Introduction to Magnet Links

The file-sharing organism keeps evolving and has recently shifted its course towards other ways of providing services to users, mostly thanks to the viral anti-piracy movement that has been going on for a while now.

For instance, a lot of .com domains have moved to other domain names, because the authorities of the United States are either blocking the “notorious” websites at will, or threaten them with lawsuits that cost thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

You might have already noticed another change of behavior – the replacement of .torrent files with magnet links. Although magnet links have been used for a long time, The Pirate Bay was the first to officially change its policy and now offers magnet links instead of torrents, which makes it a must to know how to use them. The basic difference is that you are able to store a whole website on a pocket USB memory stick.

First of all, let’s find out, once again, what a magnet link is? Basically, it is a hyperlink embedding the hash code for a torrent. Once your BitTorrent application (uTorrent, BitTorrent, Azureus, or other) opens the magnet link, it starts searching for people sharing the same file based on the same hash code. Another advantage of magnet links is that they don’t require a tracker as it is, because they use DHT. In other words, magnets do not offer any data about their source, only about content – this is good for index sites, because they aren’t required to host the files themselves.

Using magnet links is as easy as using .torrent files. In fact, it is similar to the method you used to download torrents from The Pirate Bay before. Simply click “Get This Torrent” button and you are ready to go. Actually, only the technology behind the method has changed, not the method itself.

Meanwhile, you should remember that magnet links are still under development, which means that there still may appear some problems with them to be fixed. Unlike .torrent files, which offer detailed information about their content (this means that you are able to choose which files you want to download and which to skip), magnet links can’t do this momentarily. Nevertheless, since The Pirate Bay switched from .torrents to magnets, other indexers have started to regard them as the method allowing to offer shelter from anti-piracy groups and the entertainment industry. Today most of BitTorrent’s applications support magnet links.