When it comes to measures to download torrents anonymously, changing the IP address is the most important one. But, with the increase of online monitoring, is hiding your IP still enough? Things are not so simple anymore.
What is the IP Address?
IP stands for “Internet Protocol”. This is the protocol that allows your device to communicate with other devices on the Internet. In simple terms, just like you need a physical address to receive a letter, you also need an IP for your computer to receive and send data.
The IP is your online identity, which you need in order connect to the Internet. This address consists of four numbers, separated by dots. Each of those numbers has between one to three digits, and ranges from 0 to 250, such as “184.108.40.206“.
As you may know, an IP is assigned to your connection, and it's only yours. For this reason, it is very easy to identify you on the Internet. Any agency can easily find out your identity through the IP address. That's why so many people look for ways to change their IP. The goal is to have online anonymity.
Can The IP Address Be Hidden?
This is another interesting point, the choice of words confuses many users and they get the wrong idea.
Some people think they can access the Internet without an IP, so they don't have any risk of being identified. Completely hiding an IP address is impossible. You cannot use the Internet without these identification numbers. Basically, you cannot have a blank space where you should have an IP address.
But camouflaging your IP is possible, just by using another one. That means you would use a fake IP, instead of your real one. It's important to understand that you can hide your true identity, but you still need an identity to use the Internet.
How To Change The IP Address With BitTorrent?
There are a few popular ways that torrent users use to change their IP addresses. The main ones are:
- A Virtual Private Network
- A Proxy
- A Seedbox
- The Tor Network
The one thing these tools have in common is that they allow the user to use a different IP address. They achieve that goal in different ways. For example, a VPN connects to a server that has its own IP and Tor connects to a network of computers of other users.
Obviously, some of these methods are safer and others not so much. We actually do not recommend Tor for torrenting and P2P. Besides having very slow download speeds, it does not have the same level of security as the other options.
Which One Is The Most Effective Way?
In our opinion, the best way to ensure your anonymity is with a good Virtual Private Network (VPN). Like all the other options, it changes your IP, but the big difference is that it also encrypts your entire connection.
Encryption can make all the difference when torrenting as well. And it should be on your top priorities for torrents, just like hiding your real IP.
Why Is Encryption an Advantage?
Remember that more things are being monitored than a few years ago. Changing the IP used to be enough to be safe. But now, other aspects of your connection can give you away.
For example, when you download a torrent file, you are not just using your BitTorrent client. Remember that you had to go online through your browser to find the torrent you wanted. Without a VPN, you would do that part of the process without encryption.
Nowadays, those sites are also being monitored. Sure, browsing in torrent sites isn't illegal, but you are basically showing what you are going to do next. That way, even if you replace your IP address with a new one when you start the download, it's going to be easier to get to you and your activity.
Because the VPN encrypts the entire Internet connection, that first part of the process would be hidden as well. Not even your Internet Service Provider would know what pages you visited or what you downloaded. The encryption would make everything look like gibberish to them.
Not All The VPNs Do a Good Job
Things are not as simple as using a VPN and everything is OK. There are other things to take into account, especially when talking about anonymous torrent downloads. The problem is that some VPNs keep registry logs of your online activity, and that can expose you in the future. This is a situation that is common with free VPNs. Selling your activity logs is their way of profiting.
A good VPN does not keep records of your activity. That makes it impossible for anyone to ever have access to your data.
These are some VPNs that do not log user data
Using a different IP address was always “kind of enough” to be on the safe side when torrenting. But all the entities trying to snoop on you are taking the game to a new level. As the number of ways to identify grow, users have to look for countermeasures to stay anonymous and protected.
That's why tools like Virtual Private Networks are gaining a lot of popularity. They provide the IP change that many people look for, but also more modern defense methods, such as encryption.