Ten Most Used BitTorrent Sites Compared

Sunday, September 24, 2006

When I first began to use BitTorrent in 2004 there was little question as to which indexing site to use. Today, Suprnova is long gone and we are left with an array of diverse options. This is a comparison of today's ten most used BitTorrent sites according to Alexa.com.

Ten Most Used BitTorrent Sites:
Torrents Indexed

I was rather surprised with these results, BTJunkie has nearly double the amount of torrents as the next leading competitor. The reason for such the dramatic increase is that they index both private and public trackers. Keep in mind that this benchmark is not very reliable because these sites all have different removal policies, making the quality of these numbers range.

Average of Daily Torrent Additions

This is the best benchmark for figuring out which site is doing the best job. It is the most important number because no matter what policies the site may have for keeping dead torrents around it is a tell tail sign of how much is really incoming. At first I thought BTJunkie's numbers must be fake, but I assure you it is real! I tested the number posted with the number in the actual directory for the day and they matched for a week straight!

Site Feature Rating

This is an overall rating based on site & user features. TorrentSpy has done a great job of "wikifing" their site, leaving much of the work to it's users. TorrentSpy also has great torrent upload management. BTJunkie has a feature called Torrent Mail that will search the new torrents daily for any searches of your choice and e-mail you the results.

Site Review

BTJunkie - Editors Choice
It's funny because BTJunkie was a site that I had never heard of before, barely made the top ten list, and it turned out to be the largest BitTorrent index. BTJunkie also indexes private trackers which tend to have faster, higher quality torrents. I spoke with the operator who claims their success is due to having an automated web crawler similar to Google, which captures torrents from thousands of web sites. The site also has an innovative feature where users can have BTJunkie search the new torrents daily and e-mail them the results. The site is fast with powerful search options and the layout is "windows" like. Overall this is my number one pick due to it's huge index of active torrents, hats off to BTJunkie!

This search engine is operated by the founder of the BitTorrent protocol, Brah Cohen. The site lacks a directory service and does not store most torrents directly on their servers. This is probably due to being Incorporated in the United States and trying to avoid any legal troubles. The quality of the matches returned were mediocre at best, and only provided very limited "for dummies" information. Their index seams to be based mostly off of a few major indexes included in this study. The site was offline several times during our testing period too so they loose points for uptime. I personally expected better from the "creator".

BushTorrent & TorrentReactor
I was surprised to find out these two sites shared the same index and operator. The index is a good size with a very flexible and easy to use search. Most of the initial matches of searches were good but near the end were several non-relevant matches. The search gives you powerful control options for your queries by giving you the ability to match with OR or AND. Torrentreactor has definitely overkilled the ads and includes pop-ups.

Established in early 2004, this site flourished at the demise of Suprnova. Most of the torrents in this index have tested active within a week. The search query options are set from within the query using similar syntax to Google. The directory is a bit odd, it is split off into a isoHunt release section and a web release section. The interface is easy to use and loaded with JavaScript. IsoHunt is the 3rd most popular BitTorrent site today and is also being sued by the MPAA.

Very basic site heavily integrated with usenext advertisements. The search is very limited, the only special option is to limit by category. The index is one of the largest but the incoming daily torrents are a little lower then they should be for such a high number.

This is the 2nd most popular BitTorrent site despite having around an average of only 1/3 as many torrents as other sites. The speed, quality, and simplicity of Mininova are what keep their users happy. Mininova was the largest successor of Suprnova's shutdown.

The Pirate Bay
The Pirate Bay is the largest BitTorrent tracker in the world. Famous for their blatant disregard for intellectual property rights, they are a beacon of light for a neutral Internet. The web site is easy to use and efficient with limited capabilities. Their index is comprised of only torrents they index on their tracker, but don't worry because there tracker has almost 350,000 torrents.

Torrent Portal
Torrent Portal is famous for there large following of faithful uploaders. They had the second most incoming daily torrents with 468,000 indexed, so they have a pretty good standard for active torrents. The web page is loaded with ads that can be reduced by becoming a member. The search gives powerful options to it's users.

TorrentSpy is the most popular BitTorrent site. They had the nicest interface and features out of all the sites we tested. They scored low where it counts the most, only an average of 640 torrents a day. We were surprised by this because it is the most popular yet it has such a poor index. The site has advanced identifications for torrents like languages and subs that are set by the users. Users can also report passworded archives within the torrents. Heavy on the ads and includes pop-ups. They are also currently being sued by the MPAA.

Torrentz is similar to Bittorrent.com in that it doesn't actually store the torrents on their servers but outsources to many of the sites included in this study. This is one of the only search engines that gives you the ability to search for files within the torrents. They only index torrents that have tested active with at least one seed which makes the quality of there index the best. It is not the best option if you are looking for something that is hard to find, torrents that have no seeds pull themselves together all the time.