Exactly two years ago today the legendary BitTorrent site Suprnova.org was taken offline. December 19, 2004, is a milestone in the history of BitTorrent. But how did it all start? Who was behind this legendary site? And what happened after is was taken down?
In this article we will walk you through the history of Suprnova.org. We contacted Suprnova founder Sloncek, and he commented on these memorable events that left a mark on the history of BitTorrent as well as his personal life.
The Rise of Suprnova.
Suprnova.org launched in the fall of 2002. At that time it was one of the few BitTorrent sites on the Internet. Suprnova was founded by Andrej Preston, a Slovenian teenager better known as Sloncek. Initially he wanted to name the site Supernova, but that name was already taken.
Suprnova.org started as a fun project, with a very primitive setup. In fact, it was hosted on a linux box at Sloncek’s home in the early days. As soon as Suprnova was ready to go public, he started to advertise the site among friends and on IRC, and it slowly started to attract more and more visitors.
The word about the “universal BitTorrent source” spread like wildfire. It was no surprise that it didn’t take long before the traffic generated by Suprnova was maxing out the meager 16kb/s upload capacity.
The increased popularity of Suprnova came around the same time when other torrent sites like donkax.com, bytemonsoon.com and torrentse.cx, decided to quit. These sites were more or less forced to go offline, either due to bandwidth constraints, or cease and desist letters. But Suprnova made it very clear that it wasn’t going anywhere.
Suprnova continued to grow, and Sloncek spent most of the time looking for mirrors, to guarantee that the site stayed in the air. At it’s top it indexed almost 60.000 torrents and about 1.5 million visitors per day. Suprnova had a very active comminity, and its forum was among the biggest on the Internet.
The fall of Suprnova.
In November 2004 Suprnova’s ISP told Sloncek that the servers were taken into custody by the Slovenion police. The raid was initiated by the French anti-piracy lobby RetSpan. The police never contacted Sloncek about this personally, but is was a sign that things were about to change.
Around the same time Reuters wrote about Sloncek in one of their articles, which soon after spread out to the Slovenian press. This was the turning point for Sloncek. He later said: “So I ended up reading about myself in Slovenian newspapers. And right about that time, I had a feeling something was wrong. I do not really know what the feeling was or where it was coming from, but I decided it was time to take SuprNova.org offline.”
Sloncek eventually pulled the plug December 19, 2004, which marked the end of an era.
October 18, 2005, almost a year after the servers were raided, Sloncek received a letter form the prosecutor stating that the charges against him were dropped. This was a great relief, and he later said: “This has been a huge pressure on me and I think it left some permanent marks on me. I hope none of you will ever have to go through something like this.”
Early 2006 Suprnova.org shortly resurrected as a P2P news site, but that project ended after a couple of months.
The here and now
We contacted Sloncek, and asked him about his memories of Suprnova, and his and Suprnova’s future.
TorrentFreak: Suprnova is for sale at Sedo.com, are you really planning to sell this legendary domain?
Sloncek: The Suprnova.org domain is currently parked there, since I haven’t had time to work on anything for the site (Anybody got any suggestions, let me know and ill try to find the time and the team :)). It says for sale because I was interested how much money people would offer for the domain. But unless someone offers a HUGE sum of money, I wouldnt sell it.
TorrentFreak: What are the best memories you have, when you look back at the two years that Suprnova was online?
Sloncek: Hehe, honestly looking back everything looks just great. Although when I really think about it, I spend half of the time worrying about everything that was going wrong. But 2 years later, im feeling nostalgic and everything seems fine. I guess best moments were when the whole team of mods, forums staff, radio team and everybody was just chatting together and having fun. But that was rare :)
TorrentFreak: And the worst?
Sloncek: When nobody wanted to host the servers. There were times when I had no clue how to keep the site up and running. And also (probably the worst), when they raided the servers :)
TorrentFreak: If you had the chance to go back in time, knowing what you know now, would you do it all over again?
Sloncek: You bet, it was all worth it. I loved Suprnova, and it will always be a part of me (it also changed me a lot in real life, made me more independant). But also, if I could go back I would do a lot of things differently, so that the site would still be online now.
TorrentFreak: Do you still use BitTorrent?
Sloncek: Yeah ofcourse I use it, daily :) (only for legal stuff :D ).
TorrentFreak: Which client do you use at the moment?
Sloncek: I use BitComet… I used uTorrent, but my computer just didnt like it. It ate all my RAM. Dont know why but it did. I am used to BitComet thats why I use it. It has everything I need and no reason to change.
TorrentFreak: What is the best successor of Suprnova in your opinion?
Sloncek: There are so many torrent pages out there now that I dont know what to say. I use a Slovenian tracker mostly (partis.si), because it has a lot of Slovenian stuff and its fast. But when I want some more ‘rare’ torrents I use MiniNova, Isohunt or ThePirateBay, thats basically it. But Mininova is lacking at the hardware part, most of the time the site is unaccessable or very very slow. Isohunt has a very bad site design in my opinion. Also I dont really know the site Admin, but I’m not a big fan of him. Dont know why, personally I think going on national TV (link) is not the best move. Especially when he is not a lawyer. ThePirateBay has a great team behind them. Doing a good job in their country trying to ‘promote P2P’, but I also feel it is lacking somewhere, maybe in the amount of torrents they offer. I dont even know if they offer TV-Shows. But overall it is a great site and heads up to them. I dont want to be mean to anybody, I’m happy that people are willing to put torrentsites online and I am probably being unfair towards Isohunt, but just my opinion.
TorrentFreak: What are you doing at the moment, and what are your plans for the future?
Sloncek: Right now I’m a student at slovenian Arthouse Collage and I am studying for becoming scenographer. But my plans are (If i am really lucky), to move next year to San Francisco, to study Film and TV acting, since I always loved acting (although many people think I’m a geek :D ). Besides that I party alot and am overall having quite a good time.
Suprnova, the one and only universal BitTorrent source…