Image courtesy of Flickr user jared. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.We don’t condone pirating at HackCollege,  but if you’re going to engage in a cat and mouse game with the RIAA/MPAA, you may as well do it the right way. Commonly used on private BitTorrent trackers where maintaining a good ratio (upload/download) is critical, a seedbox is a remote server dedicated to torrenting. Seedboxes have many significant advantages over traditional torrent acquisition methods; they’re always powered on, they’re connected to a fast 100 Mbps connections and they are not subject to ISP throttling. Although seedboxes are not free, they are an excellent option for students looking to torrent on a campus network.
Although the argument that BitTorrent can be used for legal content distribution is often made, many school network administrators opt to block torrent activity. With a seedbox, all torrent traffic is downloaded to the remote server that is free of restrictions. Once your download is complete, it’s simply a matter of connecting to your seedbox over FTP to pull down your files. To your network administrator, this FTP traffic is seen as “clean” traffic. Although using the seedbox means you’re downloading the files twice (once to the seed box, once to your personal computer), you’ll find that obtaining files with a seedbox is much quicker because of the fast and unthrottled 100 Mbps connection.
Even if your network administrator doesn’t block or throttle torrent data, a seedbox could still be beneficial to you as a college student. These days, most students own a single computer, usually a laptop, that they carry with them on campus. It can be difficult to download and seed large files when your laptop is constantly in limbo between awake and asleep. Using the seedbox, you can queue up large torrents to download over the course of the day with no impact on your personal computer. Once the file is done downloading, it’s simply a matter of pulling it down over FTP.
To those who are less tech savvy, the idea of setting up and using a seedbox may seem daunting. However, it is quite the opposite. Upon paying your monthly access fee, the seedbox provider will set up the unit for your immediate use. Simply login to the BitTorrent client web interface using the links provided by your seedbox provider and select the torrent file you would like to download. Upon completion of the download, connect to the seedbox using the FTP credentials provided and an FTP client of your choice. From there, it’s just a matter of dragging the files to a folder on your computer.
If you think you could benefit from a seedbox, I would highly recommend WhatBox as a provider. I have no affiliation with Whatbox, I’m simply a happy user of their service. You can expect to pay approximatley $25 a month for a seedbox; this cost can be split amongst a few buddies if you’re willing to share the seedbox.
Once again, tread lightly in this questionable world of data transmission. If you find that really can’t live without BitTorrent on campus, consider a seedbox to evade network administrators.