Your Internet service provider, copyright monitoring agencies, and even hackers may be tracking your torrenting habits. Without the right precautions, your behavior is easily monitored. You may face potentially serious risks, including getting your Internet services revoked. With a VPN, you can mask your identity and download torrents anonymously.
If you want to remain hidden, explore the main features of Virtual Private Networks. Such services allow you to be anonymous when you download your files.
When you use a BitTorrent client, you connect to a network of other users who are downloading and uploading (seeding) the same files. This is called peer-to-peer file-sharing. Instead of downloading files from a central server, you are downloading chunks of data from the peers connected to the same network.
The IP address of each user is easily visible to anyone monitoring or connecting to the network, which means that your IP address is also exposed. Anyone can monitor your torrenting activity, including your ISP. That means that without any additional protection, your Internet activity is public.
Why Should You Torrent Anonymously?
The protocols and BitTorrent clients used to download torrents are legal. But when you use these methods to download copyrighted material, you are committing a copyright violation.
Users have been penalized for torrenting copyrighted content. Your ISP may cancel your services or cap your bandwidth. You may also receive emails threatening legal action.
How do they see your torrent activity?
Torrents use a specific protocol for establishing P2P networks and downloading files. Compared to directly downloading a file from a central server, BitTorrent traffic is easier to detect due to its distinct protocol.
Your ISP may not monitor every website that you visit. However, establishing a P2P connection through a BitTorrent client raises a red flag. They may then monitor the information getting shared on the P2P network to determine if you are downloading illegal content.
Besides your ISP, you also need to worry about copyright monitors. There are agencies that monitor P2P networks. When they detect users sharing copyrighted content, they track their IP addresses. After that, they may send emails threatening legal action. Some of them work for major content producers, such as movie studios, while others are simply trolls trying to extort money. Using a reliable VPN to download torrents will protect you against these agencies and extortionists.
How Can a VPN Protect Your Identity?
A Virtual Private Network routes traffic through its servers to create secure connections. When you use this software on your computer, you get connected to a secure VPN server. That server then connects to the websites that you want to visit. All data transmitted between your computer and the Internet is encrypted through the VPN, ensuring that your activity is completely anonymous.
Another great benefit is the fact that most VPN services operate a network of servers located across the globe. In other words, the user can select a server located in a specific country, and have a new IP address from that place. Anyone monitoring your traffic only sees the IP address of the VPN server. Your location, IP address, downloads, and Internet activity are masked behind the Virtual Private Network.
Best Torrent-Friendly VPN Providers
This is our list of recommended VPNs for file-sharing. The ranking order is based on our test results, personal opinions and other criteria that we will mention a bit further. And keep in mind that, even though these providers are also useful for other purposes, the main priority of this ranking is the ability to download torrents.
NordVPN is an excellent choice for torrenting. It has a good combination of safety features, speed and price, making it a great all-around VPN. It’s great for those who are looking for a simple software with powerful options.
The simplicity and efficiency of ExpressVPN are outstanding. The software is very easy to use, with all the main options and it also has good speeds. It offers a high level of encryption with a simple click of a button. A perfect option for all kind of users.
Surfshark is a new and promising provider. For a newcomer, it has as an impressive number of useful security tools, a decent amount of servers and a good speed. On top of that, it’s very easy to use. The best part is that it has one of the best prices in the VPN market.
CyberGhost has a new software version with important improvements. It has the basic features and also a few unique tools of their own. If we add fast speeds and a good company location, the result is a very good VPN for all kinds of downloads.
IPVanish has great encryption and useful features. But the special thing about this software is the speed, which is very high on many servers. It’s a great solution for torrenting because it provides a mix of anonymity and a fast connection.
PIA is the choice of many file-sharing enthusiasts because of their high quality combined with a very decent price. They have nice extra features to increase security and a big amount of servers. It’s definitely worth considering this option.
After the last update, PureVPN’s software had significant improvements. With plenty of features, lots of server locations and good connection speeds, it does a great job when downloading torrent files. Also, the price is one of the most attractive things.
What Makes a Good VPN for P2P?
When testing a Virtual Private Network, we consider many factors. A good VPN should follow some criteria in order to keep users anonymous and safe. The following are the factors we considered to make our selection.
- Allows P2P: The first selection criteria was to identify the providers that allow BitTorrent traffic. This subject has to be very clear in the terms of service of each software.
- Encryption: We only consider software that offers the highest level of encryption. At the moment, the highest is an AES 256 bits cipher.
- Protocol: OpenVPN is the safest protocol, the one we recommend. We will only include providers that have it available in their software.
- Speed: The encryption has an impact on the speed of the Internet connection. With some VPNs out there, the speed loss is quite big, but with others not so much. When we talk about torrenting, download speed is an important factor. We were careful enough to choose the ones that don’t have a very noticeable impact on the speed.
- Extra features: Features that increase security was also a factor to consider in our selection. Some features are very valuable, to the point that we see them as mandatory, like the Kill Switch. We excluded some providers because they don’t have this kind of tools available.
- Servers: We made sure that we only recommend VPNs that have plenty of fast servers, fairly distributed around the globe.
- Bandwidth: Being able to download an unlimited amount of data is mandatory for file-sharing and P2P. All the options in our ranking have unlimited bandwidth.
- Ease of Use: We also prioritized software that makes it easy for the users. It makes all the difference when a program is easy to navigate. For example, some of them make it possible to establish an encrypted connection with one single click.
- Price: Although this wasn’t an excluding factor, the price-quality ratio was relevant in the order of our ranking.
Torrents are a great way to gain access to a myriad of media files and documents. But without a Virtual Private Network, you run the risk of having your Internet shutdown by your ISP, or even facing legal actions. The next time you choose to download a torrent file, think smart and get yourself a VPN.
There are two main advantages of using a VPN to download your torrent files. Before any data gets transmitted to or from your computer, it gets encrypted. Your IP address is also hidden from the sites and servers that you connect to. That way, you are completely free to download torrents and browse the web anonymously.