How to Torrent (and Why You're a Filthy Sinner for Doing It)

Pff, whatever.


That's what you'll be called if you torrent. You'll be a real scurvy dog, complete with a parrot on your shoulder and all the muskets you can work with your hook hand.

A lot of people think they're cool. Well, guess what? They're not. Pirates are only cool for 5-year-old boy birthday parties. So there.

Despite that, I'm about to teach you how to spot all the filthy, naughty tools that it takes to become one of those eye-patched fools.

What a Gaggle of Losers

What is torrenting?

Torrenting is a peer-to-peer (translation: person-to-person) system where people share information. If Blackbeard has a book, him providing a scanned copy of that to multiple people would be peer-to-peer. Blackbeard keeps the book, but others get their own copies as well. Dirty, toothless gummers.

It's very popular. Very. But if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it? That's right. You probably wouldn't.

"But Phil, how is torrenting a movie different from streaming it online?" Good question, pupil.

A stream would be one person playing one file for you, once. Torrenting would be a number of people giving you puzzle pieces of the movie, which you now have in your possession to watch whenever you like. Also, with torrenting you can choose the quality of movie you download, while streaming will almost always be inferior quality (SD instead of HD, for instance).

The list is endless of what you can download through torrents, too. You totally shouldn't do it, but you could literally get games, movies, (audio)books, music, general programs, operating systems.. like, almost anything digital. Period.

It's incredibly easy, and so is sinning. Do you want to be a sinner? Didn't think so.

What Do I Need?

  1. A bittorrent client - these are to "torrent files" as Itunes is to "Music files." Evil people suggest uTorrent or Vuze.
  2. A Torrent file. This is what you need to get the file you want. Vile Rats suggest looking for them on Kickass Torrents, The Pirate Bay, or Torrentz.
  3. Space on your computer to hold all that badass booty you're about to pirate. I see that look in your eye. At least try to resist the temptation.

Which Torrents are Better than Others?

Ok, when you're looking at these websites, you'll notice a list of whatever you're looking for. Say you want the book, "Steal this Book." When I type that into The Pirate Bay, you'll see a list of torrents with names that fit the search. See to the right ->

Based on this picture, you can see that there are a number of options. Be afraid, it's very simple. Just like the devil wants it to be.

The far right it says "Leech" with a red number listed. These are the people that are currently downloading that file. The green number to the left of it says "Seeds" which are all the people sharing that particular file.

It's a ratio between the two. Simply put: Lots of green, great! Small red, awesome! Lots of green AND few red, the best!

The more people leeching, the slower it will go. The more people seeding, the faster it will go. From this particular example, you'll see that the 5th option down is the fastest because it has 7 seeders (givers) and 0 leechers (downloaders).

I mean, how lame can you be?


Just like the high seas, it is not without risk. Though, unlike the high seas, it's very unlikely you'll get caught if the precautions are taken. It is still totally morally deplorable. You shouldn't do it, ever. I'm only teaching you so that you never, ever do it.

Viruses are extremely rare, as they would be caught fairly quickly by the people downloading, reported, and removed from these sites. It is in these websites' best interest to remove viruses as quickly as possible in order to maintain traffic to their sites. Therefore, it's actually safer than downloading/streaming from random sites you don't know.

It is Illegal. Don't think of the romanticised notion of an outlaw, sneaking away with rich people's things and spreading the wealth like robin hood. Don't think about how cool the words "caper" or "heist" are. If you get caught, you could be charged or fined... though almost no one has ever been successfully prosecuted for pirating.

If you're worried about legal outcomes, then there are places you can go to encrypt what you torrent, making it harder for you to catch. It's not foolproof, but both Utorrent (how to, anyone?) and Vuze (ahem) have ways to make piracy harder to detect. Tricky buggers.

You goddamn sinner, you're going to rot in hell.

Being Picky

Someone sent me this photo of them downloading X-men comics. What a dick. 

You'll note on the right that it says "priority." Just like in real life, this determines which file will be done first. High means first, normal is next, and low is last.

Say you're downloading the first season of Rick and Morty. You want the first episode first, then probably the second and third. The order of the rest doesn't matter because they'll probably be done after the first three have been watched. First episode would be "high," second and third would be "normal" and the rest of the season would be "low."

To change the priority, you can right click and choose from the menu that appears. Also note that you can choose "don't download" for ones you don't want. Which should be all of them.

Note: Priority is always defaulted to "normal."

Getting the File

From left to right: Comments on that particular file, followed by a crown (ignore it), then the magnet. If you have a bittorrent client, the magnet will automatically attach it to there, skipping the torrent file step. It will assume you want all of the files in the torrent. You will have to go in and manually deselect the unwanted ones.

The last of the icons on the left is the down arrow. This downloads the torrent file itself. When the file is opened - supposing you have utorrent or vuze - it'll open the program and show you which files are available. You can (de)select the ones you want, and it'll take it from there.

Pay attention to the "Size." It will often indicate what quality a movie is. For now, 1+GB is somewhere in the High def range, while 500-900MB is usually Standard Definition. "Files" says the number of files in that torrent, "Age" is when it was posted, and I've already explained Seeds and Leeches.

Once It's Done

To manage your torrents, you'll sometimes want to stop them, depending on your bandwidth cap. You'll find buttons like the following:

"Start" will make the file continue downloading or uploading. Bear in mind that completed downloads will automatically start sharing with others. This is how you become a Seeder. 

"Stopping" it will keep your files, and stop using your bandwidth.

"Remove" will give you options: remove the torrent from your program, remove the torrent and the torrent file, and remove the torrent + torrent file + music/movie/book/whatever. As always, it's up to you. You shouldn't do any of this, but hey, information wants to be free and you live in a free country as a free, sentient being. Make good choices!


Careful not to become this SCOUNDREL
  1. Do not get a bittorrent client, like uTorrent or Vuze.
  2. Do not go to the torrent search engines, like Kickass TorrentsThe Pirate Bay, or Torrentz.
  3. Definitely don't get a file that has a high ratio of seeders to leechers (more seeds, that is)
  4. For sure avoid opening that file, or clicking on that magnet
  5. Definitely don't let the file download
  6. Avoid removing or stopping the file once it's downloaded.
  7. Don't enjoy the sinful spoils.
That's it. Be responsible, and report anyone you see who is following the procedures outlined here. Only YOU can prevent forest fires illegal piracy!

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