Trackers are the Achilles’ heel of BitTorrent. Tens of thousands of downloads will slow down or stop working entirely when some of the bigger trackers go offline. Trackhub is a new service that addresses this problem by distributing downloaders to a working tracker in case the main tracker fails.
At the time of writing the two biggest BitTorrent trackers are down. The Pirate Bay and OpenBitTorrent’s tracker were handling the downloads of some 20 million people, and those downloads have stopped working entirely unless downloaders have DHT enabled in their client.
Luckily there are a few alternative trackers out there that still work, but the problem is that those trackers are not listed in the majority of torrents that are out there now. In an attempt to solve this recurring issue, Trackhub has developed a service that will act as a hub and distribute the various downloads over working tracker in case the main tracker goes down.
All users have to do is add the Trackhub announce url to the torrents they create and Trackhub will then redirect the download request to a working tracker. It is of course wise to add another tracker in addition to the Trackhub url in case the service itself goes down.
Trackhub’s developer Pedro told TorrentFreak that his service will not slow down downloads and that all peers downloading the same torrent will be linked to one tracker.
“Trackhub will choose one of the trackers in the list based on the info_hash, this means every client requesting peers for a certain torrent will be redirected to the same tracker. Trackhub does not make the requests directly, the clients do after being redirected,” he said,
“I have made sure that this would not break swarms and slow down the download even when a tracker goes down, Trackhub should be able to maintain some degree of consistency for the swarms,” Pedro added.
One of the downsides of Trackhub might be that it currently runs on Google’s App Engine platform which is based in the US. Unlike most existing trackers Google does keep logs and it is therefore advised to use the secure (https) announce url if you value your privacy.
Despite this minor issue, Trackhub offers a great service that can help to make BitTorrent a bit more stable and redundant. Now let’s hope Trackhub can handle all the traffic if this catches on.