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In the BitTorrent file distribution system, a torrent file or meta-info file is a computer file that contains metadata about files and folders to be distributed, and usually also a list of the network locations of trackers, which are computers that help participants in the system find each other and form efficient distribution groups called swarms. A torrent file does not contain the content to be distributed; it only contains information about those files, such as their names, folder structure, sizes, and cryptographic hash values for verifying file integrity. The term torrent may refer either to the metadata file or to the files downloaded, depending on the context.
|Internet media type|
A torrent file acts like a table of contents (index) that allows computers to find information through the use of a BitTorrent client. With the help of a torrent file, one can download small parts of the original file from computers that have already downloaded it. These "peers" allow for downloading of the file in addition to, or in place of, the primary server.
Torrent files are normally named with the extension ".torrent".
Torrent files themselves and the method of using torrent files have been created to ease the load on central servers, as instead of sending a file to for request, it can crowd-source the bandwidth needed for the file transfer, and reduce the time needed to download large files. Many free/freeware programs and operating systems, such as the various Linux distributions offer a torrent download option for users seeking the aforementioned benefits. Other large downloads, such as media files, are often torrented as well.