This guide is to help users in getting started in bittorrent, the most popular protocol for the transfer of music, videos, ebooks, software and other content. There is a great deal of content available through torrents and this guide will help you to find and download that content.
Bittorrent is a decentralized peer to peer (P2P) distribution of content which uses the upload bandwidth of each individual who is downloading the content, and those who have downloaded, to transfer the content. Click on the header above for more information.
- No central server
- Content is distributed by active users
- Transferred content is an exact copy of the original
- Content associated with a torrent can not be altered
- Downloads may be stopped and re-started
To get started in torrents, you first need to have a bittorrent client. Click on the header above for a selection of the best free bittorrent clients.
After you have chosen a bittorrent client, there are a few steps to set it up properly to be able to communicate to the other active users and to get the best speeds. Click on the header above for guides for all the bittorrent clients that are (and have been) suggested here at Gizmo's Freeware.
There is over 20 million torrents and over 25 PetaBytes of content available through those torrents. Torrent search sites offer the best way to filter results to find the clean and real content that you want. Since the content associated with a torrent can not be altered, comments and ratings may be used to make sure that what you are getting is the quality you want.
Bittorrent is a decentralized protocol, so the content offered is not from the bittorrent clients, but from independent torrent search sites on the web. There are two pages here at Gizmo's Freeware with information on where to find the free content you are looking for.
- over 20 million torrents in their listings
- over 25 PetaBytes of content
- although there is a great deal of legal content at these sites, there is also content at these sites that is copyrighted and not legal to distribute.
- over 3 million torrents in their listings
- all the content offered at these sites is legal to distribute
This is a listing of some of the other software you will need when using torrents.
Torrent search sites have a great deal of advertisements and scam links. Having a good web browser with an ad blocking addon will help in avoiding these. I strongly suggest reading the above guide and using one of the picks there (other than Internet Explorer) with an ad blocking addon.
Videos in torrents are often encoded in formats that are not usable in Windows Media Player. Using one of the media players in this review will allow you to view, and listen to, all the content available in torrents.
Sooner or later you are going to download something and look in the folder and see files called rar or r01, r02 etc, instead of what you thought you were getting. Those are called RAR files and generally the content you want is there, but those RAR files need to be unpacked. Any of the free products in this review will resolve that issue for you.
If you torrent games, then you will need a virtual drive to run the game from. The free software in this review will allow you to run your games on the computer.
If you download ebooks, then this review will help you find the free software to read them.
Last, but not least, it is important to have proper security software to protect your computer from potential nasties out there. Bittorrent can be safe when properly used, but there is always a chance of malware when downloading anything from the web. The reviews and guides listed here will help you keep, or get, your computer clean. A few suggested reviews:
- Best Free Antivirus Software
- Best Free Firewall
- Best Free Adware-Spyware-Scumware Remover
- Best Free Trojan Scanner and Remover
- Best Free Intrusion Prevention and Detection Utility for Home Use (HIPS) see HIPS Explained
- Best Free Browser Protection Utility - Also read An Introduction and a Quick Guide to Sandboxie
- How to Clean An Infected Computer
- Spyware Removal Guide
Also, check out the Gizmo's Freeware Security Wizard
In addition to the setup guides, above, there are other pages here at Gizmo's Freeware to help with additional features of the bittorrent clients. If there is a feature that you would like help with on a particular client, you may post here or on the help page for that client and I will try to put a guide together
µTorrent & BitTorrent Help - Contains the help articles below and support links
These two clients are identical, so the help pages will work for either.
- Installing µTorrent (or BitTorrent) As A Portable
- Installing µTorrent (or BitTorrent) Without Toolbar and Ads
- Optimizing µTorrent (or BitTorrent) For Speed
- µTorrent Help: Using µTorrent's Torrent Search
- µTorrent Help: Selecting Files To Download
- µTorrent Help: How To Hide & Lock µTorrent
- µTorrent Help: Dealing With ISP Interference
- µTorrent Help: Moving Downloads Into Category Folders
- µTorrent Help: Additional µTorrent Settings
Vuze Help - Contains the help articles below and support links
- Installing Vuze Without Toolbar
- Optimizing Vuze (formerly Azureus) for Speed
- Vuze Help: Installing The Mainline DHT Plugin
- Vuze Help: Adding Search Sites To Vuze Meta Search
- Vuze Help: Dealing with ISP Interference
- Vuze Help: Additional Vuze Settings
qBittorrent Help - Contains the help articles below and support links
- Optimizing qBittorrent For Speed
- qBittorrent Help: The Main Window
- qBittorrent Help: Using the qBittorrent Torrent Search Engine
- qBittorrent Additional Help and Information
Hopefully, this guide has helped in getting you started in bittorrent.
If you have questions or corrections on any of the features listed here, please post in the comments below or at the Internet, Webware & Networking section of Gizmo's Freeware Forums.