The Pirate Bay is one of the most popular peer-to-peer sharing sites accessible today. This site has millions of files (in the form of torrents) listed for free using BitTorrent Protocol.
The collections include:
In the years that The Pirate Bay has been in operation, the database has been carefully managed and adjusted to ensure it stays running and organizes the content in a way that makes sense. Whether you’re looking for popular content, recent files, or have something specific in mind, it’s easy to find and download using The Pirate Bay.
All About The Pirate Bay
Who are the Pirates?
The term “Pirates” refers to the people who use The Pirate Bay. This includes:
- Registered users
- Those that share magnet links and torrent files
- Those that download torrent files
The number of pirates has grown through the years, and the number exploded after authorities raided the site in 2006.
While there is no definitive number, about 5 million people are active on The Pirate Bay.
The History of The Pirate Bay
The Pirate Bay got its start in September 2003 with Piratbyrån, a Swedish anti-copyright organization. The site became a separate organization in October 2004 and was initially run by Gottfrid Svartholm (anakata) and Fredrik Neij (TiAMO).
The site has been a part of several lawsuits, playing both the plaintiff and defendant. In April 2009, Svartholm, Neij, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundström were found guilty of assisting copyright infringement. Their sentence involved one year in prison and a fine of 30 million SEK. A Swedish appeals court held this verdict in November 2010 but decreased the prison terms and increased the fine.
Despite hounding by police and Copyright activists, The Pirate Bay stays in operation and continues to expand.
The Legalities of The Pirate Bay
While the site falls into some gray areas, there is nothing outright illegal with the service provided by The Pirate Bay. Peer to peer sharing is entirely legal, and the only issues lie in the content users share.
Copyright infringement is not legal, and sharing copyrighted information on The Pirate Bay without the proper permission opens the door for lawsuits and criminal charges. Users are responsible for ensuring that they upload and download legal content, as The Pirate Bay cannot determine the copyright status of each file.
Without the appropriate permissions, the person holding the copyright can sue anyone who shares or downloads their content without their consent.
How has The Pirate Bay Stayed Operations Over the Years?
The age of the site does not mean that it hasn’t run into issues staging in operation. The Pirate Bay owes much of its success to loyal Pirate Bay followers, revenue from donations and advertisements, and users that focus on using the site responsibly.
Some areas still see the need to restrict access to TPB, including:
- The United States of America
- The United Kingdom
- The Netherlands
Internet service providers may also limit access on their own terms, and many users rely on proxy servers or mirror sites to access The Pirate Bay. As long as The Pirate Bay can keep up with litigation issues, overcome market competition, and handle heavy fines, it shouldn’t go anywhere in the near future.
The Pirate Bay Skull Symbols and What they Mean
The colored skulls on the site exist to alert you of trustworthy users.
Pink skulls show that a user uploading content can be trusted. They’ve been on the site long enough that there is little suspicion of malicious intent, and their content is generally clean and free of malware or viruses.
Green skulls indicate VIP users. They have a higher level of trust and have greater freedom when using the site.
You will also see admin and moderator tags to identify the volunteers helping manage the Pirate Bays.
Users without a skull symbol are not necessarily evil, but they don’t have enough reputation to garner trust from the site. They may be new users or they may not upload often.
The Pirate Bay’s New URL Structure
The Pirate Bay spent a few weeks at the start of 2020 inaccessible. While the site was down, developers were working hard to restructure.
The new URL structure affects anyone attempting to pursue a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) takedown. Since COVID-19 kept everyone at home that year, millions of DMCA takedown notices were issued.
Most users won’t have any issues from using the site since restructuring, but those abusing it are more likely to run into problems.
Technical Information About the Pirate Bay
The Pirate Bay used an outdated web server, Hypercube, in the past. The site used two HTTP requests per millisecond on every server, and the activity could make the internet run quite slow.
Now, The Pirate Bay is much more user friendly and uses less bandwidth. Now it uses over 30 dedicated servers, a major improvement from the original 4 Linux servers.
The Pirate Bay runs 9 web fronts on a single database. The two search systems run Sphinx, and there are 8 trackers for BitTorrent.
The front end of The Pirate Bay uses both PHP and lighttpd, while the backend uses MySQL.
Opentracker allows the site to use an UDP tracker to enhance the coordination speed between servers. In response to the introduction of a Swedish spying law, The Pirate Bay incorporated SSL encryption into its servers in June 2008.
The Pirate Bay replaced torrents with magnet links in 2012, but they assured that torrents with less than 10 peers could still use outdated software that didn’t support magnet links.
