If you don’t have much interest in the wider world of IT, there’s every chance that you either haven’t heard the word “torrenting” before or simply don’t know what it means — but it’s something that there’s value in learning about. In this post, we’re going to succinctly detail exactly what it involves, discuss the stigma attached to it, and run through the ways in which it can benefit an online business. Let’s get to it:
What Torrenting Means (and Why Does It Matter)?
Torrenting simply refers to the use of torrents, and in the context of IT, a torrent is a file holding metadata about another file (or files). As part of the BitTorrent system, torrents were designed to change the way downloads and uploads are handled. A traditional file transfer would see each file copied from one system to another in a single chunk, but this has some major drawbacks:
- Any drop in speed from the uploader would drastically slow the transfer.
- A major error in the process would cause the transfer to fail.
- If the source site went down, the file would be unavailable.
When you download a torrent file, though, it starts a different kind of download: one that breaks the contents into numerous pieces, each one has given a unique identifier. If a major error is encountered, it doesn’t cancel the download, because you just need to reacquire the specific piece that caused the error. That’s one of its key advantages.
The other key advantage is that you also upload while you’re downloading. Every torrent has seeds and peers. A seed is a computer that has completed the download but still has the torrent active: anyone still downloading it can use that seed as a source, speeding up their download and making it more stable. A peer is a computer still downloading the torrent, meaning it can be used as a source but only for the pieces it has completed.
One of the key goals of torrenting is to have a good seeding ratio, meaning that you upload as much as you download. If you download torrents but limit the uploading and delete them once you’ve got the files you need, you’ll be rightfully considered selfish by other torrenters.
What About the Stigma Around Torrenting?
Some people are very skeptical about torrenting, because they immediately associate it with digital piracy (illegal file-sharing), and it’s true that torrenting is broadly used to share pirated files — be they movies, games, albums, software suites, or even ebooks. That said, it’s also used for many legitimate purposes. For instance, distributions of Linux tend to be made available as torrents, making them much faster and easier to acquire.
Is torrenting somehow sullied because of the stigma? Are you in danger of falling foul of the law even if you don’t download anything shady? Well, there are two things you should do to safeguard your business. Firstly, you should stick to trustworthy torrent sources (that means steering clear of piracy-themed sites).
Secondly, you should use a VPN to protect your IP address: some of the best VPNs are designed to be used while torrenting, maintaining excellent speeds while obscuring your identity just in case something illegal slips through the cracks.
How You Can Use Torrenting to Your Benefit?
Now that we’ve established what torrenting means, you might wonder about the premise of this post. How can torrenting benefit an online business? Well, there are some notable ways in which you can take advantage of this peer-to-peer downloading technology. Here they are:
1. You Can Speed Up a Computer Setup:
Whenever you hire someone, you may need to get a computer configured for them, and that typically requires the installation of various tools. Those tools could be added to a full system image, but you might not know how to do that — it’s easy, though, to create a torrent containing all the installation files you’ll need, allowing the new user (or the person setting things up) to rapidly acquire them.
2. You Can Get Attention for Your Branded Content:
Let’s say you’ve created an instructional ebook for your brand, offering valuable tips for achieving certain tasks related to your niche. How can you get people to read it? You can add it to your website, certainly, but you can do better than that. That’s where torrenting comes in. If you turn that ebook into a torrent and make it freely available, you might find that curious torrenters pick it up, read it, and start seeding it — cause yet more interest. That can lead to some remarkable brand exposure for very little effort.
3. You Can Share Vast Quantities of Data Internally:
Running a forward-thinking online business today means making the most of the data available to you: everything from analytics to market research. Much of it can be shared through cloud storage (for free if you have low-level needs), but what if you have a truly vast amount but don’t want to pay for enterprise-tier cloud storage? If there are enough computers in your network, you can share data via torrents. That way, you’ll essentially have a combination of local storage and cloud storage.
There you have it, then. We’ve been through what torrenting actually involves, why there’s a stigma attached to it (and how you can avoid it), and how the torrenting system can prove useful to modern online business. If you’ve never downloaded a torrent, why not give it a try? Just be careful which torrent you choose!