You know how frustrating it is. You’re looking for a movie, but it’s not on any streaming services. Maybe you’ve planned a movie night with friends or a romantic night in, and it’s all heading downhill. Luckily, there’s a solution: torrenting.
You may have heard of torrents and know of its association with piracy. However, there’s nothing illegal about torrents in and of themselves. The protocol is perfectly legal to use and can offer faster downloads than using your web browser.
There’s a vast array of program torrents, free music torrents, and movie torrents.
The process of torrenting used to be very arcane. Today, programs are slicker, trackers are easy to navigate, and the whole process is easier.
Ready to access an almost-unlimited world of entertainment? Then read this torrenting guide and start enjoying the best filesharing has to offer.
Step 1: Pick a Torrent Client
Before you can grab a torrent file and start downloading, you need a torrent client.
This is the program that decodes instructions from the torrent file and manages the download. You can’t just torrent from within your web browser.
There is a wide selection of different clients. Back in the day, BitTorrent was the only client worth having. Today, there are far better alternatives.
Torrent Clients for Windows
Our top clients for Windows are:
- μTorrent: this client is famously lightweight, and won’t slow your computer down. It’s not got the simplest interface and has bloated in recent years, but it’s still a solid pick: https://www.utorrent.com/
- qBittorrent: if you’re looking for the simplest client, qBittorrent is the answer. If you’re a complete beginner or don’t have great computer skills, grab it here: https://qbittorrent.org/
- Deluge: this is the Firefox of torrent clients. It’s free, open-source, and easily customized. You can grab it here: https://deluge-torrent.org/
Torrent Clients for Mac
Our favorite clients on macOS are:
- Folx: an incredibly versatile client that also doubles as a download manager, Folx is exclusive to Mac. It’s available here: https://setapp.com/apps/folx
- Transmission: a lightweight client that’s available for both Mac and Linux, Transmission is free, simple, and easy to use. Download it from https://transmissionbt.com/
- All the Windows clients we listed above are also available for Mac.
Advice for Linux Users
If you’re a Linux user, this torrenting guide’s recommendation is to stick with Transmission. It’s included on Ubuntu-based distros and is perfect for Linux.
Step 2: Find a Torrent Site
Probably the most important part of this torrenting guide, this is how you’ll find your downloads. Torrent sites maintain listings of available files. When using a torrent site, you’ll search for what you want then grab either a torrent file or a magnet link, which your client uses to download the files.
While you’ve probably heard of sites like The Pirate Bay, 1337x, and Rarbg, these sites contain copyrighted material. Downloading material from these sites, for example, can land you in serious legal trouble.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of legal torrent sites:
As you would imagine, Public Domain torrents features a range of entertainment that’s in the public domain. You can browse torrents for classic movies and B-movies that are almost impossible to find anywhere else.
Looking for feature films or free music torrents? The Internet Archive features a huge range of media, all available to legally download for free.
As it says, this site is legit. You can find everything here, including music, films, anime, and rare torrents of book collections.
Step 3: Downloading
Downloading a torrent is simple. When you’ve found the torrent that you want to download, click the download button. One of two things will happen: your computer will save a .torrent file that you can use your client to open or a magnet link will be opened.
Either way, your torrent client should spring into life. You’ll be presented with a series of options. You can choose which files to save and where you want to save them to, most importantly.
When you’ve confirmed these options, hit the download/save button at the bottom of the window. Your torrent will begin downloading.
The interface in your client will show you the ETA (time left to download), how much of it has been downloaded, and your download speed.
Once it’s finished downloading, open up the folder you saved them to and enjoy your files!
Torrenting for Dummies: Additional Advice
We’ve covered the basics in this torrenting guide, but we wanted to give you some extra tips on using torrents.
Consider Using a VPN
Even if you’re using perfectly legal torrents, some ISPs throttle torrent downloads. While this is annoying, there’s a way around it.
If you use a VPN, no one, not even your ISP, can see your traffic. We’d recommend picking a VPN that doesn’t keep logs of your activity for additional privacy. Some good providers include NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Private Internet Access.
Look at the Comments
Received internet wisdom would have you believe that comments sections should be avoided. In general, that’s true, but torrent sites are an exception.
Take a look at the comments on any torrent that you’re about to download. If there’s malware lurking in the torrent or the media is low quality, it’s likely that someone will have said so.
Only Ever Download from Trusted Sites
While there is a huge selection of torrent sites, only a handful are worth downloading from. A good rule of thumb is that if you’ve never heard of a site, don’t download any torrents from it.
Stick to the legal torrent sites that we’ve listed above and other well-known sources.
Torrenting Guide: Final Thoughts
With this torrenting guide, we hope that you’re now ready to start enjoying torrents. They offer unparalleled access to entertainment, far more than streaming services. Now that you know how to use them, you’ve got everything at your fingertips.
Do you want to learn more awesome tech skills? Then take a look at the how-to section of our blog where you’ll find guides for almost every skill set.