Original The Pirate Bay Establishment
Originally established in 2003, The Pirate Bay is the leading torrent site in the world. It is a peer-to-peer (P2P) platform where users can share millions of files such as music, movies, games, books, applications, and more. Using TPB’s database, “Pirates” can search for magnet links that allow them to share content with others.
Pirates can find their preferred content quicker and easier than ever before with a massive database that links users to their preferred content. It is possible to search by name, by type, or by popularity. Pirates can even keep up with the newest and hottest trends with the option to search for the most recent uploads.
After almost 20 years of surviving government restrictions and corporate censorship, The Pirate Bay is not only one of the world’s oldest torrent sites, it is also one of the most resilient. Founded in 2003 by three Swedish friends, Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm, and Fredrik Neij, TPB remains a leader in the anti-copyright fight.
The founders are so dedicated to the idea that information should be free for everyone that they have even spent time in prison and paid hefty fines, after what is now referred to as the “Pirate Bay Trial”.
While other pioneering or popular torrent sites have been silenced by governments and permanently shut down, The Pirate Bay is still here and still raising the bar as the standard for all torrenting sites.
Who are “Pirates”?
“Pirate” is the proud nickname given to the people who use the TPB site to share files. Over the past two decades, TPB has continued to grow, and now there are more than 5 million registered Pirates.
Despite the name of the website and the nickname of its users, The Pirate Bay does not endorse or accept any legal responsibility for any illegal activity on the part of anyone who accesses its platform. Anyone using TPB in violation of applicable law accepts complete responsibility for their own actions and the resultant consequences, including civil and criminal legal consequences.
However, The Pirate Bay enthusiastically supports the right of individuals to freely share information and content among their peers.
What is Torrenting?
Torrenting is the process of sharing files over the Internet with the aid of a P2P network.
When someone typically downloads a file from the Internet, that entire file is sent to their computer or device from one server.
Torrenting instead breaks up larger files into smaller pieces called “packets.” Throughout the P2P network, individual peers will have one or more packets. The PirateBay uses software that assembles those packets into a complete file that can then be downloaded.
One major benefit of torrenting is that anyone can share or download files for free as an individual Pirate. In other words, TPB grants access to content and information that they might not otherwise have.
Is Peer-to-Peer File-Sharing Illegal?
However, there is a major caveat about P2P file sharing. Some of the content that is shared on The Pirate Bay platform may be protected by copyright. Most published movies, TV shows, books, artwork, and games are copyrighted.
The U.S. Copyright Office, states that a work is copyright-protected “the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device .”
Copyright protection means creators and owners of that content maintain exclusive rights to its use. Without express consent, it is an infringement of the originator’s rights to share, reproduce, display, or even download copyrighted content.
Sharing of copyrighted material – both uploading and downloading – may be illegal in your country. Violators can potentially face charges of piracy or copyright infringement.
The United States of America maintains cooperative copyright relationships with most countries. For the most part, this means that nations generally honor one another’s copyrights.
As a result, if an individual knowingly violates the copyright laws of one country, they can potentially face lawsuits or prosecution in their own.
Types of Content That Are Protected by Copyright
To qualify for full protection under the law, intellectual property must be “tangible”, which is legally interpreted as meaning that the work can be perceived in some way, either in person or digitally.
Put another way, if it can be seen, heard, used, played, or interacted with in person or on a computer, phone, or some other electronic device, it qualifies as legally “tangible.”
Significantly, copyright protection starts the moment an original work is created. Copyright law applies to works both published and unpublished.
Copyright protection covers original authored literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. Examples of protected works include, but are not limited to:
- Software and applications
- Music, lyrics, and songs
- Movies and TV shows
- Novels, books, stories, and poetry
There are too many different examples of legally-intangible creations to individually list every possible example. This is why tangibility is broadly interpreted under copyright law to be in favor of the creator.
At the same time, there are many things that do not qualify for copyright protection – names, titles, facts, ideas, discoveries, short phrases, and slogans. Systems and methods of operation are also not copyrightable, although the manner in which they are expressed may be.
What About Non-Copyrighted Material?
In America, anyone downloading or sharing content that is not officially registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, cannot be sued for their actions. This distinction includes content that was never copyrighted as well as content with expired copyright registration.
