Do you think you got what it takes to become the next mininova?
Do you ever wish there was a button you could push to delete all the crappy torrents at those popular BitTorrent sites? Ever wonder what it’d be like to run your own BitTorrent site? It’s a blast! And the best part - Total control! You get to add only the torrents that you want, without all the junk found on the public BitTorrent juggernauts.
There’s one thing that ALL BitTorrent websites have in common: they started out small. Here we document the entire process for setting up your own BitTorrent website - with your own trackers, as well. We’ll give you fair warning - this takes some work!
About this tip:
A few things we must first mention:
This tutorial explains how to set up a private BitTorrent website, not a public one (although the difference between the two is a mere adjustment in the sites’s settings). New users to your site will have to sign up and create accounts in order to access the offered *.torrent files. This way you’ll be able to moderate the incoming torrents (or be the only one adding them), and limit who can access your site, your tracker and its’ torrents.
We don’t include information for setting up a BitTorrent site through a free webhosting service, or with websites that offer free ‘homepages’. This tutorial is designed for anyone who is serious about setting up a service-hosted BitTorrent site at their own domain. Most webhosting companies offer services starting at $5 per month, or even less. The reason for documenting the “paid” method is because:
— There’s always a catch to free services - if too much monthly bandwidth is used, they can easily just remove your site. With a paid service, you just upgrade your account.
— If you draw complaints, they’ll take your site down without any notice. Many premium webhosting companies will have no issues with you running torrents on it.
— You won’t get any support from a free service. Many paid webhosting companies have “live” support at their website or at least a phone number you can call.
— To subsidize your webhosting costs, just throw on some ads from Google Adsense or some other ad hosting company. You’ll likely make more than what you’re paying, anyways - get people you know to click them!
If you reside in the United States and want to set up a BitTorrent website, be prepared for all kinds of negative feedback from anti-piracy watchdogs. Thus it’s a good idea to keep your site low-key, small and private to avoid any undue attention. Another suggestion is to host your site through a P2P-friendly country, such as Canada, where P2P file sharing is still legal.
Getting Started. (Pre-installation / pre-requisites)
Sign Up for a Webhosting Service & a Domain
First, you need to have a piece of real-estate set aside for you on the Internet. You can either set up a ‘domain’ first (from a domain registrar), and get your webhosting after - or you can do it all from the same webhosting company. We highly recommend that you to get your domain name from the same place that’ll be hosting your site. This is so if you make changes to your webhosting account, you won’t have to contact your domain registrar with the new nameservers (this will all be done internally) and it can save many headaches down the road. All major webhosting sites allow you to do both the domain name registration and web hosting at the same time.
IMPORTANT: You’ll need webhosting that supports PHP 4/5, MySQL 4/5+ and cPanel (hosted through a Linux/Unix server). So stick with a well-known company. When selecting a webhosting plan, you’ll first have to explore what you’ll be using your site for. If you plan on just using torrents that already exist on public sites like mininova.org (and add them to your site), you’ll be able to get away with using a cheap webhosting plan. But if you wish to use your own tracker to host your own torrents, you’ll need to have a dedicated-server account. See Part III of this tutorial for more details.
When setting up a domain, we also recommend that you subscribe to the “privacy” service or ‘private registration’ that’s offered by most companies - it costs around 20 bucks extra, even less - but well worth it. This will keep you out of the whois registry.
So go ahead and sign up somewhere for a hosting account and pick a domain name.
Connecting with FTP
You’ll need to be able to access your domain through “file transfer protocol”, or FTP. A great freeware FTP program is FileZilla. Here’s the link to their quick-start guide, and its most basic functions are explained on the screenshot to the right. In order to connect to your site through FTP, you’ll need to enter in your ftp address and username / password that you used to set up your domain. The FTP address is the address of your created website, but instead of www. or http://, you use ftp. In our case, our URL (web address) is http://filesharefreak.com, and therefore our FTP address is ftp.filesharefreak.com.
Knowledge of HTML is hugely beneficial to setting up a BitTorrent website, especially since you’ll probably want customize it your way. If you have NO experience at all in PHP or HTML, your torrent site is going to look a bit generic, but it will work nicely. The BitTorrent frontend templates that we detail require no knowledge of web programming, and are simple enough that just about anyone will be able to set up their own BitTorrent website. The web is abundant with excellent HTML tutorials, and it’s not that difficult to learn - www.w3schools.com is a good starting point. Already afluent in HTML? Great! The rest of the tutorial should go quite smoothly. And if you already have a wordpress website (not a wordpress.com blog, but the wordpress.org self-hosted type, then this should be a breeze!).
CPanel is a web-based control panel that allows you to manage your domain through a web interface. The idea is to transfer as much of the control and responsibility of managing your web site to you. You have the ability to manage all aspects of e-mail, files, backup, FTP, CGI scripts, and web site statistics. For this tutorial, having a webhosting plan with cPanel is the simpler (and cheaper) option. Look for webhosting that supports cPanel (most do).
