The Pirate Bay’s PirateBrowser, a tool that allows people to bypass ISP filtering and access blocked websites, is a great success. The Firefox and Tor-based software eliminates the need to use a proxy site and has already been downloaded more than 1,000,000 times, TorrentFreak has learned. Currently around 0.5% of all Pirate Bay visitors use PirateBrowser to access the infamous torrent site.
On the occasion of its 10th anniversary last August, The Pirate Bay presented a gift to its users – the PirateBrowser.
Blocked by court orders all over the world, The Pirate Bay is arguably the most censored website on the Internet. The PirateBrowser software allows people to bypass these restrictions, without having to use a proxy site or other circumvention tool.
It appears that the browser idea appeals to a wide audience as the number of downloads have been going through the roof right from the start.
Today, The Pirate Bay team informs TorrentFreak that they just served the 1,000,000th PirateBrowser download from its website.
The million downloads says little about how many people actively use the software, but according to TPB roughly 0.5% of all their visitors now uses the browser. This translates to hundreds of thousands of active users a week, mostly from countries where ISPs are blocking the site.
“I guess that a lot of people want to see the websites their governments and courts are trying to hide from them,” Pirate Bay’s Winston told TorrentFreak commenting on the success.
The browser is based on Firefox 23 bundled with a Tor client and some proxy configurations to speed up page loading. It is meant purely as a tool to circumvent censorship and doesn’t provide any anonymity for its users, as that would slow down the browser.
While the PirateBrowser continues to expand its user base, proxies are still the preferred way to circumvent ISP blockades. Currently 7% of all visits to The Pirate Bay go through dedicated proxy sites, some of which receive millions of visitors per week.
The Pirate Bay team informs TorrentFreak that they will continue to develop the browser. An updated edition with several improvements and Mac and Linux versions of the software are also in the works.
The team are also working on a special BitTorrent-powered application, which lets users store and distribute The Pirate Bay and other websites on their own computers, making it impossible for third parties to block them.
This “p2p browser” should be able to keep The Pirate Bay operational, even if the site itself is pulled offline. There is currently no estimated release date set for this second project, but it will take a few more months of development at minimum.