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Magnet link

(also magnet URI)

Magnet link definition

Magnet link is a hyperlink used to download data and files via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. It functions without needing a server and includes everything a torrent client needs to obtain a particular file. Initially, the magnet link was developed to relieve torrent hosting and internet storage providers of additional effort. This option is preferred to a .torrent file because it avoids downloading a tracker file and looking for uploading peers. A magnet link is a hyperlink that contains the magnet identifier, file name, and cryptographic content hash in place of the .torrent file extension and mechanism. The content hash, which functions like an ISBN number, is computed from the contents in the file itself and can be used to track data across servers. Magnet links trigger downloads in desktop torrent clients once a user clicks on them.

Benefits of magnet links:

  • A link and not a file. Providers can avoid the difficulty of finding a file hosting service, while users can save the extra steps of downloading and opening a file.
  • Easy to share. They can be sent as a message via email, text message, or one of several other messaging apps.
  • An advantage over torrent trackers. Magnet link hash torrents are reliable. Any magnet link user can find a single internet seeder, even without the original contributors. Existing magnet links will operate if the torrent hash can be recreated.
  • Reduce the number of steps to access media. Traditional torrent links involve downloading a hash code file to find the content. This large file contains the media name, BitTorrent tracker URL, and other metadata. Magnet links automatically request peer-shared media. The link won't use an intermediary tracker or require decryption.
  • Save space on servers. They need not store files on their servers. This reduces bandwidth use.

Limitations of magnet links:

  • Slower speed
  • Less control over speed and the content downloaded