Torrenting in Australia has been impossible for regular citizens since the federal government started clamping down hard on torrent download sites in 2016. The Australia federal court ordered ISPs to block users from five popular sites including The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, and isoHunt. The clampdown intensified in 2017 when dozens of other torrenting sites and mirrors were added to the list.
At a glance, torrenting seems dead in Australia but not all hopes are lost. If you’re hoping to get hold of your favorite movie via torrent, what are the options available?
If you live in Australia, you might be interested in reading How the Australian Metadata Law Is Risking Your Privacy.
What Are the Risks of Torrenting in Australia?
Before you start exploring avenues of bypassing the blocks set up by the ISPs, you ought to understand the rationale behind the moves and what’s the risk of downloading torrents.
Prior to the court order, Australia earned the notorious tag for being the worst piracy nation on Planet Earth. While torrenting itself isn’t illegal, sharing copyrighted content is. It’s no secret that a huge portion of files that are shared around P2P users are copyrighted movies, music, games, and books.
When users have access to these materials—which are the hard work of artists, producers, and other professionals—companies and individuals stand to lose millions in revenue. Therefore, it’s only natural that the Australian government is blocking torrenting sites to curb piracy.
Australia also has a harsh anti-piracy law that carries a fine of up to A$117,000 and up to 5 years of jail time for individuals convicted of downloading copyrighted content. If you’re using a torrenting software, you need to be aware of the legal risks.
Disclaimer: 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.
Getting hauled to the court is just one of the many troubles you may get with torrenting. Another major concern for torrent users is the vulnerability to hackers. When you’re sharing or downloading a file on a torrenting software, your IP address is exposed to the entire swarm network.
If there’s a hacker lurking amongst the users, the exposed IP is an open invitation for an attack. You could suffer from losing important files or having confidential information stolen from your device.
An exposed IP can also be used to trace your identity. This means ISPs and government agencies could be spying on you when you’re downloading torrents.
To find out more about the risks, read: Is It Safe to Torrent Without a VPN?
How to Do Secure Torrenting in Australia
If you want to download torrents in Australia and you’d like to stay out of trouble, you’ll need to stay anonymous. This means hiding your IP address. Specifically, you’ll want to obtain a foreign IP address to escape the restrictions set up by the ISPs which target local connections.
A VPN is a network service that routes your connection through a series of private secure servers before connecting to the Internet. Getting a VPN will allow you to slip underneath the radar of ISPs, hackers, and enforcement agencies.
When you connect to a VPN server, your IP address is masked with a random IP from the server. Also, the communication from your device is encrypted. Any parties that manage to intercept the data will be unable to decipher the content within.
Setting up a VPN to allow secure torrenting in Australia is easy. For a start, you’ll need to sign up for a reliable VPN provider. NordVPN is one that works well with torrenting and, for this article, we’ll take you through the steps. (You’ll follow similar steps for any of our recommended VPNs at the end of this article.)
Here’s a step-by-step guide to torrenting safely with a VPN.
- Sign up to NordVPN and install the VPN software on your device.
- Launch the VPN software and connect to a server outside of Australia. For instance, connect to a US server to get a US-based IP address.
- Open a torrenting site on your browser. You’ll now be able to bypass the ISP blocks and access the site.
Best VPNs for Secure Torrenting in Australia
Considering the amount of risk that you’re dealing with when torrenting in Australia, you’ll need to pick the right VPN. It’s not about signing up for the cheapest package or going for the one that supports the most devices.
Instead, these factors are decisive when choosing a VPN for torrenting in Australia.
Not all VPNs encourage torrenting. Some explicitly discourage torrenting on the VPN. Only sign up for VPNs that support and are optimized for torrenting.
Security and stealth
The choice of encryption and protocol used by the VPN could very well determine how secure it is. Most reliable VPNs employ the AES-256 encryption and data are transferred via OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocol.
Avoid a VPN that’s using the L2TP protocol as it’s known to be vulnerable to attacks.
No IP leaks
You’re placing your trust in the VPN technology for not disclosing your IP. Therefore, it’s important for the VPN to not suffer from incidences of IP leaks, where your IP is exposed even when connected to the VPN.
Strict no-logs policy
Privacy goes beyond the VPN software. As you’re connecting to a VPN server, you’ll need to ensure that the provider does not store any logs that may disclose your identity or expose your torrenting activities.
To spare you the hassle of doing so, we’ve shortlisted these VPNs that allow access to torrenting in Australia.
|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|
Considering that torrenting is a frowned-upon activity in Australia, particularly with a hefty penalty in place, you wouldn’t want to be taking risks when doing so. Sign up for a VPN right now before torrenting.