January 5, 2014, several torrent download sites have earned kudos from our About.com readers. This list is the text version of the Visual Guide to Torrent Sites.
NOTE: this list is in random order. Special thanks to all the readers who contribute their recommendations so that this list stays current.
Submit Your Torrent Site Suggestion: you are welcome to suggest a torrent site for inclusion in this list.
Disclaimer and legal warning for new torrent users: About.com does not condone illegal sharing of copyrighted material. While P2P file sharing technology is completely legal, many of the files traded through P2P are indeed copyrighted. Uploading these copyrighted files puts you at risk of a civil lawsuit in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK. While these lawsuits are often class-action suits, filed against groups of users who blatantly copy and distribute copyrighted materials, some lawsuits are harshly targeted at making examples of individual downloaders. These P2P civil lawsuits are very real, and whether or not they are successful, they are extreme financial and emotional burdens on the defendant.
ISP warning: your ISP may choose to release logs of your downloading/uploading activity to potential copyright plaintiffs. The more megabytes you download, the more you risk being sued by copyright protection groups.
Torrent Download: Beginner’s Guide to Torrent File Sharing.
Recommended: Protect your file-sharing identity by using a VPN connection.
Related: What It’s Like to Be a Torrent P2P Administrator - See About.com’s interview with Jack, the co-owner of Torlock.com.
- Torlock: Torlock is special. These folks actually pay their users commission for uncovering fake torrents and reporting it to their community. In a world of phony files, this is a tremendous service. If you are a regular downloader, and are tired of wasted downloads and fraudulent files, give Torlock a try.
- Kick Ass Torrents: this site is a favorite with a growing community. The interface is a distinctive earth color, and the search results display in a useful format of columns, including torrent health. The best part of Kick Ass Torrents is their comment and feedback system… the user community watches the quality of torrents, and offers their recommendations and warnings.
- Torrent Funk: Torrent Funk is a very popular torrent search site that now supports commenting. While Torrent Funk also supports ‘verified status’ tagging, which some people prefer to comments. The interface can be difficult to discern between sponsored ads and the actual torrent links. But the Torrent Funk site layout is pleasing, the cross- movie recommendations are very helpful, and several About.com readers highly recommended Torrent Funk. Give this site a try, and watch if it will grow over time.
- ThePirateBay.se: since being shut down in 2009, The Pirate Bay refuses to stay down. This latest TPB Swedish domain name version claims to have over 1.5 million torrents available. The servers themselves are constantly changing location to stay ahead of the authorities, and this seems to make the website experience inconsistent for speed. If you don’t mind repeatedly checking back because The Pirate Bay is sometimes slow to render, definitely support this longtime P2P icon as it tries to rebuild its former glory.
- Isohunt.to: Isohunt is reborn! After being shut down by the MPAA on October 17, 2013, Isohunt has been resurrected with a new domain name in a new country. Please support this longtime champion of P2P file sharing!
- SeedPeer.me: SeedPeer is a very large database of over 3 million torrent files. The search interface is simple, and the keyword cloud map helps as a discovery means to find interesting movies, tv shows, and music artists. Fans speak very highly of SeedPeer, so do consider trying it out.
- Vertor: this torrent service claims to filter out bad torrents, viruses, DRM locks, passwords, and fakes.
- Torrent Crazy: this P2P site is very good for non-English language movies and music. If you’re seeking Italian, Russian, French, and files in other European languages, consider trying Torrent Crazy.
- Torrents.to: this site has a Tonga country domain name, but certainly offers plentiful metasearching of movies and music in English and Spanish. There are some popup advertisements that are annoying, but perhaps you might like the framed interface for searching other torrent sites.
- RARBG.com: RARBG is a very small torrent site, with less than a half-million torrents in its index. Nevertheless, multiple readers at About.com have recommended that RARBG be a community on your search for a good P2P experience. Perhaps try them and give us feedback on if agree with their opinions of the service.
- TAKE.FM: Take is a smaller library than other torrent search sites, but the community here strives to keep the torrent quality high and the fake torrents out. Like most successful torrent sites, TAKE does not store the actual music and movie files on their servers, and instead focuses on helping its members find their sources elsewhere. Try TAKE out and let us know if you like their service.
