YiFy: What is it? Is it safe and legal in 2022? What are the alternatives?

Abeerah Hashim Last updated: June 1, 2022
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This article answers all about YIFY. What is it, is it legal, how to access this movie torrent site's clones safely, and more.

The YIFY Torrents or YTS is a release group in the BitTorrent peer-to-peer network. The group has garnered a reputation for providing large numbers of movies as free downloads in HD quality but relatively small file sizes. Thus the service became famous since its 2010 launch for providing movie enthusiasts with the best of both worlds (high-quality movies and fast download speeds).

YIFY has had a checkered history because of legal and copyright issues. But the community has proved to be strong and resilient, so it’s still around and active even after the Motion Picture Association of America shut the original site down in 2015. By then, the community was too strong already. There were many mirrors and clone sites, so YIFY was already a brand that couldn’t just go away because a single domain went down.

YIFY’s core idea of releasing a broad spectrum of high-quality movies encoded most efficiently is still with us. The current YIFY website is among the favorites of movie fans, and it’s still a source of excellent movie torrents. Its reputation and community values, and base have only grown stronger with time.

YIFY keeps providing torrents of the latest movies and TV shows as soon as they are available. This ability to come up quickly with the newest content is a cornerstone of the website’s popularity. And it’s also among the factors that keep attracting new users to it. So YIFY is still growing and expanding, even after all these years.

What’s the meaning of YIFY?

YIFY goes by the name of YTS among many torrenters. This YTS means “Yify Torrent Solutions.” The reason for that is that when you get to the website, you see that the URL and the website include the YTS logo. The site itself explains that it links only to YIFY or YTS movies. The links to TV series are on a different website.

An excellent feature of this website is that it offers validated torrent files. This is rare in the BitTorrent world (remember that ThePirateBay, the mother and father, and all torrenting websites don’t offer torrenting files at all, just magnet links). It’s the strong community that provides that validation. The large user base provides comments for every torrent on offer, and the download metrics offer further information for the prospective downloader. These dynamics bring the website and the community together to provide the work to keep the quality of the website at the highest possible level, especially in torrenting websites.

Therefore, downloading a movie starting from a YIFY torrent file is a much smoother and faster experience than Kickass Torrents, ExtraTorrent, or LimeTorrents. A higher number of seeders with better transfer speeds also help in this regard.

So the user experience in YTS is excellent, and the download speeds are the best among movie torrents. And what good will that be if the website ever goes down because the owners opt to have a quieter life or because a law enforcement agency takes it down? Of course, if YTS went away, it would leave behind a noticeable void in the BitTorrent world. But would it be surprising? Hardly. Many great torrenting websites have gone down over the years, and even the original YTS one had to shut down for a while a few years ago.

That fragility is inherent in YIFY and every torrenting ecosystem. Your favorite torrenting website can disappear into digital oblivion at any moment. And this is why the YTS network of proxies and mirrors is essential. That network is how you can regain access to the YTS websites when you can’t load the main URL with your browser, for whatever reason.

On occasion, you could find that even the mirrors and proxies are beyond your reach. No need to panic. You’ll still have some alternative sites you can use when this happens – more on that later.

And that brings us to one of the main points we want to convey to you in this article: use a VPN. Whether you get your movie torrents from the official YIFY website, one of its proxies, or any other torrenting site, use a premium VPN service at all times. This article will explain to you why this is important in full detail, both from the point of view of your security but also so you can access websites that either your ISP or your government has banned.

Why isn’t YIFY not banned?

YIFY
(Wikipedia Commons)

There is no universal answer to this question. The question itself is not valid everywhere because YIFY is banned indeed in countries where law enforcement agencies have acted against it. So everything depends on your jurisdiction.

Sharing recent movies and TV shows on the BitTorrent network is an activity against copyright laws in most of the world. Different countries have different stances on torrent copyright issues, so some are very strict in enforcing intellectual property laws, but some are pretty lax. Piracy is even legal in a handful of European countries as long as all the pirated content you own remains strictly personal. Consequently, there are countries in which YIFY is banned. You could be in one such country. If you are, you can bypass the ban, and we will show you how later on in this article.

YTS’s original claim to fame was a highly effective piracy group specializing in motion pictures. It’s been growing steadily ever since, and it’s managed to keep itself relevant in the rapidly changing torrent universe. YTS distinguishes itself from most other specialized torrenting websites by providing the highest possible quality in the files they offer. Other sites offer torrents, but they do not emphasize the video and audio quality of YIFY. Also, the YIFY network is like a hydra. The content hits the web and the BitTorrent network through multiple nodes simultaneously, so the user base has many paths to reach the content they want.

