You may have heard the term "seedbox" before but, you're not really sure what it is, or what it does, or why you'd need one? This is the blog for you!
So, what is a seedbox?
A seedbox is a high-bandwidth remote server for uploading and downloading of digital files from a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network. After the files have been downloaded from the P2P network to the seedbox, you can transfer them securely to your personal computer.
Why would I need a seedbox?
If you are not downloading files from P2P networks, then you wouldn't need a seedbox. But, if you're downloading .torrent files from the Internet you could get in trouble with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The laws regarding file-sharing vary from country to country. Most ISP's in the United States have a "3 strikes" program in place. If they catch you sharing music, movies, games, or apps on P2P networks, they will send you a warning. Each time they send a warning it's considered a strike against your account. After 3 warnings, if you don't stop sharing files, they will degrade your service (make it slower) to punish you. If you continue to ignore their warnings, they will shut down your Internet service and blacklist you so you can't sign up with them in the future. Most places only have one or two Internet Service Providers to begin with. Once you are blacklisted, you will not be able to get on the Internet.
So, how does it work?
You sign up for a seedbox account from a Seedbox Provider. What you get depends on what you pay for. The cheapest accounts are "shared" accounts (meaning there are other customers using the same servers you are). If you want dedicated servers, or higher bandwidth, you can upgrade to Premium service from the Seedbox Provider. One provider that I've used is Seedbox.io.
They offer shared seedbox accounts for as low as $5.29 per month (when you sign up for a 12 month plan). It works out to $63.46 per year, or about 17 cents a day. The company is located in Europe, and will bill you in Euros (€), but your bank or credit card company will automatically convert to dollars for you when you make a purchase. Tip: you can search DuckDuckGo for the current exchange rate between Euros and Dollars.
How do you use a seedbox?
Most people who are using seedboxes already have accounts on private torrent trackers or peer-to-peer file-sharing sites. There are millions of web sites on the Internet hosting torrent files. One of the most famous, of course, is The Pirate Bay. The music and movie companies have been trying to take this site off the Internet for 15 years now and still haven't succeeded.
These type of torrent sites are known as "public trackers". If you are downloading files from a public tracker to your local computer then you are probably going to get a warning email from your Internet Service Provider. Another reason it's a bad idea is that you never know what you're going to get. Public trackers have anything and everything. Is the movie you're downloading a complete file? Is it a shaky hand-held camcorder copy with people walking in front of the screen? Is it in Korean, or Russian? You never know until you download and watch it.
For this reason, a lot of people choose to use "private trackers" for their torrent files. The private trackers do a much better job of curating high-quality files that work and which are labeled correctly so you know what you're getting before you download it. Some of these private trackers are invite-only and you need to know someone to get in. Others have a "make a donation" page which grants you instant access. Search around. You'll find lots of them out there. Two of the ones that I've used are IPtorrents and TorrentDay.
The first thing you need to use a seedbox is a torrent file!
It doesn't matter where you get it from. Just get one.
OK, I've got a torrent file. Now what?
The next step is downloading the file from the P2P network to your seedbox. So, after you have signed up for an account (see above), you can log into the web interface of your own personal seedbox. They will send you a username and a password to log in after you sign up. Click the button in the upper left hand corner to "Add Torrent" and select the file that you downloaded and click the "Add File" button.
If everything is working correctly, you'll see a progress indicator and the file will start downloading. During this step, the file is being transferred from the peer-to-peer (P2P) network to your seedbox. Once the progress indicator reaches 100% you can download it to your local computer.
How do I get the files from my seedbox to my local computer?
This is the final step of the process. After the files finish downloading you can transfer them from your seedbox to your local computer. Most people do this via a method known as "FTP" (file transfer protocol). You can install a free FTP program like Filezilla to your computer. Then, you can use the information your Seedbox Provider gave you to log into your seedbox account. Once you are connected, you will see a split screen view. On the left, you will see the local files on your computer. On the right, you will see the files on the server. Check the directory on the server named "files". That's where your P2P downloads are stored. Double-click to open the folder.
One you are inside the "files" directory on the server, locate the file and drag and drop from the right side of the screen to the left. This will initiate a transfer from the seedbox to your local computer. You will see a progress indicator at the bottom showing you the progress of the download. To navigate in the FTP interface, you can click the folders above. The folder with the two dots after it means "Go Up One Level". If you double-click, it will take you one up level from where you currently are in the directory tree.
After the file has finished downloading, you can close the FTP program and then use a media player, like VLC media player, to watch or listen to the file.
Once you get the hang of it, using a seedbox is super easy and will save you a lot of headaches when it comes to your Internet Service Provider.
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