What Are Magnet Links? How Are They Different From Torrents?

So you heard about Magnet Links and were terrified? What Are Magnet Links? How Are They Different From Torrents? How to Download files using Magnet Links. Are Magnet Links Safe?

Magnet Links

In a world of peer-to-peer sharing, Torrents have come along a long way along. However, Torrents are being deemed as less safer these days because of people being able to easily track them. This has led several websites including "The Pirate Bay" from changing the way they allow users to download files.

Also Read: 6 Tools to Download Torrents Anonymously

The Pirate Bay recently switched from torrents to magnet links marking a big change in how it operates. In a nutshell, magnet links change how users download content. We’ll take a look at what has changed and what you will need to change in order to download files using Magnet links.

What are Magnet Links? What’s the Difference Between Magnet Links and Torrents?

Magnet Links change the fundamental way in which we download from peer-to-peer networks. Unlike Torrents, which needed a centralized server for tracking purposes, magnet links directly download content from other peers thus getting rid of the centralized server for tracking seeds and peers.

Also Read: What Are Web Seeds? 

Magnet links make use of DHT, which is a form of decentralized distribution which allows a group of users to share a file faster amongst themselves without having to rely on a server. There is not much difference between how a file is downloaded from a torrent vs how it is downloaded from a magnet link.

Do I Have to Change How I Download Using Magnet Links?

No. Magnet links are similar to torrent files and if you have a P2P torrent software installed, you will be able to download the content using magnet links without having to change anything. However, you might have to upgrade your P2P software to the latest versions so that the browsers are aware that they should handle those links.

How to Download Files Using Magnet Links?

There are couple of ways in which you can download content using magnet links. The first is pretty straightforward. Just click on the link that is provided and it will launch your default torrent software as shown below. You might want to check the checkbox next to "Remember my choice for all links of this type" or "Always use this software to open such links" so that it will automatically open magnet links in your favorite torrent client.

Download Magnet Links

Clicking on the "Get This Torrent" link in Pirate Bay will automatically launch your Bittorrent application.


Once you open the magnet link, your torrent client will start downloading the content just like a regular torrent. Alternatively, you can also copy the magnet link and add it directly to your torrent client just like you used to do for regular torrents.

Are Magnet Links Safe?

Downloading through magnet links is as safe as downloading a torrent file. However, make sure to download legitimate content and you will be safe. There have been several cases of infected torrents so the files you download through magnet links could be unsafe as well.

10 Most Searched BitTorrent Downloads in 2010

the-pirate-bay2010 was not a good year for those looking for free movie downloads and other not-quite-legal files. Many of the file sharing sites were either shut down or forced to go legit. One of the most popular sites, The Pirate Bay, is one example of the sites being forced offline.

One of the best way to share files online is using the  BitTorrent protocol. Bittorrent shared files are stored across many different personal computers over the internet, making them almost impossible to shut down. Even though a site like Pirate Bay can be shuttered, the BitTorrent shared files are still around, and there are still ways to search for them.

Recently, the TorrentFreak website posted 2010’s top 100 searches for BitTorrent downloads. Here are the top ten items from their list.

1. inception
2. iron man 2
3. 2010
4. xxx
5. french
6. avatar
7. dvdrip
8. despicable me
9. porn
10. clash of the titans

Some of those searches aren’t surprising. Others in the list leave us wondering what people were really looking for. What’s so great about frenchdownloads? If you have some clue, let us know in the comments below.

Here are a few other posts about BitTorrent, in case you are curious.

Torrent Search bar, search torrents from firefox

Best Peer to Peer (P2P) & Torrent Software Clients for File Sharing

How to Open .torrent Files?

Disable BitTorrent Integration in Opera [How To]

The Pirate Bay: Finally Silenced by Hollywood, But For How Long?

6 Tools for Anonymous Torrenting Options

ZapShares Protects P2P Users From Copyright Infringement

ZapShares is a very interesting software based on a very simple idea. Whenever you download content through a Peer-toPeer (P2P) client like uTorrent or LimeWire, the software automatically also starts uploading the content hence distrubuting to other users without the content owner’s permission. This makes you liable for copyright infringement.

