Frequently Asked Questions

No. bitmagnet does not download, store or distribute any content at all. It only downloads metadata about content. It may download metadata about illegal or copyright infringing content, and users should therefore exercise discretion in any magnet links they add to their BitTorrent client. bitmagnet attempts to detect and filter harmful content such as CSAM to avoid users having such undesirable metadata in their index.

Should I use a VPN with bitmagnet?

It is recommended to use a VPN: bitmagnet may download metadata about illegal and copyrighted content. It is possible that rudimentary law enforcement and anti-piracy tracking tools would incorrectly flag this activity, although we’ve never heard about anyone getting into trouble for using this or similar metadata crawlers. Setting up a VPN is simple and cheap, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. We are not affiliated with any VPN providers, but if you’re unsure which provider to choose, we can recommend Mullvad.

Is bitmagnet intended to be used as a public service?

No, it was designed to be self-hosted. The UI and API allow destructive actions, and no security or scalability review has taken place, so it’s not advised. An API is exposed, that could in theory be used to build a public service, but it’s not going to be the focus of this project to support that use case.

What are the system requirements for bitmagnet?

As a rough guide, you should allow around 300MB RAM for BitMagnet, and at least 1GB RAM for the Postgres database. You should allow roughly 50GB of disk space per 10 million torrents, which should suffice for several months of crawling, however there is no upper limit to how many torrents might ultimately be crawled. The database will run fastest when it has plenty of RAM and a fast disk, preferably a SSD.

I’ve started bitmagnet for the first time and am not seeing torrents right away, is something wrong?

If everything is working, bitmagnet should begin showing torrents in the web UI within a maximum of 10 minutes (which is its cache TTL). The round blue refresh button in the web UI is a cache buster - use it to see new torrent content in real time. Bear in mind that when a torrent is inserted into the database, a background queue job must run before it will become available in the UI. If you’re importing thousands or millions of torrents, it might therefore take a while for everything to show. Here are some things to check if you’re not seeing torrents:

  • Press the round blue refresh button in the UI.
  • Visit the metrics endpoint at /metrics and check the following metrics:
    • bitmagnet_dht_crawler_persisted_total: If you see a positive number for this, the DHT crawler is working and has found torrents.
    • If torrents are being persisted but you still don’t see them in the UI, then check:bitmagnet_queue_jobs_total{queue="process_torrent",status="processed"}: If you see a positive number here, then the queue worker is running and processing jobs. If you see status="failed" or status="retry", but no status="processed", then something is wrong.
    • If no torrents are being persisted, check: bitmagnet_dht_server_query_success_total and bitmagnet_dht_server_query_error_total. Having some DHT query errors is completely normal, but if you see no successful queries then something is wrong.
  • If the metrics confirm a problem, check the logs for errors.

Why doesn’t bitmagnet show me exactly how many torrents it has indexed?

Torrents are indexed to a Postgres database, and Postgres is notoriously slow in counting large numbers of rows. To provide acceptable performance, bitmagnet uses a strategy it calls a “budgeted count”. This takes advantage of the fact that the Postgres query planner can provide an estimated count, along with the total cost of executing the count query. If the cost exceeds the budget, we return the estimate, and the UI will show an estimate symbol ~. If the cost is within budget, we return the exact count. For large result sets, you will probably always be seeing an estimate.

At what rate will bitmagnet crawl torrents from the DHT?

This will depend on a number of factors, including your hardware and network conditions, and your dht_crawler.scaling_factor configuration. Typically it can be anything from 100 to 1,000 torrents per minute. Crawling is likely to slow down as your index grows larger, as it’s more likely that any discovered torrent will already be in your index.

How can I see exactly how many torrents bitmagnet has crawled in the current session?

Visit the metrics endpoint at /metrics and check the metric bitmagnet_dht_crawler_persisted_total. {entity="Torrent"} corresponds to newly crawled torrents, and {entity="TorrentsTorrentSource"} corresponds to torrents that were rediscovered and had their seeders/leechers count, and last-seen-on date updated.

How are the seeders/leechers numbers determined for torrents crawled from the DHT?

The DHT crawler uses a BEP33 scrape request to provide a very rough estimate of the current seeders/leechers.

How do I know if a torrent crawled by bitmagnet is being actively seeded, and that I’ll be able to download it?

The short answer is you can’t. The only way to know for sure is to add an info hash to your BitTorrent client. The seeders/leechers count provides an imperfect indicator of the torrent’s health. In future bitmagnet may provide “decentralized tracker”-like features that would improve this.

Can I ask bitmagnet’s DHT crawler to crawl specific hashes?

No. The DHT crawler works by sampling random info hashes from the network, and was not designed to locate specific hashes - it only crawls what it finds by chance. You can use the import the /import endpoint to import specific torrents, and additional methods (separate from the DHT crawler) may be added in future.

I’m seeing a lot of torrents in the “Unknown” category, that are clearly of a particular content type - what’s wrong?

bitmagnet is in early development, and improving the classifier will be an ongoing effort. When new versions are released, you can follow the reclassify turorial to reclassify torrents.

Can I run multiple bitmagnet instances pointing to the same database?

Yes you can, just point multiple instances to one database and it will work - but it will put more load on the database and cause the app to run slower. An alternative is to run multiple instances with multiple databases, and periodically merge the databases.