The result is there for everybody to see. Moreover, the model seems to work. It’s been around for more than a decade, and it’s survived attacks from the Motion Picture Association of America, bans from several countries, and many other problems. As of June 2022, estimations put the number of served users in the YIFY network at more than a million monthly.

Of course, this degree of success can only breed notoriety, thus creating unwanted attention from the world’s governments as they work to shut the website down. And they succeeded once in the past, as we already stated. The lawsuit brought forward by the MPAA resulted in the site’s shutdown even after YIFY (YTS) made settlements with MPAA outside of the court. Also, the YTS leadership had to keep away from the BitTorrent community as they were alleged criminals.

However, YTS was already decentralized and resilient enough to keep going despite the legal problems. So, yes, the original site had to go, and if you go and visit the original website yts.to, you’ll be redirected to Motion Picture’s ‘Watch It Legally page.’ Still, by the time it went offline, the proxy and mirror network already included many websites that kept going, doing the very same thing that the original website was known for.

However, YTS mirrors and proxies can be tricky websites. Many of them are clean. But some others are designed to spread malware on your devices. So how can you tell the difference between the good and bad guys? It’s hard. There’s no simple thumb rule that you can use to decide quickly. And that’s why you must access these websites through VPNs only.

Most of the YTS proxies claim to have a relationship with the original YTS crowd. Those claims are supposed to bolster their reputation as the heirs to the original YTS group, but it’s impossible to validate such claims. The best idea is to ignore those claims and focus on the material they are releasing — the proof is in the pudding, so put your faith in the quality of the files they offer and not in their claims.

But there’s no way to deny that the proxies provide the service and the material that users want, as they keep coming back for more and leaving satisfied. The video files are still of the highest quality, and new material regularly pops up. So YTS may have started a torrenting brand, but by now, the proxies and mirrors are bearing the torch, and they seem to be succeeding.

Is YIFY torrents working?

As with the previous question, the answer (and even the question) depend on where you are. If you ask about the original YIFY website, that one’s gone. It’s been down for almost seven years by now, and the original team behind it has not endorsed any other website as the legitimate hair to YIFY.

You will probably come across a website claiming to be the original YIFY one. However, don’t believe everything you read on torrenting websites. The most likely thing is that this is one of the many sites that spun off from the original one and that it’s trying to usurp the YIFY’s original team’s credibility.

Since the original team’s legal status forces them into silence, there’s no way to disprove those claims, but no reason to believe them either. However, the fact that those are not the original YIFY people or website doesn’t discredit their work. Most of them are providing high-quality torrents indeed.

As a matter of fact, the YTS phenomenon is rare in that all those knock-offs are providing an excellent product to the community, every bit as good as the original for the most part. In addition, the YTS websites spreading malware or viruses are few and far between, and those web pages in this “franchise” remain reputable for the most part.

The top three URLs alternative to YTS are:

  • https://yts.lt/
  • https://yts.io/
  • https://www.yify-torrent.org/

Those three websites are online (we inspect regularly) and should be accessible from anywhere in the world. Many other URLs will redirect your browser to the first website in the list (.it), suggesting that it’s the main one. Every website keeps the browsing experience simple and the access to the torrents straightforward.

Please keep in mind that just because those three links are online in June 2022, it doesn’t mean they will remain online forever. Life on many YTS websites is measured in a few weeks. Server crashes, data migration, and other technical problems associated with websites that have to manage high traffic loads are enough to break a website that is otherwise good to go. And that’s independent of issues with the law, which are also a relevant factor with YTS websites.

If you are a seasoned BitTorrent user, you’re probably already used to having your favorite sites suddenly going offline. Unfortunately, it’s been the rule rather than the exception. In that regard, the disappearance of the YTS website is pretty standard and something that we will surely see happening again and again in the future.

The original YTS website’s takedown had many reasons — and they’re the exact reasons behind the downfall of most torrenting websites. The primary reason is, of course, the prevalence of copyrighted material in the torrents offered. The distribution of that material is illegal almost everywhere. And it doesn’t even have to be problematic if the website’s fame doesn’t grow enough to come to the attention of the authorities. But unfortunately, YTS was a website that became very famous very quickly. As a result, it became a victim of its own success.

Earlier, we described how the probability of a website catching the attention of the authorities is proportional to its popularity. So being that famous for doing something illegal is a recipe for disaster.

When the law enforcement agencies issued their threats to shut down YTS, its leadership refused to comply. Sheer stubbornness has worked in the past for other torrenting websites, but it proved useless in the YTS team case.

