Learn more about Pirate Bay
Both users and lovers of The Pirate Bay know that if something's not broken, then you don't need to fix it. 20 years old and still going strong today, The Pirate Bay remains the number one go-to website for peer-to-peer sharing. That doesn't mean that those in governments are happy that The Pirate Bay exists.
Copyrighted material makes a lot of people a lot of money, and that money is taxed, which goes straight into the government pockets.
So, what is The Pirate Bay, how does it work, and why is it infuriating governments so much? Not only that, but why has The Pirate Bay managed to evade the law and is it safe for you to use? We'll discuss all this and more.
How The Pirate Bay Began
The Pirate Bay was born of a dream of co-founders Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij, and Peter Sunde, three Swedish computer specialists who were fiercely anti-copyright. The site developers believed that the use of copyright is a way to put a price on creativity.
The Pirate Bay started out as very much a political anti-copyright movement, a place where users could flout the apparently repressive copyright laws that stopped people from exchanging information.
This 'information' came in the form of music, movies, games, applications and a whole host of other data files that today make up The Pirate Bay that we know and love.
Svartholm was only 19 years of age when he founded The Pirate Bay with his comrades in 2003, and the site remains a favorite torrent directory of many people all over the world who are looking to get their hands on the content that they want.
What is The Pirate Bay?
The Pirate Bay is a place where users can search among billions of data files in order to find the favourite movies, shows, albums, games, and so on. If it's a piece of media that's recently been released, the chances are that it's on The Pirate Bay.
The Pirate Bay is a file sharing site, using the peer-to-peer protocol, which is the name given to a system where two computers can exchange files and information with one another without the need for a server in the form of a third computer.
When a user goes onto The Pirate Bay or indeed one of many other torrent directories available online today, they're looking to either download previously shared files, or they're on The Pirate Bay website for the purpose of uploading files that others will want.
They do this in the form of torrent files.
What Are Torrent Files?
The best way to think of a torrent file is to think of it as a huge, coded list of all the different pieces of a file that you need. These different files are called packets.
What are Packets?
Every single thing you download on the internet, be it audio, video, applications, games, images or text, is downloaded in packets. Packets are tiny pieces of information, a unit of data that goes together with other packets to form the content that you're looking for.
Some of these packets go to make up files the size of a few kilobytes, as in the case of a small amount of text or a low-resolution image. But other packets come through to your computer via the internet in their millions upon millions, so that you can make up a complete high resolution movie or game.
For most of the content you watch, you'll go to one single source. On the nights that you want to watch a movie, you might sit back on your sofa and turn on Netflix.
Where do Torrents Come in?
When you begin to watch the movie, Netflix is the only source of the entire file. It doesn't have to take a little from Amazon Prime or a little from the personal collection of someone on the other side of the world.
Torrenting works differently. In the case of torrents, the file you want is made up of the same millions of packets as a Netflix file, only they don't all come from the same source. Instead, they all come from a variety of sources.
Think of Torrents as a Call for Assistance
If you've ever had a local disaster in the area, then you'll know just how quickly a community can come together when there's a need. This is a little similar to the way torrenting works.
Imagine that your house has been dispersed by a tornado. Just a random, freak-of-nature tornado that only took your house but took all the contents with it and scattered them all over the country, never to be seen again. You have no possessions, and you need help.
But your local neighbor sees that you're in desperate need and immediately gets to work. They put notices everywhere, on social media, in store windows, asking local businesses for help, and so on.
Within very little time at all, people are suddenly turning up to your empty yard, all bringing things that you need. Each person brings something different, but it all goes to put your house back together.
From the bricks of the house to the glass of the windows, the paint for the woodwork, and the wood itself. The furniture inside, all the electric cables, the wallpaper and carpets... you get the idea.
Within just a few hours, your friendly neighborhood has all come together to build your dream house, and you now have a complete, usable home that functions perfectly.
A torrent file is a little like the notice that you neighbor put around town. It was a call to those in the area, or network, who could come to your aid and rebuild the house. The house, in case you haven't realized, is the movie you want to watch, or the song you want to listen to, and so on.
Who Comes to Offer the Assistance?
In the analogy we're using here of the rebuilding of the house, the local community who come to your aid represent the people all over the world who send you pieces of the file that you want.
When someone already owns a data file, by sending parts of it to you, they're not giving their own copy away. It's a little like lending a movie for a friend to watch, only the friend you're lending the movie to doesn't take your only copy. With torrenting, you keep a full copy, and also lend to a friend with no loss to yourself.
