A torrent file is a special type of file that contains information on how to download some other file, be it a video, game, program or anything else. The information is used by a torrent downloader, like BitTorrent or ?Torrent, to download content from other peers, often multiple at the same time to speed up the download. This is why torrent programs are called peer-to-peer file sharing programs - you download file parts from other people that you need, while others can download the parts you have - hence peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. It is important to note that the torrent file itself does not actually contain the data that a user is sharing on the P2P network. What the TORRENT file does contain is general information about the data, such as the name and size of the file and the file's Internet location.
Torrent files are very common in music and video downloads and they are used on almost all file-sharing platforms. Torrents allow users to download larger files more quickly than if they had to download the entire file from a single host, since the file format allows users to download the same file from multiple "seeds" to complete the download process more quickly. Are torrent files legal? It depends. You can find lots of free software, videos and information distributed as torrents, but you can certainly also find lots of pirated movies and virus infected software. Beware of the temptation, as you will likely get "bonuses" with illegal software you download, and some ISPs are monitoring downloads of illegal movies for copyright holders.
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If you have additional information about the TORRENT file format or software that uses files with the TORRENT suffix, please do get in touch - we would love hearing from you.