Let’s face it. It’s 2020 and torrenting without using a VPN is simply inviting trouble to your doorstep. When you use a torrenting client without any protection, you’re basically leaving your digital footprints everywhere. Aside from exposing your identity and real location (which makes you extremely vulnerable to identity theft and hackers), your traffic is generally available to the public so someone can easily intercept your download and infect your device with malware. Also, without a VPN your ISP can easily peep into your online activities. This is concerning because in recent years ISPs have been given the green light to sell anonymized user metadata.
How does a VPN protect your privacy when you torrent?
There are two key ways for VPNs to protect you when torrenting. First, they put a blindfold on your ISP (or anyone on your local and ISP network) by encrypting all the files you upload and download when they pass through your ISP’s server networks. Your ISP would need to exert extra effort – and resources – to crack the encryption and take a peep at the files you upload or download.
Second, VPNs prevent users from the same “swarm” from seeing your IP address. When you seed or when you leech files on a network, some torrent clients allow you to see a list of devices you’re connected to. Without the extra layer of protection afforded by a VPN, your real IP address is exposed to others on the same network and can be used to approximate your location and ISP. This method has been used by copyright trolls whose job is to identify individuals who torrent and send them settlement letters. When you use a VPN to mask your IP address, other users in the swarm can only see the IP address of the P2P VPN server. Usually, the best VPNs for torrenting use shared IP addresses and assigns hundreds of users the same IP address. This makes it impossible to trace back to a single person on any torrenting activities.
What are the things you need to consider when choosing the best VPN for torrenting?
A reliable, fast, and safe VPN that allows P2P sharing is the best option when you’re torrenting. Be careful, however, since a lot of “torrent” VPNs are not exactly what they claim to be. Some issues found by users with these VPNs include:
- Very slow torrent downloads.
- No adequate leak protection to ensure that the users identifying information is not exposed to copyright trolls or other third parties.
- Keeping logs of users’ activities despite claims of not doing so, thus making users more vulnerable since specific information can be traced back to a single person.
- Fast speeds is important when you don’t want to spend hours sitting around while seeding a file. If you want to test for this particular standard, remember to use an independent testing app instead of the VPN’s own tool.
- Unlimited data is another criterion you’d want to test to make sure that you have completely unrestricted downloads without having to fret about a data cap.
- P2P sharing should be allowed (or at least not discouraged) so you know that you can depend on your VPN to seed and leech files.
- Absolute anonymity through your VPN’s jurisdiction and strict no-logs policy should be ensured. No data should be kept about your device, your browsing history, or your connection, and there should be no risk of all this information being shared with government agencies.
- You might also want to consider extra security features like DNS leak protection, advanced encryption, and automatic kill switches. These extra features help to make sure you are always completely secure and protected.
With all the choices available in the market, how exactly do you go around hunting for the best VPN for your torrenting needs? Here are some of the standards that VPNs must meet in order to be considered one of the best.
Can you torrent safely using free VPN?
We strongly advice against doing so. Why?
Sure, you might be saving money by not paying for the VPN, but the extreme security risks and other restrictions it comes with will certainly cost you more. Aside from that, many free VPN services usually log your online activities and sell it to the highest bidder!
The bottom line on using VPN for torrenting
In this day and age there are very few ways to keep yourself safe and away from prying eyes while torrenting. Aside from protecting yourself against copyright infringement issues, there are also other alarming trends that make using reliable VPN services all the more important:
- ISPs all over the world are now allowed to log your activities and sell this information to third parties – including media and advertising companies, corporate partners, and government authorities.
- ISPs and governments around the world are actively blocking and shutting down torrent websites. This activity is very prominent in countries like Australia, the UK, and in parts of Europe.
- A number of ISPs are known to cancel internet services over repeated copyright violations.
Whatever the case may be, it is clear that using a VPN is one of the most effective and smartest ways to keep yourself and your privacy secure and protected.