Some of you may have read my previous review of µTorrent, a relatively new BitTorrent client that aims to provide many of the more advanced features provided by 'full-featured' clients such as Azureus without using massive amounts of computer resources.
Today I'm going to show you how to use µTorrent's undocumented internal tracker to track torrents, and along with DHT allow for simplified media distribution. But before we get started, you may want to know a little more about how BitTorrent works. Wikipedia has a lot of information that may be useful, but I've written an intro to the anatomy of a BitTorrent session which is a must-read for the rest of this article if you don't already know all about trackers.
It's tracking that we're looking at in this guide. Of course, this client is first and foremost just that - a client, and as such can download and seed torrents too (using another tracker). But it features a tracker, which many people don't know about.
The first thing you need to do to track using µT is find something to track. You may want to start just by grabbing any old thing off the net and seeding that; for testing purposes something around 5MB is good since it's quick to download and hash, but slow enough so that you have time to check out what's going on. Epitonic (a depository of free, legal, high-quality music) would be a good place to get such a file.
Now (and this is something you should have done already), you need to get connectable. I'm not going to waste my time telling you how since there are plenty of resources available online such as portforward.com. You need to be connectable to run a tracker, and it will have significant effects on your download speed with regular BT anyway.
Next, create the
.torrent by using File > Create new .torrent.
PUT.YOUR.IP.HERE:PORT needs to be changed to your external IP (get it from here if you don't know what it is) and your connectable port (the one listed in Options > Preferences > Network Options). The final result should look something like
http://22.214.171.124:5412/announce, although the numbers will differ.
Piece size can be changed if you really want to and know what you're doing. You should check Private torrent if you don't want people sharing peers with DHT - ie. you don't want the files leaked outside people who have access to the
.torrent file. Click Create and save as when you've entered all the relevant data.
The torrent will appear in the main µT screen and begin seeding. However, there is one thing you should do to optimize speed (this may be necessary on some internet connections) and that is change your IP to
localhost. Do this by double-clicking the torrent and replacing your IP with
localhost, so that the above example would become
http://localhost:5412/announce. Why didn't we do that when creating the
localhost means the PC that the tracker is currently running on - it only works from that PC. If you had made a
localhost as the tracker, nobody would be able to connect to it.
You can now send the
.torrent on to other people, upload it to the Internet, etc. and people will be able to download its payload - as long as you don't stop seeding that file or close µTorrent.
µTorrent is a great client, and the internal tracker a great feature. It makes it heaps simpler to self-track torrents and distribute media without mucking around with complicated, highly-configurable trackers.
However, I think that the above concerns need to be addressed - the simplest way would be just to disable the tracker by default, and make it only functional if you enable it in the advanced options dialog. This feature is now present in the latest beta of µT.
Additionally, I think that the µTorrent site should provide some documentation for the internal tracker, basically what I just did, since this is definitely a useful feature and I shouldn't have had to create a new thread on the forums to work out how to use it. (µT development, I give you permission to use anything from this guide in such documentation should you wish to create it.)