What Are Web Seeds? [BitTorrent]

BitTorrent has been around for a while and like every other technology, it has evolved and become better.  DHT, a form of decentralized distribution; Peer exchange, that allows a group of peers to share a file faster and so, several improvements have been made over the base protocol. One such feature called Web Seeding was implemented in 2006.

What are web seeds?

What seeds give the torrent client the ability to download torrent pieces/data from an http source in addition to the swarm. So if you have a file somewhere on the internet, you can simply add its link to your torrent. Now if the swarm is weak, the torrent client will fetch data from the http source. The advantage, of course, is that a publisher can create a torrent of a file which is already hosted on his server and not worry about seeding it full time, while the user can obtain the data directly from the http source or through the torrent. Either way, the user will get the data from the http source. However, if the torrent becomes popular and self-sustainable, the torrent client will fetch data from the swarm and only use the http seed for pieces which are not available or are deficient in the swarm.

This is a very good approach towards file distribution which can be used by artists, producers who distribute their content online. Using web seeds, they can keep their torrents alive for as long as their servers are up. A perfect balance between load-balancing and content availability.

How to use web seeds?

greenshot_2010-11-17_23-30-53Adding a web seeds to a torrent is very easy. If you’re creating a torrent in uTorrent, just add the http (or https or ftp) link to the Web seeds box. Only http, https or ftp links will work. Also, do note that if the torrent has just one file, you can add its http link right away. However, if it’s a directory of files, you can add the http link of the directory in the Web Seeds box and the torrent client will automatically append the file names. If the torrent has just one file, the file names in the torrent and in the web seeds can be different. However, in the second case, where it’s a directory of files and only a http directory link has been given in as a web seed, make sure the file names in the torrent and in the http directory are same, because the torrent client will simply append file name and if they don’t match, the file won’t be web-seeded.

Pro tip: Want to share a file through bittorrent but can’t seed for a lot of time? Host the file on Dropbox and add its public link (or directory link) as a web seed. Your torrent will be alive as long as Dropbox is up (which is always)

Published by

Keshav Khera

Keshav Khera is a young freelance writer from India. Alongside writing for the web, he also attends school and tries not to bunk classes. He keeps interest in music, table tennis, reading and of course, twitter (@keshav)

  • Akshay

    Hey just being sure…
    I would like to ask that if, a file has multiple web-seeds, then how should add them? one immediately below the other or one below the other leaving one blank line…

    • Nerdmasta

      leave one blank line like you do when adding a tracker. also i would assume you can build the torrent or magnet link with it if you tried.

  • dsp4

    Great post, super informative. Thanks.

  • Jordan Pt

    Not sure if the Dropbox tip is morally right, but it’s still genius.

    • I’ve used webseed before and it depends on which client you are using (some utilize webseed in a really shitty way, like performing 4kB partial gets) while some web servers do not support partial GETs nor certain clients like Bittorrent or variations. I am not sure how DropBox handles webseed, but you’d have to test and see from the client end since you don’t have access to the web server logs.

      • David Nunes Pereira

        Could you please put an YouTube link here of what this webpage told us because my English is not very good and I learn more by videos. Thanks.
        I’d like to know more about you said because just reading somethings I don’t understand.
        Thank you again.

  • Guest

    dropbox stopped the public file service and now blocking users


    dropbox stopped that public file option for new users so now they are only being able to share the file with know person. so will it help ?

  • ideaman924

    even though this article suggests uploading the thing to dropbox, why did you make a torrent anyway? cause its big and fat and floors Dropboxe’s ‘nice’ storage limit. 2GB.

    • Jay Turner

      Because Torrents are a quicker download

  • كولار

    What i want to do is to make a torrent for a file that is located only in internet and not in my pc, i know this can be done (Burnbit) but i want to do it manualy in my torrent client.

  • David Nunes Pereira

    It would be better if there would be a website where we could find all the contents and all the different torrents there sorted by language, seeds and more.
    For example: if I have a torrent so I could check in the main website to see if there is the same torrent I have, if not I share there and the website show us how many seeds the torrent has and more. So people could choose the best torrent there.
    Please help me share this idea to someone who can make it work.

    • ramen

      basically piratebay and nyaa combine

  • Kevin Foor

    Thanks Keshav for the very informative answers given about adding web seeds! Helped me out a good bit friend.