Demonoid fans have been wondering whether the popular BitTorrent site would return since it was taken down in late July by the Ukrainian government. The site was so popular because it was semiprivate, affording its massive audience a certain comfort in knowing that their IP addresses and torrent activities weren't as vulnerable to law-enforcement authorities or spyware as they would be on open torrent sites such as the Pirate Bay.
Alas, newly leaked screenshots taken by the MPAA and the silent treatment from Demonoid's usually vocal administrators point to the site probably being down for the count. But that hasn't stopped former users of the site from moving onto other sites.
One service that's quietly scooped up some former Demonoid users is Usenet, a globally distributed online discussion system that allows users to download NZB files instead of BitTorrents. According to Lifehacker, NZBs simply point users to binary files that are hosted on Usenet, a stark difference from downloading AVI or MP3 files from a peer-to-peer, or P2P, monolith such as the Pirate Bay.
Although Usenet has been around for decades, it's still relatively new to the file-sharing game. Still, its garnered warm reviews for the number of files it hosts. The same quality helped make it a target of a lawsuit by the RIAA. Usenet is not a P2P service.
One reported drawback to the service is the length of time files are stored. The number of files uploaded to the site invariably leads to shorter retention time.
Also, in the world of everything-is-free, many downloaders will be disappointed to learn the best-quality access to the site will cost a few bucks. Every Usenet customer pays either a monthly or data-capped subscription fee to a provider. Malware has also been cited as a problem.
Click here to head over to Lifehacker for a full breakdown on how to figure out whether Usenet is best for you.
KickassTorrents is a site that offers far less security than Usenet, but with that risk comes a format that's probably much more comfortable for BitTorrenters. TorrentFreak named it No. 3 on the list of the "Top 10 Most Popular Torrent Sites of 2012," ranking it behind only the Pirate Bay and Torrentz.
KickassTorrents changed domains last year because it feared a domain seizure by the U.S. government, but that hasn't stopped the site from keeping a massive catalog of media content and releasing new features every two weeks or so.
Still, the lack of anonymity it offers will be of concern to any BitTorrent user who has been paying attention to the shutdowns at Demonoid and Megaupload as well as the recent arrest of the Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm, although the authorities said that that arrest did not stem from his activity with one of the world's most popular feeding grounds for online piracy.
Because so many Demonoid members used that site due to its supposed safety benefits, the best option now might be using a virtual private network. VPNs have proven invaluable for people interested in securing their online activity from any parties trying to snoop around. They have been used by businesses, schools, and now BitTorrenters.
There is an array of both trusted and untrusted networks because of the different levels of demand for VPNs. The best will strengthen one's security while accommodating a balance of price and quality connectivity.
TorrentFreak outlined a quality list of the VPNs that would be beneficial to BitTorrent users.
While Demonoid's demise has ushered in a transition its users didn't anticipate, the popularity of the site led to the near certainty that future file-sharing clients would accommodate the public's demand for security and privacy. Even if that involves a little more effort.