- TorrentHound: at over 4.7 million torrents, TorrentHound is one of the largest players in the torrent P2P game. The site does enforce good use of ‘white space’ in the sidebars, so scanning the pages can be easier for most readers. Unfortunately, the comments counts are not included in the initial search results, so you’ll have to click into the individual files to see reader comments.
- Thunderbytes: this private site is a smaller community, which is good for reducing the number of false torrents. You can join Thunderbytes by either getting sponsored by an existing member, or by becoming a donating sponsor yourself.
- FullDLS: at over 2.5 million torrents, FullDLS is one of the larger torrent search sites today. The advertising is a bit cumbersome, and you’ll have difficulty finding what is worth clicking and what is just sponsored banner advertising. But the site is recommended by readers, and the search catalog does have popular files.
- LimeTorrents: LimeTorrents looks like most other torrent sites: tabular lists of torrents, with girly porn advertising in the sidebars. But LimeTorrents does have a growing database of nearly 2 million torrents, and multiple readers speak highly of the quality of seeds and legit files in the Lime catalog.
- ExtraTorrent.com: ExtraTorrent.com is very visual and very busy. But the thumbnails and file information at this site are tremendous. This site is definitely worth trying, as it is very browsing-friendly for discovering movies and music artists.
- Monova.org: this service is another example of clean and simple interface style. Additionally, Monova goes beyond torrents to also index newsgroup sites (e.g. alt.binaries.highspeed), which can sometimes be faster than torrent swarm downloads. Advertising is as unobtrusive as possible on the Monova pages themselves. Popup adult advertising will be a turn off for some users, but if you can work around that, this search service has a strong catalog of modern torrents.
- VCDQ.com: VCDQ.com isn’t technically a torrent search site; rather, VCDQ specializes in verifying torrents. VCDQ employs a committee of serious users to confirm that torrents do indeed exist for thousands of titles, especially brand new movie releases. Use VCDQ to confirm that a title is available, then copy the torrent name to paste into a search engine like Isohunt.com. Definitely give VCDQ.com a try; this is a great resource for avoiding fake torrent files. July 27 news: VCDQ is having website issues. There is still no word why their website is not working. Let’s hope for the speedy return of this excellent service!
- 1337X.org: This is a very clean-looking site, with a nice presentation of the comment count for each of your search results. The database is less than a million torrents as of November 2012, but several readers have recommended 1337X.
- BitSnoop.com: is the largest known database of torrents today. With over 18 million indexed files, one could argue that this is the only site you’d need to search at. Try BitSnoop for yourself and see how it presents its results with its comments and ratings… you might like this site as much as other readers do.
- TorrentDownloads.Net: with over 6 million torrent files in its catalog, this site is considered the second-largest torrent index on the Web today. To help you navigate the sheer magnitude of its database, TorrentDownloads also publishes a filter to see only those torrents that have passed verification testing.
- H33T.com: This is a substantial library of torrents, exceeding 4 million indexed files as of November 2012. The black background isn’t for everyone’s tastes, but the volume of movies and music and tv shows make this a worthwhile destination. Beware the popup advertising, though… advertisers definitely believe that H33T is worth advertising at.
- Torrentz.com: this metasearch engine may look a bit amateurish, but it works well. It conveniently scours other torrent search sites for you, arguably saving you 20 minutes of search time when you are seeking that one particular song or movie.
- btscene.com: btscene is a longtime player in the file sharing game. This website does have annoying popups and adult advertising, but it does offer a solid library of torrents. It does a good job of featuring very recent torrents (good for people who follow television shows), and presenting many browsing choices at a glance.
- Toorgle.com: Toorgle is a torrent metasearch engine based on Google technology. Like any metasearch service, your searches result from multiple other search engines on the Web. Toorgle retrieves the location of these files for you as a kind of matchmaking service. It’s quick to use and can help you find rare or obscure torrents. Just make sure you are careful in which torrent you choose at Toorgle; because Toorgle will show results from dodgy torrent sites, take the time to check that a torrent has positive comments and is verified by users before you download. Careful and experienced users comment that Toorgle can be very helpful, if you know how to pick the good torrents from the bad.
