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January 19th, 2010, 15:54 GMT By L cian Pa feni

BitTorrentMagnetLinksE plained
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Anyone following the BitTorrent scene has been noticing some interesting developments late technologies in particular have stood out. A couple of them, DHT, PEX, are new ways of find with copies of the file you want to download) without relying on the old BitTorrent tracker s very important to the actual downloads but work mostly hidden from the user who may no they kick in.

Magnet links, on the other hand, are a different story. They have been around for quite a fe most people have started noticing them only recently, notably since the Pirate Bay implem now that the world's first BitTorrent indexer, which relies solely on magnet links, has more people may find themselves wondering how these links work and what are their .torrent files, which are still in wide use, if any. '. o en ' file


For years, BitTorrent clients, trackers and indexers have relied on .torrent files to store information on the files popular p2p protocol. These files are stored by indexing sites and are used by BitTorrent clients to connect to the files hold several types of data, a URL of the tracker site, names for the files it shared, as well as hash codes of files.

All of this is used by the client to connect with peers that have the files in the torrent, or portions of them, and al the downloaded data is accurate. This system has several disadvantages, some technical, but one of the biggest indexers have to store the .torrent files on their servers, which leaves them vulnerable to legal threats if the happens to be infringing despite containing no actual infringing data by themselves. Magne link

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Magnet links though are just links, they have no files associated with them just data. The links are an evolvi developed primarily to be used by p2p networks. They differ from URLs, for example, in that they don't hold in location of a resource but rather on the content of the file or files to which they link. Technically, magnet links a series of parameters containing various data in no particular order. In the case of BitTorrent, they hold the hash va which is then used to locate copies of the files among the peers. They may also hold file name data or links to trac torrent. You can check out he en on Wikipedia for a more detailed technical description.

With magnet links, BitTorrent indexers don't have to store any file at all, just a few snippets of data leaving the apps to do all the heavy lifting. In fact, magnet links can be copy-pasted as plain text by users and shared via other medium. For the indexer sites, the allure is clear, using magnet links makes it harder for them to be accus doing in court. Theoretically, magnet links should not have any disadvantages for the users over .torrent files eith potentially make downloads faster as it would enable the clients to download from peers which have identical files b names, for example. C en limi a ion

In practice though, since the technology is still being actively developed, some kinks still creep up. Up until very r the major BitTorrent clients didn't support magnet links at all. After the Pi a e Ba in od ced hem, this is no l but there are still things to work out. Indexer sites haven't agreed on a single link format, so its up to the clien various implementations. And for the users, the experience isn't on par with using plain .torrent files yet. For exam on the Pirate Bay don't have any additional data on the torrent other than its content so when the link is opened example, the torrent won't have a name or list the files in it.

This leads to a second problem, without knowing the contents of the torrent, uTorrent starts downloading it direc

location, preventing users from selecting a custom location or selecting just some files in a multiple-file torrent. The just temporary set-backs, the recently-launched TorrIndex, the world's first magnet link-only BitTorrent indexe which have additional information like tracker URLs and the torrent's name. And with broader support from BitTo indexers, magnet links will eventually replace .torrent files sooner than you might expect. Upda e: As of January 2012, The Pi a e Ba ha i ched o magne link a exclusively eventually. Most BitTorrent clients also support magnet links now. he defa l option and may

Some of the most popular BitTorrent clients which support magnet links, for Windows: To en is available for download he e. V e is available for download he e. Bi Come is available for download he e. for Mac OS X: T an mi ion is available for download he e. for Linux: T an mi ion is available for download he e.







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Comment #1 by: Bob on 27 May 2010, 02:26 UTC

cooooooooool, let's get this going and post some links!

Comment #1.1 by: Bonnie on 03 Jun 2011, 14:11 GMT

> In fact, magnet links can be copy-pasted as plain text by users and shared > via email, IM or any other medium So can any link to a .torrent file. I do it all the time.
Comment #1.2 by: ColonelB o n o e on 17 Sep 2011, 21:23 GMT

> So can any link to a .torrent file.

> So can any link to a .torrent file. > I do it all the time.

But a .torrent file needs a tracker, unless you're using purely DHT, and a tracker requires a copy of the t thereby putting its owners at risk. You did read the article, right?

Comment #2 by: eli on 12 Jul 2010, 01:19 UTC

this is great. i just tried it from piratebay but does seeding still work cos mine didnt seem as if it was uploading
Comment #2.1 by: ColonelB o n o e on 17 Sep 2011, 21:24 GMT

Seeding definitely will still work, but you won't always successfully connect to other peers. Are your ports

Comment #3 by: da k on 03 Aug 2010, 04:36 UTC

Not a review or an opinion but a question. How do I get Firefox to recognise the Magnet link file type? I tried using one on TPB but my browser just wouldn't have it. Ordinary torrent files are simple to download by comparrison.
Comment #3.1 by: anon on 14 Apr 2011, 13:46 GMT

open utorrent and then go to options and associate magnet files with it

Comment #4 by: coola ice on 10 Aug 2010, 05:33 UTC

how to make a magnet

Comment #4.1 by: Ma k on 13 Aug 2010, 14:59 GMT

I think you need electrical currents for that...

Comment #4.2 by: Anon on 18 Oct 2010, 09:10 GMT

Just google magnet link generator, it's the first result (as of today). Paste the torrent hash on that site th generate maganet link, it'll automatically generate a magenet link for you.
Comment #4.3 by: Cide on 10 Apr 2011, 04:57 GMT

Fffing magnets! How do they work?

Comment #5 by:

am el on 14 Feb 2011, 22:56 UTC

its a good one but the bit torrets are realy slow
Comment #5.1 by: ColonelB o n o e on 17 Sep 2011, 21:25 GMT

They're as slow as the upload speed of the peers you're connected to. I use private sites and my downlo maxed out.

Comment #6 by: Ma

on 17 Sep 2011, 06:56 UTC

Excellent info and very clear explaination! Thanks!

Comment #7 by: lamocco on 09 Dec 2011, 21:53 UTC

good info, will use in future!

Comment #8 by: Anon mo

on 13 Jan 2012, 20:20 UTC

First used a magnet link just now, then decided to find out what they were... Bit silly but no harm done. Now I do delete my .torrent files, so not bad at all.

Comment #9 by: Shihan on 13 Jan 2012, 23:01 UTC

Thank you for the info. Always wondered what the difference was and shied away from magnet links. Happier to u

Comment #10 by: Jill on 14 Jan 2012, 21:57 UTC

"Theoretically, magnet links should not have any disadvantages for the users over .torrent files either. It would al make downloads faster as it would enable the clients to download from peers which have identical files but with d for example."

Not quite. The hash for a bittorrent magnet link (urn:btih) is a hash of the "info" section of the torrent file. payload file(s) that you're actually interested in. So even if someone else has the same file under the same name, will work unless they also have the same "info" section stored in their client. non-torrent file sharing can find indiv based on their hash, but I don't think torrenting can.

Comment #11 by:

opa kingfo m info on 16 Jan 2012, 18:30 UTC

There is no date on your article! In which millennium was it written? Geez... you'd think it would be such a simple
Comment #11.1 by: G e on 19 Jan 2012, 02:16 GMT

top of article

Comment #12 by: G e

1 on 16 Jan 2012, 22:23 UTC

I don't like magnet files because all the little metal pieces keep getting stuck on them and they are hard to clean.
Comment #12.1 by: E a e on 10 Feb 2012, 21:26 GMT

No kidding! I downloaded a magnet link and it erased my hard disk!

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