Trackon, The BitTorrent Tracker Tracker

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If you have ever used a public or open tracker, you know that reliability often comes with a half-hearted smile - trackers can go offline and return again, often without explanation or warning. To help keep track of the status of public trackers, there's now Trackon, the BitTorrent Tracker Tracker.

Public torrent have their critics, who mostly comment that they’re slow, unverified or unreliable. Only the latter is down to the tracker itself – the others are down to peers and sites.

Often public or open trackers are heavily loaded and operated on a shoestring budget, either as an ancillary project or out of someone’s pocket. This can leave them prone to unexpected downtime, requiring DHT or additional trackers to be added to torrents in order to find peers. Additionally, the sudden announcement by The Pirate Bay to kill their tracker has left people scrambling for trackers as an alternative to DHT.

Previously, the only way to check if such a tracker was down was to ask on a forum, IRC channel or news sites like TorrentFreak, hoping that someone knows the answer. Now, though, there is Trackon, a site that hopes to provide answers to these questions in a clear, concise and simple manner.

Trackon uses the Google AppEngine, just like its sister project Atrack. This means that initial costs are low and reliability of the site should be good – exactly what is needed when it’s reliability of sites being measured.

The site currently monitors 46 public trackers, including favorites such as OpenBittorrent, and DenisStalker. Even better it a offers a recent history of status checks and also shows if trackers support SSL, which is a boon to those looking for secure communications.

Uriel, the genius behind Trackon (and also Atrack) told TorrentFreak that his motivation was finding a way to make the BitTorrent infrastructure more decentralized and reliable, without actually requiring any changes to the protocol or clients.

“My conclusion was that a really easy to deploy tracker would make it possible for anyone to set-up and run their own trackers, either private or public. Combining that with Google’s AppEngine was just logical. Trackon came from there,” he explained.

Trackon is still in development and is having more features added as time goes on. Meanwhile, the number of public trackers out there is surprising, exceeding Uriel’s own expectations, “I thought at first there would only be about a dozen trackers, but it’s over fifty now,” he told us.

If nothing else, Trackon proves that the hydra is alive, and spawning trackers.

Update: The original Trackon project has shut down, but there is a new version here, which is open source.


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