We are still actively working on the spam issue.
In this article, you will be guided in how to get into (and survive) the world of private trackers.
- 1 Commonly asked questions that everyone is tired of hearing
- 2 How to get into private trackers (and survive)
- 2.1 I have X account Y. Can I get an invite to tracker Z with it? I have ratio/upload/buffer A
- 2.2 On Ratio Proofs and Seedboxes
- 2.3 On being /pure/
- 2.4 On being /marked/
- 2.5 Ghostleeching
- 2.6 What NOT to do
- 2.7 Getting acquainted with rules and maintaining your ratio
- 2.8 Notable staff
- 2.9 Notable private trackers
- 2.10 Paths to getting into Private Trackers (or where should I start?)
- 2.11 Glossary
- 2.12 External links
- 2.13 See also
Commonly asked questions that everyone is tired of hearing
What is a private tracker?
A private tracker is a torrent website that provides the same functionality as a public tracker, but is generally invite-only. This means you need to be a member to view the contents of the site and download its torrents, but you cannot register to be a member without having been invited by an already existing member (who in turn must be authorized to give out invitations). Within a tracker, there is usually an extensive set of rules covering how much one can download, what kind of content one can upload, what precautions one must take when logging into the site, etc. Such rules and content vary from tracker to tracker, and go from rather liberal with little enforcement to ultra-paranoid and autistic. Advantages of private trackers include:
- Speed: If you're familiar with torrents you probably know that the bigger the swarm, the faster you download. Private trackers encourage their members to seed torrents for as long as possible, thus guaranteeing bigger swarms for every torrent. Not only that, but many members use remote seedboxes with huge upload speeds, thus dramatically increasing the speed for many torrents, often making them available almost instantly.
- Retention: Similarly, private trackers usually enforce rules that encourage long-term seeding. Many torrents for obscure content that you wouldn't normally find any peers for on ThePirateBay or KAT will be still seeded by a few peers on private trackers.
- Selection: Some content simply isn't available on any public site and will only be found on private trackers. Sometimes you can't even legally buy it at all, ironically. Some trackers even specialize in obscure or rare content, ensuring that it doesn't get lost from the Internet.
- Quality control: A major asset of private trackers, albeit one that can vary a lot across trackers. Good private trackers have very strict rules on content format, quality and organization. Music trackers will ensure you don't get horrible 92kbps transcodes, movie trackers will ensure you only get good encodes, ebook trackers will ensure you get retail quality, etc. Members and staff review and approve each torrent. Trumping rules and the removal of duplicates ensure you only get one, community-approved source for the specific content and format. This, coupled with a decent site layout, makes private trackers much more orderly than public ones.
- Security: There are two reasons private trackers are more secure, albeit they may not apply in the future. The first one is that most of them are obscure enough that no one really knows or cares about them (security by obscurity). The second one is that copyright trolls would rather focus on huge public sites that are easy to fish for peers rather than small communities that are hard to join. From a monetary point of view, it's more worthwhile to stop 10,000 casuals from downloading two torrents than to stop two neckbeards from downloading 10,000 torrents.
How secure are private trackers?
This depends entirely on the precautions of the operator. Some are shady and will use your information for profit, some are not. Two important precautions to take:
- Never use the same password across multiple trackers. Operators of shady sites often use that common vulnerability among people to steal accounts to other trackers which they can then use to cause further harm (such as leaking peer lists to the public or selling the accounts and its invites on invite forums). Using two-factor authentication is also advised, where available.
- Don't tie any personal information to your tracker accounts. This includes a non-throwaway email address or personally identifiable information of any kind. Information like that could be used to harm or track you down should it fall into the wrong hands. The tracker staff may be legitimate, but the site itself can be busted or defaced by hackers. Don't post about yourself in the forums and for fuck's sake, don't post in those "post a pic of you" threads. Torrent trackers aren't social networks.
What are the best private trackers?
There are two kinds of trackers, content-wise: specialized and general. /ptg/ frowns upon the regular use of general trackers as they tend to be a jack of all trades, lacking in all areas while only being good for mainstream shit. They can however be a good supplemental source of content as trackers often go down or get busted for various reasons. The following is a global consensus on what is considered the best tracker in their fields, namely: Music, Movies (both mainstream and obscure), TV, HD (yeah this gets a separate category), Games, Books, E-learning, Porn, Anime, Scene and General. If you are a /ptg/ regular and disagree with this (especially the lower-tier ones), edit what you think is wrong.
- Green trackers are the cabal - essentially the holy trinity of PTP/BTN/HDB: the top, most reputed trackers in the torrent community who are objectively the best in their respective categories and rule the torrent world. Don't fuck with cabal staff as they will gang up against your ass to permaban you from all cabal trackers along with any trackers willing to cooperate with the cabal (and they often do).
- Yellow trackers are subject to the cabal; if you're banned from the cabal, you will get banned from these as well. On the other hand, a good ratio-proof on one of these will be well considered if you apply to another cabal-subjected tracker. Due to their niche or subpar content however, they don't get as much exposure as the cabal.
- Red trackers are essentially shady - either the IPT mafia empire or other trackers run by staff known for shitty practices such as trading accounts, DDoSing other sites, encouraging pay2leech or storing passwords in plaintext. Worst enemies to the cabal, so don't expect ratio-proof on one of these sites to be taken into consideration on cabal sites. Since they may still have good content, they can be worth joining: just don't use the same password as that of a cabal site and avoid giving them money.