Keep in mind, anyone violating copyright law can still face criminal prosecution, even though they may be immune to a civil lawsuit.
To eliminate any confusion and to protect yourself against accidentally breaking the law, always check a file’s copyright status prior to downloading it.
The best way to do this is to look on governmental copyright office websites. Another way is to look on the creator’s social media page, website, or blog, to see if they have issued any permission statements regarding that work. If they do not clearly give their consent, downloading a file of their work may be in direct violation of copyright law.
The Pirate Bay: Still Operational After All These Years
Not that long ago, there were scores of huge torrenting websites. But never-ending legal entanglements, corporate censorship, and market oversaturation eventually forced many once-popular torrent sites out of business.
As an early pioneer of P2P file sharing, The Pirate Bay was just the fourth torrenting platform ever established. But TPB it is also one of the few survivors of those early days:
- Supernova.org (2002): Created by a student in Slovenia, Supernova was the world’s most prominent BitTorrent search engine, until relentless legal threats forced a permanent shutdown in 2004. In 2007, the Supernova domain name was donated to The Pirate Bay.
- isoHunt (2003): At its height, isoHunt boasted millions of visitors every month and cataloged 14 petabytes of torrenting data. But following a major lawsuit brought by a huge conglomerate of Internet Service Providers, the site went dark in 2013
- Demonoid (2003): Technically, Demonoid is still officially active. However, it is continually plagued by both constant lawsuits and extended periods of downtime.
- KickassTorrents (2008): At one point, KAT was the most-visited torrent site in the world. But it was plagued by bans and outages, and the owner was persecuted by law enforcement. In 2016, KAT was confiscated by the government, and the owner was arrested and put on trial. An ill-fated revival was attempted, but it has been offline since July 2020.
Despite its legacy of success, The Pirate Bay has not been wholly immune to these challenges. Right now, access to TPB is blocked in over 30 countries, including:
- United Kingdom
- United Arab Emirates
- Saudi Arabia
On the flip side, the majority of the world’s nations still permit full access to The Pirate Bay, including Switzerland, Mexico, Hong Kong, Brazil, Belarus, and many others.
An onslaught of Internet search engine restrictions, national blocks, technological innovations, and corporate censorship has forced the closure of other torrent sites, but The Pirate Bay is still completely free, fully operational, and accessible to millions of Pirates across the globe.
This continued existence and relevance is made possible through innovative workarounds and bypasses, on-site advertisements, and donations of digital currency.
How To Find What You Are Looking for at The Pirate Bay
The Pirate Bay has an immense catalog of files uploaded by fleets of Pirates and non-registered users contributing from around the world. To simplify things for users and make it easier to find exactly what they want, TPB puts that content into distinct individual categories, including:
- Sound clips
- Movies, including HD, 3-D, and DVD-R formats
- Movie clips
- TV shows, including HD and 3-D formats
- Music videos
- IOS (iPad/iPhone)
- IOS (iPad/iPhone)
- Movies, including HD and DVD-R formats
- Movie clips
- Physibles – Data on objects that are physically reproducible, manufacturable, or 3-D printable
- TPB’s search function makes it easy for Pirates to find their favorite content. Each file is categorized by name, type, and upload date.
Downloading Torrents from The Pirate Bay
Downloading torrents from TPB is a very simple step-by-step process:
Step 1: Install a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN is a secure network that uses encryption to let you navigate the Internet anonymously. If The Pirate Bay is blocked in your country, you can still get access by downloading a VPN and changing your IP address to another country where there is no ban.
The TPB home page specifically advises users to NOT download any torrents until they have first hidden their IP address with a VPN.
Find Your Preferred Content
On the TPB site, there are multiple ways to locate your preferred content:
The “Pirate Search” searches by name
“Browse Torrents” searches by category
“Recent Torrents” shows the newest uploads
“Top 100” shows the most popular uploads
Download the Torrent
After locating the file you want to download, you may either click-and-drag it to the torrent client or just click the download link. Sometimes, you will first need to install a browser extension before downloading.
Enjoy the Content
That’s how simple it is. All you need to do now is relax and enjoy the free content that you found on The Pirate Bay.
How Do You Know Which Result Is the Best?
