If you are new to torrenting, and you are wondering what it's all about, then you have come to the right place.
In this article we'll be exploring Torrenting and answer many of the general questions about torrents you likely have.
There are many sites out there, and a lot come and go, just like torrents themselves. With that in mind, it can be challenging to track down a list of what's popular.
As well as answering your questions we'll also be showing you a list of some of the most popular torrent websites.
20 Most popular Torrent websites
Below is a list of 20 of the most popular Torrent websites of now and past.
Many of these have been blocked or remain blocked due to their link with copyright material.
It goes without saying that although torrenting itself is legal, many of these sites and services contain copyrighted material. We do not condone using them or visiting them – we have listed them purely based on popularity.
1. The Pirate Bay
The first on our list is The Pirate Bay, also known as TPB is a top torrent site.
TPB is probably the most popular torrenting website in the world, and on it – users find pretty much anything in terms of movies, music, e-books, software, and alike.
Lime Torrents is a website that has managed to outlive many others due to its high torrent security and is one of the most popular torrent sites.
Next, we have RARBG, which is actually a torrent search and index website, rather than a site that holds torrents.
Then, there is 1337x, which is another prevalent, very modern-looking torrent search engine.
Torlock is also quite popular, and quite a popular torrenting website.
6. Kickass Torrents
When it comes to Kickass Torrents, the website has been operational for more than a decade and was loved for its high quality downloads.
Next, there is TorrentRover, which offers an effortless, fast, and free way of searching and downloading torrents via a windows desktop application.
When it comes to IsoHunt, it's another huge name that is well-known across the P2P community.
Next, there is Demonoid, which is a website that allows its registered members to submit torrents and make them available for other users.
When it comes to the TorrentProject, it looks similar to many others, at least when it comes to its home page.
Then, there is EZTV, which is a torrenting website with a distinctive accent placed on verified torrents.
When it comes to Mininova, this is a search engine and a directory. It has been around for nearly fifteen years now, starting in January 2005.
13. Extra Torrent
Next, there is Extra Torrent, which is considered among the best websites where you can download pretty much any torrent content.
Torrentking is another torrent search engine. This means that it does not feature any of the torrent files itself, but rather – it combs the internet and finds them for you.
Movie lovers found YTS to be amongst the best with it's well-known user interface. It provided many popular titles and classics.
Then, we have Treetorrent, which is a massive meta-search engine, specially made for torrenting.
Then, there is iDope, which might remind you of Google at first glance. Its design is quite similar to the popular search engine, which brings forth the familiar and trustworthy feelings.
Nearing the end of the list, we have YourBittorrent. This is undoubtedly a torrenting website that deserves its place on such a list, as finding content quickly was its strong point.
Next, there is Nyaa, which is another torrent-rich website that offers all the best torrent-related stuff.
Finally, we have BTJunkie. This is one of the top BitTorrent search engines, which uses advanced techniques to find content from other torrenting website and stores.
Are Torrent Sites illegal?
When it comes to the legality of torrents and torrenting, providing a clear answer is a rather tricky thing to do.
For example, torrenting itself is perfectly legal, as sharing files between users is not a crime. However, it all depends on which files you are sharing.
In other words, it all comes down to the content, as some of it could be copyrighted material.
If users try sharing copyrighted material, they are engaging in illegal actions. This is considered online piracy and is punishable by law. If the content is not copyrighted or you own the rights to the file, however, then it is perfectly fine.
How can you know if the torrent you have downloaded is legal?
This is where the problem lies, as in some cases, you cannot be sure. However, you can use your instincts and common sense to answer this question yourself, most of the time.
Just think: if this is the type of content that can be found or downloaded from somewhere else for free, it is probably not copyrighted.
But, if it is the latest Hollywood blockbuster or streaming on Netflix right now, it is safe to assume that downloading it is illegal.
Anything that you must pay to watch or download elsewhere is likely copyrighted and you should avoid it.
Is Torrenting illegal in the USA, UK, India, XYZ country?
This is also a difficult question to answer, as every country is different.
Each country has its laws, where the situation may be different from what you hear about other places.
Just remember that torrenting itself is not illegal, but when it comes to the content – consequences of downloading it could differ significantly.
How does Torrenting work?
Torrenting is a method of downloading files through the use of a distributed Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing system.
Simply put, you join a network comprised of other torrent users, and download files that they have on their computers.
Of course, you do not just transfer a file from a single person, but bits of data from many different users who have it stored on their computer.
Bit by bit, you build up your version of the shared file, and you become its new owner.
The process of file sharing also includes those who are only in the process of downloading the file. Simply put, if you are participating in any way – you are participating in both ways.
Having even the smallest piece of the file is enough to start distributing it further, and it speeds up the process of downloading for all participants.