- White trackers are either open or not known to cooperate much with the cabal, but they aren't known for shitty practices either.
|Music||Movies (mainstream)||TV||HD||Movies (obscure)||Games||Books||E-learning||Porn||Anime||Scene||General|
- Audiobooks: MyAnonamouse (note that the best GENERAL source of audiobooks is audiobookbay and occasionally rutracker/kat)
- Piano sheets: MyAnonamouse
- Comics: 32pag.es
- E-learning: TheOccult (esoteric), TheVault (business), TheShow (entertainment), ThePlace (seduction),
- Older TV not available for purchase: MySpleen
- B-movies: Cinemageddon
- Older movies/TV: ILoveClassics
- x264 media: x264.me
- Hentai: Oppaitime, AnimeBytes
- Korean porn: Sinderella
- JAV: yourexotic, Oppaitime
- J-Pop: Jpopsuki
- Music Software: Audionews
- 3D software, graphic design, vfx, /ic/'s favourite permanently freeleech tracker: CGpeers (note that a lot of the content on CGpersia is not on CGpeers)
- Magic: ArtOfMisdirection, MagicTorrents
- Weird shit: SocietyGlitch
How to get into private trackers (and survive)
The first thing you need to ask yourself is whether your needs are satisfied by what you currently have at your disposal (DHT/public trackers (TPB and KAT), DDL, newsgroups, streaming, Soulseek, Tribler, DC++, Kad/eDonkey, sneakernet...among other things), because private trackers may not be actually worth your time, depending on what you want. Joining private trackers isn't hard, but it takes time. Do you just want that one specific file you've been searching in vain for weeks? If so, you'd be better off asking someone on /ptg/ (or /r/trackers) to snatch it for you and call it a day. Do you want to build a comprehensive library with consistent and superior quality such as good encodes, proper music tagging, retail ebooks? Then you should try to join one of the specialized trackers. Do you live in a copyright-cucked shithole and are afraid to get raped by the MPAA/RIAA and associates, but care little about music or HD? Then a general tracker should suit you. Depending on your goals, whether they are long-term and short-term and whether they are currently satisfied, the amount of time you will have to invest will vary.
- Open-signup trackers: This is the easiest step. All trackers have to start small and build up a decent userbase before they can afford to limit entry, and thus a number of trackers are open to signup for a time. There are numerous websites that keep track of these (opentrackers.org, opentrackers.net, btracs.com, /r/OpenSignups), unless you're looking for something specific, just go to rutracker (rutracker.org). Yes, it's entirely in Russian, but who cares? All registration forms look the same and you weren't going to post in the forums anyway, right? (More on that later). Rutracker is really nice because it's comprehensive, well-seeded and has high standards despite having very few ratio restrictions. In fact, 99% of the needs of most users are met there. If you are looking for porn, it is recommmended to open pornolab (pornolab.net). Yes, it's in Russian too. Here's a guide from a Russian speaker to rutracker.
From now on, it is assumed that you are familiar with most top trackers in their respective niche; if you aren't, please consult the flowchart everyone's been passing around these days. Past this point, all trackers restrict random user registration to a limited number of cases, mostly invites from existing members and a few other special cases for some trackers:
- Pay2Pirate: Some trackers will invite you for a fee (most notably, IPTorrents). The idea is to prevent potential cheaters to abuse the system (in ways defined at the discretion of the staff) since any fuck-up would cost them their account, and thus their money. For reasons that would take too long to explain here, IPTorrents is generally despised by other reputed trackers and a proof of good ratio there won't open the way anywhere else. It is still a very large source of general content though.
- Application: Some trackers have a special page with an application form in one way or another (most notably AnimeBytes and 32pages). Their goal is to keep a moderate influx of new members they can control by assessing your willingness to join and what you have to offer. Different trackers have different requirements: some will require proof of good ratio on other trackers, some will only require that you show genuine interest and good will in your application form even if you are new to the tracker scene. Some mostly care about what material you have to offer to the site. Try to be sincere, honest, lengthy and don't forget to provide an email address so they can notify you of their response.
- Interview: A few trackers have an interview system; it means that you are going to join an IRC channel and answer questions to their staff. It's mostly a way to control members' origin as almost all of them will ask that you join from your home connection. The most reputed tracker known to maintain an interview system was What.CD back when it was still up. RED currently interviews through the same (or very similar) process as what.cd. MyAnonamouse and Oppaitime also have "interviews" but it's more of a chat, and questions are mostly about the rules.
- Invite forums: Once you've established a good standing on one of the aforementioned trackers you've hopefully managed to get in, you will be able to move on to more restrictive ones. Most top trackers require new users to have a past of good standing (i.e. Power User or Elite userclass) such as one that can be shown on a tracker whose staff they trust - the tracker scene is a small world, and tracker staff often cooperate (or fight) with each other. As such, there are recruitment threads on various trackers so they can exchange good-standing users for the benefit of all.
- Super Exclusive Sekrit Klub: Once you've made it to the big ones, the rest is up to you - you may try to join some of the ultra-closed trackers such as EXIGO or HDBits (don't even try Art of Misdirection though) but at this point your needs should be pretty much covered unless you are looking for something really specific or just doing it for epeen.
I have X account Y. Can I get an invite to tracker Z with it? I have ratio/upload/buffer A
Ask yourself, am I in a higher user class on a site that has access to an invite forum (usually unlocked by getting to power user or the equivalent, with requirements that vary)? If not, then no in 99.95% of cases because MOST RECRUITERS *ONLY* CARE ABOUT YOUR CLASS AND NOT YOUR XYZ RATIO/BUFFER/UPLOAD. (unless you have a friend/Good Samaritan who will invite you because of your ratio/buffer/upload which is not a feasible situation in most cases.)
