Battle the Podcast Bandwidth Beast with Bittorrent
(xp, freeware, open source-do it cheap-centric, unpretty edition)
Oooh.. that sure is a lot of "b" words.
Let's get to the meat.
Scenario: You've set up a podcast. People have started listening. A LOT of people. As a matter
of fact, for every person that listens to your podcast, there's approximately 200 annoying little wankers
who merely download your show for the sole purpose of getting a sick thrill out of knowing what your
face will look like when your provider sends you a 2500 dollar bandwidth overage bill at the end of the
month. That's right. It hasn't REALLY happened yet has it? It's too early. The gnashing of teeth, boiling
of bones and the news reports of random podcasters leaping from remote bridges in the middle
of the night have not begun... yet. Hopefully, with the wonder of bittorrent, they will never even walk to
Why? Well, with bittorrent, as your audience grows the bandwidth required of you and your
provider is lessened. The opposite of what happens if you just provide a direct mp3 download
link. How does it do this? Here's a simple explanation:
So you want to take the plunge?
First let's get to the basic things you'll need.
(this tutorial/primer/etc is for Windows XP)
1. A podcast. Plenty of tutorials for this are already out there.
Get your mp3 together and scoot a little closer now. (ok, that
was just creepy, scoot over)
2. A RSS 2.0 with enclosures feed. You can hack mine or Hardcore
Insomnia's. Just look at the codey stuff and type your stuff in place
of our stuff. Technical stuff makes me tingly. (more details later... NO!!
not about that, about the RSS.. you are a bit of a perv, huh?)
(link to xml with comments available soon)
3. A decent connection to the "INTERNETS" (thanks, George)
with a static or NEAR static IP address. (that's when your IP address
remains the same all the time or until you boot your dsl modem/router)
4. A web server of some kind. If you're on a static IP address, you can use
a wonnerful little server appropriately named "Simple Server WWW". It's
FREE! (support the people who make this stuff if you end up using it)
LINK : http://www.analogx.com
Or if you have a hosting provider, you can use that. You'll only be serving
the tiny little torrent file, so don't fret.
5. A way to download a torrent file (other than ipodder). I suggest using
BitTornado. It's small, simple, not too "bloaty" and FREE!!
6. A way to create a torrent. I suggest using MakeTorrent. It's simple and
small and FREE!
7. Access to a public tracker. I've been using my own. Here's a listing of working
Now, let's do it!
Step 1: Join a public tracker. (like the ones mentioned above, or one you've found) If you
want to run your own tracker, CLICK HERE and come back after you've got it working.
Step 2: Get your mp3 file and make a torrent using MakeTorrent. It's a very simple
process, but you can find directions here:
Making a torrent with MakeTorrent
NOW would be the time to make sure your podcast is right. Right bitrate,
right edit/version and right ID tags. ID tags are the way you get the info
about an mp3 in your "now playing" window, within you favorite (software) mp3
player. You can easily edit these in WINAMP by just playing the file itself,
double clicking on the area you usually see the file/song info and adding your
own info. Click update and you're done.
Just remember, don't over-complicate the process. It's simple.
Just be sure to pay attention and put the tracker YOU have joined and chosen
in the tracker field, not the one on that site. It's important that you find the
tracker's "announce URL" to enter into this field. If not, the kitten gets it.
Step 3: Upload your torrent to the tracker. Directions on how to do this will
be at the tracker site and will be fairly obvious. Be sure to fill in a name for
the listing and a description. Also be sure it's in the proper category. Until word
gets out a bit more, that'll usually be "misc" or "other". Check to be sure the
listing works by going to the front page of the tracker and looking in the latest
torrents listing. When you get there, download your own torrent and complete
the file download by pointing to your mp3 when your bittorrent client asks
where to put the file. The "download" will complete quickly. Now, if you use
bittornado, click on "advanced" then "external announce" and enter the
tracker's "announce URL" and click "ok". (necessary? not sure, but it works
so I wouldn't skip it) Trust me, after the first time this'll get easier. Minimize
that bittornado window and let's move on to step 4.
Step 4: Still with me? Good. Go get coffee. Back? Good. Did I SAY stop and
take a pee? FOCUS! Sorry. I'm a little punchy. Now take that torrent file
you made earlier and...
(a) Simple Server WWW or other local web server running on your machine:
Right-click it. Choose "copy". Go to your simple server
www folder (follow the directions on the site to set up the server) you
chose to host files in and right click on it. Choose "paste". The URL for
your torrent file now exists. It will be http://your.ip.address/torrentname.torrent
(b) External Web Server:
FTP the file to the folder of choice. Now figure out the URL to that file.
If you uploaded it to a sub folder off your main HTML folder it would be
Now that you have that torrent URL, you're ready for step 5.
Step 5: Grab that rss 2.0 with enclosures file of yours and modify it.
In the enclosures tag, for enclosure URL, use the direct address to
the torrent on YOUR web server.
Instead of type="audio/mpeg"
inside the enclosure tag, you'll be using
Now, go back to your torrent file, the one you created earlier. Right
click and and choose "properties". Look at the file size in bytes, size...
not "size on disk". THAT is your length=, not the size of the MP3 file.
Enter all the other normal information you would enter between the
tags to identify this particular podcast. (many tutorials are available
on the net here-bouts) Save that new RSS 2.0 XML file and upload it to
the place it goes.
Step 6: Check your feed with ipodder and watch those new seeds appear.
You'll see your bandwidth usage in real time and can adjust it within the
bittornado client program. And remember, keep that torrent open for as
long as you want that file to be available. Hopefully, people who visit
the tracker will be curious about this whole "podcasting thingee" and download
your show. A few of them may even leave the torrent open for a while or
become a seeder. Be SURE to keep that torrent open, seeding.
(this tutorial is in flux... if you see mistakes or can offer more in
depth information on a step, or links, keep 'em to yourself buddy..
this aint' no WIKI, K??!! Nahh... please help. I probably made
some mistakes and welcome any input or suggestions. E-mail them
to firstname.lastname@example.org ) Just remember, this WORKS. So if you
think something is broken, let's test it so that we know if the "fix"
totally fudges things first.
heh... he said he "welcomes ANY INPUT" huh.. huhuh
Copyright? Tahellwiddat. This is open. Just leave this part here, if
Written originally by ILK of Not Work Safe Radio, modified by _____ on _____.
Latest revision - Thursday, Nov 11th, 2004.