When performing a torrent search, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of results. To simplify finding the files that will download the fast, here are some tips.
Seeders and Leechers
On the right side of the TPB screen, you will see two columns – labeled SE and LE, abbreviations for Seeders and Leechers.
Seeders are people who have already downloaded the particular file. They are the sources from which you download smaller parts of the file. If, for example, a particular torrent has 300 SE, that indicates that 300 Pirates have the file that you want.
Leechers, on the other hand, are those people who are actively in the process of downloading that specific file from Seeders. If you are hoping for the fastest download speed and you want to minimize the chances of your download freezing up before it is completed, search for torrents that have a high ratio of SE numbers to low LE numbers.
The greater that ratio is, the faster and smoother your download will be.
Check the File Size
Watch for supposedly-identical content with significantly different file sizes. This is most often due to differences in overall quality – 1080p resolution versus 360p, for example. In other cases, the size difference is because of the type of file uploaded.
One very important thing to watch out for is when the majority of Seeders sharing the same content show files that are approximately the same size, but for some reason, another individual Seeder’s file is much larger or smaller. This indicates that the smaller file is incomplete, while files that are inexplicably larger often include other patches or extensions that you didn’t ask for and probably don’t want.
Another explanation for strangely-sized files is that the particular file was misnamed on purpose and is not represent what you’re looking for at all.
Before you download any content, first look at the comments column. Other Pirates will comment and warn you if the file is fake, or if there are any downloading issues to be aware of.
Beware of Fake Files
Besides download speed, you should ensure that the file you have chosen is really what you were looking for. The unfortunate reality is that far too often, malicious individuals will purposefully upload counterfeit files that otherwise appear to be legitimate and trustworthy. In reality, however, they are often dangerous viruses, adware, spyware, or other destructive programs that can damage your computer, smartphone, or device.
At best, fake files are misleading examples of clickbait that have nothing to do with your original search.
The Skull and Crossbones: A Pirate’s Badge of Honor
Unfortunately, there is no easy way of knowing with 100% certainty if a specific file you want to download is legitimate and trustworthy or not. The good news is The answer Pirate Bay does have a quick and easy way to tell which files are more apt to be legitimate.
As children, we are taught that a skull label typically means danger. So you might be concerned that the “Skull and Crossbones” attached to some TPB torrents signifies a harmful file and that it is unsafe to download.
But you are on The Pirate Bay website, and among Pirates, the Skull and Crossbones stands for brotherhood and trust. To TPB users, the Skull symbol is likewise meant to signify trustworthiness and safety.
While The Pirate Bay remains fully committed to the unrestricted exchange of information, some ill-intentioned users try to sneak in harmful viruses and malware through counterfeit content. These dangerous programs can rapidly infect your computer, phone, device, router, or even your entire computer and network.
Pink Skulls identify the specific user as a long-time Pirate in good standing. Their torrents are considered to be safe, legitimate, and free of harmful programs.
Green Skulls indicate an even greater degree of trust. This person is well-known to be a responsible and trustworthy Pirate with VIP status with greater permissions on the TPB website.
Some Pirates will have Admin or Moderator tags, highlighting the fact that they are dedicated volunteers tasked with helping the TPB website.
Users without a Skull symbol rating are still new to the Pirate Bay site and have not yet proven themselves that they only share responsibly and safely.
This is not pejorative, because the lack of a Skull is not meant to suggest that a user is engaging in fraudulent activity. It simply means that they are still new contributing Pirates and are not established enough to have earned the badge.
Do Files on The Pirate Bay Contain Malicious Content?
The Pirate Bay cannot strictly guarantee that the content you download is 100% safe. TPB is merely a platform that helps you find magnet links for P2P sharing – it has no way to check the safety or quality of individual files.
Uploading files to TPB is very easy, which unfortunately allows cyber-criminals and other bad actors to misuse that convenience to upload illegal and/or torrents. They deceptively use the names of popular content to fool unwary users into unwittingly downloading their harmful files. Counterfeit content is how they are able to distribute destructive programs such as spyware, malware, adware, and viruses.
The recommended way to safeguard your information and devices from dangerous fake content is to install a powerful antivirus program on all your devices and update it frequently
TPB strongly suggests that you make it a habit to always check the “Skull status” of files before initiating a download. This simple rule of thumb alerts you to the probable final quality without putting you or your devices at risk.
