For people who don't know anything about torrenting

Why torrent?

  • You can get free stuff.
  • You can help other people get free stuff.

Torrenting is illegal, right?

Torrenting is NOT inherently illegal. It's only illegal if you're downloading copyrighted materials. If you're concerned, check online if your internet service provider is zealous about harassing people who try to torrent.

How does torrenting work?

Imagine you want a picture of a cow. You don't know what a cow looks like, so you go and download a map of people who know what cows look like. These people help you by giving you copies of their drawing of a cow, and you put these together to assemble a new picture of a cow. This is basically what torrenting is - it's communal file sharing, where people who have already downloaded something help you download it, too!

Okay, how do I torrent safely?

      1. Get safe torrenting software. This is the program that will actually do the torrenting for you. I recommend qBittorrent.

      2. Get torrents from a safe location. Don't download torrents willy nilly. Check Reddit threads that discuss the website you're about to download from, and don't bother with any sites that allow fake button ads or the like. QBittorrent will let you manually look at the files you're going to be torrenting - for example, a movie should be an MP4 or MKV. If anything in there looks weird, don't torrent it. Once you've got a torrent file, open it in your torrent software and choose a download location. Hey presto, you'll start downloading the full thing!

      3. Recognise that you're actually safer torrenting than, for example, visiting sketchy sites. Illegal anime streaming sites that make your GPU usage spike are more dangerous than a fansubbing group who have their own website and forums. I was super scared when I first started torrenting, because I was convinced I'd give myself a virus. But nowadays computers are remarkably good at not getting viruses as long as you aren't a total idiot. If you're worried, scan individual files with Windows Defender and ask your friends what websites they trust.

Some terms it's useful to know

  • Torrent vs Magnet: When downloading a torrent, you'll often get a choice to download a torrent, or 'magnet'. Downloading a torrent gives you a small file (usually under a megabyte) that you can then open with your torrenting software and use. If you select magnet instead, your torrenting software will open (if you give it permission) and receive the file directly. This saves you from having to download a file.
  • Seeders and leechers: A seeder is someone helping you download a file. After you download it, now you're a seeder too! Leechers are people who downloaded a file but aren't helping other people torrent. Don't be a leecher if you can help it.
  • Tracker: Think of these as map pointers towards more seeders.
  • Stalled torrenting: If there's not enough people to help you download something, your torrent will stall. This is very annoying. Sometimes there's just nothing you can do about it, because nobody is seeding the torrent. Always check that a torrent has at least 1 seeder, and ideally at least 5 - unless you enjoy waiting a full week for your download.

I don't know where to get torrents from :(

Leave a comment on my guestbook and I'll happily get back to you, pointing you towards fully, highly, totally legal avenues for you to torrent from. Please include your neocities website in your message and a contact email or something.