On Ratio Proofs and Seedboxes
Ratio proofs tend to be demanded by regular users who are offering invites NOT OFFICIAL RECRUITERS so you should not worry yourself over not having 'sufficient ratio proof'. Official recruiters will often only require user class on the particular site that they are recruiting from (often PU+ or the equivalent). Though if you stumble upon a HDBits recruitment thread it doesn't hurt to have better stats than the minimum requirements.
Seedboxes are often unnecessary for most members. It is possible to do quite well even on hard sites like Bibliotik even on a 100 kb/s upload speed provided you upload. However, people who wish to use additional seedbox features (such as a VPN, Plex etc) or download extraordinary amounts (or are obsessed with HD/FLAC quality) or want to jump user classes will most likely want one.
On being /pure/
/pure/fags argue the following
- getting your invites only from official recruiters will eliminate the chance of a treeban (because of your inviter) and therefore protect the sanctity of your account
- often it is quite easy and possible to get invites from official threads
anti /pure/fags argue the following
- often invites are unavailable from official recruiters
- getting invites from your friends can be much more easy than waiting for official threads to reopen
On being /marked/
Staff have confirmed that browsing /ptg/ will result in your account being "marked". This does not mean that you will be disabled, but staff will be less lenient with you if you break the rules in the future
- Exhibit 1 - No Leniency for 4chan
- Exhibit 2 - No Leniency for 4chan Part II
- Exhibit 3 - /PTG/ Users Getting Disabled
Avoid clicking on any links that are posted in /ptg/. If you have to click on a link do it a day or two after. Avoid searching for any torrents that are posted on /ptg/. Staff search the logs to find /ptg/ members. Keep a low profile and use your head.
Refer to the Ghostleech article
What NOT to do
- Cheating: The cardinal rule of thumb is that most cheaters end up with their account and their entire invite tree banned. Beware of any anon which recommends cheating.
- Beg for invites: Autists on /ptg/ have taken it upon themselves to report every single email they see in /ptg/ threads to various tracker staff and spam crawlers (they've gone as far as combing the archives for emails in past threads and reporting those too). Tracker staff are known to lurk /ptg/ and will ban anyone they catch sending an invite to an email posted there. If you accept an invite you begged for, you will be found out and lose any chance of acquiring a legitimate account. Especially watch out for PTP staff as they will revoke invite privileges and ban you for the smallest of transgressions (such as, but not limited to, accidentally posting IP lists in screenshots, posting the email you use for trackers). Tracker staff have been known to autistically pore over /mu/, /g/ and /ptg/ threads (archived and live) for the express purposes of finding and banning inviters/ees.
- Trade for invites: Tracker staff really, really hate this. If you are caught trading (and you eventually will be) they will go out of their way to ban you, your entire invite tree and will cooperate with other tracker's staff so as to disable as many of your accounts on other trackers as they can. Don't go to tracker trading forums such as torrent-invites and the like, even having an account there (especially with the same username) may count as a red flag to some staff. It is reported that sites such as What.CD formerly abused bugs in the browser's web history to determine whether or not users were visiting sites such as torrent-invites and to ban people based on this activity. Site staff are also known to pose as invite sellers to trap and ban naive users.
- Buy invites: You'll lose money along with the chances of getting in legitimately. Some staff will be lenient if you ditch your seller though, probably because they want to get at the source first. Invites are usually free (and easy enough) to get from gateway trackers so it's not even worth buying invites.
Generally speaking, you should avoid invites from random dudes on the internet if you can; you most likely have no idea of their standing and they could very well fuck up later, resulting in an entire treeban and you getting banned through no fault of your own. It's unfair, it sucks. Stick to official invites (interview, application, recruitment threads) and no one will bother you.
- Posting on the forums: Every post you make on the forum is an occasion of getting someone riled up, and that someone may very well be staff. You're here for downloading and uploading stuff, not chitchat. Don't use the forums.
- Talking to staff more than necessary: Same reason as above. Don't give them any reason to ban you. If you rustle a staff member in any way, causing them to ban you, the entire staff will rally behind them even if they wouldn't have personally banned you themselves. It's the mod's word against yours, you can never win.
- Being confrontational with staff: Simply assume they are always right, even (and especially) when you point out that they are wrong.
In short, either keep a low profile or suck staff's dick, as with all sites.
Getting acquainted with rules and maintaining your ratio
Okay, now we're going to assume you made it to a couple of private trackers - if you haven't yet, please read above part (TL;DR: get into an entry-level tracker; work you way up from there on either tracker's PU forums; if that's too much bother for you, use rutracker/pornolab and stop reading this). This is a guide intended to help those who already made their first steps in the elitist, restricted and highly autismal private tracker world. As you can see, things are quite different here. Rules, ratio, buffer, seeding, userclasses... what the fuck's all this? Things were much simpler on ThePirateBay where you could just search, click and have your stuff right there, right?
And you know what? You're right. Most folks on /ptg/ and elsewhere will tell you stories about how they did a kind gesture and invited a friend of theirs (or even a fellow Anon) only to see them log on twice into the site before never using it again, no matter how hard they begged and how convincing they sounded. In all likelihood, these people first logged on, their excitement faded when they saw that they couldn't just start downloading everything before signing off, found the rules too complicated, lost interest in the whole thing and settled for more accessible alternatives (which are, again, not necessarily bad, depending on what one wants). Since you're reading this, It is assumed that you're not one of these people and that you actually want to use the trackers you're on. Are they worth it? Well, that's for you to find out. Before you decide, here's a few tips that'll show you it's not that hard, if you can read that is.