Part I - Configure your domain for PHP, MySQL and Torrent Files.
There’s quite a lot to cover before you’ll be able to set up a torrent website. If you already have a website set up and working, particularly with wordpress, then some of these steps are likely already done. Although we’ve tried to simplify this as much as possible, setting up a BitTorrent site from the ground up is no small task. These procedures cover the basics for anyone who is starting out from scratch, with no website at all (just the domain) but we also . Jump ahead to wherever you see fit. (Tip: If you do indeed have a site based on a Wordpress template, simply add torrent files to your Apache handler and proceed from there).
It is assumed that you’ve created a domain name and signed up for webhosting that supports PHP 4/5 (5 recommended), MySQL 4 (5 recommended) and has cPanel. You should now be able to connect to your “site” though FTP, even if you don’t have a website ‘there’.
Test that your domain is ‘Up’ / cPanel
Visit your site (URL) through a web browser. Whether you actually have a website “UP” or not is not important. What’s pertinent is that you can connect to it through FTP, and that your website’s URL does load in the browser. If you created a domain, say for example, www.torrentnerds.com, then type in http://www.torrentnerds.com in the browser URL window. What you DON’T want to see is this message below, because it may mean your site is not yet ready or not working.
If your “site” loaded without any errors, you’ll be able to access your cPanel. So type in /cpanel after your URL (i.e. www.torrentnerds.com/cpanel ). You should now see a window similar to this one below: (Note - the cPanel window varies from one service plan to the next, but the general features are the same).
You’ll need to set up your server so that it can read/use PHP files. In some cases, this is already done for you, especially if you chose a more expensive service package (i.e. not a ‘basic‘ web hosting package). If you didn’t splurge on your hosting and opted for the barebones el-cheapo account, it is likely you’ll have to add PHP in yourself. Look for an icon in cPanel that says “Apache Handlers” or similar. The rest is self-explanatory - simply add the file extensions *.PHP, *.PHP3 and *.PHP4 to the list, if you don’t already see them listed. See below:
If .php, .php3 and .php4 were NOT listed in the “System Defined Handlers
” and you had to add them yourself, you should now see them listed underneath your “User Defined Handlers
“. If done correctly, it will appear something like this:
A BitTorrent site is more complicated than it appears, and there are a lot of behind-the-scene processes going on. One thing that needs to be incorporated is a way to handle all of it. Through the cPanel, you’ll need to add a MySQL database to your service. Look for the “MySQL® Databases” icon - it will appear like this:
If you’re starting out from scratch, you’ll probably just see an empty-ish looking page:
Or, it may resemble this page:
Either way, you’ll need to:
1. Add a Database
2. Add a user (you!)
3. Connect (add) the user to the Database
1. Add a Database:
Very simple: just enter a name for the database, and click “Create Database” or “add DB” or similar. Note that it will add your username to the beginning of the database name - this is normal. This username is the same one that you used to create the webhosting account. After adding the database, you should now see something similar to one of these:
2. Add a User:
Also simple: just enter a name for the new user, and enter a password - click “Create User” or “Add User” or similar. It will also add your username to the beginning of the added “user”. Also be sure to enter a password, and remember it. You’ll see the new name added, similar to one of these:
(NOTE: For the shown examples, we used the name “sharky” for both the name of the database and the name of the user.)
3. Connect the User to the Database:
This is the most crucial step of all. Now that both the user and the database have been created, they must be connected. Look for a box that says “Add User to DB”, and click it.
Depending on your version of cPanel, it may also look like this (see below). Near the middle of the window, you’ll see a heading that says “Add Users to Your Databases“. You’ll be able to toggle the dropdowns to select the users and databases (in case you have multiples of both). Click the ‘Add User to Database’ button:
You need to associate torrent files with your server. This is simple. Go back to the “Apache Handlers” in cPanel, and this time you’ll need to add the extension “torrent” to the list, as shown below:
We’re DONE configuring! Now your ready to upload the BitTorrent template to your domain.
Good stuff, looking forward to sticking around.
Could you sugest any canadian webhosting services? I have bluehost but they are on a witch hunt against bittorrents… i plan on an indexer only
Could you sugest any canadian webhosting services?
Could you sugest any canadian webhosting services?
also can you suggest private untraceable websites like overseas one? (reverse engineering services).
Great tutorial!! Is there any way to get this entire tutorial in a PDF format, or something similar, so that I can print it out?
could you tell a Pakistani web hosting service????
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Nick: A newbie in July but a seasoned blogger by now - I read your blog regularly and enjoy it. Thanks for the feedback and if there’s any other guides you can think of, please do let me know.
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There is such a huge risk these days in getting busted. I would fear the same way that i would got the way of thepiratebay or end up battling the way isohunt has.
Not that it isn’t worth the hard work, but I simply don’t have the time.
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