If you have ZapShares installed, it simply puts all the downloaded content into a secure vault hence making it impossible to upload/distribute to other users and saving you from potential legal problems. Well, a big assumption in this case is that you have the right to download the content in the first place because if you don’t, you are getting involved in copyright infringement right there.


In addition to this, ZapShares also protects you against several types of malware that creep into your system via these P2P files. It scans your system for these threats and clean them. ZapShares also makes sure that you or any other user of your computer do not accidentally start sharing content on a P2P network. Over all its a great and very useful software but will it really protect you from the copyright infringement lawsuits? I am not too sure!

[Via iLoveFreeSoftware]

Put.io Fetches Content From Almost Everywhere And Brings It Together

Put.io Ever seen the movie The Rundown with Dwayne Johnson playing a retrieval expert? I think that was a great movie. A retrieval expert. What a nice job. Even better if you have someone to do it for you. On the Internet, you ain’t got no Dwayne Johnson. Here, you got Put.io. Put.io is your personal retrieval expert. Say Hello!

Let’s say you download a lot of stuff through different mediums. There’s bittorrent, rapidshare, podcasts, rss feed enclosures, file sharing with friends etcetera. Now imagine if all the content you require from all these different places land up in one single spot on the internet from where you can choose and download whatever you want. Don’t want to download? How about streaming the movie you just torrented? Better? Right.

That is exactly what put.io does. It fetches content from torrents, rapidshare, http, ftp, standard download websites and even scrapes out content from rss feeds and podcasts. You tell put.io what to download; it’s servers will download the file onto themselves and then you can either stream or download the media to your computer through normal http links. You can access and download your data to your computer/iPhone/Web based device anytime you want. You can also conventionally upload files from your computer. It’s like a middleman for fetching content, only this man has got many hands.

If you are fetching torrents with put.io, it’s good to know that after downloading, put.io will also seed it uptil ratio of 1:1, and for those interested to know, put.io is currently experimenting with their server side torrent client and mostly use different builds of Transmission and rTorrent. If you are fetching music, you can stream it right inside the browser. If it is video, you will need the DivX browser plugin (link provided on the video page) to stream the video in the browser. In case you prefer desktop streaming, you should be doing good, as a link for direct streaming via desktop players like VLC is also provided. Entire folders can be downloaded as zip files.

A Bittorrent Download

Put.io has also kicked in on the social aspect of the service. You can mark fellow users of the site as friends and then share files with them individually or with all of them. All it takes is a press of a button. Its servers are connected to the internet through Gigabit ports because of which they can fetch files faster than normal home connections their website says.

Sharing on Put.io

In case you are a media fanatic, you will need to get your fix as put.io has it’s own set of (lenient) limits. You will get a total of 50GB storage and 150GB of bandwidth. Any single file should not be over 20GB and if the servers are high on load, you will be limited to 3 simultaneous downloads (when fetching). Put.io will not extract any archive containing more than 500 files and as for private torrent trackers, not all of them are supported.

Video Player on Put.io

Put.io is currently in closed beta and you will need an invite to get in. Also, there are plans to take the service on a subscription based model where the user will have to pay to use the service. Certainly, after the beta period, put.io will become a paid-for service. So you better sign up now and reap the benefits for as long as they are available.

If you’re thinking This ship is going to sink in its own dockyardthat is something only time will tell. Sure it can be used for downloading copyrighted material and even used as a seedbox, but nonetheless, it is still a middleman*, or a retrieval expert. And as far as I know, retrieval experts are legal in USA ;) On a brighter note, Put.io assures to remove any infringing material from its servers as and when it gets a DMCA complaint.

So that’s all that Put.io is all about. Want in? Keep an eye on invites given away on Put.io’s Twitter.

*Copyright laws flummox me. I should be the last person to be asked about them. Thanks!

Monitor Public Torrent Trackers With Trackon

greenshot_2009-11-27_22-51-42Regular BitTorrent users should know that a public torrent tracker can get a fit of hiccups any time of the day. With recent incidents involving anti-piracy organizations shutting down public and private trackers, it has become increasingly difficult to find open and public BitTorrent trackers that still race through the wild. You never know when a perfectly fine tracker goes down and takes with it, your torrents, unless it’s got life support in the form of DHT.

Even though a torrent can function without using a tracker, taking help from DHT, tracker-less technologies are still bleeding-edge and aren’t mature. So, it is always recommended that a torrent lists one or several functioning trackers.

