I’m a big fan of the BitTorrent protocol despite its bad rap. Devised as a method to distribute large files without using up too much bandwidth, it’s become a hit for all the right and wrong reasons. It’s unfortunate that using BitTorrent can be so difficult: Tracker? Seeding? Port forwarding? Why did my ISP block my download, even though the files were legal?
BTaccel, a browser-based and remotely hosted BitTorrent client, can help to make things far easier. Feed it a link to a torrent and it does all of the P2P wizardry automatically, downloads the file and prepares it for you to grab off their servers via HTTP.
In order to use it to download torrent files, you’ll need to sign up with an invitation. Lucky for you, I’ve managed to get 150 free invites just for MakeUseOf readers! You may get it at the end of this article but continue reading to find out what BTaccel can do.
First, the user interface is Google-simple. You have an account link at the top, and a box in the center where you enter a URL or keyword. You can search by keyword, browse a website by proxy or paste in a direct link to a .torrent file.
Browsing torrent tracker sites via the proxy is a bit hit-and-miss in this alpha release. Sometimes, it will pick up a clicked torrent link, but not always. Your best bet is to browse the tracker in a separate window, copy the torrent link’s location and paste it into BTaccel.
After you’ve chosen a torrent, the next screen you see will be a summary of the torrent’s contents. Once the download from the swarm is complete, you can be alerted by email, and then you may download torrent files individually, or download a single compressed ZIP of all the files packed together.
To view the torrents currently in your download queue, hit the Home page and you’ll be presented with a list of your torrents and their progress.
What makes BTaccel so great is the fact that your system won’t be bogged-down with uploading and downloading. Once the torrent is finished, you’ll have a direct download from BTaccel’s servers (which must be completed within 72 hours). Another advantage is the fact that you can start a torrent from any computer with a browser and then finish the transfer at home, when it’s convenient.
In comparison to using a traditional BitTorrent client, BTaccel offers users an advantage on ease-of-use. For those interested in the protocol, we have plenty of BT-related material on MUO, especially The Big Book of BitTorrent, which I consider a must-read. How do you like your BitTorrent? Let us know in the comments.
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