Note: Isohunt was shut down as of October 2013 due to a court settlement. More torrent search engine information is available here: The Top 15 Torrent Search Engines.
What is Isohunt?Isohunt is a BitTorrent search site. Isohunt does not host BitTorrent files, Isohunt only helps you find BitTorrent files. IsoHunt crawls several different torrent sites, and when searchers look for torrents here, they get links to sites where the .torrent files can be found.
The Basics of What Isohunt Has to OfferThe Isohunt home page is quite streamlined. At the top of the page is the main file search query box that offers some sophisticated search options, including Boolean search.
If you search for BitTorrents on Isohunt, you're searching for links to torrent files found elsewhere on the Web. In order to download something with BitTorrent, you must have a .torrent file. This .torrent file contains a location that informs the BitTorrent client where to go to find the tracker, website, or search engine that manages the uploading and downloading of the torrent file(s). A good torrent client will manage this entire process for you seamlessly. The primary source of Isohunt's offerings include links to torrent files.
How to Find Files Using IsohuntThe process is simple. All you need to do is type in your search query. Isohunt does not seem to like quotations around phrases; for instance, I typed in: louis armstrong "what a wonderful world" and got zero results; however, when I changed it to: louis armstrong what a wonderful world I received reasonably good results.
Isohunt Search Options
Isohunt offers several features that make this torrent search engine easy to use and intuitive even for the beginner. These include:
- Boolean operators: Isohunt gives searchers the ability to use simple Boolean search operators (-, |, OR, etc.), wildcards (*, ?), and search with quotation marks, i.e., "my search", in their onsite queries
- Site stats: Users can view the latest BitTorrent sites indexed by Isohunt, as well as how many torrents, trackers, seeds, and leechers are currently being tracked via each site.
- Tools and widgets: Isohunt offers several different widgets and toolbars, including a free browser toolbar, top searches, buttons, and Firefox plugins.
- Community: One of the most attractive features of Isohunt is its extremely active member community. Forum topics range from news to debates to chats about the latest bittorrent technology.
Is Isohunt Illegal?
Isohunt has had more than its share of legal troubles, including multiple prosecutions for copyright infringement. The site has also been ruled against by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), alleging that the site was judged as an illegal shortcut to free movies, TV shows, and video games - all of which are trademarked by their respective organizations.
However, because Isohunt does not provide anything but links to these files, the search site has managed to stay afloat. Searching Isohunt for files using copyrighted phrases as keywords in search strings is perfectly legal; however, clicking on those links and using them to download copyrighted files illegally is frowned upon as stated explicitly in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.