The Pirate Bay: Pros and Cons
As with all products, there are both positive and negative about The Pirate Bay that users should keep in mind before accessing the platform.
The Pirate Bay: Pros
The Pirate Bay Honor Code
Registering with The Pirate Bay means joining a larger community. As a Pirate, you are required to follow an unwritten-yet-important personal Code of Conduct.
When you download from TPB, for example, you are a Leecher. TPB’s CoC asks that you also contribute as a Seeder. In other words, your downloaded content should remain available on your device for a reasonable amount of time, giving other Pirates a chance to download them using you as a Seeding source.
Maintaining a fair balance of Seeders and Leechers helps TPB keep its well-deserved position as the most-trusted P2P sharing platform on the Internet.
Ability to Resume Downloads after Interruption
Not that long ago, P2P file sharing was far more difficult than it is now. Before high-speed Internet, for example, slow speeds and poor quality made downloading large files an exhausting and time-consuming chore.
Worst of all, if your download was interrupted for any reason, it was completely impossible to pick up where you left off. Every time an interruption happened, the entire process started over from the beginning.
The great news is that The Pirate Bay downloading process has vastly improved. Now, you are able to pause your download and resume the process without losing any progress.
One tremendous advantage that TPB users enjoy over other torrent platforms is the capability to search multiple content databases at once. Finding the files you want is easier and faster than ever. No matter what type of content you enjoy, you will usually be able to find it on The Pirate Bay in a matter of seconds.
The Improved Seeding Process
Previously, users had to download files from a single source, making the sharing process horrendously time-consuming. It’s not an exaggeration to say that larger files could literally take days to fully download.
The new Pirate Bay seeds files from multiple sources. This improvement means you can download files fast, even with slower Internet connections.
The best thing about The Pirate Bay is how it is accessible from anywhere in the world, even in those countries where it is blocked. Thanks to VPNs that facilitate anonymous browsing and unblocked proxy and mirror websites, you have options that allow you to continue to access and enjoy all the free content that TPB offers.
All of the content on The Pirate Bay is always 100% completely free. There are no hidden registration charges, no recurring subscription fees, and you never have to pay to download unlimited free content.
The Pirate Bay: Cons
Content Comes with Cautions
The Pirate Bay exercises zero control over the content uploaded by Seeders. It is completely possible that you could download copyrighted material and unknowingly be in violation of copyright law. Because TPB is only an index of digital content, individual users assume sole responsibility for the content they choose to download.
Furthermore, if another malicious user uploads harmful content, it is possible that you might download dangerous programs instead of the entertainment you were seeking.
This is why The Pirate Bay makes the following recommendations:
- Prior to downloading any files from the magnet links supplied by TPB, always conduct adequate due diligence. Research the copyright status and permissions of every individual piece of content you want to download.
- Always install security measures such as firewalls and antivirus programs.
- To minimize the risk of harmful downloads, always refer to the Skull badges assigned to individual Seeders. Download from trusted Pirates with Pink or Green Skulls.
Some Files Are Difficult to Download
Many creators push back against filesharing by encrypting their work with strong anti-sharing copyright protection. To circumvent these anti-torrenting measures, you may first need to install additional programs such as keygen codes and CD keys.
The good news is that if you need to find additional workaround solutions, other members of TPB are typically available for help. Just post a question about your problem in the TPB forums.
Files Vary in Quality
There is no way of knowing the digital quality of an individual file in advance. As a result, some content may not have the high resolution that you like or be as clear-sounding as you prefer. The best way to enjoy the quality you desire is through the trial-and-ever process – download the files first, keep the ones you like, and delete the ones you don’t.
Over time you will be able to educate yourself about which Skull-rated Seeders you can trust to upload the best-quality content.
Sharing Your Personal Details
It is very important to understand that using The Pirate Bay without other safeguards does reveal your IP address to others. TPB does not directly offer torrent files. Instead, the platform serves as a host for magnet links that give torrent clients like Deluge, UTorrent, qBittorrent, and Transmission, the necessary personal information to directly download files from multiple peers.
This is actually good news because this allows downloads without the need for additional third-party applications.