When you go to download torrents from The Pirate Bay, you put out the call for assistance, letting those who have a copy of the file know that you're in need of it yourself. Anyone who has a copy on their system and has uploaded it to the network is known as a seeder.
Seeders send you packets of the file that you need; if it's a file that a lot of people have and they've all made it available to the network, then they'll all donate the packets that you need. The more seeders there are who can come and answer the call, the quicker your file will be built!
The Pirate Bay community wouldn't exist if it weren't for the seeders! Once you've seeded a file, you don't need to keep your computer on. It's up there, in the network, waiting for the next Pirate Bay users to come along and also download the file. And at no loss of data to yourself!
What's the Pirate Bay's Role in Torrenting?
The Pirate Bay is the directory of these torrent files, it's the ready-coded message that's specific to the file that you want.
You want to watch a movie, and you put the name of the movie into The Pirate Bay's search bar, and The Pirate Bay finds all the torrent files that match the description. You choose the best one for you, and away you go.
The Pirate Bay is therefore the service that matches you up with the torrent files that you need. With the use of magnet links, the name given to these files when they're found on The Pirate Bay, you're put in touch with the online network of other Pirate Bay users who come to your aid.
The Pirate Bay leads the way in high res movies and other files, and remains more popular than any other torrenting site online not just because its content is consistently updated but because of its easy-to-use interface, including nine dynamic web fronts and a whole host of bittorrent trackers.
The Best Place to Download Audio, Video, Applications, Games and More
The Pirate Bay might well be known the most for its up-to-date catalogue of movie magnet links, but these days you can find a torrent file for just about anything.
As explained, a torrent website like The Pirate Bay is simple a place from which to download content, but that could easily be software too, not just music, video or games.
Torrent files that are downloaded correctly using bittorrent software are incredibly versatile with today's technology, so much so that it's even possible to access Pirate Bay and other such torrent website s from your phone.
Can I watch Movies Directly from The Pirate Bay?
The Pirate Bay isn't like Netflix or HBO Max. It's not a place that you can log into and immediately start watching your favorite movies. And this is one of the reasons that The Pirate Bay website is still going strong.
You'll probably have noticed that if you're looking to watch a movie without paying for it, you'll try and find a working video on a website, only to be met with a notification that states that you're unable to watch this movie because of copyright. That's because that website has hosted the entire movie, which is illegal.
By being just a host of torrents, as opposed to a host of entire movies, the Pirate Bay continues to give you access to all your favorite movies and TV shows indirectly, and not directly. And this is what makes all the difference.
How Do I Watch Torrents I've Downloaded from The Pirate Bay?
The torrent, or call for assistance, is a way for the seeders to be alerted to your need for help in building the file. This automatic process happens once you take the magnet link and place it into a bittorrent client.
The bittorrent protocol uses peer-to-peer sharing, but it means that unlike regular files which you will download as you watch them, bittorrent files arrive in a scrambled up mass of received packets.
In the same way that your brand new home from the earlier analogy doesn't just arrive on the back of the truck but needs to be carefully put together, a bittorrent file doesn't download straight into a movie player to be watched directly.
The file has to be downloaded with the help of a bittorrent client, which takes those packets and puts them into a watchable order.
How Do I Use a Bittorrent Client?
You can easily download a bittorrent client program from its respective website. These programs are pieces of software that take all of the information downloaded from the seeders and rearranges it into a format that makes the video watchable.
You can enter a search query into The Pirate Bay or other such torrent website, and then find the torrent that you're looking for. The torrent website will bring up a list of files to choose from, and once you've found the one you want, click on the link and the computer will automatically open the bittorrent client you've downloaded.
If the program doesn't automatically open, then you can right-click on the download link and copy the URL. Then, paste that URL into the client. You'll be able to choose a destination folder for the file in the client's file menu, and away you go.
Once your torrent file has finished downloading, you can exit the program and watch the content you've downloaded from The Pirate Bay with a video player such as VLC (generally the most reliable program for movies from torrent sites) or Quicktime player.
However, it's best to leave your torrent client open for a little while, so that you can seed the file back to the network, thus providing even more sources for other users of The Pirate Bay to download their favorite movies, too.
Do I Always Have the Seed the File Back?
You're under no obligation to seed files from The Pirate Bay back to the network, but it's more of a courtesy.