So the leading site went down. But many mirrors and proxies carried on, and many new ones have appeared over the years.

Having mirror websites is an overall strategy in torrenting websites. And some of them are ever pretty good; let’s look at them.

During the legal process against the YIFY team in 2014 and 2015, the Hollywood layers located YIFY’s founder, and the issue became a big deal. The individual in question had to show himself before the Tribunal in New Zealand. All the parties involved negotiated a settlement outside the courts to avoid a costly and protracted process (and negative publicity). Part of the agreement allowed the YIFY ringleader to keep his identity secret. So the question remains, is YIFY legal or not? It seems like a simple question, but answering it correctly requires several considerations.

Let’s keep our discussion to the facts. According to the law, downloading copyrighted material without the written authorization of the copyright owner is equivalent to hacking, and it’s illegal. Furthermore, if such a feat can be proved with evidence before a court of law in the United States, it’s a severe case. Therefore, it is a criminal activity.

You do not download any content from YIFY, of course. Instead, the content is on the BitTorrent network, and you download it from your peers online. But the fact that YIFY facilitates the download is what makes the case against the website — the site allegedly aids and abets criminal hacking activities.

YIFY and the legality arguments

YIFY’s founder had an issue to raise. What about the legality of the current Netflix business model with streaming videos? As a Netflix user, you can see as many movies as you want. The counter-argument is that Netflix is a legal service in which every client pays a monthly fee to enjoy the content. But what happens if a given user shares his Netflix credentials with friends or family members? They haven’t paid for it, so is it legal?

The reality is that as long as there are free internet connections around and people are willing to “loan” their website credentials to somebody else, illegal access will stay around. Does this make the torrenting website’s legal status any better?

Another point to consider is that the process that begins with a raw movie and finishes in an efficiently encoded video file that can become a torrent involves a lot of people with a high degree of expertise. The task profits them nothing, and they do it as a public service. So does this kind of community-oriented teamwork lend a moral motive to hacking?

Most of these issues are still unsolved.

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The best YIFY mirror and proxy websites

Almost every torrent website that’s managed to have a large user base has a mirror or a cloned website. This process usually begins early in the website’s history as it becomes clear that it’s becoming successful. Having mirrors and clones helps keep the traffic load under control for the site’s server. It also is a security measure against the worst-case scenario for such site owners.

The content and the service you can get from most mirrors and clones are almost the same as the original. But it’s essential to be careful with them. The original team doesn’t always do a mirror, and the new owners can have their agenda in publishing the website. Malware distribution could be part of their plan, making some of those mirrors a security threat for you. The easiest and best security measure against this type of threat in mirror sites is to use a VPN (we will tell you all about it in the next section).

The VPN won’t automatically make every site you visit clean, of course. If the site spreads malicious software, that won’t change. What the VPN will do for you is protect you from the malware on the website. But keep in mind that VPNs aren’t magical tools; you’ll still need to be cautious.

So while keeping all those issues in mind, the following four websites are good mirror options for YTS:

  • yify-movies.net
  • yts.pm
  • yify.is
  • yts.unblocked.ltda

How safe is it to use YIFY?

Good question. The most general and short answer is: yes, it’s safe. But the devil is in the details, and the material you choose to download could modify the answer significantly. For example, let’s say that you download a brand new torrent that has only been around for a couple of hours and that only a few other users have downloaded. On top of everything, this new torrent was uploaded by a new user. This is the scenario in which you’re more likely to get in trouble. The safest alternative would be to stick to the most popular torrents on the website, especially if the uploaders are the best-known groups such as MkvCage, RARBG, or EZTV. In this case, you should be pretty safe.

Keeping yourself safe from potentially harmful torrents is, of course, a good thing to do. But that in itself won’t keep you safe from hackers, your government, or even your ISP. As an internet user, you need to be mindful about this: those in this universe are trying to harvest your data for their own benefit (which often involves your detriment). Those wrongdoers include ISPs, government, hackers, but the list doesn’t end there. 

The only way to keep your data protected from third-party snoopers of any type is to always be in a VPN when you’re online. VPNs encrypt all your incoming and outgoing traffic at all times. This practice will prevent anybody from seeing what you’re doing on your computer or devices. Your ISP can’t figure out your activities, so it can’t throttle your service, as some providers like to do, especially when limiting the bandwidth they will allow you for torrenting or video streaming.

Besides the encryption, any VPN worthy of the name will do the other thing is spoof your physical location. Since your interaction with the rest of the Internet will be mediated by a server in the VPN network, the rest of the world will see all of your traffic as originating from that server. Hence every other computer you interact with online will think that you’re located at the VPN’s server’s location. Of course, this feature increases your security because it keeps your IP secret from anybody else. But it also has the advantage of enabling you to bypass any geo-location restrictions you could face on any website.

