o how does BitTorrent get files from the internet on to your PC? First, install a BitTorrent client on your PC like uTorrent. Once done, browse the web for sites hosting links to special files with a .torrent extension. These are very small, and simply contain information about the file you wish to download.
Double-clicking a .torrent file should open a link to a central server (called a "tracker") on the internet, which has details about the file and other computers currently downloading or sharing it (collectively known as a "swarm").
These details are then downloaded to your PC, which enables it to make direct contact with the other members of the swarm to start downloading the file. The file itself is split into smaller chunks, and those segments are traded between members of the swarm (multiple segments can be downloaded and uploaded simultaneously to maximise bandwidth use and improve performance). Once all of the chunks have been downloaded, they're reassembled into the original file.
Best - and safe - torrent sites
Looking for a good site to locate torrents? Vuze users - see below - can search from within their application, but other BitTorrent users need to scour the web for safe, reliable and preferably spam-free sites.
Start your search at ISOHunt (click here
), which is updated on an hourly basis to provide the latest information about the files available. Also take a look at Mininova (click here
), which is also light on the ads and enables you to filter searches by category, such as software, movies and music.
If you want to avoid anything legally dubious, search at http://www.youtorrent.com
, which specialises in providing links to legal downloads. For more Torrent sites to consider, check out About.com's top 35 torrent sites as provided by its readers - click here
to access it.