About BitTorrent, torrent files and torrent clients
First lets review some basic information about torrents and P2P networks.
BitTorrent is a communication protocol that is used for distribution of data through peer-to-peer networks. Its one of the most common ways to share and distribute data on internet, and often one of the fastest way to share large files.
A torrent is a file that contains meta data used by BitTorrent protocol and accessible with the use of BitTorrent clients. Torrents are file with the Torrent file extension. Without .torrent files, you cannot download the data through peer-to-peer network.
Torrents are distributed through software applications called clients. There are many of them available on internet, but they work on the same principle and do for you the same thing. You can either use them to create your own torrent, or open existing torrent and download data through peer-to-peer BitTorrent protocol. The most popular clients are probably Vuze (Azureus), µTorrent or Xunlei.
How to create your own torrent
If you want to take the advantage of P2P network and share your own data through torrents, you will have to create your own torrent file. BitTorrents are especially handy, if you want to share some large files, like family home video, huge collection of family photos, documents, personal projects etc. to your friends or family that live abroad, simply because sharing through other means, like instant messengers for example, can be pretty limited or very slow.
It doesn't matter what your favorite BitTorrent client is, all of them have some variation of File ► Create Torrent / New Torrent option. If you don't have one yet, just download one from internet.
When you chose the New Torrent option, a new window will usually appear, in which you first have to specify the file(s) or folder(s) you want to share through the peer-to-peer network.
After that, you will most likely have several options you can adjust, depending on your client. Regardless of the client though, there should be a way to set the torrent as a public one, or to deselect the private option if its checked by default. Both options lead to the same purpose. That is, that your torrent is publicly accessible from internet for everyone who has the torrent file you are just creating.
The last thing you need to set is tracker. Trackers are basically servers, that assist and maintain the communication in peer-to-peer network. To share your files through torrents, you have to enter a public tracker for your files. In the new torrent window, regardless of your client, there will be some option to select a public tracker. There are some public trackers available on internet, but the probably most known and controversial is:
You can probably find some other if you search through internet, but this one is reliable enough and works just fine for this purpose without the need to register anywhere to use it.
After all the settings for your new torrent are set, save the .torrent file and send it to your friends and family. They can open the .torrent file in their BitTorrent clients and start downloading the shared file. As long as your computer is connected to internet and your client is seeding (sharing) the data, they will be able to download the files.
There is no need to upload your, often personal, data to some server. With your own personal torrent for the files you have absolute control about who can download them. When you no longer want to share the files or there is no one else who want to download them, simply delete the torrent entry from your BitTorrent client.