Even if you have to shut down your computer and can't seed the whole movie it still helps to upload as much of it as possible, so that others have a better chance at finding the file packets they need.
Seeding downloaded files is a good habit to have, but if you have particularly slow internet or simply don't wish to re-upload your downloaded files, nobody will hold it against you, and it won't stop you being able to use The Pirate Bay to download a host of multiple files in the future.
Do I Have to Pay for a Torrent Client?
To charge users to download files would go against the very ethos of The Pirate Bay, which is all about sharing content online for all to enjoy.
You will always be able to use The Pirate Bay without paying for the privilege of downloading files.
You will also always be able to find free bittorrent client software. The following are all free to use in order to torrent files from The Pirate Bay and other similar torrent sites:
- Vuze (which used to be known as Azureus)
By heading over to any of the above's homepages, you'll be able to download the software and easily install it onto your computer, so that very soon you'll be away, downloading torrent files from The Pirate Bay.
There are a whole host of torrent sites that support magnet links found on The Pirate Bay and other torrent websites, so choose the software whose interface suits you and your needs.
Some Torrent Clients Charge VIP Users
When it comes to torrenting, downloading files might be free but some of us want a little more. That's why certain torrent clients have a VIP service for those users who want a few perks while they're downloading files.
For example, most of the time you'll have to wait until video files from a torrent site like The Pirate Bay have fully downloaded before you can begin to watch them. This is because as we've explained, the magnet links of a file put a call out for packets that may not arrive in any kind of order.
However, certain torrent client VIP services make it possible for you to begin watching a file as soon as it begins downloading, similar to the way you'd watch a Netflix movie while the data may still be buffering.
Or, there may be a limit to how the torrent client works; you may only be able to download single files at once, whereas a VIP service may allow you to download multiple files at once. It may have zero limits as to the amount of data you download through it, it could also give you faster download speeds, and so on.
So, now you know just how to begin to download content from The Pirate Bay!
Are Torrent Websites Dangerous?
Whenever you download anything from any website, you should always exercise caution.
Torrent files can be used to send all kinds of things, and not all of it harmless. Dangerous viruses and malware, illegal images and other content can be found on a regular torrent website, so it's important to know what you're downloading.
The golden rule of downloading magnet links is that if it looks dodgy, then trust your gut and don't download it.
The Pirate Bay Works Hard at Protecting its Users
There are people working around the clock on the Pirate Bay website, scanning torrent files for malicious content and correctly categorizing magnet links.
It always helps to spell your query correctly in the search bar, because there may be two files with very similar names but a slight misspelling can be a way for Pirate Bay users to be tricked into downloading a virus or malware.
The Pirate Bay has trusted users and you can tell which of the users are trustworthy thanks to a color-coded system.
Sticking with the Pirate theme, the Pirate Bay uses colored skulls to differentiate the different users. Green means VIP users, or Very Important Person users, where these trusted seeders are known for their high-quality content, so that other users know they can trust the files are genuine and safe.
Pink skulls are also trusted, registered users, although they don't have VIP status. You should always look for the content uploaded by registered users first, and only use other users if you believe that the file is genuine.
It's likely that if you're looking for a certain file, then there will be other users of The Pirate Bay who have gone before you and used the torrent site to download the same file in the past.
If they've left comments on the file you want, be sure to read them! The Pirate Bay is a community of lots of users and feedback on the files is very important. It determines whether a video is good quality, or the subtitles are in the wrong place, or the downloaded file result isn't the one expected.
Does The Pirate Bay Go By Any Other Names?
As the most popular and one of the all time best torrent sites, The Pirate Bay is a well-known name online, especially among those who love to download files.
However, because of an ongoing legal battle across the world regarding copyrighted content, sometimes The Pirate Bay has to fly under the radar.
Those who use the site often refer to it as TPB. The main TPB site has often had to fly under the radar a little, thanks to the above mentioned legal battle that rages on against sought after torrent sites.
So, you may find that The Pirate Bay site is blocked in your country. Or perhaps your friends can access The Pirate Bay but you can't, because it's been blocked by your internet service provider. Don't worry, you can still use The Pirate Bay, with the help of some clever tricks.
And one of these is to use Pirate Bay mirror sites, otherwise known as a Pirate Bay proxy site.
What Are Pirate Bay Mirror Sites?