- Fenopy.eu: has some compelling features. Fenopy has a Spartan and clean interface, and a portion of its library is dedicated to verified torrents. Easy sorting of the tabular results and a catalog of the most popular torrents will please most users. Advertising does pop up and distract, but no more than other torrent sites. Definitely give Fenopy.eu a try.
- TorrentZap: at ~2 million torrents indexed, TorrentZap is not as large of a catalog as other torrent search engines (e.g. Fenopy.eu has over 5 million torrents). And, as with all sites, you need to endure advertising at TorrentZap to keep it a no-cost service. But the interface is clean, bright, and easy to navigate. Try this site out, skip past the ‘external search results’ to find the real torrents at TorrentZap, and let us know what you think.
- Nowtorrents.com: Now Torrents (allegedly) offers a special service: it filters out fake/dead torrents. It also offers date-range searching, so you can search for specific years of content (e.g. Flight of the Conchords, 2008).
- Torrentcafe.com: this site needs to grow its user base some more. But Torrentcafe comes highly recommended by several About.com readers, so please give it a try and let us know how you like it.
- YourBitTorrent.com: this site has gone through changes over the years. The sponsored download links are annoying, especially for beginners who are not used to visually filtering out the paid advertising links. But readers at About.com have spoken highly of this site. If you are an intermediate or advanced downloader, visit YouBitTorrent and decide for yourself if you like the interface.
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Google has expanded its search blacklist to include many of the top file-sharing sites on the Internet, including The Pirate Bay. The changes were quietly processed and appear to be broader than previous additions. Google’s blacklist prevents the names of sites appearing in their Instant and Autocomplete search services, while the pages themselves remain indexed.
Since January 2011, Google has been filtering “piracy-related” terms from its ‘Autocomplete‘ and ‘Instant‘ services.
Google users searching for terms like “torrent”, “BitTorrent” and “RapidShare” will notice that no suggestions and search results appear before they type the full word. As a consequence, there’s sharp decrease in Google searches for these terms.
Initially only a handful of “piracy-related” terms were censored, but a recent update to the blacklist includes nearly all the top file-sharing websites.
Searches referring to torrent sites such as “thepiratebay,” “the pirate bay,” “isohunt,” “torrentreactor,” “btjunkie,” “kickasstorrents,” “sumotorrent,” “btmon,” “extratorrent” and many others are now excluded from ‘Autocomplete‘ and ‘Instant‘. Interestingly, the full url “thepiratebay.org” is still offered as a suggestion.
The new list further includes several cyberlocker websites that were perviously left unfiltered, such as “4shared,” “filesonic” and “fileserve.” Although Google doesn’t censor the content of the websites in question, the Google searches for the affected terms drop significantly as can be seen below.
By voluntarily censoring parts of their search services, Google is trying to keep on friendly terms with copyright holders. The downside to this is that they put perfectly legitimate companies such as BitTorrent Inc and RapidShare at a disadvantage.
There is currently no clear definition of what Google considers to be piracy-inducing, but Google claims that the blacklist helps to reduce online piracy.
“While there is no silver bullet for infringement online, this measure is one of several that we have implemented to curb copyright infringement online,” Google spokesman Mistique Cano previously told TorrentFreak.
“This is something we looked at and thought we could make some narrow and relatively easy changes to our Autocomplete algorithm that could make a positive difference,” Cano added.
How positive this difference really is, of course depends on who you ask. IsoHunt owner Gary Fung told TorrentFreak that Google is going down a dangerous path.
“It’s a lot more subtle than the censorship attempts made possible by the pending PROTECT IP and SOPA bills, but it’s still censorship and it starts small. Google is increasingly becoming a self-righteous Big Brother of the Web. So much for ‘Do no evil’,” Fung told us.
A Pirate Bay insider also told TorrentFreak that Google doesn’t live up up to its famous motto.
“”It’s just another step towards censoring their search engine altogether – without a legal basis. We’re also wondering why this happens at almost the same time as they’ve released Google Music – a service where they sell music which in some cases might be found on The Pirate Bay,” he added.
Despite criticism from the public and the businesses affected by their blacklist, Google has said that it will continue to expand its piracy filter. The big question is, where will they draw the line?
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