The negative is that torrent downloads are not encrypted. Your Internet Service Provider is able to monitor your online activity, including what you do on TPB.
And because there is no safe way to judge the intent of your peers, revealing your IP address carries a degree of risk.
The best way to minimize this risk is to follow The Pirate Bay’s recommendation – install a VPN prior to registration.
Protect yourself with a torrent-friendly high-speed VPN that permits P2P traffic, such as, NordVPN, Windscribe, CyberGhost, or IPVanish.
When you download a torrent, it uses up a tremendous amount of data and bandwidth. Downloading a lot of content via TPB’s platform means you should expect slowdowns and increased data usage. This is especially important if you have a limited data plan that throttles after the cap is reached.
How to Access The Pirate Bay When It Is Blocked in Your Country
Long-time Pirates already know that several countries currently block The Pirate Bay. If you take the necessary precautions to hide your online activity from prying authorities, there are multiple ways around this problem.
Virtual Private Networks grant you online anonymity by assigning you a new IP address from a country where TPB is not blocked. Because they encrypt your personal data, VPNs prevent authorities from tracking your activities, including downloading or sharing files.
The Onion Router Project (TOR)
TOR is a free open-source program that protects your privacy and freedom and allows you to browse and download content anonymously. Because TOR disguises online activity, it lets you avoid unwelcome attention from the local government.
On the other hand, TOR is slower than other workarounds, and it also interferes with your upload capability. For this reason, TOR is best-suited for downloading only.
The Invisible Internet Project
Another viable alternative is the Invisible Internet Project (I2P). This encrypted P2P network layer protects both your location and your online activity. I2P’s stated goal is to “protect communication from dragnet surveillance and monitoring by third parties such as ISPs.”
On the plus side, I2P uses proprietary communication routes and one-way entrances and exits. I2P is even better than TOR at complicating your online activity and making it harder for authorities to track you. This is why I2P is particularly suitable for anonymously accessing TPB and its proxy sites.
On the minus side, I2P does not have as many users as Chrome, TOR, or Safari. It is only fast as it is because so few people use it.
Pirate Bay Proxy Sites
One very effective way to circumvent TPB blocks is to use proxy websites. Also called mirror sites, they are virtual duplicates of the original Pirate Bay platform. You can still access all of the same content, even if TPB is blocked in the country where you live.
The best part?
Even when authorities manage to block TPB or one of its proxy sites, a different one is created with a brand-new unblocked IP address and domain.
While proxy sites are created by people who have no direct association with the original Pirate Bay website, they are trustworthy and safe to use. They were created as an alternative option to allow you to access TPB databases and content while still remaining anonymous.
Mirror sites are a perfect solution for those times when the original Pirate Bay website is temporarily down or blocked in your country.
The Pirate Bay is unable to fully guarantee that these proxies are always operating beneath the notice of restrictive governments, but TPB does periodically review and verify their safe reliability.
When used in tandem with VPNs, mirrors provide yet another layer of anonymity and accessibility that allows you to download and share content without worrying about government interference.
Can I Access The Pirate Bay from Mobile Devices?
Prior to 2014, The Pirate Bay was not particularly well-suited for use on mobile devices. No less an authority than TPB’s founder bluntly described the experience as “crap”.
But as smartphone and tablet use increased, The Pirate Bay was completely redesigned to be more mobile-friendly and to provide a better overall user experience.
At the current time, Android users can access dedicated torrent clients from Google Play, and there is also an RSS feed. These improvements provide a more customizable – and therefore enjoyable – mobile experience.
One significant bit of bad news is that owners of Apple devices – iPhones and iPads – are still unable to access The Pirate Bay. unless the device is both jailbroken and modified, iOS users cannot download TPB content.
Uploading: First Create a Torrent
Even if you are already familiar with using BitTorrent clients to download TPB content, uploading files is quite a bit different.
Follow these simple steps to create a torrent:
- Open the BitTorrent client
- Click on “File”
- Then “Create New Torrent”
- Choose the specific file or files you wish to upload – A single file, several files, or the whole directory
- Save the file – You can now upload the torrent to TPB or just share it online with friends
Uploading Torrents to The Pirate Bay
Uploading torrents to The Pirate Bay is an easy step-by-step process. If you have not done so already, register by creating an account at The Pirate Bay’s main website or one of its proxies. After you log in:
- Click on “Upload”
- Pick the torrent file you wish to upload
- Choose a name for the file
- Specify the category
- Key in tags that closely match the content and will make it easier for people to find it
- Write a description
- Upload the file – You can either display your user name publicly or upload the file anonymously.
