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What is your preferred way to download torrents? Maybe you go with the classic strategy of using your favorite torrent index, such as The Pirate Bay or Kick Ass Torrents. Maybe you are a bit more advanced when it comes to P2P file sharing and you have access to a few great private torrent trackers. Or maybe you like a solid torrent search engine – they can be very reliable resources for finding as many torrents as possible – I certainly couldn’t blame you if a torrent search engine is your go-to, the appeal is easy enough to see.
3 types of torrent site – If you are new to this whole torrenting business, you may not even know the differences between these 3 options – a torrent index, torrent tracker, and torrent search engine. It’s really quite simple … a torrent index, to start, like The Pirate Bay (of which you are probably at least somewhat familiar) is a torrent site that allows users to upload files in addition to files that the site links from elsewhere. Anyone can register and anyone can upload files. Good torrent indexes safeguard their torrents by offering a system of torrent verification so that users know which torrents are greenlit to download.
A private torrent tracker, on the other hand, is a torrent site that tracks the uploading and downloading numbers of each of its users. Most of them have certain performance quotas that must be met; if a user falls below this requirement, they often risk having their accounts disabled or limited. Furthermore, private torrent trackers are usually invite-only, meaning that you have to find someone who is willing to vouch for your responsible torrenting behavior, that you don’t leech, essentially, more than you seed. Private torrent trackers can be extremely effective for finding fast torrents, especially if you are interested in niche content.
Lastly, there are torrent search engines such as the site that we will be taking a look at today, X Tor X. A torrent search engine is exactly what it sounds like – It is a search engine that turns up only torrent sites. Like if Google were limited only to sites like The Pirate Bay and 1337x. Depending on the torrent search engine in question, your search results may lead you to another torrent site’s list of torrents related to your keywords or it may lead you directly to a specific torrent; it all depends on A.) how specific your search is, and B.) how effective the torrent search engine in question is.
Is X Tor X the best torrent search engine on the web? – Which leads me to my next question: How effective is X Tor X as a torrent search engine? Clearly, it is good enough to appear on my list of the best torrent sites … but is it the best of the best? Is it good enough to become the one and only torrent search engine that you’ll ever use again?
Well, the only way to figure that out would be to take a closer look at the site itself, see how it is designed, what unique features (if any) it has to offer, how many torrent sites it draws from when returning search results, whether it offers a decent mobile experience, etc. A torrent search engine’s power lies almost entirely in how powerful of a search engine it is, at its core. So, without further ado, let’s take a peek look under the hood and see what kind of search engine X Tor X is working with, shall we?
I am not going to lie … I am far from impressed with the site design of X Tor X. Actually, I should say that I am unimpressed with the lack of site design present here. Yes, that would be a much more accurate statement, because, well, the site is nothing more than 2 pages, essentially – the home page which only lets you search for torrents, and then the search results page (which is also very underwhelming).
When you land on X Tor X’s home page, you will be greeted by nothing but a blank white page, a cheap logo, a search bar, and some ads. Nothing more, nothing less. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of minimalistic site design; but there is a difference between minimalism and laziness, and X Tor X’s design strikes me decidedly as the latter.
There is nothing to this site whatsoever in the way of an interesting or unique user experience. In fact, there is not much in the way of any sort of user experience at all, interesting or other. The site is very straightforward – search for torrents, choose from a list of results.
Speaking of that list of results, seeing as this site is literally nothing more than 2 pages, I would have expected X Tor X to put a little bit more effort into how the search results are presented. I would, unfortunately, be wrong in expecting this. The search results appear in the most boring and out of date way imaginable. A small font, blue hyperlink. It reminds me of an early version of Bing from the ‘90s or something – basic, simple, and quaint by our modern web design sensibilities.
Content and Features
Once again, this is an area in which X Tor X disappoints. When I say that this site is a torrent search engine, that is literally all that it is … a search bar and a results page. There are no ways to filter your search results, no way to improve or optimize your search whatsoever. There is not even the fun (even if superfluous) “I’m feeling lucky” function that Google popularized (and many search engines since have emulated).
What you see is what you get here. And, unfortunately, what you see is not a whole lot. Even if we are talking about search results, X Tor X leaves much to be desired. After conducting a few searches of some extremely popular and globally known musical artists and blockbuster movies, it looks as if X Tor X only produces torrents from 7 torrent indexes: The Pirate Bay, Kick Ass Torrents, ETTV, Torrent Galaxy, Sky Torrents, TorrentZ2, and Veoble.
As far as torrent search engines are concerned, this is not a very powerful one. In my opinion – especially considering the fact that for every search I conducted on X Tor X, The Pirate Bay was the first result – you would be better off just going straight to The Pirate Bay and bypassing this site altogether.
Although, this assessment may not be entirely true. I will concede, for instance, that my test searches on X Tor X were limited to a few popular (and a couple more obscure) titles, so, X Tor X, for all I know, could be very effective at returning lesser-known torrent results.
Plus, you are certainly going to be given more torrent options on X Tor X than you would on a singular torrent index, meaning that you are better able to browse for a healthier file. Big torrent indexes can be disappointing when it comes to having good seed to leech ratios (especially with older torrents); I could see myself coming back to X Tor X if I were struggling to find a healthy torrent download.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
We have already established where I stand on X Tor X’s desktop experience (or lack thereof). What of the mobile version of the site? I will cross my fingers and hope that maybe X Tor X is able to redeem itself as an excellent mobile torrent search engine…
Is this the case? Well, the answer is yes and no. The home page, the search page, for instance, is poorly optimized for mobile browsing. Nothing changes in shape or size, so the text is annoyingly small. The search results, however, do more appropriately fit the smaller screen size, they are bigger and, thus, easier to browse and scroll through. So, is X Tor X a mobile friendly torrent search engine? Yeah, I would say so.
Suggestions that I have for X Tor X
In short, improve the search engine and redesign the site. I’m looking for a complete overhaul. I want this site to draw from a wider variety of torrent sites and I want it to offer some additional search and browsing features. There are some truly awesome torrent search engines out there, I think that X Tor X has potential (but should probably take notes for now).