Why is The Pirate Bay so Popular?
Besides its ability to stay afloat, The Pirate Bay is popular because:
- It is free to use
- The site is well organized
- There are countless files to search through
- Files download quickly
- Downloads aren’t ruined by interruptions
These are benefits of all major peer-to-peer sharing sites, but The Pirate Bay ensures that these aren’t taken for granted.
The Pirate Bay is Free to Use
Unlike other sites, The Pirate Bay is completely free to use. There are no membership fees, no financial requirements for downloading, and any donations you decide to make are entirely up to you.
The donations that keep the site afloat are a testimony to how users feel about the services and the value of The Pirate Bay.
The Pirate Bay is Organized Well
Everything on the site is sorted into different categories, and you can sift through subcategories to help you refine your search. For example, the “video” category further breaks down into:
- TV shows
- Movies DVDR
- HD movies
- HD TV shows
Even the “others” category works to ensure you know the direction you are moving, and you’ll run into eBooks, comics, covers, pictures, Udemy practice tutorials, documentaries, and more.
The Pirate Bay has Countless Files to Search Through
The site is not lacking in content. For every category, there are thousands of files available to peruse.
Even the same search can return multiple files, and you can then choose the one that appears to fit your needs perfectly. There may be different formats and file sizes for similar content, and you can choose the specifications that work best for you.
You Can Download Files Quickly Using The Pirate Bay
Downloading content from a P2P network can improve your download speeds. Instead of downloading one file from a single source, you are taking bits from the files of others. This leads you to shorter download times.
The download activity takes place on multiple servers. This prevents any one server from becoming overwhelmed, and you get your data in a timely fashion.
Downloads are not Affected by Interruptions
While a typical download can easily be corrupted by a power outage, downloading torrents from The Pirate Bay saves you from this problem. This means you can return to the download easily and without corruption, even if you’ve turned off your device and left it off for days.
This also means you can pause the download and pick it up on another device.
The Pirate Bay Issues
The Pirate Bay is not without issues, and some of the main problems you run into include:
- The occasional suspicious file
- Exposure of your IP address
- Responsibility for ensuring legal activity
There are solutions to each of these problems, but you need to pay attention to the effort required from you.
The main reason The Pirate Bay will be inaccessible is any sort of block due to your region or your internet service provider. These blockades prevent you from accessing the site as long as you exist in that area or use that service, but you can get around them easily.
Mirror sites of the site may not be blocked in your region or by your ISP, and they’re the least-intensive solution. Popular mirror sites are bound to suffer the same fate.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will also solve this problem, and using one is good practice with a P2P sharing site in general. This masks your online presence, and it can help with some of the other issues listed.
The Pirate Bay and Suspicious Files
The Pirate Bay only acts as a directory, and there is little to no safeguarding in place to prevent the upload of suspicious files. These include:
- Files that aren’t what they claim to be
- Low-quality files
The skull system and ability to comment on files offers a bit of transparency, but you always run the chance of downloading malicious content. Keeping a reliable antivirus program running on your device can help shoot down harmful content.
Exposing Your IP Address
Any time you use a peer-to-peer network, you agree to sharing specific information, including your IP address. This doesn’t always create problems, but some people will use this information to infect your devices. This can also happen accidentally as someone on the same network downloads malicious content.
Your exposed IP address can also link you to illegal file sharing, even if you aren’t doing anything wrong. Simply coming in contact with someone violating copyright can muddle your reputation.
A VPN works to skew your IP address and keep you anonymous online.
You Hold Legal Responsibility for What You Download from The Pirate Bay
The Pirate Bay is not responsible for ensuring the integrity of the files shared on the site, and it is up to you to make sure you are not:
- Uploading copyrighted content
- Downloading content without the proper permission
- Sharing illegal files
Before you search for anything, you need to make sure you have the freedom to download it. You want non-copyrighted music, films, images, etc. This protects you from a lawsuit, and it allows the rights holder proper control of their property.
The Pirate Bay, Peer-to-Peer File Sharing, and Torrenting
If you are not familiar with peer-to-peer file sharing, there’s a bit that you need to understand before using The Pirate Bay to source your downloads.
The Pirate Bay deals with torrents, indicated by their “.TORRENT” file extension. These types of files are delivered to you differently, and there are certain terms to become familiar with to make proper judgements.
What are Torrents?
Torrents use a different protocol than what you normally download. These come in a large, coded list of the different parts of a file that you need (packets).
