Windows Guides Feed

magnet What are Magnet Links? How are they Different from Torrents?Recently ThePirateBay announced they will no longer run their torrent tracker and will be moving to magnet links. Magnet links are an older technology but many people have neither heard of them or use them. This guide goes into the basics of how to use a magnet link and provides information on what magnet links, DHT, and PEX is.

Note: This guide is part of the Windows Guides’ Legal File Sharing Series. If you want to find out more about file sharing, check the topics covered here.

The Basics about Magnet Links

Put simply, magnet links:

  1. Are dependent on data in the file and not file name so more people will share the common file
  2. Store torrent files within the link so the file cannot be lost on a website that goes down

If you’d like a more detailed explanation of Magnet links, DHT, and PEX, read this.

How Does a Magnet Link Work?

Magnet links work just like torrents. First, you’ll need a client capable of opening magnet links.

Now, go to your favorite download site and look for the magnet links:

1 29 2010 10 54 49 AM What are Magnet Links? How are they Different from Torrents?

Click the magnet link (notice the magnet address.)

1 29 2010 10 55 52 AM What are Magnet Links? How are they Different from Torrents?

Your browser may warn you that your file-sharing client is attempting to open the file:

1 29 2010 10 56 16 AM What are Magnet Links? How are they Different from Torrents?

Launch your client and wait for the download to complete.

1 29 2010 10 57 15 AM What are Magnet Links? How are they Different from Torrents?

Once complete, your file is ready to use–just like a torrent.

1 29 2010 11 06 48 AM What are Magnet Links? How are they Different from Torrents?

Magnet files are nothing to be feared and work just like torrents (really they are just torrents that aren’t hosted on file-sharing sites.)

Question for Readers

I tried a few download links and noticed that while downloading the file, I would upload exactly the same file size even though there were no peers (see the screenshot above.) Does anyone know why you upload the complete file and where the uploaded data goes to?



 What are Magnet Links? How are they Different from Torrents?

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix the problems he creates.

Free PC tips by email

Search Windows Guides




Comments

  • D@vid

    Is that legal? Can we face charges for using “Magnet link” for some CDs or Video games???

    • Noemail

      are you freaking serious?

  • http://richr.org/ Rich

    Magnet links are legal. What is transferred using them may or may not be legal.

  • Timmeh

    From what I understand, magnet links don't actually include the .torrent file. Instead, they contain just the hash of the file that's being downloaded, and then through DHT finds other people in the swarm. Your client then requests the .torrent file from one of those other people. Once it has the .torrent file it has the additional info it needs to get your file.

  • http://richr.org/ Rich

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Anoni

    “Question for Readers

    I tried a few download links and noticed that while downloading the file, I would upload exactly the same file size even though there were no peers (see the screenshot above.) Does anyone know why you upload the complete file and where the uploaded data goes to?”

    answer: it goes to another downloader that not detected yet by your utorrents.

  • Unknown

    What if i dont wanna download everything in the torrent?


Computer tips in your inbox
Sign up for the Windows Guides newsletter to get PC tips and access to free Windows books (More details)

Enter your email address:
 

Popular Guides

See which sites have been visited on your PC (even if private browsing mode is used)

Create a Windows 7 System Repair Disc

Best Free Anti-malware

Hibernate vs. Sleep vs. Shut-Down

i3, i5, and i7; Dual, Quad, Hexa Core Processors. How to they Differ?

Intel's Ivy Bridge Processor: new Features

Submit Your Tip
Submit your computer tip to us; receive full credit for all published tips

Comments
Windows Guides on Facebook