What is seeding in torrenting?

Jan Youngren
Jan Youngren | Chief Editor
Last updated: September 20, 2022
torrent seeding
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Getting your movie or music torrents from your favorite torrenting site is your priority whenever you go hunting for those torrents. Most times, we may not know the meaning of the technical terms associated with torrenting. Seeding, however, is a pretty common and important word in the P2P world.

You will probably see it on all torrenting sites and peer-to-peer clients as you go about your business. Let’s find out more about the importance of seeding and how you can benefit from it. But before we go, don’t forget to torrent safely with NordVPN, our #1 service for P2P.

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What is seeding?

In simple terms, seeding refers to the distribution of torrent files to other people. By leaving your client account open, the torrent files you are downloading are distributed to other clients.

Monitor download progress in torrent client

This happens even after the completion of your downloads.

This way, it is more helpful since other people can get the complete file. Seeding is the mere practice of returning to the community since most of your downloaded files were probably from other clients.

As much as you may not need to know what seeding is, it is important to recognize its importance to the torrenting community. As long as you leave your torrent seeding, you share the torrent files with multiple users.

This only stops when you remove the torrent or turn off seeding.

How to stop seeding in torrenting

However, the proper torrenting practice requires you to seed your files until the upload to download ratio is at least 1.00.

This means that you have at least shared as much as you have gotten from other users of the torrenting website.

Seeding your torrent files

To begin the seeding procedure of your torrent, you will have to open it in your default client account on whichever torrenting site. However, we don’t recommend partaking in any P2P activities without a reliable torrenting VPN.

You can open torrent files in two ways.

Open torrent files locally

When this method is employed, you use the file explorer of your computer. By default, this is the “My Computer” or “File Explorer” (which are on your hard drive).

Locate the saved torrent file and then double-click on it. This will open it in the default torrent sites’ client and prompt you to specify a save location.

Opening a torrent file remotely

By using this method, you get to click on a hyperlink of the file to its online location. With proper browser configuration, clicking on a link should inquire whether you wish to open or save the file.

By clicking on “Open,” the torrent file should be downloaded and stored in a temporary folder. Afterward, it opens in your torrent site’s default client and then asks you for a save location.

How to open torrent file - torrent seeding

On opening the file, the torrent site’s client prompts you for a location to save the file. If the download were for a single torrent file, you would be prompted to give a save location. In the case of a single file, you have to select that torrent file on your hard disk when prompted to provide a save location.

In torrenting several files or a folder, all you do is select the specific folder containing the torrent files whenever you are prompted to a save location.

Checking file uniformity

After saving the files, your torrent’s site client will begin hashing the files in your hard disk to verify if they are similar to the information contained in the torrent file.

If the two sets of files match, then the torrent’s client reports that the torrent file is complete or that the download was successful. It then contacts the tracker to indicate the information.

Status of a torrent

Some of the torrent site clients use color-coding to show the status of a torrent. By default, most torrents immediately go green after seeding.

It shouldn’t concern you if it doesn’t happen. Most torrents will go green when others start downloading the torrent files that you have uploaded.

This rarely happens when you initially start seeding a torrent. This is because no other user has downloaded a torrent file from you yet. Below are useful guidelines to keep in mind:

  • You should seed your torrents as long as you possibly can.
  • Make sure you seed your files well and have two other seeds at least (two more users who have downloaded the torrent files).
  • Often check back to ensure that your torrent files are not left with zero seeds. When necessary, reseed your torrents.

The process of reseeding is similar to that of seeding your torrent.

Torrenting safety

It would be pretty irresponsible of us to talk about torrenting in 2023 without really addressing the issue of online security and privacy.

For this one, we’re talking specifically about the way that torrents are normally used – to download copyrighted content. Although there are certain areas in the world where that’s legal, in most parts, it’s either frowned upon or actively monitored. Violating the laws in these places can have severe financial or even criminal consequences. You can read more about this in our guide ‘Is torrenting illegal?’.

For that reason, we highly recommend you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which will help to hide your true location. This is done by spoofing your IP address, meaning you can use an IP address from a location anywhere in the world (depending on the VPN service you use).

That way, to anyone watching, it will look like you’re torrenting from a different location than you actually are. We’ve gone over the best VPNs for torrenting to make it easier for you to select the best one.

Seeding torrents that are tracked

Private trackers will normally run on your computer.

It means, therefore, that there may be a need to configure your computer to your torrent site’s client. This helps you to use a private tracker to seed and download torrents on your private tracker.

Torrent ratio

Importance of seeding your torrent files

You have probably heard this from most people in the torrenting community: “You must seed your torrents!” Is it really important, though? As earlier said, it is important to seed one to one. First, it helps with the speed of download. The more seeders there are on a torrent, the faster the download of the torrent.