Files that use BitTorrent protocol instead of HTTP come from multiple servers at the same time. These tend to be the computers of others who have the same file available for sharing.
What are Packets?
Packets are the tiny bits of information you need for a file to perform in the way intended. These units of data combine with other units to create the content you are searching for.
The Pirate Bay Seeders and Leechers
Seeders are the people providing the full file for download. The seed count of a file refers to the number of people sharing the file, and you want to see a higher seed count for faster download speeds.
Leechers are the people who are downloading the file. The more leechers there are on a file, the longer it will take them to download it.
The Pirate Bay Acts as a Directory
The Pirate Bay acts as a directory for these kinds of files. It does not host the files directly on the site, instead putting you in touch with a network of individuals and devices that host the information that you need.
Using BitTorrent Client
You need a torrent client to download and upload content on The Pirate Bay. While uTorrent is the most popular choice, others with a good reputation include:
While you can pay for a torrent client, the free version should have what you need. This lets you download the files you need to access your desired content.
Is Torrenting Illegal?
Torrenting is not illegal.
The issue is that these types of files and the methods used to share them are a common choice for those performing copyright infringement.
As long as your torrents do not involve suspect material, you have little reason to worry about criminal activity.
Using a VPN Before Torrenting
Because of methods used to transfer torrents, you should use a VPN to stay anonymous on the web. This prevents your activity from revealing:
- Your IP address
- Your location
- Your identity
Using a VPN does not allow you to commit a crime, but it can protect you from the harmful activity or intent of others.
How to Use The Pirate Bay
Because of the types of files shared on The Pirate Bay, you may need to put effort into learning how to:
- Search for files
- Discern quality content
- Download torrents
- Upload content
- Interact with the community
- Deal with blockades
Learning how to handle different situations before hopping onto the site ensures everything goes smoothly while in thepiratebay.
Searching for Files on The Pirate Bay
If you know exactly what you are searching for, you can take advantage of the search bar. This lets you sift through the millions of files by submitting specific keywords to sift up the proper file in a fraction of the time.
If you don’t have a specific item or you aren’t sure what to search, the site organizes content into various categories to help you narrow your search as much as possible. This includes:
Popular content for each category is set aside in the Top 100, and you can even look at recently uploaded files for more relevant content.
Discerning Quality Content on The Pirate Bay
When you find a file you want to download, you need to make sure it has proper quality.
The first thing to look at is the status of the uploader. You want to see a pink or green skull to show that the file comes from a trustworthy source. User trustworthiness, listed from most to least trustworthy, goes from:
- Green skull
- Pink skull
- No skull
Look for a higher number of seeders and a lower number of leechers. This should help you get the fastest download speed.
In most cases, larger files feature higher quality. Higher resolution images and videos include more information, but this can also indicate a file includes additional features, tools, patches, or files that complement the content.
Pay attention to the comments. These are the clearest indicator of which files are worth the effort, which ones contain malicious content, and what you should expect from each file.
Downloading Files From The Pirate Bay
When downloading files from The Pirate Bay, you either drag the file to your torrent client or click the provided download link.
Set yourself up with a torrent client from the list above that you find easy to navigate and use. This keeps the downloading process hassle free, and you should not have any issues accessing content you get from The Pirate Bay.
Can You Watch Movies Directly?
You cannot view content directly from The Pirate Bay. The site only acts as a directory, and you may need to download additional software to access your content, such as specific media players.
The comments should warn you if this is the case, so you don’t waste your time downloading a file you cannot enjoy.
Uploading on The Pirate Bay
Before you can upload content on The Pirate Bay, you need to convert it using your torrent client. Usually this involves opening your client, clicking to “create new torrent”, and choosing the files you need.
Go to The Pirate Bay and log into (or create) your account, then opt to upload a file.
Select the file, then input the name, category, tags, and description. You can upload it anonymously or display it to your username.
Make sure you seed the file for as long as possible to ensure other pirates can download the file in full.
The comments on The Pirate Bay are your lifeline to determining the quality and worthiness of a file.
Look for files with overwhelmingly positive comments. In most cases, you don’t need a file to go above and beyond, but you might get lucky and find something with additional features.
Watch out for warnings of malicious content.
How to Deal with The Pirate Bay Blockades
Blockades occur if The Pirate Bay is not allowed in your area or by your ISP. Using a VPN ensures that you can access the site as long as it is available by keeping your location and information anonymous.
Mirror sites may not be blocked, and they can provide a direct link to the services offered by The Pirate Bay.
Is The Pirate Bay Safe?
