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Computer Networking Research Laboratory

Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Colorado State University

BitTorrent Search Engine/Site Survey – Summary of Findings

H. M. N. Dilum Bandara and Anura P. Jayasumana
Last Updated - May 16, 2012
We highly appreciate the contribution of all the survey participants.


To understand (quantitatively) whether users access multiple BitTorrent search engines and how frequently.


Though BitTorrent users are aware and use multiple BitTorrent communities (i.e., P2P search engines), 89% of the time they prefer to use 1 or 2 search engines (i.e., users are loyal to few communities). Therefore, by catering to few most preferred communities of a given user P2P performance and quality enhancement solutions can gain better results.

Summary of Findings

Survey link was posted on user communities of,, and, and was also e-mail to friends between Mar 11 to Apr 14, 2012. We received 238 positive responses (332 attempted the survey) from 42 countries as of May 9, 2012.

Types of contents accessed by users


As expected, users seem to be accessing variety of contents.

What features provided by search engines are frequently used?


Majority of users relies on search and browse options. However, their content access choice is also influenced by what is popular (e.g., Top 50/100 and recent searches lists). Thus, there is a tendency for a popular content to become even more popular. Search cloud seems to be not used frequently to decide what to access/download.

Search engines know and use



Only the most popular 40 sites are shown as our focus was on distribution of search engine usage than relative popularity among sites.


Though users are aware of many search engines, they use only a small subset of those (average drop from 7.8 to 3.4).

  Min Max Average Std Mode
Types of content accessed by a user 1 12 4.6 2.3 4
Search engine features 1 6 2.1 1.1 1
No of search engines known to a user 1 36 7.8 6.4 1
No of search engines used 1 19 3.4 2.8 1

How frequently are those search engines accessed.


How many times a particular search engine will be visited, if a user to search 20 times. Only the most popular 40 sites are shown.



73% of the time users prefer to use a single search engine and 1-2 search engines are accessed 89% of the time. Though users know and use several P2P communities, they frequently revisit (or are loyal to) only a few communities.

Country of participants


Selected comments

  1. Used these sites in India frequently not in the US
  2. Please make sure they don't ask us to register to be able to download!
  3. There aren't many seeders around. People fear using torrent clients, as 95% of downloads are illegal.
  4. When I have a torrent that is working, I search other instances of that torrent by hash and add trackers. Additionally, I maintain a list of generic trackers.
  5. It is unjustifiable to stop torrents as people in 3rd world countries heavily depend on torrents
  6. Help torrent search engine from going down due to government rules. like btjunkie
  7. Nice idea to connect the world. It's actually a social network. everyone will benefit from this
  8. I didn't aware about such a number of torrent search engines
  9. It would be great if possible to seach torrents using a single site. In future using anonymizing technologies like Freenet and GNUNet there will be much pirate stuff can be found in Internet if special laws against such technologies will come in to play.
  10. I rarely use BitTorrent search function as I use RSS to auto download my torrents.
  11. Mostly I use google to search for torrent files
  12. They should be made more safe and free from malawares, rootkits and backdoor trojans
  13. IF there is a global bittorrent downloader engine which perform global serach on user defined bit-torrent sites & retirves torrents on highest seeds priority level, that would replace searching torrent sites & timing.
  14. Indexin is not a crime.
  15. Need more reliable torrent uploaders without fakers
  16. I don't just use the all of the above; there are a few more that are not listed.
  17. Regarding question 6: I always start with The Pirate Bay, but if TPB doesn't have what I am looking for I move on to other torrent indexes.
  18. Most are crap. Some are great!
  19. Torrent contents are really useful. We don't need to shut them down due to copy rights violations.
  20. prefer private sites (needs login & maintain seed/leech ratio )
  21. I use BitTorrent primarily for TV Shows, and I use RSS feeds for automatically download them.
  22. It's just a technology (Peer to peer is awesome). The legal or illegal debate depend on the content we share. That's it :)
  23. Survey does not list many private trackers (though doing such would probably be impractical)
  24. in UAE they have blocked KickAss torentz.Before that I have used it most of the time.Then I moved to bit torrent.After using few months I search which is the most populalar torrent client from wikipedea.
  25. At the moment my ISP has banned accessing The Pirate Bay. So I have to use proxy to access it.
  26. Since North Cyprus is not recognized as a country, it's very easy to pirate, as there are no official rules for online media distribution.
  27. Bittorrent search engines are useless and inneficients
  28. They're awesome, they're a great way to share so many things, and restrictive bills like SOPA, PIPA, and their counterparts throughout the world, as well as all of the billionaire bullies that support them need to be stopped!
  29. Many things that I download are (if they are good) purchased at a later date.
  30. Bittorent is good to check if stuff has quality. If it's good it's worth buying.
  31. bittorrent is great,it's the perception of a person that matters the most
  32. I usually search for things on Demonoid, but then go to The Pirate Bay to actually download them. If I find that a torrent is going slow, I'll search it's hash on Torrenz and add the trackers listed on that site to the tracker list in the torrent.