirit of community and sharing. This is maybe a digital version of Marx's dream: information communism.
So, be a part of this community of people willing to share data, and don't forget to share too.
If you have any questions related to BitTorrent protocol, post a comment and I'll try to reply within the boundaries of my knowledge, of course, or go here for further reading and find out by yourself.