Thursday, 15 January 2009

Using P2P file-sharing

Disclaimer:  P2P file sharing as a technology is not illegal, however downloading certain file content may constitute a breach of copyright laws.  This website is in no way responsible for WHAT you download - this article is merely to provide instructions on HOW to set up P2P file sharing on your home computer.

First off, you need to install a BitTorrent application.  Downloading BitTorrents is a 2 step process - you download the torrent file, which is a tiny little text file with information in it, and then you open that torrent file in your BitTorrent application which will then go off and find all the "bits" to download the file (these "bits" will be all over the place).

1.      The BitTorrent app I use is Vuze (www.vuze.com) but there are many others.  If you use a Mac you'll need to use something different (Google "BitTorrent Mac").  These instructions are for Vuze - download and install it.

2.      Setup Vuze (Tools, Options, Files - Default directory) to point to a directory somewhere.  If you have limited bandwidth (check what your plan allows before you start this), don't point it at a directory that you actually keep files in, because anytime you run Vuze it will also be uploading those files and most Australian ISPs counts uploads towards your bandwidth limits.  I usually create a Download folder and point Vuze at that, and then store my music, video etc. in a different folder (like My Music, My Video, etc.)

3.      Under Tools, Options, Files, click on Completion Moving and set this to your different folder (ie. My Music or even just My Documents).  This means that when the download is finished, the file will automatically be moved out of your Download folder for you.

4.      Under Tools, Options, Files, click on Torrents and then check the box that says Import new .torrents automatically, point to your Download folder and set the interval to 1min.

5.      The second stage is to find torrent files.  I mostly use EZTV for TV shows and Pirate Bay or btjunkie for other stuff.  There are heaps of other sites - just type torrent whatever in Google or Yahoo and you'll get plenty of results - just be aware some of them may be dodgy sites.  BitTorrents are free, you shouldn't need to join a site or pay anyone money to find them.

6.      Search your chosen site for whatever you're looking for.  When you find it, sort by the Seeds field to see the most popular files - they're likely to be the ones that will work, and they'll download faster.

7.      Save the torrent file to whichever folder you set as your Vuze default (ie. Downloads).  Then when you open Vuze, it should automatically search that directory and start downloading the file.  Alternatively, if you have Vuze open a lot of sites now have a Magnet link, which you can click on and it will open the torrent directly in Vuze.

Good luck!