What Is a TORRENT File?

How to Open, Edit, and Convert TORRENT Files

Picture of the text file icon

A file with the TORRENT file extension is a BitTorrent Data file that contains information about how files should be accessed through the BitTorrent P2P network.

Much like a URL, TORRENT files simply point to another area on the internet where the file is at and use that location to retrieve the data. Also like a URL, this means that if the location of the file is not active on the internet, the data can't be downloaded.

Things like file names, locations, and sizes are included in a TORRENT file, but not the actual data itself. A torrent client is required to download the digital files referenced from within the TORRENT file.

How to Open a TORRENT File

Warning: Take great care when downloading software, music, or anything else through torrents. Since you're most likely taking files from people you don't know, you always run the risk of there being malware included with the data. It's important to have an antivirus program installed to catch anything potentially dangerous.

TORRENT files are opened in a torrent program likeĀ uTorrent, or even online through a website like Filestream. See this list of Free Torrent Clients for several other ways to open and use TORRENT files.

Online torrent clients like Filestream and ZbigZ download the torrent data for you on their own servers and then give you the files to download directly through your web browser like you would a normal, non-torrent file.

The contents, or instructions, of TORRENT files, can sometimes be viewed using a text editor like Notepad++ or Open Freely. However, even if you can read through the TORRENT file in a text editor, there's nothing in there that you can download - you need to use a torrent client to actually get the files.

Note: A common use for TORRENT files is for downloading copyrighted movies and music, which is considered illegal in many countries. Some free and absolutely legal alternatives can be seen in this list of the Best Places to Watch Free Movies Online and these Top Places to Get Free Music Downloads.

How to Convert a TORRENT File

A free file converter is the method of choice for converting most file types, like DOCX, MP4, etc., but TORRENT files are an exception.

Since a TORRENT file's purpose is for holding instructions and not for storing files themselves, the only reason to convert a TORRENT file is to save it under a new format that can still utilize those instructions. For example, you're able to convert a TORRENT file to a magnet link (similar to .TORRENT) with the Torrent > > Magnet website.

Something you most certainly cannot do with TORRENT files converts them to "regular" file types like MP4, PDF, ZIP, MP3, EXE, MKV, etc. Again, TORRENT files are only instructions for downloading these types of files, not the files themselves, which means no amount of converting of any sort could ever pull these types of files out of a TORRENT file.

For example, while a TORRENT file can describe to a torrent client how to download, say, the Ubuntu operating system, simply changing or converting the .TORRENT file itself will not get you that OS, or anything really.

You instead would need to download the .TORRENT file from the Ubuntu website and use it with a torrent client, which would then download the ISO file that makes up the operating system - it's that ISO file that the TORRENT file explains to the torrent client how to download.

However, at this point, after the ISO has been downloaded, you can convert the ISO file like you would any other file by using a free file converter. It doesn't matter if the TORRENT file was used to download PNG images or MP3 audio files - you can then use an image converter or audio converter to convert them to JPG or WAV files, for example.

More Information on TORRENT Files

Reading anything in depth about TORRENT files will lead you to words like seeders, peers, trackers, swarms, etc. You can read a little more about each of these terms in Wikipedia's Glossary of BitTorrent Terms.

If you're not sure where to go to download TORRENT files, I recommend looking through this list of The Top Torrent Sites.