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Just How Many People Are Torrenting in 2023? Let‘s Investigate

Torrenting remains one of the internet‘s most popular pastimes in 2023, despite the perils and legalities surrounding it. But exactly how many of us are still hooked on torrents for our regular dose of movies, music, books and more? What are the go-to torrent sites and clients today? Is torrenting even legal? Let‘s try and answer these questions and more in this comprehensive look at the state of torrenting in 2023.

Torrenting in 2023: The Key Stats

First, let‘s quickly run through some of the key statistics on torrent usage in 2023:

  • 150 million – The number of active monthly users of BitTorrent, still the world‘s most popular torrent client after over 20 years.
  • 18 million – The approximate number of monthly visitors to torrent giant The Pirate Bay. Despite multiple shutdown attempts, TPB remains a torrent juggernaut.
  • 53 million – The monthly visits received by 1337x, a much cleaner alternative to TPB with a reputation for verified torrents.
  • 10 billion – The number of torrents available across various sites like The Pirate Bay, RARBG and 1337x according to recent estimates. That‘s a lot of content!
  • 51% – The percentage of internet users who admit to pirating content via torrents and streams, as per a 2022 Sandvine report.

What Exactly is Torrenting Anyway? A Quick Primer

For the uninitiated, torrenting refers to peer-to-peer file sharing facilitated by torrent clients like BitTorrent and uTorrent using special torrent files.

These torrent files contain metadata about the files to be shared and trackers which coordinate with other peers. The key advantage of torrenting is utilizing the bandwidth of multiple peers to quickly download and share large files without relying on a single source.

How Torrenting Works

A simple overview of how torrenting works (Image credit: Explain That Stuff)

Unlike traditional downloads, the file pieces are downloaded randomly and simultaneously from peers who already have the full file (known as seeders). Other peers who are still downloading are called leechers. More seeders = faster download speed.

Dedicated torrent sites like The Pirate Bay and RARBG serve as directories that index torrent files across the network. Users search for and download torrent files from these sites to get specific content.

Why Do People Keep Torrenting in 2023?

Despite the best efforts of copyright trolls and anti-piracy outfits worldwide, torrenting remains hugely popular even in 2023. But what exactly is driving people to torrent instead of using legal streaming services like Netflix and Spotify?

1. Cost Savings – Media subscriptions can get pricey. Torrenting provides unlimited on-demand access to content without any recurring fees. Of course, this doesn‘t compensate creators for their work.

2. Content Breadth – From the latest blockbusters to obscure anime and old DOS games, torrent communities aggregate virtually any digitizable content. Legal services can‘t match this library size.

3. Timely Access – Pirated films are often available within hours of theatre releases. No need to wait months for streaming services to license them. Instant gratification.

4. No Restrictions – Censorship or licensing issues often restrict which content is available in certain regions like China and India. Torrents transcend such boundaries.

5. Ownership – Downloaded files belong to users forever. No fear of losing access if a streaming service pulls content or shuts down. A sense of digital permanence.

6. Anonymity – Torrenting allows private, anonymous consumption of content without spying by ISPs, government agencies and advertisers. This privacy is hugely valued.

7. Helping the Community – Many seeders and site moderators are motivated by altruism and want to help fellow users access content freely. A form of pay it forward.

Which Countries Explicitly Allow Torrenting?

  • Canada – Permits downloading copyrighted material for personal use and does not usually pursue individual file sharers. But does prosecute major uploaders/distributors.
  • Mexico – Has no specific bans on using torrents or downloading copyrighted content for personal enjoyment. But public distribution can be penalized.
  • Switzerland – Downloading copyrighted content for private use is legal. Uploading is illegal. Switzerland remains highly protective of privacy so rarely prosecutes individuals.
  • Spain – In 2014, Spaniards won the right to download copyrighted files for personal and non-commercial use.
  • Netherlands – Dutch law permits downloading copyrighted materials from torrents and other sources for personal use.
  • Poland – Poland legalized non-commercial sharing of copyrighted content in 2015. This includes torrenting.
  • Indonesia – Has no laws prohibiting use of torrents to obtain copyrighted content. But does block some torrent sites.

Which Countries Have Banned or Restricted Torrent Use?