Trackon is a service to monitor the status and health of existing open and public trackers that anyone can use. Using the list from the website, you can choose the trackers you wish to list in your torrents, going through their status and health. You can arrange the list on the basis of uptime percentage, status and latency. In case you are looking for a safe SSL encrypted tracker, Trackon makes it even easier by listing the trackers that support it.

Trackon (pronounced as dragon, with a T) is based off the Google AppEngine and currently monitors 63 torrent trackers. It also employs an API, documentation for which can be accessed here. Trackon itself is opensource, and its code can be downloaded from here.

UK ISP Virgin Media To Track P2P Torrent Filesharing


Looks like sharing files through torrents is going to become bit of a pain for users of the UK ISP Virgin Media. According to reports in The Register, they have begun testing a new technology to track illegal P2P filesharingon its network.

Virgin Media will trial deep packet inspection technology to measure the level of illegal filesharing on its network, but plans not to tell the customers whose traffic will be examined.

The system, CView, will be provided by Detica, a BAE subsidiary that specialises in large volume data collection and processing, and whose traditional customers are the intelligence agencies and law enforcement.

This is definitely bad news for users who relied on torrents to download both legal and illegal content, as the watchdogs will now have more information on who is downloading what and where.

It would be very wise to stop downloading illegal content now or else be prepared to face some legal actions in near future.

[via The Next Web]

Image Credit

Best Peer to Peer (P2P) & Torrent Software Clients for File Sharing

Peer to Peer or P2P file sharing is one of the most easiest and simplest way to share files online, using P2P you can download and upload files directly to another computer without the need to use a server.


Of course sharing files using Torrents and P2P does require a tracking server, but no information is uploaded to them, the transfer occurs directly from one PC to another.

P2P file sharing allows you to easily share large files without wasting time as downloads and uploads can run simultaneously so users do not have to wait till the entire content is uploaded before they can download it.

In this list we will look at some of the Best P2P & Torrent Software for File sharing.


uTorrent is undoubtedly one of the best software for sharing and download torrent file. This big daddy also supports UDP tracking in the latest beta release uTorrent 2.0.

uTorrent is very lightweight and also supports downloading torrents using a web interface. If you are looking to deal with torrents don’t look any further than uTorrent.

uTorrent can work both on Windows and Mac.

Here are some helpful articles that will help you tweak and uTorrent.


BitTorrent is the original torrent sharing software that started it all. This simple client allows you to quickly download and share media with other users. It also provides users with DNA Acceleration and is optimized for next-generation devices.

Like uTorrent, BitTorrent is lightweight and easy to use. BitTorrent sports a no-frills minimalistic interface and provides fast downloads.

Azureus aka Vuze

Azureus is a Java based torrent download client that also supports plugins. It also consists of power search feature which allows you to search content. In addition to that it has login support for private torrent trackers.

You can also discover high quality HD videos on the Vuze HD network using the same client. Azureus was very popular at one point of time, but uTorrent definitely took its thunder.


has inbuilt torrent downloading support. You don’t even have to install any third party software to download torrents and can do it all with Opera.

You can manage and download all the torrents using Opera. Comparatively it is less feature rich, but definitely worth using.


LimeWire has been around for a long time, it now incorporates both P2P and BitTorrent downloading.

LimeWire allows you to create and share lists of files with your friends, download BitTorrent files, spam filtering in search results and virus protection.

You can either download a free version or go for more features with a paid version of LimeWire.


iMesh claims to be the ultimate P2P file sharing community which provides users instant access to over 15 million free songs & videos and over 4 million original high quality songs licensed from the record labels.

Downloading songs & videos from iMesh is 100% legal and you can also listen to songs on your iPod classic and nano.

Other Notable P2P/Torrent Software

Additional Peer to Peer (P2P) and Torrent Articles

Do you use any other P2P/Torrent clients to share and download content? Do let us know through your comments.

How To Backup And Restore uTorrent Settings

[Windows] µTBackup (uTBackup) is a simple and nifty utility that lets us backup all our uTorrent settings and program configuration files and later import them into another installation. uTBackup also backs up all the torrents that you have loaded into uTorrent and makes the task of backing up super easy.

