Ben Cantrick (mackys) wrote,
Ben Cantrick

The 30 second guide to BitTorrent.

Someone asked me about how you would go about downloading stuff from BitTorrent. I thought my answer was useful enough to republish as a separate entry. There are plenty of other BitTorrent FAQs out there but none, I think, quite this concise.

So you want to download files using BitTorrent? First, you need a BitTorrent client program. Assuming you're running Windows, there are two that I've had personal experience with:

Personally, I use Azureus because it's easy. Well, easy once you get it running. Azureus is written in Java, so you need to install a recent Java Runtime Environment (JRE) before installing it. A "recent" JRE because Sun didn't get Java's network code right prior to recently. You can download the latest JRE for free from Sun or from the Azureus site. This is a separate step from downloading and installing Azureus itself, and that sometimes annoys people. It was worth it for me - I really like Azureus.

uTorrent is a C program that doesn't need Java - just download and run it. But it isn't as fancy or as intuitive as Azureus. However, it has a tiny memory footprint and is lightning fast. More for the techie set. It's the motorcycle next to Azureus's Ferrari.

With either of these, you'll more than likely have to poke some holes in your firewall to get decent performance. Doing that is non-trivial, but there are some decent guides on how to do it out there.

After that's all set, grab yourself a .torrent file (Google can find you thousands) and use your BitTorrent client program to open it. Hit whatever button in your client is necessary to start the download, and away you go.
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