After that thread that OSW locked, just realised how many people don't know how torrents actually work. How they work Most people if not all should know what exactly peers and seeders are, but most aren't clear on how the system works. so the easiest example would be that you've come along and downloaded a torrent, left it seeding a good while until you're the last seeder. and 5 people come along wanting to download said torrent. so this is what its looking like right now, for reference, you're the black dot, the tracker is the yellow dot and the peers are the blue dots. Your upload speed is 100kb/s. what is actually happening is, your torrent client is telling the tracker that "i've got these files for people to download and i can upload at 100kb/s", the seeder's torrent clients have connected to the tracker asking "I'm looking for these files, are there any seeds out there that has them?". Naturally the tracker would split your upload evenly so each person would get 20kb/s. So, all the tracker is, is a middle man of sorts. the files you want aren't hosted on trackers, nothing is, if no one is connected to the tracker, then its blank, nothing on there at all, zip. imagine a service like craigs list or ebay, they aren't selling the items, other users are, all they do is act as the middleman. so lets change it up a little, using the same example as before. as you can see, #1 is at 90% downloaded and can upload at 300kb/s, #2 is at 60% and can upload at 100kb/s e.t.c Its not a very realistic example but it should suffice. So lets say #1 was downloading for a good while to get to 90%, #2 and #3 jumped on and now #4 and #5 are just starting. What's happened was #1 was the sole downloader for awhile, got to say..... 85% pretty easily with you uploading at 100kb/s, but then #2 jumped on board and communicated with the tracker, the tracker said "Look, there's a seed and a guy who's at 85%, you can download from both of them". so for awhile #2 got #1's full upload speed and the speed split from your connection. so if it was perfectly even (probably wouldn't be) , #2 would be downloading at 350kb/s, during that time #1 got to 87.5%, #2 got 30% and then #3 hopped on. same as before, #3 would recieve data from you, #1 and #2 at a split speed. and it just goes on. Lets take it back to when it was just #1 and #2 for a bit. most trackers now will allocate different portions of the data to different peers, so what would be happening is, #1 would be getting some data and #2 would be getting the rest or different data. This is so #1 can download from #2 and vice versa, this speeds it up a little for both of them. its also known as swarming. Tracker splits the data up into different sections and sends the peers all different sections, and then each peer downloads from each other whatever sections they need. Another thing some trackers like to do is split peers and seeders into smaller groups, also known as initial seeding, some trackers do it automatically, otherwise when you create the torrent, there's usually an option for it. Example situation, 1 seeder, 400 peers. the tracker would put the 1 seeder with 20 random peers, another 20 random peers for those 20 peers in the group and so on. So while, the original 20 peers would be getting the data (swarming) from the seed, they would also be uploading to their own 20 and each other. this method relies heavily on people having their upload opened up, otherwise you could be connected to a bunch of idiots and not actually get what you want for a lot longer. even though this is method is fairly chancey, it works out better for the uploader, less wasted upload. So from here you should be able to understand why torrent sites tend to stress leaving your torrents on and seeding them. if no one is seeding a torrent, its impossible to finish the torrent. its possible to get to 99.999999999% but not possible to get the remaining data. people can't get you what they don't have. the torrent system is very dependant on other users, most people think they can get away with downloading and leaving, but that just makes it worse. especially if you're part of the initial swarm or group of users. there's 1000 other people waiting for you to finish so that their speeds can rise a bit and finish but you pull out and then their speeds drop again because they have to connect to another seed/group. Private Trackers So you might ask, why are private trackers so much better? simply, everything on a private tracker is much more anal but not in a bad way, in guarantees your speeds as well. there's the matter of ratio's, most private tracks (read: good ones) have a ratio policy where you need to keep above a certain amount ( usually around 0.1-0.2), this forces you and everyone else to contribute back a certain amount, so it means everyone is going to be vying for upload. thus you'll be downloading at a good speeds. there's active cleaning of dead torrents, making sure you'll be able to get the files you want, albeit at a slow speed (seeder could be handling a number of other torrents at the same time or something). Smaller communities, they're harder to get into, unless you know people. This means there aren't as many "noobs", hitting and running or blocking up their upload. Some of the private trackers are where p2p groups do release their uploads, so some places you can get them before they come out anywhere else (e.g a cat that is black that also happens to own a few games often gets releases there.) Getting practically anything you want from what the tracker is based on. if its a tracker dedicated to music, its pretty likely that there will be v0, v1, v2, flac, CBR (192-320) e.t.c copies of whatever you want, if its not there, its free upload for you as there are collectors lurking the better ones. ________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________ hopes this clears things up for people. it won't change how deplorable public and some bigger name private trackers are, but this should at least give people a better idea of how they work and why they're in such bad conditions. I'll be happy to answer any questions people might have about torrents or torrent programs.