Many users make the mistake of getting a Virtual Private Network and start downloading torrents immediately. But sometimes, the default configuration of the VPN software is not the most appropriate for that type of download. That misconfiguration increases the risk of an activity and identity leak.
Setting up a VPN to download torrents is not a difficult thing. There are only a few options you have to activate once, and then you can forget about it.
Configure the VPN Settings
This guide cannot tell you precisely what steps to take to find the options we are going to discuss. Every software has a different user interface. We mean that such options and settings will be organized differently, located in different areas, depending on the VPN service you are using.
What we can do is to tell you what are those options, and why they are essential. Modern VPNs are easy to use, and you will find these features without a problem.
Turn the Kill Switch on
This is a very important tool in the torrent world, and it should be the first thing you activate. If there is a problem and a momentary VPN disconnection happens, this feature will interrupt the Internet connection. It prevents your real IP address from being visible while the VPN is not working.
For example, if you are downloading a torrent file and the VPN connection drops accidentally, the torrent download will stop as well. You will have no Internet until the VPN is working again. This kind of issue doesn't often happen with a good provider, but it's always a possibility. It's a handy tool that guarantees your security at all times.
Activate the DNS Leak Protection
DNS leaks are one of the biggest threats to anonymity, even when you feel protected. This is the way how ISPs log the activity of their clients.
When you use a Virtual Private Network, the DNS requests should go through their servers. Your ISP shouldn't be able to see your DNS requests anymore.
But unfortunately, it's not that simple! The problem is that Windows may use the default settings and still sends DNS requests through the ISP servers. In that case, your ISP can still see those requests, even if you are using a VPN.
That's why it's crucial to turn this option on, to make sure it overwrites the default Windows settings. This feature will make sure the requests are routed through the VPN DNS servers.
Choose a Protocol
As you probably know, the VPN establishes its connection through a protocol. Nowadays, the OpenVPN protocol is the most appropriate when you download torrents. It provides a good combination of security and speed. And the speed is one of the most important things when it comes to torrenting.
There are other protocols, but not as safe. Some VPNs are actually getting rid of weaker protocols, such as L2TP. As we mentioned, OpenVPN is the way to go, preferably UDP.
Disable IPv6 Traffic
IPv6 is still not very popular, and most VPN networks are configured for IPv4. Because of that, allowing IPv6 on a VPN configured to encrypt IPv4 may cause leakage on IPv6.
The new protocol will be more popular in the future, and VPNs will be reconfigured to be compatible with it. But for now, if your provider doesn't offer this option, it's recommended to turn IPv6 off, to avoid any risks.
IPVanish is a good example that shows you all the options we discussed. They make it very simple to configure because all the main tools are organized in the same window.
The last thing to do is to make sure your VPN is ready to start downloading torrents. The most common things to have a look at are the IP and speed. In other words, you want to ensure that you are anonymous and that your connection didn't get too slow because of your VPN connection.
In the first place, check the IP address from the VPN, the one you are now using. Go to an online IP test and make sure you are indeed using that IP. If you want to take this one step further, we have a good tutorial on how to check your torrent IP. That will tell you what IP you are using when downloading torrents. We recommend doing that.
You should do this at least once, just to ensure the VPN works as expected.
After you know you are safe, test your online speed. Go to a reliable speed test tool, and see if you didn't lose most of your connection speed. Remember that it's normal to have a little less speed. That happens because the VPN consumes resources. In case it's too slow, try connecting to another server.
Torrenting with the full protection of a VPN is not extremely hard, as it was years ago. Nowadays, providers have straightforward interfaces that allow changing settings by ticking a few boxes.
After activating the tools we suggested, you will decrease the risks of a snooper getting access to your torrent activity.