The Best Torrent Search Engines – September 2019
Torrents and peer-to-peer sharing have a bit of a bad rep on the internet among general consumers and media makers. Sure, torrent sites and P2P file transfers are no doubt used for piracy, malicious intents, and plenty of other harmful and unsafe technologies, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used for good. There are several legal uses for torrents and torrent clients that make use of the speed and efficiency that torrenting can offer a Windows user, all without the legal tightropes people are forced to walk to avoid retribution by copyright holders and legal groups.
BitTorrent and other torrent services have been used for game updates and patches, downloading content from the internet archive, grabbing Linux and other free or open-source ISOs, and distributing any large amounts of data in a quick and efficient manner. And this even discounts free and non-copyrighted content, including films like Night of the Living Dead that have been entirely removed from the US Copyright Office. Some artists, most notably Radiohead’s frontman Thom Yorke, have teamed with BitTorrent in the past to use the service as an online, totally legal store interface.
Of course, we’re well aware that some users are going to be putting torrent search engines to work downloading illegal or copyrighted content as well, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t cover some of the best the service has to offer. BitTorrent clients are a dime a dozen, especially on Windows 10, where the software has existed for years. And though a new platform seems to pop up every year or two, our recommendations typically stay the same two or three different engines, with some alternate choices depending on your needs or wants. When you’re looking for a torrent search engine, you want to find something simple and easy-to-use, that gives you fresh results as quickly as possible. Here’s our guide to the best search engines for Torrents.
What To Look For
It’s important to know that occasionally, torrent search engines are taken down by copyright holders to prevent IP theft and other violations of copyright law. As legit torrent websites have been taken down, others have sprung up in their place. Typically, new sites are created by the same users, moving their file repository over to a different host, and going back into business under the same name. Others are posing as the originals, and are not to be trusted. Be careful when using certain sites on the web, especially if they’re brought down prematurely.
UTorrent Search seems to have something of an identity crisis. It is called UTorrent Search on the page but has the Veoble.com URL. Either way, this torrent search engine is pretty good at what it does and ironically, is powered by Google. Add your search term in the box and hit the magnifying glass or Enter. The search results appear on a different page.
Torrentz2 is one of those copycat sites I mentioned above but to be seems a genuine phoenix, rising from the flames. I used to use Torrentz all the time until it was taken down. This torrent search engine looks and feels exactly the same. Enter your search term, hit Search or Enter and browse the results. It is fast and apparently indexes over 61 million torrents across the internet. There is also a .onion page should you prefer.
Torrents.me is another torrent search engine worth using. It enables you to include or exclude torrent sites during search and works quickly. It isn’t the best looking web page in the world but it gets the job done. The selection of search results is good and according to the site, it indexes most of the larger torrent websites.
The Torrent Project is a torrent search engine that apparently indexes over 10 million torrent files across most good quality sites. This has a .se domain which is Sweden, known for decent privacy laws but with no guarantees. The search results are credible and contain a wide range of returns for most searches. It’s now on iteration 2 and is at torrentproject2.se. It’s well worth using as far as I can tell.
The Pirate Bay
The Pirate Bay is the most famous (and infamous) torrent website on the internet, the one that is constantly being taken down only to spring right back up. It’s not a pure search engine but it does have a powerful search function. It is also the website that most of those torrent search engines index first. The website has gone through several incarnations as various law enforcement agencies have taken it down. The domains may have changed but the quality stays the same.
The Pirate Bay is probably the website of choice for most torrenters. While the torrents themselves are occasionally filled with scams, the majority are clean and deliver the goods. User comments on torrents provide a pretty reliable guide to whether a given torrent is problematic or not.
RARBG is another torrent site that has been going for years. It too has a powerful search function but also contains category lists of torrents. It isn’t the prettiest site in the world but it has many of the latest TV and movie releases plus a credible number of games and software programs. RARBG has a good reputation too, so while it does serve popups like all torrent sites, there are no obvious risks of malware or other nefarious code.
1337X has managed to survive despite a tumultuous couple of years. Now the site is a go-to for movies and game releases. It has a good search function but the category browse function is the one I tend to use most. The Top 100 and Trending Torrents links are most useful if you’re in the mood for something new but don’t know exactly what. The site works quickly and aside from minor ads, isn’t too intrusive.
Limetorrents looks and feels like the other torrent websites in this list except the design is a little cleaner and easier on the eyes. It has a search function as well as category listings. The site works very quickly too. In my experience, it is one of the fastest performing sites in this list. The torrent health feature is a neat one, it tells you at a glance how the particular torrent is performing so you can set your expectations accordingly.
How to torrent safely
The above covers the where, now let’s cover the how. Bittorrent in and of itself is not illegal, but many of the files made available on these sites are. While unconfirmed, some of these websites and some of the torrents hosted on them are monitored by copyright organizations and law enforcement. Therefore, to stay out of trouble you need to take a couple of precautions.
First, never use a torrent website in the clear. That means never use your standard browser over your standard connection and never visit them outside a VPN. If you do use your browser, make sure you’re doing it over a no-log VPN connection. Better still, use the Tor Browser for an extra level of protection. On its own, Tor is fairly secure but not completely secure. Combine Tor with a VPN for a genuinely private connection.
If you do want to use your standard browser make sure you use an ad blocker. Not only do all torrent search engines and websites deliver ads, some are known to be annoying or dangerous. Block as many ads as your add-on allows or use Host File blocking for maximum protection.
Make sure to disallow popup ads, not share your location and set your ad blocker for maximum protection before visiting any bit torrent website.
Not all of the options above on this list are hosting pirated material, but for those services that do, you’ll want to make sure you don’t skip using protection. Though some users risk their privacy by choosing to download pirated content without the protection of a VPN on their devices, we highly recommend using a VPN service to protect your data, especially if you’re using one of the less-than-legal services on this list. Though having a VPN on is very rarely the wrong choice, the privacy it adds to your device isn’t needed to enjoy your favorite services regularly. And although we also say that the less information you give internet service providers and online companies, the better, the truth is that a VPN won’t be right for everyone. You’ll have to make your own choice on whether or not to pay a few dollars per month for a VPN.
Finally, files downloaded through bittorrent websites should be treated with suspicion until you have verified otherwise. While most antivirus programs will automatically scan files as they are downloaded, manually check the file before opening it. Right click the file and select Scan with… to check for viruses. Do the same with your malware scanner too.
The majority of files downloaded from these sites will be legitimate ones without any hidden surprises. Unfortunately, you never quite know which is safe and which is not until it is too late. Scan all files downloaded through bit torrent before use. It only takes a few seconds but could save many hours computer rebuilding. TechJunkie does not condone piracy in any way, shape or form. Bittorrent is a protocol and not an illegal file system or transfer method. The files shared using the protocol may be illegal and be monitored by your ISP, copyright organizations or law enforcement. We do not encourage anyone to break the law. What you do with the information contained within this article is your responsibility.
Know of any other torrent search engines not mentioned here? Any other torrent websites you have found to be reliable and worth checking out? Tell us about them below if you do.