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Is it fair to call torrenting a hobby? If a hobby is something that you do in your spare time for fun, then I think that it is. For the last 15 years or so, torrenting has been one of my favorite pastimes. It is just so much fun for some reason. Maybe that makes me a nerd, the fact that my idea of fun is sitting in front of a computer downloading files … No, it definitely makes me a nerd. But I don’t care. It’s sort of like a game, a challenge, sometimes. With more complex downloads, it can feel like I’m solving a digital puzzle.
First, I have to identify which torrent site will best enable me to even locate the file I am looking for. Let’s say I am downloading a particularly open-source computer program.
There is no shortage of torrent sites out there to choose from, that’s for sure. Which is why I always try to figure out which of the best torrent sites tends to cater the most to whatever type of file I am looking for. Some torrent sites, for instance, have a higher density of free indie music; others skew more towards free indie movies or free indie TV shows. In this case, though, I am going to want to try and find a torrent site that is known for its huge archive of available open-source software torrents. Luckily for you, TorrentSites has already organized our lists by category, making it easier than ever for you to find open-source software-specific, free indie music-specific, free indie movie-specific, etc. sites, no problem.
Let’s say I have chosen one of the larger, most popular torrent sites on the web to track down the open-soruce program that I am looking for. Let’s say that I am going to go with RARBG – a torrent site that is great for just about any kind of free indie file, open-source software included. So, I head over to RARBG and simply type the name of the open-source software that I am looking for into the site’s handy search engine. And, voila, lo and behold, I have found it … in fact, I have found several different torrent files of the same open-source program. What do I do now?
Next, I browse the multiple torrents of the program that are available, and I take a look at some of the data provided. With any torrent (but especially for larger torrent files such as this), I will immediately take a look at the number of seeders and leechers associated with it. The trick is to find the file that has the best seeder to leecher ratio (in favor of seeders), as that will result in the speediest, most effective download of the file. But the work is not done there.
Once I have located the file with the best ratio, I will click into the torrent and look further into the information provided.
If so, now it is time to check out the comments section (if there are comments). This will give you a glimpse into the quality of the torrent itself. If anyone has installation issues, they will be noted in the comments. If there are any potential security threats to be aware of, this will also, no doubt, be discussed. Any time that you torrent, especially with open-source software, you want to make sure that the file has been verified safe.
Then, assuming that everything checks out, it’s time to download it. Click the magnet link and let your torrent client of choice do the rest. Once your file is completed, you open it up, read the instructions (there are often several steps to follow with programs to ensure that you install everything properly), unzip any compressed files and get to work on completing your puzzle.
But is it better to use more specific torrent sites that cater towards one file type over another, or are the bigger, more popular, more general torrent sites (like RARBG) the way to go? Well, honestly, it depends. Sites like RARBG excel in their community size (the more peers there are, the better your chances at a successful download); however, they may not have more niche or obscure free indie files that you might be looking for. If you are looking for something extremely specific, it might be worth using a more specific torrent site; however, these sites are by definition smaller and often require invite-only registration.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at one of the biggest torrent sites for any free indie file type on the web: RARBG.
RARBG was founded in 2008. In almost no time at all, though, it rose through the ranks of torrent sites, providing torrent files and magnet links using the traditional BitTorrent protocol.
RARBG has a very concise and sparse design. It is fairly straightforward and easy to use, with a very intuitive interface that anyone can immediately figure out with no issues. At the top of the homepage, you’ll find a very prominent space to log in (if you are a registered user, though you do not have to be to use the site). Below, the site takes the form of two main boxes – a central one that allows you to browse torrents and a site menu bar, which is placed on the left-hand side of the screen.
Content and Features
As I mentioned, RARBG offers all kinds of free indie content – from free indie video games to open-source software to homemade pornography. But there are a few additional features that set RARBG apart and cause it to truly shine as a torrent site for free indie movies. I’m talking about how the site hosts movie trailers, and even a few articles of entertainment news and reviews. If you want a torrent site that goes above and beyond in creating the best possible free indie film downloading experience, RARBG is an excellent choice.
Plus, one of the things that I enjoy about this site is the fact that thumbnail previews are provided when you hover your cursor over a certain torrent file, allowing you to get an initial glimpse of the movie in question before clicking into the file page. Free indie movies also come with ratings (both RARBG user ratings and IMDb). The features of this site are clearly geared most prominently towards free indie movies, but it offers tons of other free indie content, nonetheless.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
This site, in all honestly, could be greatly improved from a mobile standpoint. It is riddled with ads, the text is very small on a mobile browser, and some mobile browsers are far from compatible with the site. So, if you find that you tend to do a great deal of your torrenting on your smartphone or tablet, RARBG may not be the best choice for you. On a desktop or laptop computer, however, especially with an ad blocker, the experience is smooth and easy.
Suggestions that I have for RARBG
I would love to see RARBG optimize their site for mobile devices. Especially considering the fact that mobile torrenting is becoming increasingly common these days. Ideally, there would be an app (although I doubt the Apple App Store or Google Play would allow it…).