While Seeders are opening up their torrents across the web, there are plenty of Leechers slowing down speeds for many peer-2-peer (P2P) networks and communities. Knowing the differences between and seed and a leech, and how clients penalize a leech, might dissuade you from becoming one.

what is a torrent leech

What is leechers and seeders in torrenting?

Seeders Meaning

Seeders are those who freely distribute files to other torrent users through multiple sources. Since large files are broken up and sent out in “bits,” the process helps speed up download time and doesn’t bog down one network or server.

Leechers Meaning

A leech or leecher refers to a few different types of P2P network users. Some torrent distributors simply call anyone who is downloading a leech. This leech can turn around and essentially become a seed, allowing future users to take from their open file network.

Leeching Meaning

However, the term leeching more accurately explains those who do not leave their torrent client open after a download is complete, jumping off and slowing the seed process for others, since less pieces of a file are available.

Leechers take without giving back to a P2P community. They have a very poor share ratio, meaning the amount they download is far greater than their uploads. Many in the torrent community simply put up with the practice of leeching, but multiple clients have taken steps to fend off the practice of leeching.

How do Torrent Clients Penalize Leechers?

There are a multitude of sites across the web allowing users to upload files in forums. These sites will track a user’s ratio (the amount they upload and download files). If your ratio of downloading far outweighs your uploads, these sites can block your IP address. Certain forums require a user to register before accessing files, and some are only accessible via invite or request from a current user of the site. If you’re caught leeching, be prepared to have your access and account blocked or deleted permanently.

Many leechers have become savvy about their abuse of torrenting and either shadow their IP address or mask it from tracking software.

Seeders vs Leechers – How do I avoid being Penalized?

What’s the easiest way to not be blocked from torrenting? Simply, don’t be a leech. As part of a file-sharing community, one should have common courtesy by remaining active and seeding files. You could go one step further by requesting to become a Mod on a forum, or by helping first-time users navigate their torrent client or the site itself.

If nothing else, keep the upload and download ratio at 1:1, meaning that a user should upload as much content as they download. Also, make sure the files you are providing to others are of a high quality, and not missing any data.

Vuze, an end-to-end application for all your torrent needs, is one of the most popular bittorrent clients on the Internet. Vuze allows users to share and transfer files for free with the ability to play on a variety of devices, online or offline.

By Adi Moore

Adi MooreFounder
Adi, the anti-censorship crusader and tech-preneur, bootstrapped his first venture in 2001 from his attic into a digital empire. With a heart for open dialogue and transparent technology, he tackles censorship like a pro wrestler. Dive into his deep insights on freedom of speech, internet liberation, and his secret info recipe.

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