First things first
Read the rules. Seriously, do it. Tracker staff are autistic, you get one account per lifetime and you don't want to start playing cat-and-mouse games with the admins that early. Most tracker rules are similar, and go on the lines of "Suck our dicks at all occasions; don't leak invites or torrent files to public places; don't trade or sell invites; don't be inactive" followed by specifics on content rules (what you may upload) and ratio rules (more on that later). Read all the details as there may be some specifics on each tracker. Some have exclusive content that you can't upload elsewhere; some prohibit the use of Tor or VPNs, or even expressively forbid that you log on from anywhere else than your home connection; and so on. Read it all so you don't get caught unawares on some autistic peculiarity.
Ratio issues and tracker economy
Now let's assume you're familiar with the rules, how about you download some shit? The only problem is that ratio thingy: surprise, when you're done downloading something, no one ever downloads it back from you, ever. That's because, unless you joined a low-tier tracker, the seeder-to-leecher ratio is extremely high, with everyone permaseeding everything while only leeching occasionally. This brings us to our main point: tracker economy. Trackers can be roughly sorted into three categories: those with no economy, those with a soft economy, and those with a hard economy.
Trackers with no economy are essentially ratioless. Torrent retention is achieved by imposing seeding requirements or individual ratio requirements ("you must seed with a 1:1 ratio OR for 72 hours"), and people get an incentive for seeding by acquiring bonus points that can be used for transcending userclasses. The most prominent example of a ratioless tracker is BTN. You won't have any problem there as long as you seed.
Tracker with a soft economy use a ratio-based system complemented by bonus points. These points are typically earned by doing specific actions, the most common of which seeding for an X amount of GBs, regardless of whether someone is actually downloading it from you. Some trackers will reward you for uploading torrents, idling on IRC or doing any kind of activity that contributes to the tracker and the site as a whole. Most trackers have a soft economy, from AHD to PTP, from MAM to bB or AB. Another kind of soft economy is a ratio-based system with a large amount of freeleech torrents, i.e. torrents whose download stats aren't counted but still earn you upload credits. Such trackers include SHD, SCC or bB, AB and MAM (again). You won't have many problems if you don't download everything like a retard: just grab some freeleech or small torrents, wait for your amount of bonus points to passively increase, get upload credit when you can, use that upload credit to download more, etc. The more you snatch, the more you seed, the more points you earn, and eventually you'll have enough buffer to freely download what you want.
Trackers with a hard economy are ratio-based but provide little to no means of complementing one's upload amount, like bonus points or freeleech sections. As a result, there's only a limited amount of upload credit (which acts as tracker currency, there are whole academic papers about it if you're into that kind of stuff) in the whole tracker, and whatever credits you earn, someone else has to spend. Getting upload credit is quite hard and you might have to work on your ratio before being able to download whatever you want without hindrance. On the other hand, since nearly everyone is as tight on ratio as you are, everyone will be permaseeding everything and torrents will have an excellent retention.
Trackers such as Bibliotik have a hard economy, and most struggles you hear about getting one's ratio up will typically be on one of those trackers. There are four main methods to get upload credit, on top of permaseeding everything (which you should do in every tracker anyway - you're doing that, right?): getting a seedbox, filling requests, uploading your own content and jumping on popular torrent swarms early.
- Getting a seedbox: Basically pay2win but you might end up doing that if you don't want to bother too much and have money to spend.
- Abusing the fuck out of freeleech: /ptg/ers like to preference the most active torrents especially staff picks and the top 10 most active on freeleech days.
- Filling requests: Can be tricky as people will obviously request stuff they can't find elsewhere, so unless they're particularly inept at googling and people didn't catch on you won't have any luck. If you consider the request to be worth it and you like the content requested you could also buy it, a less cheesy pay2win since you still end up with the physical medium as opposed to imaginary points on a website that might get busted at any moment, on top of the warm fuzzy feeling that you made someone you don't know on the other side of the globe happy. Looking for requested material on other related trackers also works, though the process can be tedious.
- Uploading your own content: A reliable way to get upload credit AND satisfy the usual userclass promotion requirements; however, unless you're operating from a seedbox or a very fast connection, you'll have a hard time achieving a ratio much above 1:1. That's because seedboxes usually snatch your stuff (especially if it's recent or matches certain tags) before taking priority to distribute it across the swarm, since the BitTorrent protocol favors peers with a faster upload speed. You'll still get upload of at least equal to your torrent size though, so you could survive on uploading stuff alone (also, if you keep uploading consistently good stuff, users will eventually "subscribe" to you and snatch everything you upload). On sites like Bibliotik uploading enough content makes the entire site freeleech. You might also be able to get extra bonus points for uploading content.
- /pyramid/: And finally, jumping onto popular swarms (aka /pyramid/ on /ptg/) is a risky though exciting activity that rewards those who catch on early and get to upload to everyone, while those who joined in on a later date only get a fraction of the original seeders' credit, thus creating a pyramid scheme. Popular torrents include those about to become freeleech or the newest content from popular artists. /ptg/ regulars will often post about /pyramid/ tips, which means you could download from that torrent in the hope that it'll grow and eventually get you a ratio above 1. If you have a seedbox or any kind of dedicated server, automatic tools such as autodl-irrsi will snatch stuff based on relevant information (such as tags, year etc.), however you run the risk of downloading too much stuff you can't afford, even if some of it pays off. Use at your own discretion and beware, your upload speed and peering has an enormous impact on what ratio you will end up with.
Which kind of economy is the best?
Asking this question is a good way to start a shitstorm on /ptg/ and torrent forums alike, especially when you consider the different kinds of soft economy: 32p has an inkdrop system that treats essentially replaces ratio with points, AB has a very, very elaborate formula for calculating the amount of points you get from seeding, and so on. There is probably no objective answer to that question, as there are top-tier trackers with all kinds of economy (e.g. BTN is ratioless, PTP is soft and Bib is hard) and of course countless shit tier trackers in either as well; different systems for different content. That doesn't preclude you from having a subjective opinion and posting it on /ptg/, of course.