In a stroke of genius, The Pirate Bay long ago began to operate under the use of a proxy site. Or, to be more specific, several different proxy sites.
The original TPB site has been blocked by many internet service providers but it's only the site's URL that has been blocked. There's very little to stop the same data being available under a different URL. And that's where Piratebay proxy sites come in.
Pirate proxy sites are simply copies of the main site, but under a different web address. It can be as simple as changing the domain name from .com to .co.uk, or .co.au, and so on.
However, internet service providers who got wise to this began to close access to these sites too. And yet because nobody was about to stop wanting to use the Pirate Bay, people discovered that by using proxy sites, they were still able to get the content they love.
How to Access Pirate Bay Using a Proxy Site
A quick Google search of a phrase such as "Pirate Bay mirror sites" will quickly bring up a list of the latest Pirate Bay proxy websites that are available.
Fans of The Pirate Bay continually keep these links uploaded, copying the site and making a fresh proxy site or mirror copies of The Pirate Bay website so that you never have to go without movies and other content.
Other torrent websites also have similar mirror sites, because these days it's not just The Pirate Bay that is blocked by many countries' internet provider. Whatever latest torrent sites are blocked in your country, there will be a similar copy of the site in the form of a mirror website.
But, there are other ways to access The Pirate Bay if your internet service provider likes to restrict access in your area. And this is by use of a Virtual Private Network.
What is a Virtual Private Network?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a way to remain anonymous online, or at least as anonymous as anyone can be, without being a computer programming expert.
A VPN covers your computer's IP address. An IP address is an internet protocol address, which is essentially your computer's home address. An IP address is required in order for the network to know where to send all its data to.
The problem is that it means that your computer's activity can be tracked online, and can give away your location. A VPN puts you on a virtual network, so that your IP address is hidden and instead you can 'pretend' that you're somewhere else in the world.
How Does a Virtual Private Network Help me Access Pirate Bay?
If The Pirate Bay or other such torrent website is locked by your internet service provider, then by cloaking yourself with a VPN you're able to appear as though you're in another location, perhaps one where such torrent websites aren't blocked.
The Pirate Bay's moderators also value the use of a Virtual Private Network so much that often when you visit The Pirate Bay in order to download torrent files you'll be met with a Pirate Bay warning that tells you that you need to use a VPN in order to use The Pirate Bay.
Protecting your own personal data is vital but not only that, it helps to protect the data of those who are adhering to the bittorrent protocol and are engaging in peer-to-peer sharing.
It's not illegal to download torrents but it's considered illegal to distribute copyrighted material. It means that whether you visit a torrent website such as The Pirate Bay to upload or download a torrent file, you should always protect yourself with a VPN.
Using a VPN means that you can not only download a file anonymously but upload it anonymously, too, and in today's climate of the internet, where we need to use more caution than ever, it helps to protect everyone's personal data.
Other Reasons to Use a Virtual Private Network
Even if you don't like to download content on a torrent website like The Pirate Bay, you should still consider a VPN even for something as innocuous as your restricting bandwidth throttling.
If you're wondering why your internet seems to be running slowly but calls to internet service providers have revealed no issues, then the problem could be coming from a lack of VPN.
Even if you have a reliable antivirus program, you can still be targeted by ads. Advertisement site owners can track activity online and then bombard your computer with ads that slow down your connection.
A good quality VPN also allows you to not only access an otherwise blocked torrent website like The Pirate Bay but it can also unlocked geo-blocked content.
If you've ever been on Netflix and wanted to know why you can't watch a certain movie but your friend in the UK can see it in their Netflix catalogue, then this is because different streaming sites offer different content depending on where you are.
Unlocking another geographical location with a VPN can trick your computer into thinking you're somewhere else, thus unlocking that location's content.
There's No Such Thing as Evil Technology
Technology is neither good nor evil. It's inanimate, and completely at the mercy of the people who use it. It means that while a torrent website like The Pirate Bay gets a lot of bad press, there's nothing to fear from magnet links.
Many people access The Pirate Bay in order to get free copyrighted content in the form of a torrent file, perhaps a movie or TV show that they would otherwise have to pay to access.
But just putting aside the 'gray' area of pirated material for one moment, consider plenty of other reasons people use The Pirate Bay. Material such as old classic novels and music that is no longer under copyright restriction can be easily obtained using peer-to-peer sharing from such a torrent website as The Pirate Bay.
