Anonymity matters in a world where the Internet is increasingly censored and restricted. If you want to protect your identity and keep your online activities private, you’ll need to rely on specialized tools and services.
For torrenting especially, privacy is a must. Many countries have completely blocked or severely limited access to pirate sites in recent years. Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom are just a few examples. Regardless of what you’re doing online, you have a right to anonymity.
A Seedbox or VPN could give you more freedom while keeping you safe. Both options change your IP address with the goal of making you anonymous. But they do it in a different way, which makes these tools very distinct from each other.
Let’s look at what these services are and how they can protect your data and personal information. And also which is the most feature-rich for BitTorrent and other online activities.
What is a Seedbox?
A seedbox is a remote server hosted in a data center, designed exclusively for downloading and uploading torrents in a safe way. Seedbox providers typically offer high data rates (sometimes up to 10 Gbps) making them appealing for power users in the file-sharing community.
With a seedbox, you can remotely download and share torrents outside of your local network. To access stored files, you’ll pull them from a seedbox using a secure HTTPS connection. This keeps your activity private and shielded from your ISP or other prying eyes.
The Advantages of Torrenting With a Seedbox
A seedbox can be compelling for the right user.
- Anyone trying to track you will see the IP address of the seedbox, not yours.
- Speeds often range between 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps depending on the plan and service provider. This allows for rapid downloading and seeding to maintain the ratios that are often required by private torrent trackers.
- Some advanced services offer protocols like secure FTP to enhance security and make the local download process simpler and faster.
- It’s possible to configure PLEX media server integration. That allows you to stream content from your seedbox to any device on any connection.
The Disadvantages of Using a Seedbox
While useful for torrenting, a seedbox is not without downsides.
- Because files are stored remotely, you need to download them twice. First to the seedbox, and then to your device. Even if you have a fast connection, repeating the download process is an inconvenience for most users.
- It doesn't encrypt your traffic, making you more exposed.
- Seedboxes add additional steps to download files, which can be intimidating even for some mid-level users.
- Some seedboxes do not allow file-sharing from public trackers.
- They don’t offer configuration options, like changing location.
- Limitations on storage and bandwidth.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network is a more versatile alternative to a seedbox. Using this type of service can give you anonymity online, helping to keep you protected when torrenting. A VPN can be configured locally on your computer and on mobile devices. If your router supports it, you can even shield your entire network with a VPN without performing per-device configuration.
When using this software, your traffic is forwarded outside of your network to servers owned by the VPN provider. You are connected to a remote server through an encrypted tunnel. The key distinction here is that ALL your traffic is protected from prying eyes. Whether you’re torrenting or browsing the Internet, you will enjoy enhanced security.
The Advantages of Using a VPN for File-Sharing
A Virtual Private Network is a more rounded privacy and security solution, offering several advantages.
- A VPN routes traffic outside of your ISP’s network through an encrypted tunnel.
- If someone tries to follow your activity they will only see the IP of the VPN server you're connected to, not your real IP address.
- Important security features, such as server locations, DNS leak protection and Kill Switch.
- By choosing a server in a specific country, you make it look like you are in that place.
- The best providers don’t place restrictions on traffic sources. This means you can use both private and public torrent trackers.
- It's configurable on multiple devices to protect all incoming and outgoing traffic.
- The setup is less complex than a seedbox.
- No risk of throttling from your ISP.
- You can go beyond torrenting. It also allows you to bypass geo-restrictions. That's very handy for streaming services, online gaming, digital purchases, etc.
- There are quite some affordable and trusted VPN services available.
The Disadvantages of Using a VPN
In most cases, the negative side of VPNs is dependent on the provider.
- Incorrectly configuring a VPN or forgetting to turn it on could reveal your activity to your ISP.
- If you get poor quality software, it may limit your download and upload speed.
- There are no reliable free VPN providers, which means you have to get a subscription from a trusted one to make sure you are protected.
- Not all providers offer unlimited bandwidth.
- Not every VPN allows BitTorrent traffic.
The Bottom Line: Seedbox or VPN for Torrenting?
We’ve explored two compelling and different solutions for torrenting anonymously and securely.
The advantages of a seedbox are significant, but the solution lacks versatility. The learning curve is high and is usually the biggest barrier for most users. Some of the advanced features, like FTP downloading and PLEX integration only add more layers of complexity.
A Virtual Private Network is by no means perfect, but it is the more rounded solution. Once configured, it allows you to torrent and use the Internet as you normally would. The difference is that your traffic will be encrypted and your location and IP address will be hidden.
The extra features and user-friendly nature of a VPN make it the ideal solution if you want to torrent with tranquility. You’ll also enjoy increased security for all your online activities. In an age where data and identity theft is common, the ability to anonymize yourself online should not be overlooked.