What is a Seedbox? And How to Use and Get the Right One?

What is a Seedbox? And How to Use and Get the Right One?
The Siliconreview
03 November, 2021

Peer to Peer (P2P) BitTorrent is a very underrated file-sharing piece of technology. Unfortunately, it has gained a bad reputation because it is widespread among the pirate community. BitTorrent has been the preferred file-sharing method among those communities because it is fast, can't be stopped, reliable, and highly scalable. 

To work, P2P torrenting needs to expose your IP address along with the content you are trying to get to the peer swarm. The go-to solution to remain private and anonymous in the swarm is to use the popular VPN. And in fact, VPNs do a pretty good job keeping your privacy hidden while torrenting. But VPNs do only this: hide you behind encryption and IP-mask— they don't care about your application and its speed. 

There is yet another solution, built and designed around the idea of torrenting experience.

1. Say hello to seedboxes. 

In the BitTorrent world, there are swarms, peers, seeders, and leechers. 

  • Swarms are groups of people (peers) participating towards a single goal: obtaining or sharing the content. 
  • Seeders have the complete content (100% of the files) and are active on a swarm. The more seeders there are on a specific torrent, the faster everyone (peers) will download. But without seeds in the swarm, there is no content. 
  • Leechers: They usually have a bad connotation because they would only come to the swarm to take but not to give. They would come to download a file and leave as soon as they got it.

Such concepts are vital if you want to understand seedboxes. 

2. What is a Seedbox? 

A Seedbox is a dedicated box, VPS, or server with the purpose of seeding torrents (seed + box). Seedboxes came into the scene when sharing started to be an issue. 

Closed torrenting communities, known as private trackers, demand a high sharing ratio and even reward the top sharing users. But no ordinary user can maintain a high sharing ratio from their home computer and Internet bandwidth. So, seeders, peers, and recovering leechers :) started to use powerful cloud-based seedboxes to give back to the torrenting community.

Although anybody could configure a seedbox from home, they would require it to be operating 24/7. This would turn out to be quite challenging for maintenance and operation. However, now you can find seedbox providers offering impressive degrees of speed, privacy levels, and additional services, such as streaming, torrent automation, and more. 

3. Why would you need a seedbox? 

Being a top sharing user might make you feel good. After all, you are giving back to the community. However, you are probably here for another reason. 

What’s in it for you? 

After all, seedboxes are not free, so why would you get one? 

a. Convenience. 

When downloading torrents locally, your computer and Internet connection speed would ultimately suffer. Seedbox servers leverage the cloud computing model, where your on-premise resources remain untouched, and a third-party server does the computation tasks. Seedboxes are convenient because you can use your computer (or mobile phone) only to log in to your remote seedbox, monitor or manage your torrents, and then log off. You can load torrents from a torrent WebGUI anywhere you are. And, when you want to download a file from a seedbox to your on-premise computer, you can stay away from BitTorrent and use other methods, like SFTP or FTPS. 

b. Crazy Speeds.

Seedboxes are designed for downloading and uploading torrents, so they would generally have much larger bandwidth connections, CPU, and memory compared to home-based servers. In addition, seedbox servers are deployed in high-speed data centers with connections ranging from 1Gbps, 10Gbps, and even 40Gbps. Something not very common in residential Internet services. In addition, since a seedbox uses other means to communicate and transfer content to your home, like SFTP, RSync, HTTP (not Bittorrent), your ISP won’t be able to throttle the speeds. As opposed to seedboxes, VPNs would hurt your torrenting performance and speed because VPNs use your resource, bandwidth, CPU, memory, and traffic data.

c. Torrenting Privacy. 

If you are torrenting directly from your computer, you are likely exposing your information to the torrent swarm. A best practice to hide your data from the swarm is to mask your IP. And you can do this with a VPN, proxy, VPS, or a seedbox. However, not all VPNs or Proxy servers allow torrenting on their servers, due to data regulations. A seedbox, on the other hand, virtually takes your computer and your Internet connection out of the torrenting equation. With a seedbox, the traffic from your computer to the ISP is still an encrypted remote connection, but not an encrypted BitTorrent. Finally, the IP in the swarm is the seedboxes and not yours. 

d. Private Streaming Server.

Long-time torrenters prefer to have a kind of ownership of the content they are downloading. Having the content on-premises allows them to play the content over again, even if they are offline. However, a trend is emerging, and this is streaming. Although most people would still prefer to download content locally, they are likely to have it stored online somewhere. Anywhere they have the content, they can use a streaming application like Plex or Kodi so they can play their content anywhere and on any device. Many seedbox server providers are beginning to provide VPS seedboxes with streaming media servers installed so users can stream all content right from the seedbox instead of downloading it.

What to look for in a seedbox? 

Looking for a seedbox? Look for the following qualities:

  1. Privacy. Look for seedboxes that provide a logging policy. If they do, (hopefully) read it carefully! In addition, look for seedboxes that provide diverse methods for payment, including Bitcoin and PayPal. Although it is almost a mandatory quality, look for seedboxes headquartered in countries with data-friendly laws. 
  2. Shared vs. dedicated? Seedboxes can be provided from a shared server. Usually, a couple of users share resources from a single bare-metal or VPS server. Or seedboxes can also be provided as dedicated, where all resources go to a single connection. 
  3. Managed vs. unmanaged. Some providers offer an unmanaged VPS, where you have room and flexibility to install everything from scratch. Others offer a much more friendly approach: the managed seedbox server, where you don’t install and maintain anything. Everything is taken care of for you. 
  4. Variety in speed. Look for a seedbox provider that offers at least 1Gbps of speed. Seedboxes might also offer 10Gbps (and to 40Gbps). 
  5. Storage. Storage is key. After all, you are downloading content, so you'll need broad online storage. Storage varies according to your demands. But generally, seedboxes offer storage from 1TBs to 5TBs. 
  6. Installed applications. On the basic level, a seedbox should come with a torrent client, preferably the rutorrent client. Other key applications are Plex, OpenVPN, FileZilla, Handbrake, Radarr, Sonarr, etc.
  7. Permitted traffic. Some seedbox providers are limited on the amount of data that can go through their server’s interfaces. Look for seedboxes that give the green light here. Essentially unlimited is optimal, but anything from 2TB to 20TBs (per month) will suffice. Again, this depends on your demands.
  8. CPU and RAM. Seedboxes need robust computing and processing. Without it, they would have a hard time seeding and storing content 24/7. Look for seedboxes with optimally 1-4 CPU cores and at least 2GB RAM.
  9. Plex support. A key feature if you intend to build your streaming server. Some seedboxes come with Plex already installed and claim to start organizing and streaming your content.