How Do I Torrent Safely Now That Demonoid Is Down

The Solution: If you want to use a proxy or VPN, do your research and find out how committed they are to privacy. Make sure they don’t keep logs, and see what their policy is on sharing information with third parties. TorrentFreak has a great guide to finding a committed VPN provider (and we have our own picks ), so I recommend starting there if you’re looking to anonymize your traffic.

Demonoid

Demonoid is one of the largest private trackers that has ever existed, although its effectiveness at being “private” is questionable.

There were regularly open registrations and was extremely easy to get into, making it friendly to a lot of users who have never been in a private tracker before. On top of being easy to get into, it was very easy to maintain membership on the tracker due to having no ratio requirements.

With its huge abundance of invites and lack of ratio rules, it was widely known as a hybrid between communities that you would find in private trackers and public trackers.

Demonoid suffered many downtimes during its prime years most likely a result of how easy it was to get into. On August 6 2012 the site and tracker were officially shut down by Ukranian authorities and logs were handed over to the US government. Little was heard for the next two years, however on March 30 2014 the site is brought back online with staff ties to the original Demonoid. All user accounts and torrents were still intact however despite the excitement from its former users there was a huge lack in seeding and users active on the website. As with most resurrections, it falls short in comparison to its former self.

IRC [ ]

Internal Groups [ ]

History & Milestones [ ]

2003 [ ]

April 21 – The tracker was launched

2004 [ ]

2005 [ ]

2006 [ ]

2007 [ ]

November 9 – Site goes offline for 5 months due to legal threats

2008 [ ]

January 16 – The Pirate Bay offers Demonoid use of two servers

April 11 – Site comes back online after legal threats with a new administrator

October 18 – Over 185000 torrents being tracked

2009 [ ]

January 3 – Over 210000 torrents being tracked

September 14 – Site and tracker go offline due to hardware problems

December 13 – Site comes back online with tracker coming back a month prior

2010 [ ]

April 26 – Experienced heavy DDOS attacks

July – DDOS attacks have subsided

December 2 – Demonoid changes from a .com to a .me domain, with hopes to avoiding US government seizure

2011 [ ]

April 16 – Over 370000 torrents being tracked and 142000 members

2012 [ ]

April 27 – Domain changes from .me to .ph

August 1 – Domain changed to redirect to an ad network with reports of malware

August 6 – Demonoid is officially shut down by Ukrainian authorities. There was also arrested staff in Mexico

2013 [ ]

November 6 – Message saying “We will rebuild!” pops up at the .com, .me, and .ph domains

2014 [ ]

March 30 – Demonoid is resurrected at the .ph domain

December 3 – Domain changes from .ph to .pw

2015 [ ]

Notes [ ]

  • An unofficial Demonoid called d2 popped back up on May 7 2013 but failed due to suspicious users among other technical problems with their launch. The site was taken down on March 30 2014 when the officialDemonoid was launched.

How Do I Torrent Safely Now That Demonoid Is Down?

Dear Lifehacker,
My favorite private BitTorrent tracker, Demonoid, has apparently gone down for good . I was so dependent on it for its quality, security from viruses, and protection from prying eyes. Where can I torrent safely now that Demonoid is gone?

Sincerely,
Lost and Leeching

Dear Lost,
This is an interesting question, and the answer is going to go in directions you may not have expected. First, we need to clear up a few common misconceptions, about BitTorrent and about Demonoid specifically. We’ve already recommended more secure ways to share files online—like the much safer Usenet (set it up in three easy steps here ) or the truly private BitTorrent trackers —so I won’t get into that here. The main thing you need to know is that Demonoid, while a fine site, was likely not nearly as safe and anonymous as you probably thought.

Is Usenet Safer than BitTorrent?

Dear Lifehacker, I’ve been downloading torrents for a long time and people keep telling me about…

In fact, many common BitTorrent “safety” precautions aren’t really doing you any good.

Demonoid Was Not a Private Tracker

The Problem: Demonoid was often perceived as great because it was considered a private tracker. You could only download torrents on Demonoid if you had an account, and you couldn’t just sign up for an account anytime you wanted. You either needed to get invited by another user, or wait for one of their limited “open signup” periods.

However, Demonoid invites were incredibly easy to come by, and open signups were held often, meaning virtually anyone could join the community. They had few rules on who was allowed to participate, what kind of quality was allowed, and they’d even sometimes list torrents from other trackers. All of these things together gave a false sense of security, when in reality anyone could come on in and seed viruses, leech without seeding, or—in the cases of those pirating content—track what you were downloading (potentially resulting in a letter to your ISP).

The Solution: If you want faster, high quality downloads with strict community rules, check out our guide to private trackers for suggestions. Note that they’ll be much harder to get into, so you’ll have to be patient and ready to seed your torrents 24/7.

Encryption and PeerBlock Do Not Protect You from Prying Eyes

The Problem: Many BitTorrent users, in an effort to hide their activity from media companies, the government, hackers, or other organizations, encrypt their traffic and use a program called PeerBlock to block known snoopers from connecting to you. Unfortunately, neither of these solutions can truly hide you. PeerBlock can’t possibly know everyone that could try to snoop your traffic, and is only going to give you a false sense of security. Many users have gotten “caught” torrenting while using PeerBlock. Similarly, while encryption used to protect you from ISP throttling, ISPs have found other means of snooping on your traffic.

What Does My Internet Provider See When I’m Downloading Torrents?

Dear Lifehacker, I’ve done lots of research about my Internet Service Provider’s relationship with…

The Solution: There’s no harm in using encryption and PeerBlock, but they aren’t enough to keep your traffic hidden. If you really want to keep other people out of your business, you’ll need to use a proxy like BTGuard , a VPN like one of these , or other similar methods . And yes, you’ll probably have to pay money for these services, so if you’re looking for free solutions, you’re mostly out of luck.

How to Completely Anonymize Your BitTorrent Traffic with a Proxy

BitTorrent isn’t the quiet haven it once was. These days, everyone’s looking to throttle your…

Not All VPNs Are Created Equal

The Problem: Lastly, some people go to sign up for a proxy of VPN service—which is good—but sign up for one that doesn’t take privacy seriously—which is bad. Many VPN services, like the very popular HideMyAss , keep logs of all your activity and will gladly offer it up to those that ask for it . This means your data is barely safer than if you had foregone the VPN in the first place.

The Solution: If you want to use a proxy or VPN, do your research and find out how committed they are to privacy. Make sure they don’t keep logs, and see what their policy is on sharing information with third parties. TorrentFreak has a great guide to finding a committed VPN provider (and we have our own picks ), so I recommend starting there if you’re looking to anonymize your traffic.

Why You Should Be Using a VPN (and How to Choose One)

You may know what a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is; you probably don’t use one. You really…

Obviously, the best way to avoid getting in trouble is not to pirate, and the best way to get high quality content is to go to the original, physical source (if possible). But unfortunately, BitTorrent is under so much heat that even legitimate BitTorrent users need to take precautions to avoid throttling, viruses, and other problems, and the above suggestions should help you do that. While Demonoid was a better site than most public trackers, it was not the Holy Grail of BitTorrent trackers by any means, and you should take this time to make sure you’re really being safe.