You will need to backup uTorrent data in case you are shifting all your data to another computer/operating system. And keeping a backup is also recommended at all times just in case something wrong goes with your system and it is not able to restore the data itself. It happened once with me, and I lost all my torrents. Anyhow, uTBackup solves this problem now.


You won’t need to install anything. uTBackup is a simple exe file that works wherever you take it (i.e It’s portable). Once opened, click the Backup uTorrent files’ option. A dialog box will open where you will select the location the backup will be stored. Give the backup file a name and select save. The backup file will be bearing the extension .utb

uTBackup will backup your uTorrent preferences, settings, labels and other configurations. It will also backup all the torrents loaded into the application. Whenever you need to restore the backup, just run the utility, click the Restore option and select the backup file. Your data will be restored.

Note: Make sure that uTorrent is closed completely when backing up or restoring data.

If you don’t want use another utility to backup data, you can also do this all by yourself without using any software. The folder that uTBackup backs up is located at %APPDATA%\uTorrent that becomes

Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\uTorrent

Windows Vista: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\uTorrent

You can simply copy these folders, archive them into a zip file and store them somewhere else. That’d create your entire backup and you can restore it simply by pasting the folder back. (The application data paths should be as mentioned above, unless you changed them while installing uTorrent.)

As FileShareFreak mentions, uTBackup isn’t officially supported for Windows XP, but it runs alright. I tested it on XP and it works great. Although, to make it run on XP, you’d need Windows Installer 3.1 and .Net Framework 3.5 installed. You probably have them, if not, install them from the linked pages.

Also worth noting is that uTBackup DOES NOT backup the downloaded data of the torrents, it only backs up the meta torrent files (the .torrent files)

Download uTBackup [via]

Boost/Increase P2P and Torrent Download Speeds

By default, Windows allows only 10 half-open connections at any time. Such a limit is imposed to decrease the chances of a worm spreading incase the machine is infected. This also decreases the internet connection’s speed by a certain level. But if you already have a good level of security measures applied, removing this limit does not pose any risk. Torrent downloading speeds are also affected by this limit. Nobody likes sluggish downloads, so P2P Turbo is here to our rescue.

How to Boost P2P and Torrent Download Speeds

P2P Turbo is a small utility that makes the task of increasing download speeds effortless. It increases the open connection limit and thus increases internet speed by a significant degree.



Upon selecting the Torrent client you use and connection type, you’ll have click on the scan button which will scan your computer for the network settings that have been enabled. It will then tweak your network settings and create a better environment for p2p downloading. P2P Turbo supports many popular torrent clients like BitTorrent, Limwire, Bitcomet etc.


Within the Advance Settings dialog, you can actually select how many open TCP connections you want, P2P traffic priority, connected peers per seed and lot more settings which not only affect your p2p downloading speed but also normal http downloading speed.

P2P Turbo doesn’t require any installation. Just run the exe file and go tweaking!

Download P2P Turbo [Via Megaleecher.net]

OpenBittorrent: An Open & Universal Bittorrent Tracker

Since The Pirate Bay has been acquired by Global Gaming Factory a Swedish Software firm, there has been a lot of news that The Pirate Bay will go legit or take up a paid subscription based format where users will have to pay monthly. Many people have considered this move to be a fall of the Pirate Bay. After all, it was the Pirate bay!

But fear not, a single torrent tracker can’t take down the whole P2P world. The Pirate Bay’s descendent may have already seen the light of the day or let me say, the url of the internet.

We are talking about OpenBittorent. Let us check out what it is.

OpenBitTorrent is a bittorrent tracker free for anyone to use. You don’t need to register, upload or index a torrent anywhere, all you have to do is to include the OpenBitTorrent tracker URL in your torrent.


Unlike other Torrent trackers, you won’t need to upload your torrent to some torrent indexing site. OpenBittorrent aims to be an open and stable torrent tracker, that anyone can use, without any dependency on another site for the torrent to work.

So next time you create a torrent and use OpenBittorrent for the tracker, you won’t need to index your torrent to a site. Just put in the torrent, pass it and continue the spirit of sharing. These are urls for the OpenBittorrent tracker. You can use either one of them or both:


And for those who don’t know how to create a torrent, follow this guide that Keith wrote some time back. How To Create and Share .torrent Files?