So, you’re on your favorite torrent site, and you see these mysterious things called “magnet links”.
But what the heck are magnet links? How do they work? And are they different (better?) than normal torrent files?
Don’t worry, dear torrenter, because we’ve got the answers you’re looking for.
What Are Magnet Links?
In short, a magnet link is a hyperlink that contains the hash code for a torrent, which your torrent client can use to immediately start downloading it from peers.
Since magnet links use DHT (short for distributed hash table protocol), they don’t require trackers, unlike normal torrents.
How to Open a Magnet Link
Magnet links are already a common fixture on the most popular torrent sites.
On The Pirate Bay, they’re the default ‘Get this torrent’ button. You know, the one with a picture of a magnet next to it. On 1337x, they’re the green ‘Magnet Download’ button.
When you click these, it should open automatically with your default torrent client. You’ll be given the option to choose which parts of the torrent you want to download and then start the download.
If you use an online torrent downloader, you can right-click the magnet link and then paste it into your online downloader’s web interface.
Magnet Links vs. Normal .Torrent Files: What’s the Difference?
The biggest difference between magnet links and normal torrent files, from a usage standpoint, is that magnet links are slightly easier to use and require less steps to download.
Unlike a normal torrent, they don’t require you to actually download a file to add to your torrent client, instead directing your client in the right direction without it. But it’s not like torrent files were all that complicated to begin with.
What Does This Mean for Torrenters?
Again, the big difference for you, is that magnet links require a few less clicks to use. Because they’re often trackerless, they’re also a little safer. Though not safe enough that you should stop using a good torrenting VPN to protect yourself.
Our favorite torrenting VPN is PIA VPN, since it's super easy to use and will keep you safe, whether you're using magnets or torrent files.
For actual torrent sites, the advantages of magnets are bigger. For starters, it creates a disconnect between the sites themselves and the copyrighted content that’s shared there, since they’re only actually providing the hash code. It’s up to your torrent client to use and download content based on that hash.
Plus, hosting millions of torrent files, even at a few kbs a piece, starts to add up. With magnet links, there are less server and data requirements. No wonder we’re seeing the biggest torrent sites adopt them so readily.
Now, we could dig further into the technical aspects of magnet links. But that doesn’t really matter much to the average torrenter.
All you need to know is how to actually open them, which is as simple as clicking the link. As long as you’re using good torrent sites, a torrent client and a secure torrenting VPN (or cloud torrent equivalent), you’re good to go.