Torrents & Magnets with dropbox

Bit torrent is changing if you hadn’t noticed already…

Torrent files are going the way of cds while magnet links are taking over.

When you download a .torrent file, you’re essentially downloading a small file that contains information on the larger files you want to download. The torrent file tells your torrent client the names of the files being shared, a URL for the tracker, and more. Your torrent client then calculates a hash code, which is a unique code that only that torrent has—kind of like an ISBN or catalog number. From there, it can use that code to find others uploading those files, so you can download from them.

A magnet link does away with the middleman. A magnet link is essentially a hyperlink containing the hash code for that torrent, which your torrent client can immediately use to start finding people sharing those files. Magnet links don’t require a tracker (since it uses DHT, which you can read more about here), nor does it require you to download a separate file before starting the download, which is convenient.

Magnet links are certainly a lot better in many cases, the piratebay demonstrated this by fitting the whole site into a 90meg file. But I have a problem which I don’t seem to be able to find a answer for…

Torrent files + Dropbox is a killer combination, it means no matter where you are as long as you got a internet connection you can fire up your torrent system without messing with firewalls, etc. As we move to Magnet links, that infrastructure just crumbles and everyone seems to suggest the hole in the firewall solution.

So if anyone knows a better way to replicate dropbox + torrents or a solution which doesn’t require punching a hole in my firewall, I’m all ears, like many people…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.