- 312c: Also known as 312cuck, he's a PTP "developer" and former mod of /r/trackers. Known for being autistic, power-trippy and an asshole in general. Notable achievements include getting his mod privileges stripped on /r/trackers for excessive and reckless faggotry.
- Aldy: Aldy is a based god who makes AB /comfy/ as hell.
- Azathoth and Spaghetti: A /g/ay couple that run Oppaitime although they are far too reddit for most other boards.
- chunkylover53: A PTP recruiter who is known for taking very, very long for replying to PMs, and get mad when people go ask other, faster recruiters instead. It is advised that you refrain from requesting invites from him as he may take literally months to reply and will ban you if you PM someone else in the meantime.
- Nala: Sysop for PassTheHeadphones
- PrettyGreat: Is PrettyGreat
- Readable: One of the BTN administrators, who had to face the daunting task of answering literally hundreds of invite requests on various trackers and despite this always replied in a friendly, timely manner. Because of this, he's considered bro-tier by /ptg/.
- sarek: The hilariously incompetent sysop for attempted what.cd replacement tracker, nostream (rip). Was banned from cabal after doxxing someone from his own staff channel.
- TARS: A What.CD staff member who reached meme status on /ptg/ by not releasing the freeleech within the promised timeframe.
- tehlarsie: A chill admin of AHD who usually replies quickly to invite requests.
Notable private trackers
- HDBits (HDB)
- Large HD tracker, home to many high-profile encoders.
- Art of Misdirection (AOM)
- Large magic tracker, limited to professional magicians only.
- Broadcast the Net (BTN)
- Large ratioless television tracker.
- Pass the Popcorn (PTP)
- Large movie tracker. Content ranging from black and white obscura to the latest blockbuster.
- Redacted (RED)
- Created from the ashes of WCD, they've been getting back much of its former userbase and torrents.
- Another WCD successor, they have a larger userbase and smaller torrent count, but isn't as high quality as RED. Good alternative.
- Bibliotik (BiB)
- Large book tracker. Overdrive access recommended for users.
- Animebytes (AB)
- Large anime tracker with over 100,000 torrents. Many torrents are freeleech.
- IPTorrents (IPT)
- Large general purpose tracker.
- Waffles (WFM/WCH)
- Medium-sized music tracker. Was originally waffles.fm but they changed their URL. Recently came back from the dead.
- TehConnection (TehC or TC)
- Medium-sized movie tracker. Regarded as PTP alternative.
- Freshon.tv (TvT)
- Medium-sized television tracker.
- MoreThan.tv (MTV)
- Small up-and-coming ratioless television and movie tracker.
- What.cd (WCD)
- The successor to OiNK, containing an even bigger library of music. Ran for 9 years before getting raided.
- OiNK (OPP)
- Predecessor to most general music tracker on the net.
Paths to getting into Private Trackers (or where should I start?)
Ever since What.CD closed, your best bet right now is probably to pass the interview at Redacted, rank up to Power User and get access to the reputable private trackers from the recruitment forum.
An alternative way is to pass the MyAnonaMouse interview, which is way easier than Redacted's, and rank up to VIP. But be advise; the recruitment forum is pretty poor as good trackers typically avoid recruiting there since it's so easy to get into.
Getting into the desirable trackers
BTN is currently not recruiting. They have "invite lotteries" every few months where high-ranking users can bid their bonus points on invites for their friends, but don't count on getting in this way.
Only recruiting on HDB currently.
HDB is currently recruiting Elites and Power Users on Bibliotik. Power Users must have accounts that are at least 150 weeks old.
For limited times they have been known to have invite threads on PTP, BTN, AHD, SDBits, CN, KG and various other "well known" movie/TV trackers. If you want to get into HDB your best chance is to max out the userclasses on those trackers. Any application offers or invite offers you see on forums are fake because HDB does not allow users to give invites on other trackers.
Here's a list of requirements typically expected to get into HDBits when they recruit:
- Have a 6 month account at one of the aforementioned major trackers
- Reach a high userclass like Elite or TM which needs dozens and dozens of uploads.
- Download 1 TB
- Upload 1 TB
- Have an average seedtime of 1 month or better (to keep seedbox hogs out)
- Not be warned.
- Be prepared to be asked for profile links to other trackers even after you send the recruiter your PM and to not be warned on those trackers.
Art of Misdirection (AoM)
WIZARDS. ONLY. FOOL.
And professional wizards only too as they apparently want to watch your acts. Even thought you would be a professional wizard, it's almost impossible to get into.
Bibliotik recruits from baconBits (3 month old account, Elite, plus Overdrive), PTP (6 month old account, PU, plus overdrive), RED and BTN. Invites for members are currently suspended.
The recruiter won't make you prove that you actually have access to the OverDrive you say you have, but it's in your best interest to have a source of retail ebooks because you pretty much have to upload to survive on Bibliotik. Here is a list of OverDrive libraries that you can sign up for online. Be aware that most will have some sort of catch (e.g. Boston Public Library will require a Massachusetts proxy), so it's probably best that you do some research and just get a card from the nearest public library with OverDrive.
Invites are closed.
Members of KG have to manually ask for invites in the forum, so getting an invite is harder than before. They recruit on baconBits (6 month old PU account) and BTN.
baconBits is a small tracker that's pretty strict about not going over their user limit of 6000, so they generally doesn't recruit anymore. Your best bet is probably to become a power user on reputable trackers like PTP and keep an eye on their invite forum. baconBits occasionally does short (~1 week) recruitment drives then takes the threads down once they reach 6000 users again.
