Seedboxes are a great way to anonymously download torrents, while not even having to be in front of your computer, circumventing almost all kinds of BitTorrent traffic blockades on your network, and much more. You can practically consider them to be alternatives to regular torrenting.
But first things first:
What is a Seedbox?
A seedbox is a server online that downloads torrents for you, instead of having a software run on your computer that does the job for you.
Basically, you login on the website of your seedbox provider, where you’ll see an interface that looks pretty much like your normal torrent client. There, you add and manage your torrents just like you’re used to.
(ruTorrent, a web-based client often used by Seedbox providers. Via Seed.ST, thanks!)
What will happen, though, is that the torrenting will not occur on your computer but on a distant server, which has a much faster Internet connection than you, for both uploading and downloading. This will:
- Protect your privacy as your own IP is never shown on the BitTorrent network
- Circumvent any torrent filter or blockade on your local network.
- Allow you to upload much faster, very important if you use private trackers or want to create and share your own torrent.
When downloading is finished, you can download the file directly through your browser, at full speed and without ever revealing your identity.
Regular Torrenting vs. Seedboxes
When you download torrents like most other people out there, you install a client like uTorrent on your computer, and you add torrents (or magnet links) to it. The software then proceeds to connect to the network and starts downloading the file. Of course, it also automatically makes you a distributor of the file too (“uploading”), as everyone else using torrents is.
This might create several problems:
- Not all Internet connections are created equally, and your bandwidth will vary greatly. This might not be an issue for you in terms of downloading speed, but especially when you’re using a private tracker or trying to create and seed your own torrent, the slow uploading bandwidth will be a very annoying problem.
- Your computer has to be on all the time. Say hello to a nice power bill! Not only is it bad for the environment, but torrenting might be a tad more expensive than you’d think. After all, you computer has to be running all the time, and especially when you go for an older or badly-seeded file, it might take more than just a few hours to get the job done.
- Volume-based Internet plans can be depleted very quickly. Most users use a unlimited plans these days, but in some countries your Internet might be restricted to a certain volume, especially cheaper ones. Uploading uses a lot of volume too, so you might end up having your Internet speed throttled or something similar.
- Privacy is not the greatest. If you don’t use a VPN, chances are you’re already being tracked by some “anti-piracy” company, or your university or network administrator is taking a close look on what you’re doing. Of course, almost anyone is behind a VPN these days, but these are often included in seedbox plans, so no need to pay twice.
On the other hand, using a seedbox has many advantages, but also a few downsides. The main points are:
- Your privacy is almost completely protected. Since you never connect to the BitTorrent network or any peers or trackers yourself, it is virtually impossible to get in trouble. The only theoretical possibility would be to get ratted out by your seedbox provider, which should only happen if you broke into a warehouse, stole a new movie before release date, and decided to put it online (and even then it is kinda unlikely). But of course, you would never download or share anything illegal or protected by copyright, so no problem here, right? 😉
- Any filtering of your Internet connection is circumvented, and no one in your network will never link you to torrents. Since your computer never connects to the BitTorrent network in any way, a filter would have to target regular HTTP downloads to stop you from getting files from your seedbox. Just do a little test: Download just anything with your browser, from anywhere to the Internet, and see if it works.
- Can be used from anywhere, so you can literally sit at your friends computer or at work and add a torrent without having to sit in front of your own PC. Great for anyone who likes mobility.
- Awesome uploading speed, great for private trackers or seeding your own torrents. Always wanted to create a torrent yourself and contribute to the community? This is a good way to do it, without being limited by your slow uploading bandwidth at home. Seedboxes can have virtually unlimited speeds, we’re talking of up to 1 Gbps (115 Megabytes per second… literally) tops.
- However, seedboxes are not for free, with plans starting at $5 per month.
So, Should You Get A Seedbox?
That depends: If you’re on a private tracker, or want to seed your own torrents, it is more or less mandatory, or at least very advisable. For anybody else, it has many advantages, and can replace a VPN. For a relatively low price, you get a whole lot of convenience and privacy, and can also circumvent any throttling or blockades by your ISP or network administrator (if you’re in University or at work) – we think it can definitely be worth it.