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How to Download and Use Torrents

Someone may have told you to download that video, document, song, etc. using a torrent. Maybe you have an idea of how it works but you've been told you'll tons of viruses if you use torrents, so you haven't even tried.

Or maybe you do know something about torrents but you've tried before and it didn't work out very well for you.

No matter what has led you here, follow this guide to learn how to download torrents the right way.

What You Need to Use Torrents

These are all the necessary components you need to download files from torrents. Whether you're getting (legal) movies, games, videos, music, photos, etc., ensure you have these free resources:

  1. A torrent website (for finding the torrent)
  2. A free antivirus program (to stop possible viruses)
  3. A VPN service (optional - for anonymous torrenting)
  4. A torrent client (for downloading the torrent)

Before getting any of these things, be sure to read through this walkthrough to see how you'll be using them:

Example Walkthrough

Below is an example you can follow to learn how to download torrents. This is the method I use for getting free, legal files:

Find the torrent for the file you want to download:

Say you want to download the software Ubuntu. You'd first need to find where to get that torrent before you can learn how to actually download it.

For this, we'll visit one of the sites from my large list of torrent websites. All of these sites are free to use, and most are very simple to work with, but I personally prefer Kickass Torrents.

Once there, I'll search for the software I want, which is Ubuntu. So I'll make a search for it in the search box, like this:

As you can see, there are few versions of Ubuntu here. This is because many different people can upload the same program, video, document, song, etc., and it's up to you to get the one you want.

There sometimes will be hundreds of the exact same file, so it's sometimes important to read the comments (if there are comments) to see what other users have said about the file, like if it's genuine, virus-free, works correctly, etc.

It's also important to check that the "seed" count is high enough for you to actually download the file. If a torrent has 20,000 seeds, that means 20,000 computers have that exact same file downloaded, and those computers are sharing it with the world. If a torrent has zero seeds, then no one is sharing it, which means you can't download it.

As you can see in the above screenshot, the Ubuntu version at the very top has 186 seeds. This means nearly 200 people have the full file already downloaded on their computer and they're sharing it with other people.

It may be desirable to click on the torrent for more information so you can see the file that will be downloaded when it's all said and done. As you can see below, this torrent will download one .iso file, which I know is correct because Ubuntu is an operating system that must be installed to a disc:

We'll grab this first torrent because the comments seem good, it's been up for a few months and there are plenty of people who have already downloaded it in full.

Make sure you have a good antivirus program:

Before we download this torrent, we want to make sure we have an antivirus program that's good enough to block viruses and malware from infecting our computer.

There are plenty of portable antivirus programs and on-demand virus scanners available (and even lots of non-free antivirus software), but most of those require you to manually start a scan, which is great but not ideal when downloading files from the Internet.

Your best option is to get a free antivirus program that is always running and checking for viruses so that if you download something that could negatively affect your computer, the program will catch it and block it before it can do any harm.

See this large list of the best free antivirus programs to find one you can use. I highly recommend Baidu Antivirus.

Protect your privacy with a VPN service:

You can skip this step if you'd like, but if you're worried about your Internet Service Provider watching what you're downloading, you can subscribe to a VPN service. A VPN service is a Virtual Private Network, which will encrypt your data and hide who you really are when you're downloading these torrents.

See this list of VPN services to find one you like. There are dozens of free ones there as well as ones that cost and have more/better features. My favorite is Private Internet Access because it's cheap and has great features.

Note: All all VPN services let you download torrents.

Download the torrent to your computer with a torrent client:

Now that you have your torrent ready and are protecting your computer with an antivirus scanner, it's time to actually use the torrent.

Since we're using Kickass Torrents, we can just copy the torrent file like this, by right-clicking the download button:

This copies the .torrent file, which is what we'll use in a torrent client to get the file we're after. If you'd rather download the .torrent file to your computer instead of copy the link, you can simply left-click that download button. Either way will work for most torrent clients.

There are plenty of clients available, which you can download here. Some of these torrent programs need to be downloaded to your computer like a regular program, but others can be used online without having to download the software.

uTorrent is a popular one that needs to be downloaded to your computer, while Filestream and ZbigZ are online ones that you can use. Be sure to follow those links in the previous sentence to learn more about how those services work, what limitations they have, and so on.

For example, ZbigZ has a limitation as to how large the torrent can be. Since the Ubuntu file we want is over 1 GB in size, we can't use ZbigZ since it's max torrent size is 1 GB.

We'll use uTorrent for this example, instead.

If you copied the torrent link, then in uTorrent, go to File > Add Torrent from URL, and paste the link in there like this, pressing OK when finished:

If you downloaded the .torrent file instead of copied it, go to File > Add Torrent..., and then find the .torrent file on your computer. Click Open to get started.

A new window will open in uTorrent that asks where you want to save the file you're downloading. In our example, it asks us where we want to save Ubuntu. It tells us how much hard drive space is required, and lets us modify lots of network settings.

To get started, however, we'll skip over those specific settings found in uTorrent and instead just start the torrent download.

Click the OK button to start downloading the torrent. You can see that the .iso file is what is actually downloading from the "Name" section of uTorrent in this screenshot, just like what we saw above on the Kickass Torrents website.

uTorrent lets you stop or pause the torrent download at any time, and you can keep track of advanced stats like how fast the download speed is running, when the download should be finished, and more.

Scanning for viruses when you're done:

You may want to scan for viruses when you're finished downloading a torrent and before you open the file(s). This is in case your antivirus software didn't catch something.

I recommend the first two programs on this list of free on-demand scanners. They're both free and easy to use. Just open one of them up an scan in the download folder that you downloaded the torrent file(s) to.

If you'd rather not install a virus scanner to your computer, but still want to check your downloads for malware, check out this list of free portable virus scanners.

Let me know if you run across any problems while downloading torrents, and I'd be happy to help you out.

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