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Using a Low End VPS as SeedBox Hosting

Saw quite a few visitors coming from Whirlpool.net.au, an Australian community forum, from a post asking about seedbox hosting. Now, the term “seedbox” was foreign to me until a few months ago. According to this Wikipedia entry,

A seedbox is a private dedicated server used for the uploading and downloading of digital files. Seedboxes generally make use of the BitTorrent protocol for uploading and downloading, although they have also been used on the eDonkey2000 network. Seedboxes are usually connected to a high speed network, often with a throughput of 100 Mbit/s or more. Files are uploaded to a seedbox from other BitTorrent users, and from there they can be downloaded at high speeds to a user’s personal computer via the HTTP, FTP, SFTP, or rsync protocols.

In another word, a server with fast and stable bandwidth to the Internet so owners can use it as step-stone to download files from P2P network, as traditionally ADSL or cable connection (and their modems) on a residential link is too unreliable to bring back hundreds and thousands of pieces of files you wish to download in a reasonable speed.

Now, are low end virtual servers good candidates for seedbox hosting? Before we get into that, I need to make it clear that downloading copyrighted digital content without copyright holder’s consent is ILLEGAL in many places in the world so don’t do it. I personally do not use bittorrent because I much prefer downloading the minimum-install Linux CD ISO from my local mirror, which is usually only around 150MB :)

Anyway. If you want to use a $5 VPS as a cheap seedbox, I guess the answer is YES. When I need to download stuff using bittorrent I’ll use rTorrent because (1) it’s in command line and you can run it inside screen (2) it uses relatively less memory than the Python reference client. If you are on OpenVZ/Virtuozzo-based VPS you’ll need to watch out for the TCP socket limit though.

$ sudo cat user_beancounters | grep numtcpsock | awk '{print $4;}'

BT creates a massive number of TCP sockets and some providers might limit the TCP sockets you can have on your VE. Actually, it is a good idea to check your Terms and Conditions of Use before running a P2P client, because some providers explicitly forbid P2P traffic in their network.

HOWEVER, I would hate to share a server with someone running bittorrent though. Physical server IO is shared by all the virtual servers on it and apparently it is harder to limit IO than to throttle CPU usage. Due to the way bittorrent clients are designed, they are seeking, reading and writing everywhere on a big file. End result is that VPS running as seedbox hosting usually uses a lot of IO requests which affects other VPS on the same box (and we are not even talking about all the calculation needed to do checksum). So beware — you might be hated by your neighbours :)

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  1. cling[y]:

    This is a great tutorial, I just tried rTorrent as oppossed to the python bittorrent client and it seems to be download files much faster….I also setup wTorrent as a web interface to rTorrent so that I can access it from anywhere.

    Thanks for letting me know about rTorrent.

    August 13, 2009 @ 6:30 am | Reply
  2. Anonymous Coward:

    Are you aware of any “torrent-friendly” VPS providers?

    April 2, 2010 @ 4:26 pm | Reply
  3. I actually wrote a tutorial about this exact thing. It’s so much cheaper to roll your own seedbox, than purchasing it from someone.

    September 11, 2010 @ 2:28 am | Reply
  4. The only thing is most VPS providers count download traffic in with your traffic allowance, so 1TB in transfer will only equal to 500GB in and 500GB out.

    September 30, 2010 @ 8:13 pm | Reply
  5. James:

    You can share warez in Canada without any legal consequences according to my local RCMP officer.

    March 24, 2011 @ 3:52 am | Reply
    • Jeremy:

      not anymore they passed a new bill c-51 i believe. now they are requesting names from isp’s. but I think the fines top out at $5000 cdn.

      December 19, 2012 @ 4:40 pm | Reply
  6. I am using evoseddbox which is providing seedbox with VPS. It much cheaper compared to other VPS provider.

    April 23, 2020 @ 9:17 am | Reply
  7. WAGBPro com:

    thank you for sharing . I will send it to my friends on: https://wagbpro.com

    August 10, 2021 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

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