Nowadays, torrenting unprotected allows your ISP and other agencies to see what you are doing. You may even get a nasty letter from a copyright monitoring group.
One thing is for sure, you need a VPN to download torrents. After coming to that conclusion, the question that probably pops up in your head is if it's worth to pay for one.
A free VPN may appear to provide a convenient solution for anonymous torrenting but there are potential risks. Before deciding to save a couple of dollars, you should understand the potential drawbacks.
- 1 A Free VPN Has to Pay for Their Own Bills
- 2 How do Free VPNs Make Money?
- 3 Is it Worth to Pay for a VPN to Download Torrents?
- 4 A Good VPN Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive
- 5 A Free VPN Isn't Worth The Risk
A Free VPN Has to Pay for Their Own Bills
In the first place, you should realize a very important thing, which is the fact that a VPN has quite some expenses. Even the ones that call themselves a “free service”. Like any other business, they need to make their money back somehow.
Servers are expensive
Servers are a very important part of a Virtual Private Network. Usually, each VPN provider has several servers spread in different countries. And keeping those servers running is necessary, and definitely not cheap.
It mainly comes down to the bandwidth and speed of their servers. The more capacity they have, the more expensive they are. When servers are being used for torrenting, such servers become even more expensive because they need an increased capacity of bandwidth and speed.
Developing the software
It's also expensive to build and continue developing the VPN software. Encryption isn't a simple matter and expert professionals will certainly charge for their services.
How do Free VPNs Make Money?
The real problem starts with the methods that many of these so called “free VPNs” use to make money. There are a few ways of how these services can recover the money they have invested and also generate profit.
1. Selling User Activity Logs to Third Parties
An overwhelming percentage of free VPNs track online activity. In other words, they keep log files of their user’s activity. And there are plenty of entities making business with such VPN providers, buying these logs. Marketing agencies are a good example. After knowing what you are searching online and what sites you are visiting, they will know what type of advertisement to show you.
But there are others, governments may also request these logs for various reasons, such as investigating someone.
VPN logs contain a variety of details about your activity, including:
- Browsing history
- Torrenting activity
- Connection times
- IP addresses
- Customer info
Whether you choose a free or paid VPN, always learn more about their logging practices. If you do not want the VPN service keeping a record of your activity, look for services with a no-logging policy.
2. Free VPNs May Sell Your Bandwidth
Besides selling activity logs, free VPNs may sell your bandwidth. They offer the bandwidth to premium customers, allowing them to enjoy faster download speeds.
To use the bandwidth of free users, the VPN service tunnels traffic through their computers. This can lower download speeds and bring additional security risks. With traffic routed through your computer, a paying customer may perform illegal online activities through your IP address. This practice also increases the chance of users getting exposed to malware and botnets.
This has happened a few times, botnets took over every computer connected to a specific free VPN service. With botnets, hackers gain access to the resources of infected computers, using them to conduct additional malicious activities or mine for bitcoin.
3. Including Advertising-Related Malware in Their Software
Other types of shady deals with marketing were uncovered in the past. Free versions of a Virtual Private Network have included advertising malware in their software. Naturally, that was after being paid by marketing agencies.
Some of these ads are completely harmless while others may contain malware. When using a free service, the ads typically appear in the settings and user interface but may also include annoying pop-ups.
Is it Worth to Pay for a VPN to Download Torrents?
Besides the security risks of torrenting with a free VPN, you will also get an inferior service. You will very likely get slower Internet speeds, data caps, fewer features and a limited selection of servers. You are also likely to see a lot of invasive advertisements.
Paying for a VPN will eliminate these problems when you use the BitTorrent protocol to download files and surfing the web.
But we also want you to understand that not all paid VPNs offer superior service compared to free VPNs. There are still sketchy paid services out there. However, there are also reliable VPNs that are light years away from shady free services. What they offer can make all the difference when it comes to your security and anonymity.
1. No Logging
Paid VPNs are more likely to offer no-logging policies, meaning that they do not track your torrenting activity.
2. Better Encryption
Luckily, paid services tend to provide better encryption. They use the latest security protocols and encryption methods to keep data private.
3. More Servers
Another benefit of choosing a paid service is access to more servers. With more servers, also comes greater reliability. You have more options when choosing your destination country, which is useful when trying to access geo-restricted content.
More servers also mean that the users will be spread through many servers, not overcrowding them. That means fewer disconnections and faster download and upload speed.
4. More Important Features
Dropped connections are less common but still a potential issue with any VPN service. Losing the connection with the VPN server exposes your normal IP address and location.
Many paid VPNs provide a kill switch tool. This feature terminates your Internet activity before anyone has the chance to track your real identity and IP address.
5. Faster Connections
When torrenting, Internet speeds matter. That's why it's important that the VPN server has plenty of bandwidth to handle many simultaneous users downloading files at the same time.
If it has a limited capacity, it will limit your download speed considerably. With a reliable VPN, you tend to get faster speeds when you download torrents because servers are properly maintained.
A Good VPN Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive
Some paid VPN providers offer reasonable prices. That allows you to enjoy the benefits of better encryption and faster download speeds for your torrent files, without spending too much.
It's always better to pay a couple of dollars per month and have peace of mind with a VPN that does what it should: keep your activity anonymous and private.
Cheap VPNs that allow torrents
A Free VPN Isn't Worth The Risk
Basically, using a free VPN may put your identity and torrenting activity at risk of exposure. If your ISP catches on to your downloading habits, they may throttle your bandwidth or even cancel your services. Not to mention heavy penalties that are applied in some countries.
Free VPNs also tend to offer slower connection speeds and fewer server options. Overall, the potential risks of using a free VPN do not outweigh the advantage of not having to pay.
There are many affordable VPN options with no logs, faster connections, and more servers. Having decent protection does not have to be expensive, all it takes is good research.