arbg, a popular torrent website that fuelled illegal downloads of movies and TV shows, has closed.
Users who accessed the website on Wednesday were greeted with a message that alerted them of Rarbg’s demise, Torrent Freak reported.
“We would like to inform you that we have decided to shut down our site,” the statement said.
It went on to note that Rarbg had faced numerous difficulties over the past two years, including the loss of staff members to Covid. It also mentioned an increase in operational costs due to data centre price increases and inflation.
Rarbg also said that it was directly impacted by the war in Ukraine. It said that some of its employees “are also fighting the war in Europe — on both sides”.
Rarbg allowed people to download torrents. These are small files shared online by numerous users in small fragments over a BitTorrent software program. Although torrenting isn’t illegal, it has become closely associated with the distribution of copyrighted content, such as movies, TV shows, video games, and pornography — which is against the law.
Founded in 2008, Rarbg later became an alternative to Pirate Bay after that site’s numerous legal battles and subsequent shutdowns. Several major torrenting sites were also closed between 2015 and 2016, among them KickassTorrents, Torrentz, and ExtraTorrent, possibly acting as a further catalyst for Rarbg.
According to web traffic counter Similarweb, Rarbg had 40.8 million total visits last month.
The most popular torrents on the site were usually the latest episodic TV and streaming shows from Netflix and the like; movies including high-quality films ripped from the internet or dodgy camcorder recordings from cinema screenings; anime series; and pornography. These were typically split into different sections, with top 10s and top 100s that users could browse.
However, it remains to be seen whether the site will live again. Despite going dark in the past, Pirate Bay has surfaced online thanks to proxy websites and alternative domains.
While Rarbg may be gone, plenty of torrent sites remain. Torrent Freak says the top three sites are YTS, 1337x and NYAA.