COVID-19 ‘Lockdowns’ Directly Impacted Torrent Download Numbers in Several Countries

COVID-19 ‘Lockdowns’ Directly Impacted Torrent Download Numbers in Several Countries

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, many governments have imposed lockdowns and are advising their citizens to follow social distancing. There have been wide-ranging consequences of these restrictions so far and there has been an increase in piracy and BitTorrent traffic as well. In this article, we will show you how the restrictions have made a major role in traffic increase in different countries.

Now, this doesn’t come as a surprise that due to the coronavirus pandemic, internet traffic has greatly increased as more people have started using it for work-related tasks, entertainment, and file-sharing purposes.

In the last few weeks, downloading of content from popular websites like YTS, The Pirate Bay, RARBG, etc. has boosted tremendously. While you can clearly see this upward rise in the global market, a better perspective can be gained by focusing on the download traffic of each country. And that’s exactly what we did and honestly, the results are quite interesting.


To start, take the example of Italy, it was the very first country in the European continent to get badly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the cases started surging with a huge death toll everywhere and no relief in sight, the Italy government decided to pose some restrictions on their citizens and implemented a lockdown from 9th March, ordering people to stay indoors and go out only to buy essentials like grocery, medicines, etc.

With the help of the data provided by https://iknowwhatyoudownload.com/en/peer/, it was easy to figure out the total number of the Italian IP addresses that were involved in torrents sharing from the beginning of this year along with the total number of downloads that were tracked.

As you can see from the below graph, both the total number of downloads in a day and the number of unique IP addresses for sharing reached a sudden high on March 9th, 2020. For a few days, both these numbers increased, and then after a while, it got stabilized.

It is interesting to note that on 8th March, just 1 day before the lockdown, there were around 213K unique IP addresses and 592K downloads. But, after just a week, the unique IP addresses value reached 304K while the downloads were increased to 810K.


A similar Internet trend can be witnessed in Spain as well a few days later, as the local government imposed similar lockdown measures here to keep the coronavirus infections in control. In Spain, the Spanish government started the lockdown from 14th March 2020 and both the number of unique IP addresses and the number of downloads reached a new high on that same date.

Again, similar to how it was in Italy, both these numbers continued to increased for a few days and later were stabilized. In fact, it has been noted that the number of downloads and unique IP addresses were approximately up by a third, just after a week from the lockdown date.


You can notice a similar pattern for France, as well as the countrywide lockdown measures, came into force. The country saw the year’s highest number of downloads and unique IP addresses on the date of the lockdown which gradually kept increasing for the next few days.

United Kingdom

Now, the effect seen in the United Kingdom is slightly different and not as pronounced as other countries. This could be because the UK never put strict measures in place and people were still allowed to travel around freely in the country.

However, there is still an upward trend that you can notice in the downloads and unique IP addresses for the UK as well, even though it is less pronounced than other countries.

The Netherlands and Sweden

While European countries like France, Spain, and Italy have seen a massive rise in the numbers, the same is not true for European countries like Sweden and The Netherlands. Considered as outliers in Europe, The Netherlands showed no sudden spike in the downloads or unique IP addresses even though an intelligent lockdown measure has been put in place.

On the other hand, you don’t see much change in torrents download for Sweden as well although this was kind of expected. The Scandinavian country has placed no extreme measures to curb the virus spread till now.