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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 plugged in to high speed bandwidth networks, 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.
Seedboxes can run on most major operating systems (Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X). More expensive seedboxes may provide VNC connection, or remote desktop protocol on some Windows-based seedboxes, allowing many popular clients to be run remotely. Other seedboxes are special purpose and run variety of torrent specific software including web interfaces of popular clients like Transmission, rTorrent and µTorrent, as well as the TorrentFlux web interface clients.
Seedboxes on high speed networks are typically able to download large files within minutes (only if the swarm can actually provide such a high upload bandwidth). A 1 GB file can take less than five minutes to download. That same 1 gigabyte file can be uploaded to other users in the same amount of time, creating a 1:1 upload:download ratio for that individual file. The ability of a seedbox to transfer files so quickly is a big attractions seedboxes hold within the P2P and BitTorrent communities.
Because of the mentioned high speeds, seedboxes tend to be extremely popular inside private torrent trackers, where maintaining a download/upload ratio above 1 can be very important.
Paradoxically, there isn't really any specific type of machine called a seedbox, any more than "email PCs" exist, because just about any machine can do either task. To be a seedbox, a machine must simply:
1 - Seed a torrent from its location
2 - Be on a fast (100mbps+) connection
3 - Administrated primarily via remote access
From these criteria, technically nearly any machine can be a seedbox, from a cheap laptop to a powerful HTPC. In practice, however, because seedbox users get the service from a remote provider, they will never actually physically see their machines, which are likely to be server-class hardware.
While it is possible to get a shared server, dedicated servers are recommended. Seedboxes usually run either Linux or Windows, with the latter being the more expensive option. Linux seedboxes are typically accessed via SSH, but some hosting companies will install VNC for users for a fee. Windows seedboxes are typically accessed via the Remote Desktop feature built into the OS.
Unfortunately, some private BitTorrent sites use a combination of IP address and account matching, passkeys and the like to ensure that both the BT peer and the browser are at the same location (or are the same person). This is to prevent cheating and infiltration.
Once access is set up, the seedbox behaves like any other remotely administered PC. With its massive bandwidth, a seedbox can seed (relatively, compared to a home PC) many torrents to many sites simultaneously, thus assisting greatly in ratio maintenance and file distribution.
The steps for uploading a torrent using a seedbox are:*
1 - Create torrent on PC
2 - Upload files to seedbox
3 - Upload torrent to site
4 - Download torrent to seedbox
5 - Start seeding
Commonly suggested seedbox hosts are:
· Shinjiru (their main selling point is that they're offshore)
· Vectoral Servers
· JMH Services
· Layered Technologies