For almost two decades, torrenting has always been a convenient way to download movies, games, and applications. However, have you ever wondered how to download torrents safely and avoid potential repercussions for doing so?
Most torrent users are oblivious to the risks when using a P2P download program like BitTorrent or uTorrent. Such programs offer a quick solution to their download needs but also opens the door to the possibility of trouble.
Whether you’ve been a seasoned torrent user or an absolute newbie, you ought to be aware of what you’re exposing yourself to, and how to protect yourself in torrenting.
What is Torrenting?
During the era when high-speed internet wasn’t as common as it is today, torrenting programs were built on the BitTorrent protocol. The protocol enables large files to be shared and downloaded in smaller fragments.
Users form a peer-to-peer network where the fragment of files is transferred amongst the connected users. Users who are uploading the file are called seeders, while those that are downloading are known as leechers.
When the number of seeders grows, the download rate of the particular file is increased compared to waiting for hours or days for conventional download with a slow internet connection.
Why is Torrenting Dangerous?
Internet speed has improved dramatically since the early 2000s, but torrenting remains a popular way of sharing files on the Internet. Amidst the convenience of sharing and downloading files with BitTorrent programs, it’s important to be aware of the dangers in doing so.
File-sharing activities on a BitTorrent client strips off any privacy you have on the Internet. Your device IP address is exposed to the swarm of users that are torrenting the same file. This could mean that hundreds of BitTorrent users are privy to your IP address.
If you’re wondering why it’s a big deal to expose your IP address, here are some potential issues that could occur:
When you’re exposing your IP address to a group of torrent users, you’re putting yourself at risk of cyberattacks. There’s no guarantee that a hacker won’t be prowling for unsuspecting users to steal sensitive information from their devices.
Armed with IP addresses, hackers can run programs that expose vulnerabilities in the connected devices and even take control of the devices. While such scenarios may resemble thriller movies, that’s the ugly side of the Internet that happens on a daily basis.
The thing about torrenting is, it’s not always legal. Using a BitTorrent client isn’t illegal, but sharing and downloading copyrighted files is against the law in most countries. Considering that a large portion of downloads involves copyrighted-content like movies and games, the possibility of finding yourself in a lawsuit is real.
Hollywood studios have launched lawsuits against torrent downloaders in Canada, which can result in a fine of up to $20,000 if convicted. The downloaders are identified by none other than the exposed IP addresses when downloading torrents.
VPN Coffee does not condone illegal file-sharing or copyright infringement. Even though P2P file-sharing technology is legal, many of the files exchanged via P2P are indeed copyrighted. Uploading these copyrighted files can put you at risk of a civil lawsuit. While these lawsuits are often class-action cases, some have been targeted at individual users in an attempt to make an example of them.
So, How to Download Torrents Safely
While we strongly discourage using BitTorrent for illegal file sharing, it’s important to take precautions when you’re torrenting. You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law, just because you’ve downloaded a copyrighted file. Having your personal info stolen right under your nose isn’t fun either.
You’ll want to keep hackers and third parties at bay and ensure that you’re downloading torrents without compromising your security. Using a VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network, is the best way to do that.
A VPN allows you to torrent anonymously by masking your device IP address with one from its highly-secure servers. Data exchanged between your device, and the P2P network is also encrypted to prevent hackers from deciphering its content.
Granting stealth and security, a VPN prevents ISPs and agencies from picking up signals of your torrenting activities. It’s not only a great move to avoid unwanted lawsuits but also ensures no one is constantly peeking on your browsing activities.
Best VPNs for Torrenting
Due to increased awareness of the need for online security, various VPN providers have been popping up over the Internet. In order to get the best VPN for torrenting, it needs to fulfill these criteria.
1. Supports Torrenting
Not all VPNs are optimized for torrenting. Some providers frown upon P2P file sharing and block BitTorrent programs on the VPN. You’ll need to ensure the VPN allows torrenting on its network. Some torrent-friendly VPNs have dedicated servers for P2P and features that prevent monitoring from ISPs.
2. Secure Encryption and Protocol
A VPN is only as secure as the encryption and protocol that are used. Most industry-leading VPNs are based on the AES-256 encryption, which couldn’t be broken even via brute-force hacking. Most VPNs support OpenVPN and IKEv2 as standard protocols to transport data through their servers.
3. Fast Connection Speed
If you don’t want the torrenting experience to be spoilt by laggy connection, opt for a VPN that has reliably quick connection speed across its servers.
4. No-Logs Policy
A trustworthy VPN should protect its users, both online and offline. This means the VPN needs to have a strict no-logs policy where it doesn’t store IP addresses and other information that can be used to incriminate its users.
Based on such criteria, these are the best VPNs you can use for torrenting.
|Safe Jurisdiction||✅||✅||✅||No (USA)|
|Voice call-friendly connection speed||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Number of countries||50+||61+||59||75+|
|24/7 Customer support||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|No of devices||6||Unlimited||6||10|
|Supports chain VPN connections||Yes (Double VPN)||Yes (Multihop)||Yes (Double VPN)||No|
|$4.99 – $7.99||$1.99 – $11.95||$3.49 – $11.95||$3.25 – $5.00|
The Internet can be a nasty place and even more so for torrent users. You’ll want to stop taking foolish chances by downloading torrents without adequate protection. Getting a VPN should be your top priority to stay safe and anonymous when torrenting.
Try one of the recommended VPNs risk-free and keep prying eyes at bay.