eDonkey (eD2k) vs. BitTorrent (BT)

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eDonkey (eD2k) vs. BitTorrent (BT)

Post by ARCH »

eDonkey (eD2k) vs. BitTorrent (BT)

1. [goto=1]INTRODUCTION[/goto]
2. [goto=2]PROTOCOLS & CLIENTS[/goto]
3. [goto=3]SERVERS & TRACKERS[/goto]
4. [goto=4]NETWORK FEATURES[/goto]

[list][anchor=1]1. Introduction[/anchor][/list][/color]

This guide aims to outline the similarities, differences, features, advantages and disadvantages between two of the most popular peer-to-peer networks; eD2k (eDonkey) & BT (BitTorrent). After reading this guide you should have a fairly good idea whether you want to be using either or both networks, and where or how to start using them.

Note that ShareTheFiles is an eD2k-only indexing site, which means that we don't provide BT links, but it is still possible to search for torrent files through the Snarf-It Torrent Search in the top right corner of the forum. We also provide general BT and eD2k technical help on our P2P Support & Discussion forum.

[list][anchor=2]2. Protocols & Clients[/anchor][/list][/color]

The eD2k and BitTorrent protocols are similar in that they are principally p2p decentralized networks – shared data is stored on and transferred between peer clients, not centralized servers. The centralized aspect only handles source management and other very minor peer or file information.

Neither network is completely decentralized, as you practically need to connect to an eD2k server or BT tracker. This blend of decentralization and centralization classifies both networks as some kind of p2p hybrids. However, popular eD2k and BT clients have been trying over the years to implement systems that are fully decentralized, such as ‘KAD’ on eMule (the best and most popular eD2k client) and ‘DHT’ on BT clients like uTorrent.

In addition, neither network is anonymous; your IP will always be visible to all of your connected peers. It's actually easier to pick up IP addresses from BT, thus making it even less secure than eD2k.

As for connecting to either networks, you need to install and run a p2p client before you can download or share files. We generally recommend eMule for eD2k and uTorrent for BT, but there are a lot of other good choices (especially for BT).

Client Security:

To know more about blocking IPs (IPFilters), see this guide for Azureus and uTorrent (BT), and this guide for eMule (eD2k).

Related links:

ShareTheFiles: List of BitTorrent Clients
eDonkey Network / BitTorrent Network
Comparison of File Sharing Applications
Comparison of BitTorrent Software
Comparison of eDonkey Software

[list][anchor=3]3. Servers & Trackers[/anchor][/list][/color]

eD2k and BitTorrent are similar in that you have to connect to a centralized server in order to share or download files. On eDonkey it’s called an eD2k server, and on BitTorrent it is called a BT tracker.

There is only one type of eD2k server, and it doesn’t really matter to which eD2k server you get connected because the eMule client eventually searches for sources (peers) on all servers. Follow this guide for connecting to the eD2k network.

As for BT, there are two kinds of BT trackers – a public tracker and a private tracker.

A public BT tracker can be accessed by anyone from public BT search engines, such as Snarf-It, AnimeSuki, Mininova, isoHunt, TorrentSpy and others. Public BT trackers do not have any sharing rules, and is therefore dominated by leechers.

A private BT tracker can only be accessed by registering a username on private BT sites, which is not an easy process because private trackers can be invite-only or have a user limit. Private trackers are better than public trackers because they enforce upload and download ratios upon all users. Strict rules within a private BT community ensure that users will not leech files, or otherwise get banned, thus offering the best possible speed.

[list][anchor=4]4. Network Features[/anchor][/list][/color]


Perhaps the greatest advantage of BitTorrent is indeed speed. As soon as you get connected to a BT tracker, downloads will usually start instantly at the maximum download rate, regardless of the number of files queued. Unlike eMule there are no credits or queues. In order to reach top speeds with eMule, you need to have been connected for a long while, as well as having a lot of files queued and downloading at the same time.

However, remember that the best speeds can only be achieved if you are using a private BT tracker, and you usually need to fully upload everything that you have downloaded, though some private BT sites are more flexible than others when determining the upload/download ratio rules.


It is easier to search for files on the eD2k than BT for primarily two reasons.

The first reason being the ability to search all eD2k servers from within the client itself, defining search file types, extensions and other file info, and finally returning very detailed results of partial and full sources and other information. The second reason being the eD2k indexing sites such as ShareTheFiles, where all media links are indexed, categorized and posted in an easy to find, detailed and organized fashion.

The only way to search for files on the BT network is through public tracker search engines or private trackers. There is no way for example to search multiple private trackers automatically, not to mention that you would have to be a registered member in all of them first.


Perhaps the greatest advantage of the eD2k network is the variety of files. Whether it is new, old, rare files, or whether it’s TV series, ebooks or musical albums, eD2k is on the higher ground. It's much easier to find and download single MP3s (and even Music Videos) on the ed2k network as opposed to BT. In addition, since eMule now supports file size greater than 4GB, it is just as easy to find DVD-R on eD2k as on BT.

BT is most suited for new files, which are guaranteed to be released and downloaded very quickly. If you are looking for a good variety of files on the BT network, your best solution is to register on multiple private BT trackers that offer more specialized than generalized media.


The eD2k network by design is a sharing p2p network, not a trading one like BT. Files on the eD2k network stay alive almost forever, while files on the BT network usually die in a matter of few months or even weeks.

It has been recently stated on a number of sites that the eD2k network still counts for more internet p2p traffic than BT, especially in Germany and France where it eD2k consumed 75% or more of p2p traffic. However, it is also stated that BT counts for more p2p traffic than eD2k in the US.

-Ease of use-

BT delivers out of the box, it’s fairly straight forward to use. On the other hand, eD2k is more complicated, and you cannot get it to work efficiently and reliably before getting used to it and reading online guides.


For the internet casual users, it is much easier to share files on the eD2k network. You just share the files on eMule and connect to a server, and then everyone connected to the eD2k network (not necessarily the same eD2k server) can find it. You also guarantee that the files will be shared and spread in a more efficient manner on the eD2k network, prolonging their life.

On the other hand, with BT you need to run a tracker and publish the torrent, and even then users cannot find your file unless you post it on a website.

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