BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) communications protocol. BitTorrent is a method of distributing large amounts of data widely without the original distributor incurring the entire costs of hardware, hosting, and bandwidth resources. Instead, when data is distributed using the BitTorrent protocol, each recipient supplies pieces of the data to newer recipients, reducing the cost and burden on any given individual source, providing redundancy against system problems, and reducing dependence on the original distributor.
The protocol is the brainchild of programmer Bram Cohen, who designed it in April 2001 and released a first implementation on 2 July 2001. It is now maintained by Cohen's company BitTorrent, Inc.
Usage of the protocol accounts for significant traffic on the Internet, but the precise amount has proven difficult to measure.
There are numerous compatible BitTorrent clients, written in a variety of programming languages, and running on a variety of computing platforms.