Recruits on all the major trackers (PTP, Bib, AHD) with the usual PU + 6 months requirement. Has had applications in the past but they haven't been open for a while now. If applications ever open again, there are some limits. When AB hits usercap the applications temporarily close until they fall below the limit. Also apparently there's a cap on how many applications can be in the queue at the same time. AnimeBytes can be used as a path into ADC, U2, JPS, and any other site that specializes in Japan.
- 32p: 32pages, formerly ComicBT, the best tracker for comics. Peculiar inkdrop system in lieu of ratio.
- AHD: AwesomeHD, a tracker devoted to HD movies and TV. Considered the best alternative to HDBits which many people often settle for as the encodes on AHD rival that of HDB and HDB is much harder to join. Regarded as curry-tier by /ptg/ because of bloated encodes and how it's not HDBits. Not nearly as bad as /ptg/ says it is.
- AB: AnimeBytes, the best tracker for weebs. Regarded as comfy-tier by the weeb part of /ptg/ for many of the same reasons. Rumored to have HDB recruitment at Legends forum. Sometimes had applications in which you are required to explain in a correct English bullshit such as how you know how to torrent and seed, have decent ratio proofs elsewhere and don't actually like Naruto.
- Application: Some trackers will let new users apply for an invitation instead of simply registering. These questions are typically all the same and range from existing ratio proofs, knowledge of torrenting, interest in the site's content and what you have to offer to the site. The questions are usually very easy, unless you're an absolute retard and talk like you're on 4chan you will have no problem getting accepted.
- bB: baconBits, a general tracker for redditors. Literally. Often babby's first tracker and used as a stepping stone for better trackers, has a decent request system. Just like AB and AHD, once you seed enough you end up swimming in bonus points and the tracker becomes essentially freeleech.
- Bib: Bibliotik, the best tracker for books. (Note that the best general source for books is and will always be Libgen or failing that, #bookz). Reputed for its ratio that is either completely impossible to maintain or utterly non-existent once you upload 100 torrents. Also known for its autistic staff and community, do not engage under any circumstances.
- BG: BitGamer, a low-tier game tracker infamously known for being hacked and doing nothing about it, and storing users' passwords in plaintext.
- BTN: BroadcasTheNet, the best TV tracker. Nothing much more to say, no other tracker even comes close.
- Buying: the incredibly moronic act of exchanging money for a tracker invitation or account, usually via an invite forum. A good way to lose both your money and any chance of getting into the tracker you were looking to buy into.
- Cabal: The staff of PTP, BTN and HDBits. Because they are objectively the best and everyone wants to join them, they rule the private tracker community and other trackers tend to align to them. Some trackers like IPT are enemies of the cabal and supporting these in any way on cabal-controlled zones (such as cabal forums or /r/trackers) will get you into trouble.
- Cheating: Using one of the various known methods to abuse ratio, get caught by staff and eventually banned on all cabal trackers.
- Comfy: Used to describe a tracker with chill staff, a friendly community and easy bonus points. Examples of comfy trackers include AHD or AB.
- CN: CosaNostra, a tracker about gangster movies. Recruitment isn't automatic like in most trackers, instead you have to apply within the PM to the recruiter like you would on public applications for AB.
- Country ban: The practice of banning people residing in certain countries from registering (even when invited), applying for an invite or interviewing. Such country lists vary from tracker to tracker but often include India, thus leading to the curry meme.
- Curry: As a noun, refers to a pleb who hasn't gotten in any private tracker and cluelessly begs on /ptg/ by thinking that grovelling enough and saying "gimme gimme" will land them an invite, in the manner of illiterate internet users from 3rd world countries and most notably India (which is infamously banned on many trackers), hence the name. As an adjective, refers to any low-tier tracker with low seed-to-peer ratio, shit content, shit interface and/or shit administrators. Note that cabal trackers, although they may have shit staff, cannot be curry.
- DB9: DeepBassNine, a tracker for DnB music. Because it's reputedly hard to join, many people will try to get in just for epeen even though they don't care about DnB, jungle or anything like that.
- DELETE THIS: A meme on /ptg/ that mocks the secrecy some communities like to wrap themselves with, such as censoring their own name or URL (Exigo, h4h, etc.), forbidding people from taking screenshots of their site or refusing to reveal recruitment pathways into their tracker. The expression itself is a parody of the supposed anger from such people seeing such secret information being posted on /ptg/ and not being able to do anything about it.
- Disabled channel: A purgatory where users are rumoured to wait for weeks and months on IRC to get staff's attention, only to be eventually told "no, you won't get your account back and we won't tell you why" or "whoops, we did a mistake, sorry about that".
- E****o: Exigo, one of those super ultra sekrit trackers that are incredibly hard to join (they even censor their own name) and are absolutely not worth it. Basically a music for lossless content, with a dead community.
- Emp: Empornium, the best tracker for porn. Once open signup and considered curry as fuck, it is now completely closed and impossible to get in. Some people still lament that they didn't get in while they could. It is rumoured on /ptg/ that the reason Emp is still closed is that they couldn't be assed to set up a proper invite system for now. Still doesn't have HTTPS.
- Epeen: Bragging rights on the internet. Used in a self-derogatory way to mock the way /ptg/ regulars brag about tracker membership when this is hardly relevant in real life, if at all.
- Exclusive: The practice of restricting the diffusion of a torrent's content to a single tracker. Frowned upon by /ptg/ regulars who like to point out the hypocrisy of the thing.
- FL: Freeleech, when downloading a torrent doesn't count against your ratio but uploading counts for it. Can be global, personal or specific to some torrents. The nature, incidence and targets of freeleech are entirely decided by the staff but usually occur for special occasions (Christmas, tracker anniversary, etc.)
