BitTorrent was first released by Bram Cohen back in 2001, but it took two years before the new file-sharing protocol gained a notable audience. In the years that followed millions of torrent files were downloaded and shared billions of times. In this article we will discuss five memorable torrent files that each broke a unique record, from the largest in size to the oldest that’s still alive today.
In the near half decade that TorrentFreak has been covering the latest BitTorrent news and developments, every now and then we also have time to discuss BitTorrent trivia. Today we’ll bring you a list of 5 single torrent files that each broke an impressive record, from the largest through to the oldest, and the one that transferred most data.
The Largest Torrent
When we refer to the largest torrent we mean the single .torrent file that downloads the most data, not the size of the .torrent file itself. There are several huge torrent files active at the moment, but the record goes to a torrent with a 746.70 GB collection of all 2010 World Cup soccer matches (~ 6GB per half). This torrent was released 4 months ago and is still active with a handful of downloaders (update, this one is even bigger).
Another sizeable torrent that was released just a few days ago is the archive of the late Geocities.com that was shut down by Yahoo last year. The 641.32 GB torrent has received a fair bit of attention from tech journalists and is well seeded at the moment.
Downloading these torrents nowadays is a lot easier and cheaper than a few years ago. In 2001 when BitTorrent first went public the cheapest hard drive cost $238.00, and that was for just 40 GB. At the time, downloading a file of this size would have required a $4522 investment. Even in 2005 you would still had to invest $500 to get this much storage cheaply (5×160 GB).
The first commercial 1TB hard drive, one that could store the entire 746.70 GB, wasn’t released until 2007. Times sure have changed a lot.
The Oldest Torrent
The torrent file that has been around for the longest time according to our knowledge is The Matrix ASCII. We already crowned this one the oldest torrent back in 2005, and as of today it is still active with a few downloaders and only one seeder.
The torrent file in question was created in December 2003 when sites like isoHunt, The Pirate Bay and Torrentz.com were only a few months old and when Facebook and YouTube didn’t yet exist. Thus far, this torrent has survived a mind boggling 2500 days.
The Matrix ASCII
The Largest Swarm
We know that BitTorrent is used by millions of people, but which torrent was shared by the most people at once? According to our records this honor goes to the first episode of Heroes season 3, which appeared on BitTorrent September 23, 2008.
On the first day the torrent ‘Heroes.S03E01.HDTV.XviD-0TV’ had a swarm (seeders + leechers) of 144,663 peers, a record that hasn’t been broken since. Today, most than two years later the episode has been downloaded more than 7 million times and at the time of writing it is still active.
The Most Files
The next record is the one for the most files in a single torrent. This is a tricky one, because we know that there are torrents which link to millions of files, but none of these are indexed by regular torrent sites. With this many files, the size of the torrent alone can go over 10 MB and most torrent indexes have a restriction on the filesize of a torrent file.
The torrent with the most files that we’ve seen on public indexers is a copy of Magic Workstation that was uploaded 8 months ago. The download is only 4.01 GB in total but has 35,256 files in total.
The Most Data Transferred
The final record we will discuss is the torrent that has resulted in the transfer of the most data. This record goes to a release of Blizzard’s StarCraft 2 which came out three months ago. The most popular torrent file for this 7.19 GB game has been downloaded 2.3 million times, totalling a massive 15.77 Petabytes.
Interestingly, the legit copies of the game sold by Blizzard may have transferred even more data. All download copies of StarCraft 2 have been distributed through Blizzard’s very own BitTorrent downloader. Unfortunately Blizzard’s tracker doesn’t provide any stats so we don’t know if the official beats the illegitimate counterpart traffic wise.
Are there any torrents or records that we missed? Feel free to discuss these in the comments.