After earning millions of dollars in advertising revenue, ExtraTorrent unexpectedly shut down this year. Undeterred by the closure, users have quickly flocked to a number of different alternatives.
The following is a special BitTorrent investigation by Digital Music News.
Earlier this year, ExtraTorrent site owner SaM mysteriously shut down the website.
Days prior to the site’s unexpected closing, users had noticed a longer-than-usual downtime after emergency maintenace.
Minutes after the site shut down, Reddit users found workarounds to access the popular torrent site. Moments later, however, they found only blank pages.
What killed ExtraTorrent?
It remains unclear why ExtraTorrent closed its doors. Despite making millions in advertising, the torrent indexing site had faced problems. Registrar Subreg.cz had locked SaM out of the site’s main page last year following a court order.
In a short-but-sweet farewell message, SaM warned millions of the website’s diehard fans,
“Stay away from fake ExtraTorrent websites and clones.”
You can still find the message on the site’s main domain, extra.to. Yet, it appears that hasn’t stopped users from quickly flocking to other torrent websites for their copyright infringing needs.
According to monitoring efforts from various partners, we’ve unearthed numerous ExtraTorrent alternatives. Some are obvious, others under-the-radar. All are actively offering massive amounts of contents to users.
1. The Pirate Bay
Immediately following the site’s closure, millions of diehard ExtraTorrent fans flooded The Pirate Bay (thepiratebay.se). This, in turn, caused the website to experience frequent crashing and loading issues.
Despite multiple judicial orders against the site, including a daring raid in 2014, The Pirate Bay still remains the largest piracy hub in the world. In the past year alone, the popular torrent indexing site has registered over 3.26 billion visits. It has a global Alexa ranking of 90.
Today, the website continues releasing vast catalogs of music and newly-released films. TPB admins admittedly continue to ignore DMCA requests to pull down content.
ExtraTorrent founder and site owner SaM warned users to stay away from ET websites and clones. That didn’t stop a handful of alleged ET ‘admins’ and ‘moderators’ from creating nearly an exact clone of the website, though.
A week after the original site shut down, former administrators and moderators launched extratorrents.cd. They wrote,
“These sites are our home and we won’t let anyone destroy them.”
The site immediately received criticism from diehard torrent fans, some of who claimed that Extratorrents.cd was, in fact, a clone of The Pirate Bay. Users reported stability issues and even torrent links filled with malware and viruses.
Despite these issues, the clone site has received over nine million monthly visits, rapidly approaching the original site’s popularity.
Back in 2013, popular BitTorrent website ISOHunt (isohunts.to) agreed to shut down all worldwide operations. In addition, Gary Fung, the torrent indexing site’s founder, agreed that it would pay the MPAA $110 million.
Yet, just two weeks later, the site came back online. Today, the website continues to serve millions of links to the latest movies, music, TV series, video games, software, and more.
The website receives over 2 million unique visits each month, mostly from the United States, India, and the United Kingdom.
For years, those looking for movies have only heard of one name: YIFY. For years, devoted DVD ripper aXXo has uploaded movies and TV series on multiple torrent websites at around 700MB, the size of a compact disc.
YIFY later rebranded to YTS (yify.is). On the website, you’ll find the latest movies and episodes from top television shows in 720p or 1080p. Cliking on a link, the site will immediately download a magnet link for immediate downloading on your preferred BitTorrent client.
Technically not a direct torrent indexing site, Torrentz2 (torrentz2.eu) instead searches for links on major pirate hubs.
Similar to the original ExtraTorrent, Torrentz2 launched following Torrentz’ closure. Last year, Torrentz.eu operators wrote,
“Torrentz will always love you. Farewell.”
To get started, users simply search for the desired content that they’d love to infringe. Torrentz2 will then pull up all the relevant searches across The Pirate Bay, ISOHunt, ExtraTorrent, and others.
Last month, the site received well over 78 million unique visits, mostly from India and the United States.
In their list of notorious online pirate hubs, the RIAA listed RARBG (rarbg.gold) right after The Pirate Bay. One of the oldest torrent indexing sites around, RARBG first launched in 2008. The website quickly gained a massive following. Two years ago, the site received over 300k visitors a day.
On its main website, you’ll find magnet links to the latest music, games, TV shows, and movies. RARBG also has a separate over-the-top streaming platform (rarbg.cc), similar to Coke and Popcorn.
As the website owners admit, most ISPs often block access to 1337x (1337x.to). So, they provided a quick workaround last month. To illegally download their favorite copyrighted content, all users have to do is head to 1337x.st.
On 1337x, you’ll find magnet links copyrighted movies, television, games, music, application, anime, and a whole lot more. In addition, 1337x provides the most popular torrents downloaded today, the past 24 hours, this week, and this month.
Notably one of the largest piracy hubs on this list, 1337x had 110+ million unique visits last month. On average, visitors stay close to six minutes browsing through illegal content on the site.
Usually one of the most reliable torrent indexing websites, Google and Firefox recently blocked TorrentDownloads (torrentdownloads.me). Users on Chrome and Firefox would see a “deceptive page” warning, and the following message:
“This web page at torrentdownloads.me has been reported as a deceptive site and has been blocked based on your security preferences.”
Despite the block on Chrome and Firefox, the site still clocked in over 21 million unique visits last month. The popular torrent indexing site received visitors mostly from the United States, India, and Turkey. Just as with 1337x and RARBG, the RIAA listed TorrentDownloads as a nefarious online piracy hub.
9. Popcorn Time
Sporting a sleek UI rivaling iTunes and Netflix, Popcorn Time (popcorntime.sh / popcorn-tine.to) provides an integrated BitTorrent client and media player.
Available for PC, Mac, and Linux, all users have to do is head to the website and download the latest version. Then, you’ll be able to stream movies and TV shows right from your computer. This application downloads small files to provide uninterrupted streaming on your desktop.
For years, governments around the world have attempted to take down Popcorn Time. Yet, a message from Popcorn Time founders defiantly proclaims,
“This Popcorn Time service will never be taken down. Download and enjoy.”
LimeTorrents (limetorrents.cc) first launched in 2003. An unnamed computer programmer launched the torrent metasearch engine to “create a type of metasearch engine that was designed to only search for torrent files on the internet.” After multiple takedown attempts from governments across the world, the site remains quite active.
Users can find millions of magnet links to illegally-acquired media content, including movies, TV shows, and games, among others. LimeTorrents has a global Alexa ranking of #2,256. Last month, the website registered 33.44 million unique visits, mostly from the United States.
Featured image by HJ Media Studios (CC by 2.0)