- FSC: FunSharingCommunity, another one of those sekrit klubs, for general content. Used to be the shit due to its exclusivity and focus for "community", is now almost dead and has worse selection than public trackers.
- Gazelle: A web framework geared towards private trackers, developed by What.CD. Because of its clean interface and organization, it has been widely adopted by other trackers in the torrent community, including most top tier trackers like PTP or BTN. However, it is regarded as shit coding-wise (notably, you have to rewrite the music-related parts if you want to deploy it yourself for something else) by /ptg/, its only redeeming quality being that other frameworks are even worse. Note that it is distinct from Ocelot, the torrent tracker itself.
- Global ban: Ban from all cabal trackers. When one commits a serious offense (such as cheating, trading, buying or selling), tracker staff ban you and share your information to other staff of the cabal, eventually getting someone banned everywhere. Information retained by staff includes all the IP addresses you've ever used, as well as location, ISP range, username, password hash, snatchlists and stylometry.
- GGn: GazelleGames, the best tracker for games.
- HDB: HDBits, the best tracker for HD content. Is reputedly hard to join (invites are known to sell for $300 on the scum market) than even most top trackers, but recruitment still happens at the higher userclasses of other top movie/HD trackers.
- HnR: Hit and Run, the act of downloading a torrent without meeting seeding requirements (typically individual ratio and/or seed time).
- Inactivity: Not using a private tracker (this usually applies to logging into the site and browsing it, not simply seeding). People who go inactive for too long eventually get disabled, and people who get disabled this way have to beg for it back at the disabled channel. Each tracker slowly loses some of its userbase due to inactivity and will recruit an appropriate amount to get fresh blood without growing too large. Some trackers even impose a minimum downloaded amount in order not to be disabled, most notably HDBits. That's because HDB accounts are so prized that members would rather log on once in a while than get disabled, even if they were not using the site.
- Invite: What you live for. A way to access a tracker by getting vouched for by an existing member. A member may usually only give out a limited number of invitations under certain conditions and is completely responsible for the people they invite, so the act is never to be taken lightly.
- Invite forum: May refer to two things which are completely different. Public invite forums such as torrentinvites etc. are places for scammers to trade, sell and buy invites and are to be avoided at all costs as they are actively monitored by cabal staff who frequently ban the gullible users buying or trading their way into private trackers. Even having an account is enough to warrant a ban on strict trackers. On the other hand, tracker invite forums are class-restricted forums on reputed private trackers where other tracker members offer invites to a given class of users. They are notably used by staff from other trackers to recruit members they trust to be in good standing on the forum's host tracker. These are the ones you want to be on.
- Invite privilege: The ability to give out invites. These are known to be revoked for the slightest thing, sometimes even without justification. People don't protest too much though since that'd involve waiting for weeks in the disabled channel for something they don't really care about since they never invite anyone anyway.
- Invite tree: The set of people you've invited and their invite trees.
- Interview: A conversation conducted on IRC with an official tracker representative asking a prospective member a series of question, usually related to the tracker's content and knowledge of torrenting in general. Interviews can range from a friendly chat (in MAM or bB) to a full-blown test where your knowledge is extensively checked and material to review is provided in advance (What.CD).
- /impure/: Having been invited by a friend who isn't staff or a staff-approved recruiter. Some /ptg/ regulars frown upon /impur/ity as it may lead to the invitee being banned in rare cases (such as a major treeban). It is sometimes the only way to get into some trackers though.
- IPT IPTorrents, a very large general tracker regarded as the best for general content. For various reasons such as being pay2join and pay2leech, DDoSing other trackers and leaking their peerlists, it is considered to be shady by the torrent community at large and is the worst enemy of the cabal.
- KG Karagarga, a tracker for obscure, rare, arthouse, foreign and classic films. Mainstream not allowed. Also has a community of bilingual speakers who write subtitles for untranslated movies.
- MAM MyAnonaMouse, a tracker for books, audiobooks and music sheets. Regarded as the best alternative to Bib and is much easier to join (admission is done via a trivial interview). Is considered comfy-tier by some of /ptg/ due to the easy availability of bonus points and the extreme friendliness of the community (who showers you with bonus points upon arrival). Its organization is a bit curry though, and language is very policed there, prohibiting any kind of swearing or sexual undertones - behaving as you would on 4chan is a very quick way to get banned. Your mileage may vary.
- mRatio: Software touted by /ptg/ trolls to bait newcomers into ratio cheating and getting all their accounts banned.
- /mu/: /mu/tracker, a dead tracker that used to be operated by /mu/ users. RIP in peace, not that it was any good to begin with.
- Ocelot: Tracker software used by What.CD, is distinct from Gazelle.
- OT: Oppaitime, a tracker dedicated to hentai. Administrators are /ptg/ regulars, making OT one of the rare non-cabal, non-IPT trackers.
- Pedro's Pedro's XBTMusic, a reputedly hard to join tracker dedicated to lossless music. Basically a subset of What with very rigid naming and tagging conventions, high dpi booklet scans, harsher ratio and upload rules as well as an incredibly autistic staff and community. "[People say we are] anal retentive. It's true!" -Pedro
- Pornolab: Pornolab, a very large semi-private tracker for porn. The site is in Russian but the content is international. Ratio rules are loose, but may prevent you from downloading too many torrents if you aren't careful. Probably the best alternative to Empornium if you hadn't gotten in while it was open.
- /pure/: Having been invited exclusively though recruitment channels, thus ensuring that you will never be banned because someone in your invite tree's ramification got caught in a selling scheme. Some trackers are impossible to get /pure/ on though, as they may not recruit from anywhere.