The only thing you need to start is to acquire one of many torrent clients.
Benefits of Torrenting / P2P
People often talk about torrenting in a positive light, but what are the benefits?
- It is easy to download pretty much anything, from movies and music to software.
- It is completely free.
- Torrenting has grown to be very popular, and you can find countless websites for downloading, 20 of which we mentioned above.
- It is fast, requires no payments, subscriptions, accounts, and alike.
- You're not relying on one user or file source.
Negatives of Torrenting / P2P
While the positives of torrenting are often discussed, it's not all benefits.
Some of the negatives include:
- It is difficult to know what is legal to download.
- You may end up in legal trouble if you download copyrighted material and end up being caught while doing it.
- Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) might try throttling your internet speeds.
- You could download a virus or malware-infected file.
What is a BitTorrent Client?
BitTorrent clients are programs, or apps, which you can use to download files via torrents.
These are relatively simple and lightweight pieces of software that are capable of simultaneously downloading and uploading the file you wish to get.
A BitTorrent client is a necessary piece of software if you wish to participate in P2P usage.
They are mostly free to use, and for most, you don't need to create an account or sign up for anything. You can download them for free, and use them for downloading other content.
There are many great clients out there, such as:
What's the best Torrent client for Windows?
When it comes to Windows, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to torrent clients. There are many different ones, but here are some of the most popular:
These are all well-established, quality torrent clients, with excellent features, great design, open-source, and full of other useful benefits. They are also regularly updated and used by torrent users around the world.
Every one of them will let you download any torrent file in only a few clicks.
What's the best Torrent client for Mac?
If you happen to be a Mac user, there are some excellent torrent clients that you can use, as well.
In fact, you will find that you can use most, if not all, of the ones listed above. In addition, here are a few more clients:
- Xtorrent P2P
All of these clients feature excellent speeds; they are safe, fast, lightweight, and support magnet URLs.
Using them is straightforward and quick, and you should have not a problem with any torrent file or any site.
What's the best Torrent client for Linux?
Finally, we did not forget about Linux users, either. There are excellent torrent clients that you can use as well. Here are some of the top choices that you might want to consider:
- Web Torrent
As you can see, many of the torrents that we already mentioned before have a Linux version as well.
This is proof enough of their quality since they are available on all three major operating systems. Choose any of them will let you download files from torrent sites.
Torrent clients for other devices
Of course, there are torrenting clients for our favourite mobile platforms as well. There are those that you can use on Android, as well as some that you can use on Apple iOS.
Both are easy to use, and there is no need to install any additional apps for them to work. They also support multiple methods of download.
Truthfully, the choices are limited when it comes to downloading torrents on iOS devices.
Above are two recommended clients for users of iPhones, iPads and other portable Apple devices.
What are the privacy issues of Torrents?
Of course, using torrents comes with quite a bit of a risk if you don't take proper precautions.
The biggest privacy issue lies in the fact that your IP address gets exposed, and anyone can see it.
This would also allow people to track what you are downloading. The could even discover some personal details, such as your approximate location and what internet service provider (ISP) you use, plus more.
IP addresses will link you to your activity, and it's how most people get caught downloading copyright material.
In fact, in a 2018 report by leading Torrent news website, TorrentFreak they reported on users' receiving copyright infringement letters based on their IP Address alone.
What is an IP Address?
An Internet Protocol (IP) Address is your personal online address.
It is given to you by your ISP, and it carries quite a bit of information about your connection. Every internet connection is assigned an IP Address.
It helps the internet function, and your home IP Address will link you to your activity.
How can I protect my torrent privacy?
Torrent privacy has been an issue for a long time, and so, software developers came up with a solution – the VPN.
VPN, or Virtual Private Network technology, can protect your privacy by replacing your IP with another one. Although it wasn't explicitly designed for torrent users.
When using a VPN this new IP address is owned by the VPN company whose app you are using. It is not tied to your location, but a server in a distant place or another country.
When you purchase a VPN plan and start using its app, you can connect to any server that the company owns, no matter where it is in the world.
Once you do, you will get one of the IP addresses tied to that server. It would appear like you are located in the same place where the server is.
Further, VPNs can also shield your traffic from view, and make it unreadable, so that no one will know who you are, where you are from, or what you are doing.
What are the leading VPN services for torrenting?
The best VPNs to use while torrenting are:
These VPNs offer features that are very beneficial for torrenting.
These include fast speeds, which are essential for downloading files, specialised servers to use for torrenting, and more.
They also all offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, a massive network of servers, containing thousands of individual servers in dozens of countries around the world (94 in ExpressVPN‘s case), and more.
Can I use any VPN for torrenting?
Free VPN services cannot adequately protect you while torrenting. We don't recommend you use them for anything really as their download speeds are poor.
