If you do a lot of P2P downloading then it might be worth investing in a seedbox. This not only allows for blindingly fast downloads, but also creates the impressive upload ratios essential for many private tracking sites
What is a seedbox?
A seedbox is a dedicated server, setup specifically to download files using BitTorrent (or occasionally using eDonkey). Managed through your browser window, they are connected to a very high speed network, typically offering at least 1GB/s download speeds and, crucially, very high upload speeds (also typically at least 1GB/s). Upload speeds directly affect torrent seeding speeds, hence the name seedbox!
Advantages of using a seedbox
1. They are fast
As noted, seedbox download speeds are really very fast, typically these days starting at 1 GB/s, and often reaching 10 GB/s, and because upload speeds typically match download speeds, you are likely to be able to download using your full bandwidth. This means that a 10GB Blu-ray quality movie can be download in seconds.
2. They are almost essential for private tracker sites
Private tracker sites are often almost religious in their demand that your keep your download to seed ratio at 1:1 (100 percent), something that is very difficult to do using a home PC. Home internet connections usually have much slower download speeds, and even slower upload speeds, and if you try to max out your upload speed then you will make the rest of your internet connection unusable.
This means that you often have to seed for days or weeks between downloads in order to keep your ratio healthy. With a seedbox, keeping your ratio healthy is easy, and means that you can download whatever you want, whenever you want
In addition to keeping this, if you have good ratios then you are likely to receive lots of invitations to more exclusive tracker sites.
3. No bandwidth throttling
In theory ISPs are supposed to treat all internet traffic equally (although a recent court ruling may see this change in the near future), but in practice most ISP discriminate to an extent against P2P traffic (and you can see to what extent your ISP does this). With a seedbox this becomes a non-issue as the traffic does not pass through your ISP, and therefore it won’t be throttled.
Seedbox providers are also often keen to point out that the same principle applies to data limits, and it is true that data downloaded to your seedbox does not count against caps imposed by your ISP. However, if you actually want to play / watch / listen etc. to your downloads, then you will need to transfer them to your computer, which will count against any data limits set by your ISP.
The transfer process is usually performed using encrypted SSL though (via HTTP or FTP), so your ISP cannot see what you are transferring, and is very unlikely to throttle the transfer.
4. It’s safe
As with downloading using VPN, your outward-facing IP when downloading is that of the seedbox server, and seedbox providers make it their business to protect you against DMCA letters, lawsuits, and the like.
Disadvantages of using a seedbox
1. Price is the only real disadvantage, as seedboxes do not come cheap. Even fairly basic services with limited bandwidth and storage capacity typically start at around $30 per month, and this can easily go up to over $100 per month for advanced options.
Although price is the main downside, it is worth also remembering the limitations of using a seedbox…
2. Seedboxes are a one-horse trick – they are great for P2P filesharing, but unlike VPN they do not provide any privacy when surfing the web (or doing any other internet related activity), do not allow you evade censorship firewalls, do not allow geo-spoofing to access restricted online content, and do not protect your WiFi connection when using public hotspots.
3. We touched on this above, but you do still have to transfer files to your PC if you wish to use them, which counts against any data limits your ISP may impose.
If you do a lot of P2P downloading and covet membership of exclusive torrent tracking sites, then seedboxes are for you (if you don’t mind the expense).
It should be remembered however that they do not provide all the other advantages that something such as VPN offers, while also allowing anonymous P2P downloading for a much lower price.