TorrentAid - Tools for Decentralised Torrents!


The popular BitTorrent download system is an excellent way to distribute large files that are in high demand quickly and efficiently. However its reliance on a "tracker server" makes it part of an older class of peer-to-peer systems which depend on central components, vulnerable to attack or overloading.

TorrentAid is a suite of easy, powerful, open-source BitTorrent tools. These tools not only work with traditional centralised torrents, but can also create a new generation of decentralised, cross-network swarmable trackerless torrents. With supporting download software these backward-compatible torrents can be used without having to contact a centralised tracker, and can also be "cross-network swarm downloaded" combining BitTorrent download sources with sources on other P2P networks such as Gnutella2 and eDonkey2000.

TorrentAid's Torrent Wizard is an easy Windows-based wizard for creating decentralised (and centralised) torrents. Simply select the file(s), add a backward-compatible tracker URL and/or comments, and create.

Download it now or review the step-by-step tutorial.

Using Decentralised Torrents

Decentralised torrents contain additional file identification information that allows them to be searched and found over popular decentralised peer-to-peer networks, eliminating the need for a fixed web-tracker. Extensions to the torrent format and communication protocol are open and in the spirit of its design.

The Shareaza multi-peer-to-peer client currently supports BitTorrent and TorrentAid extensions, including decentralised torrent search through the open Gnutella2 network. With Shareaza 1.9 even normal torrents can operate without trackers, however TorrentAid-enhanced torrents can also swarm-download from other networks such as eDonkey2000 and Gnutella2, further enhancing download performance.

About TorrentAid

TorrentAid is a non-profit effort to extend BitTorrent technologies and provide high quality open-source BitTorrent tools.


TorrentAid Torrent Wizard Tutorial

This is a step-by-step tutorial for using the TorrentAid Torrent Wizard to create a new decentralised torrent. Each wizard step is explained here in full.

Step One: Choose the Torrent Type

There are two fundamentally different types of torrent: a single-file torrent and a package torrent. A single-file torrent contains only one (often very large) file to be distributed through the BitTorrent system.

A package torrent on the other hand containes several files which are downloaded as a unit. This is very similar in concept to a ZIP, RAR or TAR file.

If multiple files need to be distributed, creating a package torrent is one option. However unlike other packaging tools such as ZIP files, package torrents do not take advantage of compression to reduce the download size. Thus in most cases it is preferrable to ZIP or RAR multiple files together into a single file, and create a simple single-file torrent.

Step Two: Select a File

The next step after choosing a single-file torrent is to select the file which is to be downloaded.

Step Three: Choose a tracker

You now need to type in the url of a tracker. A tracker keeps track of all the sources for the file. It is optional but without one ordinary Bittorrent clients cant download the file. See the Bittorrent FAQ for details on how to set up a tracker.

Step Four: Comment the torrent file

You can now add a comment to the file. For example if it was a mp3 you could put information like the run time and bitrate. If it was a movie you could put the aspect ratio and framerate.

Step Five: Save the .torrent file

Now you need to specify where you want the .torrent file created. The default settings are the file's filename and directory but you can change these if you wish.

Step Six: Finishing up

You have now created your first .torrent file. Now the only thing to do is copy it to a webserver and tell the world where the file is. See the detailed tutorial on how to do this on the Bittorrent website. You can spread the url around on newsgroups, web pages, e-mails, IM, etc...