While torrent giants such as The Pirate Bay are known and used all around the world, there are many sites that have a strong following in their native countries.
In France, for example, YggTorrent is a spectacular success. It’s the largest French-language sharing platform and also operates its own torrent tracker, a rarity these days. Alongside a reported 3,500,000 registered members, Alexa stats reveal that YggTorrent.ws is the 38th most-visited domain in the whole of France, period.
While that is an impressive achievement for a site that is just a handful of years old, unexpected overnight developments at the tracker are set to negatively affect that ranking, if only temporarily.
Earlier today, an individual who identified as one of the operators of YggTorrent informed TF that the torrent site’s main domain name, YggTorrent.ws, had been “suddenly disabled” by its registrar without warning or explanation. As the image below shows, it now displays the ominous ‘serverHold’ status.
According to ICANN, the serverHold domain status is uncommon and “usually enacted during legal disputes, non-payment, or when your domain is subject to deletion.”
As its DNS records suggest, the domain was purchased through Peter Sunde’s Njalla service but as a privacy platform, the company has no control over the ‘serverHold’ status. Njalla informs TF that in this case the serverHold status code was set by the .ws registry. (Note: This section has been corrected to clarify that the status was deployed by the domain registry, not its registrar)
As a result of this change, visitors to YggTorrent.ws can no longer access the site. However, in common with many platforms operating in a similar niche, YggTorrent has many domains in backup including yggtorrent.pe, yggtorrent.ch and yggtorrent.gg.
At least for the time being, however, the site is promoting the Sweden-based YggTorrent.se domain as its primary alternative. Crucially, it still maintains control over a separate domain for its tracker, which means that torrent sharing can continue for users, even if the main domain is down.
What caused the sudden loss of the .ws domain remains unclear but if history is anything to go by, copyright infringement issues must be at the top of the list. In 2018, YggTorrent was forced to abandon its .com domain following a complaint from French anti-piracy outfit SACEM.
Then, in 2019, following a complaint from local anti-piracy group SCPP, a Paris court ordered five French Internet providers to block access to thirteen websites that link to pirated content. Included in that order was YggTorrent.ch, a domain that remains under the control of the site but is currently used for redirection purposes only.
The site’s operators note that their Icelandic domain is blocked by various ISPs in France too but an additional domain for users affected by that action is already in place.