Many of you will have used BitTorrent in the past to obtain files with varying degrees of legality. I’m not going to tell you what you should and shouldn’t download, you probably know that already.
A majority of you will have downloaded torrents in the past from public sources such as The Pirate Bay. There’s also a whole world of private trackers out there, and a lot of rules to go with each. For the survival of the community, and to preserve your account, you will need to adhere to their rules.
If you’re looking for some private trackers to get you started, try TrackerChecker and check out our article about finding open trackers.
Data transfer on private trackers is monitored per user and more often than not, you will have to maintain a sensible ratio to avoid losing your download privileges. Your ratio is determined by the amount of data downloaded and uploaded.
A ratio of 1 indicates that you have downloaded and uploaded in equal amounts, and this is enough to keep any private tracker happy. Don’t worry though, most trackers won’t expect you to keep a pristine ratio – just enough to ensure you’re contributing to the community.
Many trackers will also monitor for hit and runs, whereby a user downloads a torrent without sufficiently seeding it. It is not uncommon for a tracker to demand a minimum seeding time after your download has completed, so make sure you check the rules.
Certain trackers will take a stand against known “bad” clients, and users can be banned if they are found using them. Nearly every private tracker I have had the pleasure of using has accepted uTorrent, though this is often version-specific.
Clients with known bugs and exploits, such as BitTyrant which give you an advantage over other users are frowned upon, so it’s always worth checking before you change client.
If you think you’re going to download the whole internet by registering a couple of accounts at a time then you’re going to run into problems. Multiple accounts on most private trackers are a strict no-no.
This also applies to multiple accounts on the same IP. Those of you who live with other like-minded geeky torrent freaks might have to come to some sort of arrangement.
In order to minimize abuse, many trackers will enforce this one. So if you’re a student or living in shared-accommodation, bear this in mind.
If you think you’ve got something awesome that the whole world absolutely has to see then maybe you should create a new torrent. If you’ve never done this before we’ve got an excellent guide about doing it using Transmission, and the process is fairly uniform regardless of client.
Be sure to provide enough information and create a decent description for your new torrent. Adding screenshots, links to reviews, embedding YouTube videos and providing technical details and logs are all likely to encourage people to download.
Once you’ve created your torrent, you should download it and point your client to the files on your computer. After the files have been checked, you should be the only seed.
Don’t forget that the more people that download your torrent, the better your ratio will get. Just be sure to keep seeding!
Some private trackers are super-secret, others have a user limit imposed and most are just trying to stay out of trouble. Remember that it’s never a great idea to go shouting about your arsenal of resources. Be especially careful when using services like Delicious and iGoogle.
Lastly, don’t be a dick. If someone uploads something you happen to like, click the thanks button. If there’s a forum, say hi. If a tracker has a list of requests to fill then see how you can help out. You’ll be a highly respected torrent master in no time.
Do you have any advice for the private tracker newbie? What’s your favourite torrent client? Do you play by the rules? Why not leave a comment below.