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P2P: What You Should Know About Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

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The internet opens doors to many ways to access and share information. Users are often exchanging information and files knowingly or unknowingly. There are endless possibilities when using the internet because of how deep it goes. Peer-to-peer file sharing or network allows computer hardware or software to communicate with another without being physically connected or without using a server. Digital media is shared between individuals who are a part of the networks that allow free allocations of downloaded files.

This method is used by elite technologicalists and nerds to normal internet users due to the fact that it can be used to obtain technology updates, the latest gaming software, recent albums, and films. BitTorrent and Ares Galaxy are file-sharing software that assists in retrieving files in the P2P process. While this software is still rolling, others like Limewire, BearShare and Morpheus are no longer available as they have been legally blocked for it being used to illegally download media.

Torrents

BitTorrent technology was developed with the idea in mind that there needed to be something that helps share information and large files with a larger group of people within a short period of time regardless of location. The system allows a fast process between users by taking a very large file and splitting it between many people or computers. Each person or computer holds a portion so the large file isn’t so large after all.

Torrent files are used all across the world extensively as they allow people to use P2P software without geographical limitations. The internet can become a hive for predators, especially when dealing with file sharing and media downloading so, consider using a VPN to protect your presence online when downloading torrents.

How it works

Through BitTorrent software, requests to download a torrent from seeds are sent out and often received by the user within moments. A seed is defined as the complete file and a peer is granted only a portion of that seed. To make it simple for users to keep track of where the file portions are located, there are things called trackers. Trackers report the size of the file, how many downloads a seed has, and how many peers.

After a file successfully downloads, it must be seeded to other users as well to keep to software working. If you’re holding on to a portion of a file and decide to go completely offline then it will be difficult for others to download the file because they won’t be able to access all pieces of the file. This process is known as leeching. The power of P2P is endless when paired with a torrent client and is often used for collecting and viewing media files.

Best Torrent Sites:

  • The Pirate Bay
  • Zooqle
  • Torrents.me
  • LimeTorrents
  • Redacted
  • PassThePopcorn

Advantages

The most notable advantage to peer-to-peer file sharing and torrents is being able to download and stream your favorite movies and tv shows. This is the most popular use of the software and system. You can see great advantages of downloading a torrent by comparing it to the process of retrieving files from a server. Not only can it be slower but it can create frustration due to that fact that when a server crashes during the download process, the file disappears and you have to start over from scratch.

Working with a torrent allows you the safety of having pieces of a file in different areas so if something does go wrong you know where to find the parts you are missing. This is made possible because your system is not dependent on any physical connections to a server.

Another advantage is knowing that you will not have to wait long for the file to download on your end. The more people sharing the file, the faster your file will download. Working files are only made available due to BitTorrent protocol, so there aren’t any corruptions when getting a file to your computer. The file will always be available to you as long as there are peers sharing the file.

While the internet grows, more people come up with ways to get around certain limitations. The rather new system, called P4P, was created to provide a portal for P2P and make communications between ISPs and P2P applications more smooth and precise.

Disadvantages

P2P has negative reputations and is often thought of as a piracy device that allows users to download illegal content, but this is not the original case. There are always disadvantages when operating software that bends the rules of downloading media and information. Threats of malware is prominent due to the fact that there are several files you are downloading from computers you don’t know of, that can be booby-trapped to infect your computer. It is important to be careful when mindlessly retrieving files as you don’t want to sabotage the security of your computer or other devices.

Is it legal?

Many people will ask this question and the answer simply depends on what your do with the system but determining the legality is easy. Downloading a torrent and using the peer-to-peer file sharing process isn’t illegal in itself, but depending on the use of the torrent determines if it breaks any laws. Downloading files that have been copyrighted and are not owned by you is considered illegal. But if a file has no copyright, you are free to download and share as much as you would like.