Admit it! We've all used torrents to download stuff off the net. Whether it's movies, TV shows, music, games or other shady stuff available on the internet, we all have torrents to thank. It's a life saver of sorts and some people only thrive because of this free boon to mankind. God bless you, internet!
But have you ever wondered: how does a torrent work?
It may seem as if you're just downloading a file off the internet but the actual process is quite intriguing. The first step is to download a client such as uTorrent or BitTorrent which lets you read the torrent file.
For example, if you're looking for a movie, that file will be uploaded on the server in tiny snippets spread all over the world and will be assembled via the client you choose. To keep a tab of these snippets, there is a tracking server which lets you see the origin of each part.
These clients work on a peer-to-peer basis which basically refers to the downloaders and uploaders. The reason why a torrent downloads faster than a direct download is because it is distributed among a lot of servers and not just one central hub.
That's why people ask you to seed the torrents so that others can benefit from your upload.
To understand this process better, here's a video by The Verge: