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File Extension

TORRENT File Format

BitTorrent file

TORRENT file format icon

TORRENT is a file extension for a BitTorrent file format used by BitTorrent clients. Torrent files contain text and point out the trackers for a download to begin downloading from distributors (known as seeders) and requesting clients (known as leachers).

BitTorrent is a content distribution protocol that enables efficient software distribution and peer-to-peer sharing of very large files, such as entire movies and TV shows, by enabling users to serve as network redistribution points. BitTorrent allows sharing of downloaded portions of a torrent that other users have not yet fully downloaded.

BitTorrent's protocol has been described as a "swarming, scatter and gather" file transfer protocol. Rather than having to send a download to each customer requesting it, the seeder of content sends it to one requesting client (known as a leach) who, in turn, shares with other leaches who, if following etiquette, remain connected to seed the completed torrent to other leaches.

The BitTorrent distribution scheme spreads out the use of bandwidth across many points on the Internet, reducing the need for large servers. 

Bram Cohen wrote BitTorrent in Python and made it available in 2001. BitTorrent is distributed freely under an open source license.

MIME type: application/x-bittorrent

 

Learn more about TORRENT files:

Visit the BitTorrent webpage.

See questions and answers about peer-to-peer at IT Knowledge Exchange.

You can download BitTorrent here.

This was last updated in August 2010
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