The Pirate Bay is inherently safe to use, but you should take certain precautions when interacting with the site. It is important to understand what information you have at stake and what tools you need to employ.
The Pirate Bay Doesn’t Hide Your Identity
Do not assume that you can act anonymously on the site without taking action. There are no measures integrated into The Pirate Bay to protect your identity, including your:
- IP address
- Device information
This is why it is important to make use of antivirus software and a VPN. When combined, this protects your device from malicious content while scrambling sensitive information used to identify and track you.
Check the Status of a File Before Downloading
You should never assume the integrity of a file. Take a few moments to:
- Check the reputation of the uploader
- Scan over the comments for red flags
- Ensure that the file size matches what you would expect for the content
While these do not offer bulletproof protection, going through these steps dramatically decreases your chances of running into harmful files.
Copyrighted vs. Non-Copyrighted Files
You are responsible for pinning down the copyright status of the files you are uploading or downloading. It’s best to err on the side of caution; ignorance is not a strong argument against this crime, and it’s difficult to prove.
Content creators disclose copyright status to prevent others from stealing their work. Indicators that files are free to share include:
- Public domain
- Creative Commons
- “Copyright and related rights waived”
Make sure any copyright exclusions are explicitly and unambiguously stated. Creators usually list this information in the work itself, on their website, or on their social media accounts.
Using I2P to Access The Pirate Bay
The Invisible Internet Project (I2P) is suitable for browsing TPB. It offers an anonymous system that prevents you from sharing personal data and comes in third for accessing the site (behind Chrome and Safari).
I2P creates traffic that is more complicated than Tor, and it can be slow, but it improves security while accessing The Pirate Bay.
How to Use VPNs for The Pirate Bay
Virtual Private Networks keep you safe by:
- Hiding your identity online
- Providing you a new IP address
- Shifting your location to another country
Whether you choose a free or paid VPN, using one is something to do before hopping onto the P2P site. This helps protect you if you accidentally tap into copyrighted content, but it ultimately protects your IP address and location.
You need to open the VPN before accessing The Pirate Bay, then choose an unrestricted country such as Switzerland or the Netherlands. Connect to the VPN, and if it doesn’t work then move on to another country.
Make sure you are connected any time you download content using The Pirate Bay. You can disconnect when the download is complete.
Do Files on The Pirate Bay Have Malicious Content?
While most files on The Pirate Bay are free of ill intent, there are plenty of instances where users upload suspicious files. This includes malware and viruses that can infect your PC, network or router.
This is why it is so important to determine file quality prior to downloading and use antivirus software and a VPN. The more measures in place, the less likely it is that someone can steal your information.
While any file can cause issues, this happens often with new, popular files on The Pirate Bay. If it seems too good to be true, especially with no indication of proper quality or assurance of user integrity, it’s best to move on.
CloudFlare Issues with The Pirate Bay
CloudFlare is the content delivery network (CDN) used by The Pirate Bay. Its purpose is to improve the security, download speed, and accessibility of the site.
The web performance and security company has 155+ data centers worldwide, providing easy access to The Pirate Bay across the globe. It’s also a target for DDoS attacks.
While CloudFlare is usually strong enough to withstand spikes in traffic and these attacks, you may run into errors on the screen when The Pirate Bay fails to connect to the server.
Just close out and try the site at a later point. These issues tend to resolve quickly, but constant refreshing will get you nowhere.
How Does The Pirate Bay Make Money?
The Pirate Bay does not require any payment for the services offered, so users can access content and hold accounts for free. This helps those on a budget, but it doesn’t cover any legal fees or cost of upkeep for the site.
Instead, The Pirate Bay relies on money coming in from:
- Ad revenue
- TPB cryptocurrency
The site gets some funds from hosting advertisements, but most expenses are covered by donations from thankful users who are able to contribute.
The Pirate Bay also has its own cryptocurrency, but it’s not remarkable by any means. The owners of The Pirate Bay hoped to use this to allow access to VIP content, but most users were not interested in these benefits, and the crypto prices plummeted from $15 to $1 easily.
Alternatives to The Pirate Bay
Look to alternative sites when you cannot access The Pirate Bay or the site doesn’t have the content you need. The most popular and trustworthy peer sharing sites include:
- KickassTorrents: one of the most visited P2P sites since 2008
- 1337x: notorious for its numerous domain names
- YTS: focuses on content with higher quality
- TorLock: contains nothing but verified torrents
- Zoogle: one of the latest P2P sites with over 4 million verified torrents
Using alternatives helps you find the content you need and prevents you from putting too many eggs in one basket (or one bay).