BitTorrentFAQ

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We migrated to a new wiki installation in mid-February 2013. Create a new account! The important pages were imported and the spam was left behind.

Where are these questions/answers from?

Originally some of the Q&A was collected from the old BitTorrent mailing list (which died in 2005) and some started here. However, the vast majority of the questions have been posed and answered directly on this wiki. Continue to do so! :)

NOTE: No one is in charge of the wiki content. The BitTorrent community is creating this FAQ. Big thanks to everyone in the community!!

Other FAQs and tutorials to check out: wiki.etree.org.

List_of_BitTorrent_sites === Bittorrent search engines ===

Is there a bittorrent for FreeBSD, and how can I use it as a background process?

Yes, the BitTorrent client is available as a port (/usr/ports/net-p2p/py-bittorrent).

How can I use BitTorrent from a console or as a background task in Unix/BSD?

See this convenient BASH script to run bittorrent as a daemon . Also look into using the unix command screen.

How can I create .torrent files using only the programs in the BitTorrent source distribution, without using a GUI?

The command line is "btmakemetafile.py blah.iso http://tracker.abc.xyz:6969/announce". Turns out the "/announce" MUST BE PRESENT in order for the resulting .torrent file to work correctly.

Download stuck or very slow for hours

A: Usually means you want a file the has very few or intermittent seeders and peers. You can end up waiting for hours or days for someone to come back online with the chunks of the file you need to finish. Many clients display the number of seeders and peers and availability of the torrent.

How can I determine my maximum upload bandwidth, so I can set the max to 75% of that?

A. Best method, Isp's have a link somewhere on their website to perform a bandwidth/speed test which takes less than a minute. Other method, search for 'speed test' careful not to download and install unnecessary software some try to trick you. Tests wont be very accurate if anyone else is busily using your connection at the moment.

About VPN and other ways to avoid file sharing troubles

Ipfilter support is built-in to clients such as Utorrent. Anybody that is really after you can change their ip in a flash. Ends up blocking like 10,000 legitimate peers for every boogie man. Bittorrent needs to develop a trust network and client features that log ip that never send any files and share that info with the trackers. They all use the same outdated poorly maintained list of IP's. Another good way to get some sucker to click on an ad or install spyware. Turns out the IPfilter list maintainer charges a yearly subscription for an additional government and anti-p2p section. Window XP SP2 on up have built advanced firewall that could implement the list, but that would put Peerguard Peerblock and whatever out of a job.

VPN is a secure but expensive for protection from trouble if you have it configured properly and can really trust a VPN provider. Originally VPN's were used by corporate and government workers, to work remotely and the VPN service was provided at the central company or organization.

I kind of panicked when a fairly accurate list of files I had downloaded with dates and my ip showed up on a web site. You may to shortly if the bittorrent attackers are active and logging. As you might imagine bittorrent is not as flawless as intended. Now comes link to a technical youtube video by a very knowledgeable geek currently working for Facebook that demonstrates a huge flaw in one aspect of bittorrent technology. I am glad he made the video, it does not mean he disovered the flaw in bittorrent. The other link is to dubious business that may attempt to extort money should attempt to contact them to remove any file listing or they may be motivated by rewards from the motion picture and recording henchmen. Any savvy programmer with networking knowledge is capable of the same feats. Many clients have a feature to disable DHT completely. DHT is not the only way but is obviously the easiest way without cooperation of a tracks to obtain this information. Certainly, disabling DHT will affect file share more or less as well as keep these whack-jobs from tracking you the easy way, generating increased bandwidth on the trackers sadly, but most of all put pressure on the bittorrent authors to implement some kind of fix if possible. DHT flaw pt 1 DHT flaw pt 2 If you visit the following site and are not listed when you expect you would they may not be active or you ip may have changed which does not mean you are safe, do you keep track if your ip ever changes and when, anyway. Scaneye.net is likely using this open source program Clearview

Is there work going on to help BitTorrent be used for streaming media? I'm assuming it's not useful now because it doesn't try to get the beginning of the file first.

A: There already are several efforts underway in other projects, the most prominent being [1], [2], [[P2P-Radio|Streamerp2p], Skype [3]and Joost [4]. They use a similar idea to BitTorrent in that 'clients' can also become 'servers', but the model is different because the clients generally just help retransmit the feed they are receiving from an upstream server.

- BitTorrent's performance depends strongly on each client requesting 'different parts of the file from the seed. This gives each client something to trade with other clients (that they don't already have), making every client valuable to every other. Unfortunately, streaming has the opposite behavior: everyone wants the first part of the file first, etc. See Bram Cohen's article Bit Torrent Economics.

Is there any way to limit transfer rates/bandwidth

A: Yes, imagine that your connection to internet is like a unusual highway where the traffic travels very fast one way (download) and substantially slower the other way (upload). Every so often the client must tell the sender that it has received a good chunk of the file. If you have your upload speed set to the default of 0 which means unlimited and you are uploading at your max rate it will slow your download speed. Because the response to the sender for downloaded chunck is waiting on an upload chunk to finish. Family or friends sharing the connection will be affected by the client running unlimited up or down. Many clients have options to limit bandwidth.

If a torrent contains more than one file, is there a way to download only selected files?

Yes, most clients have this option, see the help file or author's website.

Is there a way... if the download is a movie... to cut the file... I really don't care to watch the last 2 minutes of the movie (the credits and so on). So the question is; Is there a way to cut the file at 97.6%, and watch it?

A: Note that BitTorrent divides a download into many pieces, and requests those pieces in any order, so the last 2.4% you download probably isn't from the end. Also important is that many types of video files just won't play if the end of the file is missing or truncated - the player sees them as damaged.

Why did all of the big search sites go down around June 1, 2003? Did hackers/virus/worm take down these search sites? Was it Aliens? Slashdot... again?

A: Chilling Effects http://torrentfreak.com/ provide up to the minute information on the on-going battle between bittorrent users, trackers, and the Motion picture and recording industry.