If you’ve ever asked a friend how to download files on BitTorrent, the term ‘seeding’ is always part of the conversation. You may have friends telling you “Don’t forget to seed those torrents!” a hundred times at least. But what exactly is seeding? And is it essential? Is it safe?
Apart from keeping the torrent alive, does it affect the download speed later?
Will you get banned from a certain tracker if you indulge in freeloading?
Seeding is discussed only in bits and pieces across BitTorrent forums.
So here is a detailed article on seeding, its importance, how it can enhance downloading speed, important guidelines when it comes to seeding and what happens if you don’t seed:
What is seeding?
Seeding is in a sense the engine that keeps BitTorrent alive and rolling.
The data you downloaded was from ‘seeds’ and seeding involves giving back to the community where you got your data from. Seeding involves leaving the BitTorrent client open after finishing the downloading process.
This helps distribute the full file after downloading it. Till the torrent is removed (by right-clicking the torrent and then hitting remove), the client will continue to seed.
It is ideal to seed till 1: 1 is the ratio of upload: download.
Is seeding safe?
Seeding is safe until the file is legal.
Why is seeding torrents important?
A torrent file is a plain text document that has data used by a BitTorrent client to make a connection with a bunch of users, seeds or peers.
If a user uploads a torrent file to their tracker and never goes on to seed the torrent, users won’t be able to download the files from the original user.
When you seed a torrent, it announces to the tracker that the completed file is not available for to other users to download.
Since you are downloading the torrent off another user and not from the actual site, it is general etiquette to return the favor to someone by seeding.
If users only downloaded and then stopped/deleted the task they downloaded, in a matter of days a user wouldn’t be able to download anything from the BitTorrent network.
Can seeding increase download speed?
The more the number of seeders on a torrent, the faster the torrent will be! Keep this in mind, download lovers!
For instance, a user uploads a torrent to a website and seeds at 100kpbs. If ten users are trying to get the file from the user who uploaded it, each user is getting the file at approximately 10kpbs. After the ten users finish their download, they seed at a speed of 100kpbs.
This will increase the speed of the torrent which will now be 1100kpbs.
This happens because the ten users were seeding at 100kpbs; the initial user was seeding at 100kpbs. And if 11 more users are getting the file now, each user is getting it at a speed of 100kpbs approximately instead of 10kpbs. The reason for this is the 1:1 ratio per seeder and user.
If users didn’t bother seeding the torrent (1:1) after downloading it, the original user would always be stuck seeding. This would cause the speed of the torrent never to increase because the downloaders would always be more than the seeder.
What happens if we don’t seed on public torrents?
There are no consequences to not seeding on public torrents. Hence your share ratio is left on your common sense and consciousness latitude.
However even on public torrents, if you liked the content of your download, make an effort to seed more to keep it alive longer.
It is almost stealing if a user downloads and doesn’t seed back. The community even has a name for these kinds of users: Leechers.
Leechers are almost like thieves in the BitTorrent network: they know that the public trackers aren’t monitoring them and hence don’t seed back.
And because of this reason, private trackers keep an eye on their user’s share ratio. If a user doesn’t comply with the seeding rules, their action will be seen as ‘hit and run.’ This will lead to the user getting banned and for a good reason too!
Will I get banned if I indulge in freeloading on a private domain?
You can get banned for not seeding on most of the private trackers. The torrent client will report to the server about the size of the file you have downloaded and if you have seeded back 1:1 to others.
The tracker that gives you the torrent keeps track of this. So if a user stops seeding a torrent or does not seed back 1:1, the system will give them an automatic warning. If a user crosses the maximum number of warnings, they will ultimately be banned.
Hence it is crucial to seed back the amount that you download. Seeding is also known as file sharing, and you should be considerate enough to share the file as a way of repaying those who you downloaded from.
Some important guidelines while seeding Your Torrent
1. A user should try to seed their torrent for as long as possible.
2. Seed the torrent until it has a minimum of 2 other users who have finished their download (or 2 seeds)
3. Make sure to check frequently, so torrent isn’t left with zero seeds.
4. The user should resend the torrent if necessary. The procedure for doing so is the same as the usual seeding process
5. The number of peers and seeds will be displayed in the user’s tracker’s torrents’ table.
6. Torrent Spy can be used to retrieve the number of peers and seeds if the tracker supports the scrape function.
7. Do not seed illegal files.
In conclusion, follow the BitTorrent etiquette and spread the love of downloading and sharing files to all the users in the community. Happy seeding!