Running a BitTorrent site can be quite costly. Most of the larger sites need over a dozen servers to keep everything running smoothly. There are some scalable alternatives for BitTorrent startups though. Two relatively unknown meta-search engines have taken a different route by using Google’s App Engine, which provides optimal scalability, for free.
V0rtex and TorrentTab are two sites using Google’s resources to search for torrents. By using Google’s App Engine, they can run their sites without having to invest a single dime in hardware or bandwidth.
On a free account, users of Google’s App Engine can host 500MB data, and serve up to 5 million page views a month. This is more than enough for a medium sized BitTorrent site. At the moment it is not possible to upgrade these limits, since paid accounts are not yet available, but this might change in the future.
Both sites are totally ad free, and great resources to search for torrents. V0rtex currently searches 12 BitTorrent sites, including established sites such as Mininova, The Pirate Bay and isoHunt. The site itself has a clean look and feel, and the search results are sortable by date, peers, seeds and more.
This is different for the other BitTorrent meta search engine hosted on Google’s App Engine, which does have its own domain. TorrentTab, which is a project of David Sánchez, is also using Google’s architecture to search for torrents. The site currently searches 10 sites, and presents the search results in tabs using Google Ajax Feed API.
David told TorrentFreak that he initially started the site on his own Internet connection. When the site started to attract more visitors, he had to find an alternative. Google’s App Engine seemed to be a great solution, so he recoded the site in Python and moved it over to Google’s infrastructure.
Unlike some of the other meta-search engines that use tabbed search results, TorrentTab is not merely loading the results from the other sites in a frame. Unfortunately there are no sorting options for the search results, which makes it hard to find the best seeded files, or the latest uploads.
Although V0rtex and TorrentTab are are not revolutionary in terms of features or functionality, it is great to see that Google is providing a free playground for BitTorrent startups. It’s always good to see some variety.