Unfortunately, many countries take a much harsher view of torrenting and online piracy. Here are some places where torrenting comes with serious risks:

  • United States – Downloading and sharing copyrighted material is illegal. Copyright trolls monitor swarms and send settlement letters demanding payment to avoid lawsuits.
  • United Kingdom – People can be prosecuted for downloading paid content from torrents under the Serious Crime Act. Fines up to £50,000 are possible.
  • Australia – Laws like site blocking and threatening fines have seriously restricted torrenting in Australia. VPNs remain the best option to torrent safely.
  • South Africa – Multiple laws including the Counterfeit Goods Act have essentially criminalized torrenting of copyrighted material in South Africa.
  • Malaysia – Has repeatedly blocked sites like The Pirate Bay. But no laws specifically prohibit downloading via torrents per se.
  • China – Heavily censors and blocks torrent sites. Has arrested site owners and operators. Still possible to torrent secretly using VPNs.
  • Singapore – Known to mete out harsh sentences like jail time for illegal torrenting and digital piracy even though many residents continue to do it.

How Can You Stay Safe When Torrenting in 2023?

Given the legalities surrounding torrents, some precautions are necessary to cover your tracks if you do indulge in pirated downloads:

  • Use a VPN to mask your IP address and evade monitoring by ISPs, government agencies, copyright trolls.
  • Enable encryption support like forced HTTPS in your torrent client.
  • Bind the client to your VPN‘s network interface for added security.
  • Enable a firewall and block incoming connections except from the VPN tunnel.
  • Avoid seeding after your download is complete to minimize distribution footprint.
  • Consider using private trackers which offer invite-only access to vetted communities. Much lower risks.
  • Never download Scene releases or content with internal in the name – these are monitored.
  • If you do receive a settlement letter or DMCA notice, consult a lawyer immediately. Don‘t directly pay any fines without legal counsel.

The Hottest Torrents of 2023 So Far

Torrent popularity often mirrors major cultural events and media releases. So what content has seen the most torrent downloads and shares in 2023 so far?


  • Top Gun: Maverick – This blockbuster sequel was 2022‘s most torrented film by a huge margin. Expect Top Gun to remain in high demand throughout 2023.
  • The Batman – Another wildly popular sequel, Matt Reeves‘ dark take on the Dark Knight generated massive buzz and piracy.
  • Thor: Love and Thunder – Torrenters anxiously awaiting the Guardians crossover powered big download numbers.
  • Jurassic World Dominion – Dinosaurs still have major audience appeal, making this a highly torrented summer tentpole.

TV Shows

  • House of the Dragon – Being part of the Game of Thrones universe guaranteed massive interest in this gritty HBO prequel series.
  • The Rings of Power – Amazon‘s epic Tolkien adaptation created huge anticipation and drove millions of downloads despite mixed reviews.
  • Moon Knight – Oscar Isaac‘s quirky performance as the eponymous hero made this one of Disney+‘s most pirated shows.
  • Severance – The breakout workplace thriller consistently ranked among 2022‘s most torrented shows thanks to its mysterious premise.


  • Midnights – Taylor Swift‘s latest surprise album broke records worldwide. Unsurprisingly, it also topped illegal download charts within hours.
  • Renaissance – Beyonce‘s first solo album in 6 years was shrouded in secrecy and immensely hyped. Fans torrented it in massive numbers.
  • Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers – Kendrick Lamar‘s introspective double album generated critical acclaim and high public demand.
  • Special – Lizzo‘s joyful fourth studio album arrived after years of anticipation and quickly turned into a viral torrent sensation.


  • Elden Ring – FromSoftware‘s open world Soulsborne magnum opus received universal acclaim and ranked among 2022‘s most downloaded games via torrents.
  • God of War: Ragnarök – One of the most anticipated PlayStation exclusives, the sequel to 2018‘s God of War had a huge piracy footprint.
  • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet – New mainline Pokémon game releases always attract frenetic interest from fans, making these massive torrent hits.
  • Sonic Frontiers – Sega‘s attempt to reinvent Sonic as an open zone platformer piqued interest and drove significant illegal downloads.

Final Thoughts on the State of Torrenting

Like it or not, torrenting remains hugely popular worldwide despite its murky legal status in many regions. Driven by the lure of free content and helped by steady improvements in VPNs, torrent clients and indexing sites, millions continue to augment their entertainment habits via pirated downloads.

However, torrent users should carefully weigh the risks involved – fines, surveillance, malware and more. There are also ethical concerns around compensating creators for their work. As the unlikely conflict between torrent communities and copyright enforcers continues, torrenting looks set to thrive even in the streaming age. But with enhanced diligence and safety measures, we can minimize the pitfalls of this digital treasure hunt. Bon voyage – and remember, torrenting is an adventure best savored in moderation!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.