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Friday, March 16th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms


The question of the day is, “What is a torrent”? And even better yet, “What is BitTorrent”? Well, as you may have guessed, the word “torrent” is derived from the term “BitTorrent.” You may have heard of these terms before, but what do they mean? BitTorrent is actually the file distribution system that the torrents (a.k.a. files) come from. So, how does all of it work? Well, allow me to explain a little more.

The BitTorrent distribution system is mainly used to transfer files around to a network of people. This system is usually used when you’re downloading songs, videos, etc. As you’re downloading a file, BitTorrent then places that file on an upload scale so it can be available for other users as well. So, when more than one person is downloading the same file at the same time, BitTorrent puts the pieces of the file together so that everyone ends up with the whole file in the end. Basically, the first part of the file that you get may be the last piece another user gets.

As the download goes along, BitTorrent continuously uploads the data for all the users. For instance, if the file you’re downloading is at the 95 percent rate, that amount is sent to another user who only has five percent. That way, everyone gets their file downloaded just a little bit faster. Now, I know all of this may seem a little confusing, but if you use this type of file distribution, it somehow all works out. I also want to let you know that BitTorrent has been criticized in the past and some people refuse to use it, but it still is a different way of downloading files. Take it for what it’s worth!

~ Erin

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