The list is based on traffic rank reports from Compete and Alexa, backed up by visitor reports from some of the site admins. If you’re looking for high speed downloads, a free Usenet trial might be a good alternative.
Update: The best torrent sites of 2011.
It has been a good year for The Pirate Bay. The number of visitors spiked, despite efforts in Denmark and Italy to block access the site. Last month, The site celebrated its 5th anniversary, just after it broke the 25 million peers mark. At any given point in time, more than 25 million peers actively trade files thought the Pirate Bay tracker.
Compete rank 885 / Alexa rank 117 / 2007 #3
Mininova has seen a steady rise in visitors in 2008, and more than 3 billion torrents were downloaded from the site in the past 12 months. In addition to user uploaded content, the Mininova team has started to focus more on premium publishers with their content distribution platform.
Compete rank 1,225 / Alexa rank 79 / 2007 #1
Despite being ensnared in legal proceedings with the MPAA and CRIA, isoHunt is continuing to grow. This year they partnered with the Creative Commons music distribution site Jamendo, and just like The Pirate Bay, isoHunt added SSL encryption to the site, making it impossible for your ISP or the authorities to monitor users’ activities.
Compete rank 1,106 / Alexa rank 200 / 2007 #2
Torrentz.com, one of the oldest torrent sites around, celebrated its 5th anniversary in July. The site added a “verified torrents” feature this year, and inspired many other meta-search engines to do the same. Last month a “hacker” caused some problems after it took over the torrentz domain, but luckily this issue was resolved in a few hours.
Compete rank 2,039 / Alexa rank 220 / 2007 #4
TorrentReactor redesigned and optimized the site throughout 2008, which resulted in a significant increase in visitors. In addition, the TorrentReactor launched TorrentPrivacy, a service that allows BitTorrent users to download torrents anonymously.
Compete rank 2,150 / Alexa rank 532 / 2007 #9
After being forced to go offline following threats from the CRIA, Demonoid returned this April after 6 months of downtime. Since then it is business as usual, and most of the members returned quickly.
Compete rank 3,869 / Alexa rank 526 / 2007 #na
In December 2007 BTjunkie was forced to leave their ISP following a takedown notice from the Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN. This year there were no troubles, and the site continues to go strong.
Compete rank 3,762 / Alexa rank 625 / 2007 #5
In 2007, SumoTorrent quickly settled itself among the top torrent sites, and traffic continued to increase this year. The pop-ups and redirects are new though, and don’t make it one of the most convenient sites to browse.
Compete rank 4,110 / Alexa rank 1,019 / 2007 #na
BitTorrentMonster, BTmon for short, debuted in 10th place last year, and managed to climb a spot. Other than that, there is not much news surrounding the site.
Compete rank 4,737 / Alexa rank 989 / 2007 #10
Not much news about TorrentPortal this year either, but for BitTorrent sites that is usually a good thing. Traffic seems to be stable, although the site is not growing as fast as the other BitTorrent sites in this list.
Compete rank 4,300 / Alexa rank 1,126 / 2007 #7
Honorable mention: TorrentSpy
In 2006 TorrentSpy was more popular than any other BitTorrent site, but this changed quickly in August 2007, when a federal judge ordered TorrentSpy to log all user data. The judge ruled that TorrentSpy had to monitor its users in order to create detailed logs of their activities, and hand these over to the MPAA.
In a response to this decision – and to ensure the privacy of their users – TorrentSpy decided that it was best to block access to all users from the US. This led to a huge decrease in traffic, but still, it managed to make out top 10 list last year. March 2008 TorrentSpy owner Justin decided to shut down completely, and in May his company was ordered to pay a $110 million fine, which it will appeal.