- /ptg/: The private tracker general on 4chan's /g/. Basically where everything happens. Note that no one ever goes on /t/ because /t/ is shit although /ptg/er influence can extend into boards as diverse as /gd/, /ic/, /wsr/, /lit, /a/, /tv/ and /mu/ due to their respective trackers.
The name of two channels, one on Rizon and the other one on Oppaitime's IRC. Both are hang out places for /ptg/ regulars, but only the one on Oppaitime is not dead.Both IRCs are now closed due to 312c's mass banning of /ptg/ users. There is a rumored 3rd IRC
- PTG: The private tracker game, an RPG where climbing userclasses is the equivalent of leveling up and joining other trackers is the equivalent of unlocking new abilities. Everyone on /ptg/ is playing the private tracker game.
- RED: Redacted currently the most promising WCD replacement.
- PTP: The best movie tracker. Infamously known for having 312cuck in the dev team.
- /pyramid/: Once referring to the practice of jumping onto popular swarms (usually on What) to harvest upload before others like a pyramid scheme, it mostly now refers to the hierarchy of trackers from the entry-level ones like What or bB to hard to join ones like BTN or HDB. Climbing the pyramid describes one's ascension of a /ptg/ regular through these various steps.
- Ratio: Amount of uploaded data over amount of downloaded data. May be global or torrent-specific. Acts as an indicator of how much you contribute data to the community. If more than 1, you are a positive contributor; if less than 1, you are a leech. Note that on sites where ratio is hard to gain, having a too high ratio is also frowned upon as you are essentially hoarding credit that could be used by other users to spend, thus reducing tracker activity and harming its economy.
- Ratiocuck: Refers to someone who has to use a seedbox to get buffer or maintain a good ratio on a generally hard-to-seed tracker.
- Ratio watch: A way to enforce ratio requirements on various trackers. A state of ratio watch is attained when ratio falls below what the tracker requires, and acts as a temporary warning before harsher measures are taken such as the removal of leeching privileges or an outright ban.
- Ratioless: A tracker with no ratio rules. It may still have HnR rules though.
- Recruitment: An official way to get invited to a tracker, sanctioned by staff (or an official staff representative with unlimited invites) itself. Recruitment usually refers to class-restricted invite forum threads where staff or staff reps present their tracker and state the conditions for admission via PM request, but it can also broadly refer to any kind of official recruitment like interview or applications. Open signup is not recruitment though.
- Required ratio: The minimum threshold set by ratio-based trackers. It depends on each tracker and may even vary within a tracker. Sites with a hard economy tend to have a lower required ratio. Required ratio rules aren't typically enforced for newcomers (who are given a grace period/amount to download a little).
- /r/trackers: The private tracker subreddit where people like to re-ask the same question for the 1000th time, post announcements, complain about bans and suck the cock of cabal tracker staff. Supporting non-cabal trackers is not allowed there.
- rutracker: Rutracker, a very large general public tracker in Russian (only the site's language, the content is international), and probably the best public tracker in terms of content and availability. Once semi-private, it went full public with magnet links after being ordered to remove torrents pointing to copyrighted content by a Russian court.
- S: Sinderella, a notoriously hard to join tracker for Korean porn. That's because porn is illegal in Korea.
- SDB: SDBits, the equivalent of HDBits for Standard Definition. Not as hard to get in, but not as coveted as the cabal trackers. It is known for having had recruitment threads to HDBits in the past.
- Seedbox: A remote server with a high-speed connection used primarily for downloading and seeding torrents.
- Semi-private: Used to describe a tracker with open registration but whose torrents still retain the private flag, allowing only members with a registered passkey from connecting to the swarm and leeching/uploading data. Trackers that require registration to view the site but are still open signup are semi-private. ThePirateBay or Kat are not semi-private.
- Selling: A scam conducted on public invite forums by unscrupulous people. They give away invites or accounts (usually hacked and "buffered", i.e. artificially inflated with ratio cheating tools) to naive users for money, who then get obviously caught by staff and realize they wasted money for nothing. There exists a whole alternative market for invites, ranging from $15 for What to $200-300 for sites like Exigo or HDBits. None of them are worth wasting money for.
- TPS: ThePirateSociety, a forum to circlejerk with other pirates about trackers. Requires an application to sign in but being accepted isn't hard. Will copiously suck cabal tracker cock and openly share the information about you they have. It is however an interesting alternative path to some of the hard to join trackers like Pedro's, Exigo or HDBits.
- Trading: Exchanging tracker invites, which is forbidden on all cabal trackers. Invites should only be offered (and even then, only on class-restricted forums on other cabal trackers, if at all) or requested (and even then, only by PM to the individual person having the invites), with no compensation whatsoever. The idea is that you would only ever do that for a friend or someone you like and trust.
- Treeban: A mass ban enacted on a user and his entire invite tree. Usually happens when the user or one of his invitees is caught in a selling scheme. Because trees can be so extensive, some innocent users often get caught in the process; this led /ptg/ users to exclusively sticking to official recruitment channels, thus creating the /pure/ meme.
- Userclass: An indicator of how much a user has contributed to the tracker. They typically are (with some variations): User, Member, Power User, Elite, Master, VIP and Staff classes. Each userclass awards certain privileges like being able to give out invites, inactivity pruning immunity or access invite forums. Higher userclasses usually require a certain amount of upload credit, uploaded torrents and tracker presence.
- WFM/WCH: Waffles, a music tracker.
- WCD: What.CD, once the best music tracker but has since been shut down by law enforcement. Probably the largest music catalog of all time, leading to the "ALEXANDRIA" meme which pokes fun at people who compared the loss of What.CD to the burning of the Library of Alexandria. Known for its interview system and preparation material, autistic staff, comprehensive invite section, hipster community and incredible music selection. Also accepted books and software for some reason.