BitTorrent “Uses Very Little Bandwidth”?

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I decided to take a look at the FAQ on, because it's never too late to learn. And I must admit, I stumbled upon a very interesting piece of information.

BitTorrentOne of the common questions that people new to BitTorrent ask is, Can I stop the BitTorrent client from uploading? The answer is of course, No. BitTorrent’s motto is “Give and ye shall receive”, so you won’t be able to download anything if you don’t upload.

However, the folks at added a couple of lines that I had to read a couple of times before I could say that I didn’t understand a bit of it. Here’s what they say:

You can minimize the amount of bandwidth used for uploading in the program settings, but not stop it. If you are concerned about bandwidth usage, don’t be–BitTorrent uses very little bandwidth because of the “seeding” technology.

Very little bandwidth? Compared to what? In general BitTorrent uses twice as much bandwidth as a direct http or ftp downloads. Everybody is forced to share some bandwidth, that’s what makes it the most leecher resistant P2P protocol.

And what has seeding seeding technology got to do with saving bandwidth?

Anyway, I was totally confused. Even more so because indexes some high quality videos that take up 1GB for a 5 minute clip. Very little bandwidth you say?


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