This page has been updated on 2011-01-16 for the release of Shareaza v126.96.36.199.
BitTorrent is one of several P2P protocols supported by Shareaza, however it is different to a P2P network, so you do not have to connect to it and keep a permanent connection, like it is necessary for Gnutella2, gnutella or the eDonkey network. However, it lacks the possibility of searching files shared by computers within the protocol structure.
BitTorrent works through three main parts: ".torrent files", "trackers" and "clients".
- .torrent files
A .torrent file is a small binary file containing information about one or more files that can be downloaded by that torrent. The file usually contains the file name and hash (BTIH) of each downloadable file, as well as the URL of a tracker for that torrent - however, that is only a mandatory part of the file. Additionally, the .torrent file can also contain any type of metadata on the linked to files. See .torrent file for more information.
A tracker is a computer (usually a server on the internet) that keeps track of the users down- and uploading files using the BitTorrent protocol. When you open a .torrent file in Shareaza, it contacts (one of) the tracker(s) of that torrent. Shareaza tells the tracker which torrent it's interested in and what IP address and port it expects to be contacted on. The tracker replies with the IP addresses and port numbers of other users already sharing or downloading the file(s) of that tracker.
A client is a computer program supporting the BitTorrent protocol, able to communicate with trackers, up- and downloading data and create downloads from the information contained in .torrent files. An example for such a client program is Shareaza.
The BitTorrent protocol creates an interconnected mesh of down- and uploading users instead of having one central server using all of its resources to upload to everyone who wants the file. This gives the user higher download speeds because he is downloading at the combined bandwidth of everyone who is uploading a part of the file to him. Usually this means that the more bandwidth you give, the more bandwidth you will get. Note that most trackers do limit the upload bandwidth to members of a swarm who do not upload enough data to other users.
For common questions about BitTorrent, have a look at the BitTorrent FAQ page.
BitTorrent Error Messages
The most important thing first: It is normal for trackers to become temporarily unavailable or take some time to respond. This happens all the time and the best trick is just to wait. Also torrents are short-lived, usually they will not work after some time. This is one of the biggest weaknesses of the BitTorrent protocol: torrents always starve after a certain time, which means that there is nobody left to seed them, so you can't download them anymore.
But if you get an error message telling you that there is a problem communicating with the tracker, there's no reason to panic. Shareaza will keep on trying to connect and there are no other tricks to fix this. Usually you download many torrents without even noticing the error messages.
Sometimes though a tracker is permanently disabled, or the torrent has starved. Look for messages from the tracker, which may appear in the System Window (shortcut: [F11]). Other times a tracker may want you to change your port. You can do this using the connection settings and afterwards restarting Shareaza.
You may get a message from Shareaza about a "BitTorrent encoding error". This means that there is an error within the .torrent file, or something that your system may have trouble with. Most of the time, Shareaza is able to deal with these problems automatically, except for if the .torrent file is too heavily damaged or to badly coded for actually being of any use for Shareaza. However you may sometimes notice that the downloaded files of such a torrent have odd names when it has been completed.
- See also BitTorrent encoding error for more information.
If while trying to start seeding, you get an error message about Shareaza not being able to find the files to seed, try moving the .torrent file to the parent directory of the file or files you wish to seed.
Also note that .torrent files specify what is contained by the file name, so Shareaza will often fail to seed if you rename or move your files. Recent versions of Shareaza will also check the default downloads directory, but if you move files around, there may be trouble seeding them.
If you get some other error while trying to seed, such as unable to create bittorrent share file, open the incomplete folder, and make sure there hasn't been a file mistakenly left there by Shareaza. If the file it is trying to recreate in order to reseed already exists in the incomplete folder, reseeding will fail. Try deleting from the incomplete folder any extra file to do with the torrent you wish to reseed. See Clear Incomplete folder for more information on how to get rid of unused leftover .partial files.
- First, start Shareaza. In case you'd like to reseed a torrent, go to the Library Manager and choose Folder View, else proceed with step 3.
- There should be a directory called
Torrents, which contains a copy of all the .torrent files you have downloaded before. There you probably will be able to find the torrent you want to seed.
- Make sure the files contained in the torrent are all inside your library, or else Shareaza will try to redownload the torrent.
- Double click on the .torrent file to open it and choose Seed.
- Shareaza should proceed to reverify the file and once the necessary files have been build, seed it. Note that this takes some space on your hard drive, so if you are reseeding a torrent, you need to look out for disk space problems if you are running low on disk space.
- Sometimes an error message will pop up when Shareaza cannot find (some of) the file(s) to seed. In this case, use the library to move the .torrent file from the
Torrentsfolder to the parent directory of the file(s) you wish to seed.
To stop seeding again, go to the Transfers Tab and clear the seeding torrent.
If you have trouble seeding, look in the incomplete folder to make sure there isn't already an incomplete file for the torrent accidentally left there by the program. If there is, delete it, and try reseeding again. See also clear Incomplete folder for more information.
Please refer to the preceding info on BitTorrent Error Messages for potential problems you may encounter while seeding.
Included in Shareazas install package. Very easy way to create full Unicode compatible torrents following the official specs.
Windows tool which allows you to query a tracker about a specific torrent, view metadata info, check a file's hashes, etc. You can also create torrent files for upload.
Official BitTorrent Specifications
- BitTorrent.org The BitTorrent developers forum. Includes dev exchange, protocol extension proposals and specs.
- BitTorrent Protocol
- BitComet Extensions