If you use torrenting for your peer to peer file sharing, you may have heard of the terms magnet link and torrent download. In fact, when you download certain files from popular websites, you will find both of these links hosted. While both of these links allow you to download files, there is a small difference in the way these work.
Here, we shall see what magnet link is, and how does magnet download differ from torrent download.
What Is A Magnet Link Download?
With how fast the computers work these days, the magnet vs torrent download difference is not visible unless pointed out. According to Wikipedia, Magnet is the uniform resource Identifier (URI) scheme that uses cryptographic hash function instead of the location to identify the files being shared.
The difference between the download methods is primarily in the way these links are used to connect to the server. Here is a small comparison in how the download methods work:
Torrent File Download:
When you click on the torrent file, you download a small torrent file. Next, you use the torrent client (like BitTorrent) to load the torrent file, which will then pull the actual files from the torrent server after connecting to the hosting peers.
Magnet Link Download:
In case of magnet links, the process is much easier. You will enter the magnet link directly into your torrent client, and the files will be automatically loaded by your client. The magnet link itself is a function, so all the necessary information required to retrieve the files is present in the link itself.
Pro Tip: Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + U to directly open the dialog box to enter the magnet link in uTorrent and BitTorrent.
The Past Vs The Future
Internet technologies has seen a huge jump, and things are much more seamless now. In the early days of peer to peer networking, the torrenting clients did not have native support for magnet links. Instead, they peer information was required to be presented to the client before the download actually began.
Nowadays, magnet links seem to be the norm. These links can be easily shared over the internet, and thus are more convenient for the users.
Difference Between The Torrent File And The Magnet Link; Where Is The Information Stored?
You may have guessed by now, the torrent file itself contains every information required to download the said file. This file contains the information regarding from where to gather the pieces, and the torrent client then uses this data to pull the required information and then downloads the file.
Magnet links, however, themselves contain some of the required data. The links are hash functions for the URN, meaning they will provide enough information to the torrent client to begin downloading the file locally. The peers are selected after the file has been loaded in your torrent file.
Why Magnet Links Are Preferred?
Magnet links provide some obvious advantages over the torrent file, however insignificant. These links are much easier to share, as you simply require a link to begin downloading the file. These links also work if some peers or trackers are unavailable, as these are decided after loading the file.
One of the biggest advantages is the fact that BitTorrent indexers save space on the servers, as they do not have to physically store the files on their servers. This directly results in lesser pressure on the bandwidth usage.
What This Means For You? Wrapping Up
Absolutely nothing. With the advancement in technology, torrenting is as seamless as it comes. Earlier, certain clients did not have support for the magnet links, but now almost every torrenting client supports them. Using either method means just a click or two more, so you can use either to get your required files.
So there you have it. Now you know what is magnet link, and the difference in magnet vs torrent download. Comment below if you found this useful, and to discuss further the same.