VPNs are an essential tool in today’s online world. They keep you anonymous safe, protect your privacy, and allow you to bypass blockages, censorship, and other restrictions.

Accessing YIFY movies securely

We advise you not to take any unnecessary risks when looking for the torrents you want to download. If you follow this procedure to use YIFY mirrors and clones, you will remain safe:

  • Ensure that you have an account with a premium VPN service (NordVPN would be best) and have a good antivirus suite working on your device (Kaspersky, for example).
  • Launch your VPN’s service app and connect to the VPN network.
  • Use Google to find a YIFY mirror.
  • Point your browser to the website you want, always ensuring that your antivirus and your VPN are working.

The best YIFY alternatives

If you want to assess the growth of any given industry globally, look at the number of new competitors that appear each year. This is no secret; the economists have had it figured out for ages. So if we go by the number of new torrenting sites there are on the web over the last few months, the BitTorrent network is definitely on the rise.

The growth in the torrenting industry is excellent for the community. It gives the users a more significant offer of trackers, bandwidth, and content. The BitTorrent network has never been more extensive, faster, or fraught with interesting torrents. Consequently, you can use YIFY as much as you like, if you want to. But it also means that there are plenty of alternatives for you to use and enjoy. Let’s see some of them.

1. ExtraTorrent

ExtraTorrent

The law enforcement agencies noticed ExtraTorrent and went against it back in 2017. If that hadn’t happened, ExtraTorrent would probably be everybody’s favorite torrent website at present. It was amazing because of the high-quality torrents and community activity regarding comments and content rating. It’s too bad it had to go, but it was great while it lasted.

But there’s no need for you to miss out on the ExtraTorrent experience just because the original site went down. There are plenty of mirrors and proxies, as often happens with successful torrenting websites. This one is the most popular ExtraTorrent clone out there, but there are many others for you to try. Also, make sure to be armed with your VPN before you enter ExtraTorrent so you can avoid the ads because an accidental click can take you to a potentially harmful website.


2. 1337x

1337X

1337x has been around for a long time. It has a good reputation in the BitTorrent ecosystem. Unlike YiFY, 1337x is not exclusively focused on movies and TV Shows. It features all types of content, and the site includes a rating system that will show you the top 100 torrents on the website.

This website goes offline every now and then, so don’t be surprised if you can’t find it every time you try to reach it. But it always comes back; just be patient and, of course, have your VPN online.


3. Kickass Torrents

KickAss Torrent

No more than a handful of torrenting sites can boast a reputation comparable with The Pirate Bay. Kickass Torrents is one of those few. Also known as KAT, this website has better screening tools for torrent search, a significant competitive advantage in the torrenting world.

The first Kickass Torrents went down, a victim of its own success. But unlike other disappeared original websites, it seems that the original developing team did not accept defeat as an option, re-grouped, and launched the new Kickass Torrents website. Whether true or not, the new KAT has remained reputable over the years, very influential, and with an active community.

The three alternative torrenting sources on this list have an advantage over YIFY: they feature a lot of high-quality movies like YIFY, but they have many other categories for you to browse and enjoy so that you can get a lot more content from these other websites.


Conclusion

The YIFY approach to movie torrents was a breakthrough for the torrenting world. The emphasis on high-quality and small file sizes maximized all the best features you could expect from any torrent. Unfortunately, the original YIFY went down, so we will never have the authentic experience again.

But there’s no need to despair. So many YIFY-like websites are out there, inspired by the original one, and they come very close to the initial approach. While none of the current websites are as reliable as the original one, they offer torrents that are good enough to be worth the download and share them with friends and family. That’s why the millions count these websites’ user base.

But getting the content you want for your entertainment is not the only concern we had in mind while writing this guide for you. Privacy and security awareness are just as important. That’s why having a good torrenting VPN service is essential in this day and age. No, you’re not paranoid if they’re actually out to get you — and, make no mistake, they are out to get you indeed, just remember Edward Snowden.

So now you know everything you need to have the best of both worlds by finding the best torrents for the latest movies you want to see but remaining safe, anonymous, and private while you do it. So share and enjoy, but above everything else, stay safe!

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About the Author

Abeerah is a passionate technology blogger and cybersecurity enthusiast. She yearns to know everything about the latest technology developments. Specifically, she’s crazy about the three C’s; computing, cybersecurity, and communication. When she is not writing, she’s reading about the tech world.

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