If you frequently visit and use Bittorrent sites, you should have noticed that there are two types of downloads given for each torrent. One is a magnet link and other is a torrent file. Both of them are used in peer to peer networks but they are completely different from each other while satisfying the same purpose. Today we will discuss the difference between the two and their advantages and disadvantages.
Torrent file is a file with the extension .torrent. You need to download the torrent file to your computer and open it in a bittorrent client in order to start the downloading process. The torrent file makes use of trackers (DHT Networks) which can connect to different peers in order to download the file in parts. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of a torrent file.
- Faster Connection meaning that you’ll be able to connect to peers faster as it is managed by a central tracker.
- Easier to search through web than magnets. You can easily download the torrent files and save them on your computer for downloading later. You can also share the torrent files easily.
- Trackers are needed when downloading a file. If the tracker is down and there are no existing connections, you will never be able to download the file.
- Most torrent clients do not have search functions. You need to find the torrents from the Internet.
- If a torrent file was stored on web for a long time, the tracker may be expired already. It is almost impossible to find currently existing seeds or leechers.
Magnet link is a link in-spite of a file. The magnet link itself contains all the information it needs to identify the peers and start downloading the requested file. The magnet link does not require any centralized authority like a tracker in order to work properly. First let us see how the magnet link looks like. A typical magnet link looks like this:
Lets look at each part of the magnet link individually:
magnet: (The magnet protocol like HTTP)
?xt=urn:sha1 (defines bittorrent hashing information)
YNCKHTQCWBTRNJIV4WNAE52SJUQCZO5C (the content hash)
There are other parameters of the magnet link which you can find in the Wikipedia magnet link wiki.
Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of a magnet link.
- No need to have a central authority like a tracker in torrent file making magnet link a decentralized form of download from the peers.
- The magnet links are platform independent. You only need an application that can read magnet links to start the download process.
- They are more user based and easy to use.
- Sharing resources using a magnet link is relatively easier than a torrent file.
- Most of the apps that support magnet links do have a search function in which you can search any kind of magnet links.
- The performance and speed of magnet links is usually slower than the torrents.
- Less control on speed and downloaded.
You may want to look at the best bittorrent clients which also support magnet links.