They also do not provide proper protection, and they might even record and sell your data.
These are just some of the reasons why you pay a VPN service, to offer fast speeds and keep your data secure.
Free VPNs do not make a profit by offering their services, and running servers cost money. Therefore, they must earn by some other means.
The result being you are likely to either get bad service, a lot of ads, or your data recorded – possibly even all three at once.
Besides, many of them do not allow torrenting, and while some do – they only enable it on specific server locations.
Being new to torrents can seem intimidating, with a whole host of what look like technical words dedicated solely to file-sharing.
Below are some of the most common words you'll come across and what they mean.
- Client – an app that is used for downloading torrents from torrent sites.
- Torrent site – A website with torrent links, used to download files.
- Torrent – Either a torrent metadata file or all files, depending on the context.
- Seed – This refers to a computer possessing some part of the data. It gets the name ‘seed' once it starts uploading this data and allowing others to use it.
- Peer – A downloader of a file.
- Leech – Can describe a peer in a positive or negative effect – it usually means a downloader that is downloading more than they are uploading.
- Magnet link – A mechanism that automatically identifies the set of files that the user wants to download. It can start the download automatically.
- P2P – A network of nodes (computers) where each device acts as a client and a server at the same time.
- Swarm – All peers, including seeds, make up a group called swarm.
- Index – List of torrent files available on a website.
- Health – Indicates which percentage of the torrent is available for download. It does not show whether or not the torrent is infected with malware or viruses.
- Grab – Torrent is grabbed once you download its metadata.
- Piece – Piece refers to torrent files that are divided into equal parts of specific sizes.
- Scraping – An event where a client requests information about the statistics of the torrent.
- Availability – The number of all copies of a file available from clients directly.
Sooner or later, you may run across a term known as ‘throttling,' ‘torrent throttling,' or ‘P2P throttling.'
This is what we call when internet providers reduce the speed of your downloads due to large files being downloaded, specifically from P2P networks.
Some don't admit to doing it and others make it clear in their terms & conditions that they'll reduce the speed of certain activities.
Technically, it is in their power to do so, but for you, it will be an annoyance you could do without.
For you, as the torrent user, you'll want to maximise your speeds to download files quicker.
Luckily, VPNs which we discussed earlier can resolve this issue as well. They disguise what you're doing so your internet provider doesn't know if you're torrenting or playing a game for example.
Famous (mostly closed) torrent sites
Throughout torrent history, there were many torrenting websites, the majority of which are now closed.
Some are still operational, but only accessible through VPN or proxy. Others have been reborn under the same names but different owners.
The Pirate Bay
One such example is The Pirate Bay, mentioned before.
It was launched 15 years ago, on September 15th, 2003, and it is still working today, although blocked, as mentioned.
It was created by Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm, and Frederik Neij. These days, it gets its revenue from merch, donations, ads, and crypto mining.
Countries around the world started blocking it due to large amounts of copyrighted content. This is the case with pretty much every torrenting site we mention here.
Kickass Torrents has a similar story – launched back in November 2008, provides similar content, and it had millions of users per day. Unfortunately, it was blocked due to online piracy.
Then, we have RARBG. The site was launched in 2008 and closed in December of the same year due to legal pressure from BREIN. As the years went on, one country after another blocked it.
Pretty much every torrenting site except the youngest ones has the same story to offer. They try to combat the issue by making new sites, recommending VPN usage, and alike.
Issues to watch out for
If you thought that issues like throttling and questionable legality of torrents are the only problems to deal with, think again.
Torrenting does not come without a price, and there are two more significant problems that you might have to deal with.
The first one is fake torrents. This is something that scammers and hackers do to phish for your identity, steal your money, or infect your device.
Luckily, they are relatively easy to spot. They either have no comments or only a few of them; they don't have a verified status; they have special ‘weird' instructions, or they require special software or for you to visit some random website to ‘unlock'.
The second problem that you should be aware of is malware.
Scammers and hackers often tend to put malware into torrent files and share them online. Those eager to download new popular content then get the malware on their computer and get infected.
The best thing to do to avoid them is to read the comments and try to comb through different complaints. You can see whether or not the file is malicious, or if someone wants to spread misinformation.
Torrenting is an excellent way to share files, although there are many dangers that you must be aware of before using it.
Not only do you have to worry about hackers, malware, fake torrents, and alike – but the file you wish to download might not be legal to download. This could result in a lot of trouble for you, which is why you must be careful.
Always try to protect your identity. There is no way to tell who can watch as you download files or what they might want to do with information such as your location.
The best way to do so is a VPN such as ExpressVPN, only make sure not to go for the free ones, as they are more likely to cause harm than to help you out.
Taking all these tips into account, you'll be able to torrent safely and securely.
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