There has been a lot of talk about magnet links since The Pirate Bay decided to include them on their site recently. Various BitTorrent clients quickly added support for these type of links, and recently the first ‘magnet-only’ torrent index opened to the public.
Last November, The Pirate Bay decided to close down its tracker. According to The Pirate Bay team, BitTorrent has evolved up to a point where trackers are no longer needed.
“We’re talking to the other torrent admins on doing magnet links,” a Pirate Bay insider told TorrentFreak, adding that they might even stop serving torrents in the future.
Following this announcement, several torrent clients quickly added support for magnet links. The format was already supported by uTorrent and Vuze, but Transmission, BitComet and others soon followed after the Pirate Bay announcement.
Although magnet links work very well, BitTorrent cannot rely solely on this type of link just yet. The .torrent files still hold crucial information needed to start the downloading process, and this information has to be available in the swarm.
Despite this, it is possible to setup a torrent site without torrents, solely relying on magnet links and saving precious bandwidth and resources. This is exactly what the newly-launched TorrIndex does.
Instead of hosting torrent files, the site uses magnet links exclusively. The magnet links on TorrIndex also include the trackers from the original torrent, and they are properly formatted so they look just like regular torrent downloads in your torrent client.
TorrIndex gathers the links from various other torrent sites on the net and also allows users to add magnet links to the site. At first sight it seems that the site uses well respected and moderated sources, since the number of fake and spammy magnet links are lower than on many regular torrent sites.
Aside from the fact that TorrIndex is the first magnet-only torrent index, the site’s setup is pretty straightforward. There is no option to comment on any of the links and there are no other fancy features, it’s just a searchable index of magnet links.
Magnet’s to replace torrents?
TorrentFreak contacted the owner of the site, who told us that everything is totally automated. The magnet links are put in categories automatically based on the filetype, size and a few other parameters.
Another novelty is that TorrIndex is the first to use DHT information for their seed and peer count, in addition to the statistics reported by the trackers. “We collect the numbers from trackers and the DHT cloud,” the owner said.
TorrIndex is currently still in the Beta testing phase, so don’t be surprised if something appears to be broken. We’re told that the design will be updated and comment and torrent rating features are under consideration.
The site proves that it’s possible to start a torrent site without having to host actual torrent files. We predict that many sites like this will follow in the months to come, and it wouldn’t surprise us if The Pirate Bay also converts to a magnet-only index in the future.