Torrent Websites (with private trackers)
What’s a ‘private tracker’?
A private tracker is a tracker that requires users to register with it before they can use it. This is done at the tracker website. Private trackers usually register how much the user uploads and downloads and may enforce a minimum upload-to-download ratio. As a result, their torrents usually offer better availability and speed compared to public trackers where leeching is more common. Some private trackers are accepting new members from time to time; others are full and won’t accept new people unless they’re invited by a member. Fortunately, there are always new private trackers opening up all the time, and they gladly accept new members.
And why go through the hassle to use them? There are many reasons to use a private tracker. The biggest reason for most people is SPEED! Members must maintain a high download/upload ratio to keep the account in good standing at the website, or risked being banned. On public trackers, there are many, many more leechers than seeds, and there is little or no consequences for a bad up/down ratio. Just look on a public torrent website at the “S” and “L” columns. On a private tracker, it’s the opposite: there’s actually more seeds than peers. This helps the speed exorbitantly. Another reason to use a private tracker is reliable torrents. Since anyone can upload torrents to a public tracker, torrents served by private trackers are often hand-picked and checked frequently to validate the links and the files they are serving. Movies will play - Software will work - No malware. And another advantage of private trackers: Variety! HD (Blu-Ray and HDDVD) video and movie files; more full DVDr releases; sports; lossless audio music; special categories and older releases not found on public trackers.
Because of the advantages of private trackers, these accounts are highly coveted. Torrent forums are chock-full of messages from people asking for ‘invites’ to new accounts. There are even password trading websites that claim they will ‘give’ you their private accounts/invites in swap for one of yours first. So what does all this mean? It means less opportunity for private trackers to ‘open’ for new signups. If the ’status quo’ for number of users is almost continuously at full capacity due to “invite swapping”, why would they ever have to rely on the public to fill the vacant registration slots? So the doors are opening a lot less often nowadays on many older private trackers.
One suggestion for getting around this is to join private trackers that are fairly new and initially accepting many new members (they all had to start this way, didn’t they?). Try to find ones that will accommodate a high number of registrants (20,000 and up) even if they have nowhere near that number now. When you do find a few, keep your account ‘active’ and in good standing (read their ‘etiquette’ guidelines for account requirements). With luck, maybe they’ll be the next big thing. One advantage of a new private tracker is that nobody is looking to shut them down - anti-piracy groups go for the big fish, not the minnows.
Private trackers and security
Contrary to popular belief, there is NO increased security with using a private tracker over a public one - this is BitTorrent - your IP address can be viewed by anyone else downloading the same torrent. Even Demonoid.com (private) had blocked access to all Canadians from its torrents after succumbing to legal pressure from the CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association), and eventually shut down. And the private OINK! got shut down as well. It would be naivety to assume that private trackers have blocked anti-piracy groups from becoming regular members.
Private trackers have banned BitComet
It should be noted that BitComet doesn’t play well with private trackers. Oversimplified, this has to do with a ‘flag’ being put on torrents to distinguish them as being served by private trackers. A flag on a private torrent means it will not be shared among non-private users (on the DHT network). Most BitTorrent client programs honor this flag system; however it is speculated that BitComet will allow public access usage of these private torrents (under some heavy set of conditions - one of them possibly being an issue with the private tracker). This in turn affects the seed/leech ratios - and evidently download speeds for the private users.
Many, if not most, private trackers have now banned BitComet. This is apparent when a user downloads a torrent from a private tracker and opens it in BitComet, but it never connects. Even if you have a legitimate private tracker account AND disabled the “DHT network” option in BitComet, this will not help you. If you are adamant about using BitComet, use it for public websites only, because you will need a second client like Azureus for your private accounts.
NOTE: Some private trackers have also banned µTorrent v1.7.x as well, so use the older version 1.6.1. or newer 1.8.x.
How do I find private trackers that are accepting new signups?
If you want to start using private trackers, www.btracs.com is a good site that displays only private trackers that are open for new signups. The list is updated every 10 minutes so the information is always current. You can also find more here, and here.