File Extension TORRENT
File extension TORRENT is associated with BitTorrent clients, and denotes a file which stores metadata about files available for download via any torrent compatible peer-to-peer (P2P) network. Files shared over the BitTorrent network are split into parts to allow clients to upload and download data simultaneously hence reducing the load on the original source, or seed. The location of these parts is needed by a client to download the complete file, and the resources needed to gather this information are stored in a TORRENT file.
TORRENT files are small text files which are used by BitTorrent clients to initialise the download of other files. TORRENT files typically include the individual filenames contained within a download, the URL of a tracker, which is used to monitor the location and availability of all the parts of the given file, as well as the length of each part and an SHA-1 hash code, which is used to verify the integrity of received data. This ensures that the correct parts are being downloaded and that they have not been corrupted during transfer.
The concept of TORRENT files and peer-to-peer networks are entirely legal and many publishers use the network to promote free games, movie trailers or software. However, the TORRENT file extension has become synonymous with piracy due to the large numbers of illegal games, software, movies and music available via P2P networks. Therefore, it is advisable to check the contents of a TORRENT file before opening it in a BitTorrent client as it could prompt the download of illegal, copyrighted material. TORRENT files are stored in plaintext, so can be opened using any text editor. Usually, filenames are also stored, which will give some indication as to what will be downloaded if the file is opened in a BitTorrent client.
TORRENT files can be opened using any BitTorrent client application, such as BitTorrent, BitLord, uTorrent and Azureus. They can also be opened in Mozilla Firefox with the FoxTorrent extension installed.
TORRENT files are similar in nature to File extension ED2K, which was the equivalent format used to store download link information for files on the former eDonkey P2P network. ED2K files could be opened with compatible clients such as eDonkey and eMule.