Learn about the Best Ways to Search and Find Torrents
To find torrents, it is better to use reliable torrent indexing sites rather than general Internet search engines, such as Google or Bing. This is because torrent indexing sites are essentially search engines specializing in torrents and usually only torrents.
In contrast, search engines, especially the market leaders, are trying to cater to everyone’s search needs. And, anyway, some of the major search engines seem to be increasingly censoring torrent search results, primarily due to copyright concerns and DMCA takedown notices.
» index to this page: How to Tell which Torrents will Download Fastest | Most Popular Torrent Search Sites | Copyright-Safe Torrent Search Indexes | Using General Search Engines for Direct Torrent Searches «
What Content are you Looking For?
The best torrent indexing site(s) for you to use will depend on the type of content (the torrent “payloads”) you are looking for, whether movies, music, apps, video clips, games, books, erotica, images, etc.
Torrent indexing sites are usually searchable and browseable. This means that you can search for torrents by keywords (just like any search engine you are used to), but can also explore a structured set of categories which are sometimes further divided into sub-categories. For example, Torrents > Movies > Horror.
In particular, community-based torrent indexing sites offer a number of additional advantages. Members of these communities post comments or verify torrents which can help you to screen out poor quality, copyright, fake or malware-infected torrent content.
Most torrent indexes will also display the number of seeders and leechers for each torrent. Usually, they just use the term “seeds” or “S” for seeders and “peers” or “P” for peers aka leechers (even if technically a seed is also a peer). Remember that a torrent downloads fastest the higher the ratio of seeds to peers. Believe it or not, this means that a torrent with 2 seeds and 1 peer/leecher will download faster than a torrent with 10 seeders and 10 peers/leechers.
BTW: How to Tell which Torrents will Download Fastest
Most torrent search indexing sites will indicate how many seeds and peers are currently sharing a torrent. Use this information to determine how fast you can expect to download a torrent. Remember that seeds are sharing 100% completed versions of the associated torrent payloads while peers are sharing only partially completed versions.
Torrents download fastest the higher the ratio of seeds to peers. In other words, the greater percentage of seeds in a swarm, the faster you can expect to download the torrent.
For example, if torrent X has 100 seeds and 200 peers, while torrent Y has 10 seeds and 10 peers, you could expect torrent Y to download faster even though its swarm is smaller in size and has fewer total participants. That’s because the percentage (ratio) of seeds to peers for torrent Y is 100% whereas for torrent X it is 50%.
Size isn’t everything; it’s the ratio that is more important.
Most Popular Search Sites for Finding Torrents
Check this list of updated links for the most popular torrent indexing sites (as measured by the number of monthly visitors):
- Top 15 Most Popular Torrent Sites (updated monthly)
- Best Torrent Sites (updated)
Other Ways to Find Torrent Indexes
Popular torrent search indexing sites can also be found using a general Internet search engine and typing terms like “most popular torrent indexing sites”, “torrent search engine” or even simply “torrents”.
Sometimes you need to go looking and dig a little for torrent indexes because they get taken down, have their domain names seized or simply change or move.
You could also include terms matching the category or type of content you are looking for, whether movies, music, apps, video clips, games, books, erotica, images, etc. For even more specific searches you could also include any subcategory of specific interest. For example,
⇒ torrent search engine documentary movies
Copyright & Safety Concerns
However, remember that many if not most popular torrent search index sites are not copyright safe (see below). Too often, the most popular torrent indexing sites include torrents associated with pirated materials.
In addition, some of the most popular torrent index sites have very cluttered pages, trying to entice you into clicking on all kinds of ads, downloads and other links, not all of which may be safe or desirable. In fact, your browser may display a warning page when you try visiting a popular torrent index.
If you are blocked from accessing torrent indexes – whether by your government, ISP or your geographic location – try accessing them with Tor, a proxy or a VPN (virtual private network).
Top Tip – If the risks above sound like a headache, do yourself a favor and download torrents safely and anonymously by getting the top-rated torrent VPN Private Internet Access. It’s inexpensive (~$3/month) and its money-back guarantee means you can try it risk-free.
Copyright-Safe Torrent Search Indexes
If copyright safety is a factor for you in which torrent indexing sites to visit, good starting points for safe torrent indexing sites include:
- BitTorrent’s Featured Content http://bundles.bittorrent.com/ – torrents featured by the firm that invented them. A great resource as it's in their interest to offer exciting legal torrents.
- Mininova http://www.mininova.org/ – an easy-to-use directory and search engine for all kinds of torrent files.
- Internet Archive http://archive.org/details/bittorrent – movies, music, games and books that are now in the public domain (lots of “classics” from the past).
- VODO http://vodo.net/ – torrents of independent (“indie”) film and movies.
- Vuze Wiki http://wiki.vuze.com/w/Legal_torrent_sites maintains a great list of legal torrent sites, organized by category.
- [update: seems to be down for good] ClearBits http://www.clearbits.net/ – a torrent directory of open licensed media, including movies, music, games and more.
Using General Search Engines for Direct Torrent Searches
Although they provide less relevant results, you can also search directly for torrents using a general Internet search engine. Searching for torrents directly with general search engines can occasionally unearth a hidden gem of a torrent or lead you to discover a new favorite torrent indexing site. For general Internet search engines, you have two strategies:
1) You can perform a simple search for the content you seek by adding the word “torrent”
⇒ gorilla documentary torrent
2) if you know what an operator is (it’s a search parameter), you can employ the filetype: operator on general search engines that support it. General search engines supporting this operator include Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and ixQuick.
⇒ documentary filetype:torrent
Note that there is no space between the colon (:) and the word torrent. Also note that it’s torrent singular, not torrents plural.