What Makes a Leech on uTorrent?

Written by eric fenton
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uTorrent is a popular online downloading application, used daily by thousands worldwide. An average user is engaged in both downloading content and offering up his downloaded content for uploads by other users, whether the user has a complete file or just a portion of a file. "Leeching" describes a practice where a user minimises or "chokes" his uploading speed allowed so as to increase his downloading speed or otherwise discourages uploads from his content pool to facilitate and accelerate his own downloads.

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Key uTorrent Terms

The group of users all simultaneously engaged in the mutual upload/download of a file is referred to as a "swarm." Users comprising a swarm at any point are known as "peers." The majority of peers will be in possession of only a portion of the content being downloaded, whether because their downloads never completed or because they themselves are currently in the process of downloading the file. The few peers who have the full file and offer it up for uploads are called "seeders." Seeders are the backbone of the uTorrent operation. Leechers, or leeches, are the antithesis of seeders in that they hinder the uTorrent sharing process and have an overall negative effect on the swarm.

Leeching By Choking Upload Speed

The most common method of leeching is based on slowing down the uploading speed to the absolute minimum. It is accomplished by going into the menu settings and manually setting the speed at the lowest gauge. This minimises the usage of bandwidth on uploads, which slows the downloads of other users. It will also make defaulting to user's content less likely on the whole, so more users will download from other peers.

Leeching By Removing Uploadable Content

Another ploy used by a typical leech is to remove content from the shared pool accessible by other users just as soon as the download is complete. By clicking a read "X" at the top of the download bar, the user can instantly "privatize" the uploaded file and prevent anyone else from accessing it for uploads.

Legitimacy Of Leeching

The practice of leeching is generally frowned upon by the uTorrent community for it is perpetrated out of self-serving considerations and does a disservice to the community by undermining the overall sharing process. However, leeching is not in fact illicit for it takes advantage of available commands and parameters, which are accessible to any user. As an occasional method of speeding up an important download, leeching is considered quite acceptable.

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