- After the upload is complete, keep it up as long as you can, seeding it so more Leechers can find and download it.
The Best Alternatives to The Pirate Bay
TPB is totally committed to the free and unrestricted exchange of information and the idea that knowledge should be available to everyone. Here are some of the best alternative recommendations to The Pirate Bay. You can use these whenever the main TPB sites and proxies are blocked or temporarily down.
- 1337x – As of 2021, 1337x is the world’s third-most-visited torrent site.
- NYAA Torrents – Named after a cat’s meow, NYAA Torrents specializes in anime content.
- RARBG – As of June 2021, RARBG was ranked as the world’s fifth-most-visited torrent website. One important consideration is that RARBG users cannot upload their own torrent content.
- iDope – One cool aspect of iDope is how it mimics Google’s user experience.
- Lime Torrents – Currently only banned in France, the United Kingdom, and Australia
- Torrentz2 – Specializes in audio and music files.
- Torrent Downloads –Currently, only blocked in the UK
- EZTV – One of the top torrenting websites for TV show content
- Bitport – Lets you anonymously download content to a secure cloud for access anywhere
Due to national blocks and ongoing legal proceedings, the list of currently-operating torrent websites is constantly changing. If a particular torrent site is banned in your country, try a workaround using mirror sites or a VPN. If your favorite website seems to be closed down, just be patient and check back periodically. Revivals happen all the time.
The NFT Bay: Inspired by The Pirate Bay
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so “The NFT Bay” must really love TPB. This recently-develop niche torrenting website has almost perfectly copied the layout and logo of the original Pirate Bay. This is actually quite a compliment and is a testament to the still-enduring and successful legacy of The Pirate Bay.
Launched by Geoffrey Huntley, an Australian developer, The NFT Bay is a torrent website for non-fungible tokens, also known more commonly as NFTs.
NFTs are a form of digital art. Artists create their distinctive works online and sell them in exchange for digital currencies like BlockChain.
The NFT Bay is unique because it gives users access to torrents featuring images of NFTs, instead of tokens secured by BlockChain. Huntley says the NFT Bay is an “educational art project” that will stimulate greater interest in the art form and educate people on how to make wiser NFT investments.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to download torrents from The Pirate Bay?
The Pirate Bay is and always has been 100% and completely free. There are no hidden registration charges, recurring subscription fees, or download costs.
If it’s free, how does The Pirate Bay make money?
The Pirate Bay’s operating costs are funded by selling advertising and, since mid-2021, voluntary donations from users in the form of a recently-launched proprietary cryptocurrency, the Pirate Token. This digital currency option is still in the very early experimental stages. Results have thus far been very mixed, but the Pirate Token has also not yet been heavily promoted.
How do I watch movies or listen to music on The Pirate Bay?
Unfortunately, you cannot. The Pirate Bay is not set up to be a streaming service. You need to download the audio or video file and then play or watch it on your computer or device.
Is there any type of content that is not allowed on The Pirate Bay?
TPB espouses the belief that it is not their place to try to judge the content that independent users freely choose to share or download. That being said, there are certain things that are forbidden – adware, spyware, ransomware, malware, viruses, fraudulent torrents, and child pornography. Any Pirate discovering such harmful content on any TPB site or proxy is urged to report it immediately.
What was the outcome of the Pirate Bay Trial?
After a lengthy trial and several appeals, each of the four defendants spent several months in prison:
- Gottfrid Svartholm received a one-year sentence.
- Fredrik Neij got 10 months.
- Peter Sunde received eight months.
- Carl Lundström was sentenced to four months.
The Pirate Bay was also fined 47 million kroner, or approximately US $4.6 million.
Where can I find Pirate Bay merchandise?
If you want to look good while promoting the idea that knowledge is for everyone, try wearing a Pirate Bay T-shirt. While there is, sadly, no official TPB store, you can still find merchandise with The Pirate Bay logo at Redbubble.com – T-shirts, decals, face masks, etc.