This happens because you are not downloading the torrent from the actual torrenting site. Instead, you are downloading from another user that has the downloaded torrent file on their computer.

The factor of faster downloading speeds is sequential and benefits those who download the torrents from other users.

How seeding works

Let’s take the example of someone uploading a torrent file to a torrent site and is seeding at 100kbps. When the torrent upload is complete, each leecher will try and get the torrent file from the uploader. That means that if there are 10 leechers, then each of them will be downloading at a speed of 10kbps.

The 10 leechers will soon finish downloading the torrent file. Each will also be seeding at 100kbps, the same as that of the initial uploader. This translates to a download speed of 1100kbps. This is because those ten are seeding at a speed of 100kbps plus the original uploader’s speed of 100kbps.

The chain goes on. If 11 more leechers wish to download the torrent file, they will be downloading the file at a speed of approximately 100kbps. This indicates a faster speed compared to the 10kbps for the initial downloaders. This is because there is a ratio of one to one per seeder and leecher.

Why you should seed

This is the importance of seeding. If everybody wanted to download a torrent file from one uploader, there would be congestion when downloading.

Failing to seed at a one-to-one ratio would see the uploader always stuck when seeding. In this case, the speed of the torrent would hardly go up since the leechers always outnumber the seeders.

Banning by private trackers

Seeding is not taken lightly by most private trackers of torrents. You can be banned from most private trackers for not seeding back in a one-to-one ratio. You may wonder how these private trackers get to know your torrenting details.

The torrent client of each user in a torrenting site reports to the private trackers’ servers after a given duration. Each of these times, they indicate the number of torrents you have downloaded and how much you have seeded back for others to download.

This is possible because the tracker you got the torrent files from can keep track of these torrent files. Whenever you stop seeding a torrent that you got from the tracker by a ratio of one to one, it will prompt their systems to auto-warn you. Repeated warnings may soon warrant a ban.

How long should you seed your torrents?

There is a simple answer to this question: you should probably seed as long as you can, and if possible, forever. As long as the content you are seeding is of interest to internet users, it is worth sharing it.

As we mentioned earlier, the preferable seeding ratio should be one-to-one. Therefore, whenever your seeding ratio is equal to or greater than one, it means that you have given more to the torrenting community.

This way, you become a seeder. When this ratio is less than one, you have not shared as much, and you are, therefore, a leecher.

torrent Seeder vs leecher

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Seeding torrents is not a complicated procedure. It all depends on the torrent site you prefer for your torrenting needs. The primary purpose for seeding torrents is the sharing of these torrent files with other users. After all, what is a community without sharing?

To continue enjoying torrenting services with most torrenting sites, you have to maintain a download to upload ratio of at least 1:1.

This helps you share as much content as you have downloaded. Doing so will help you remain in the good books of the private tracking community.

We can, therefore, say that by seeding your downloaded torrent files, you can be referred to as a good citizen in the torrenting community. And to keep yourself safe, use NordVPN, our top choice for P2P activities.

Got any other questions about how to download torrents in 2023? Let us know if we missed anything, and we’ll be sure to add it immediately!

Recommended reads:
Best VPNs for torrenting
Best free VPNs for torrenting
What is P2P file sharing and how it works?
How to change location with a VPN
Best VPN for Roobet
Best VPN for PokerStars
Best VPN for Torrenting by Reddit


Why should I seed my torrents?

The main reason is download speed. The more seeders, the faster the download.

How long should I seed a torrent?

Ideally, you should seed a torrent as long as possible. If you are the last owner of the fully downloaded torrent, it dies after you stop seeding. Of course, if no one is downloading it for months, it’s probably not worth continuing.

What is the best ratio of seeding and downloading?

Your seeding and downloading ratio should be one to one or higher. If it’s lower, you became a leecher who takes more and gives less to the community.

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  1. capnjacksparrow

    Haha I literally never, ever do this. I always thought it was dangerous. I still don’t trust it and I HATE when my torrenting clients automatically seed. I turn it off as fast as I can because I do NOT want to get caught. I was always taught that downloading wasn’t as bad as distributing, so the cops couldn’t get you if you just downloaded and stopped the file from leaving your computer.

    1. assassinscreeding

      Yeah that’s what somebody told me, too. People get so uppity about seeding, basically calling you the devil if you don’t, but you can blame people who just don’t want to get in trouble. You can’t expect people to put themselves at risk for a movie, lol.

  2. John A

    Thanks for the article, I wasn’t sure how torrenting all works, it’s really interesting. I love torrent seeding, it feels like being part of a worldwide community.

  3. bridgette

    I was curious as well as to how seeding works. I think I got the idea before reading this article but I would have to say you guys explained it better.

  4. Jay

    Thanks for clarifying what seeding is and how it works. This information was really useful and so easy to understand.

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