Computers that use Linux are by their very nature open-source, so each user has complete control over their own software. It means that a torrent website like The Pirate Bay may simply contain magnet links to updates for Linux users and plenty of people access Pirate Bay for this reason.
When The Pirate Bay Doesn't Have the File You Want
Not everyone likes to use The Pirate Bay. This isn't because they have anything against the idea of the torrent website in general, but that they don't agree with the politics of the founders, or perhaps they simply don't like the interface.
While The Pirate Bay is the world's number one torrent website, there are still plenty out there online for you to try, and a quick check of the Google search bar will bring up a list of torrent sites for you to choose from.
Some Torrent Sites Deal With Specific Files
The Pirate Bay is pretty universal in that it has most of the popular files that people like to download, and they access Pirate Bay as a one-stop shop for all their torrenting needs.
However, some people prefer to use one torrent website over the other, depending on the kind of content they're looking for.
LibGen, for example, is the go-to place for students who are looking to cut the cost of their textbook bill. Libgen and its various different proxy sites contain millions of ebooks, fictional books, comics and more. From the latest novel to the most obscure medical textbook, Libgen is even than The Pirate Bay for finding a whole host of books, especially those translated into different languages.
To The Pirate Bay and Beyond for Gamers
While The Pirate Bay has games, for example, serious gamers like to use a torrent website like TorrentsGames, or GazelleGames, which is considered to be the most trusted torrent website when it comes to gaming.
Visiting a torrent website for games can mean that while you're downloading, your bandwidth will be chock full of packets headed for your machine. If you live in an area with poor access speed, you might want to skip The Pirate Bay for games and go to FitGirl Repacks, which is considered the best torrent website for people with slow access speed.
Don't Just Check The Pirate Bay
If you're looking for a file and no matter how you spell the name, both correctly and incorrectly, you just can't find it, then look elsewhere.
The Pirate Bay isn't the only popular torrent website and while it contains most mainstream media, there are still the odd files that are a little more obscure.
Search every torrent website you can think of, including:
- Kickass Torrents
- YIFY Movies
There are a whole host of other names of torrent website out there too, and a quick search for phrases like "best torrent website" will yield plenty of results.
How Does The Pirate Bay Make Money?
It makes sense to ask the question: if the content on The Pirate Bay is made up of shared files, how do the owners of The Pirate Bay and other such torrent website s make any money? The answer is twofold.
Most people who start up a torrent website don't do it for the money. They do it because they believe that content should be open and free for all to enjoy.
But running a torrent website is a time-consuming job and in the case of The Pirate Bay, the owners have literally been imprisoned because they have so much faith in their torrent website. So, it stands to reason that they should be able to get something back for their trouble.
You Can Donate to The Pirate Bay
Today, many a good torrent website will have a place for its users to donate an amount they feel they can afford, and that use of the site deserves, in order to support the developers.
Whether you've been barred from accessing The Pirate Bay in your country and you've used Pirate Bay proxy sites, or you've found a file you've hunted high and low for, both happy endings were only possible thanks to the work of developers.
Tipping them a few dollars for their trouble, either with a bank card or, better still, anonymous crypto currency, keeps the developers in enough coffee to keep The Pirate Bay ticking over.
Ad Revenue Supports The Pirate Bay
We've all seen ads, because they're everywhere, and while they're annoying, they're important for making websites earn money.
The owners of The Pirate Bay earn some revenue from advertising, so you may see ads on your Pirate Bay visit but if ads annoy you, then invest in a decent ad blocker and you won't see them.
Is The Pirate Bay Here to Stay?
There's no knowing what the future holds for technology, and whether we'll need The Pirate Bay for a good few years yet.
But The Pirate bay remains the world's most popular place for downloading torrent files because it's easy to use, has a huge catalogue of torrents, and was built on a premise that a lot of people could get behind.
So, whether you use a proxy site, a VPN or any other method to access The Pirate Bay, you're in good company.
Be Wary of Brand New Torrents with a Ton of Seeders
It’s important to look at the age of torrents before you jump on a download, especially if new torrents have a ton of seeders.
One of the ways that content creators (particularly in Hollywood) like to catch people downloading their files – rather than pay for them – is to “spoof” seeder count and trick people into downloading a file that tracks and identifies them.
The best way to avoid these is to be wary of brand new (just in the last few hours) torrents that have thousands or even tens of thousands of seeders already. If it doesn’t look organic, check the comment section or just stay clear for a couple of days to see how things shake out.