If you’ve stumbled on this article, chances are you’ve been torrenting without a VPN. Perhaps you’ve heard a rumor of a fellow torrent user who’s been caught and hauled to court. Or you may be wondering if you’re taking foolish risks by not subscribing to a VPN.
What is Torrenting?
Let’s dive deeper into the background of torrenting technology before we start judging if we’re on the safe side of the Internet and the law.
The torrenting protocol was introduced in an era when the Internet was relatively slow. In those days, you used a 56.6 K modem and it took a couple of minutes before you were connected. Downloading large files from a server took hours, if not days. This created a demand for software that allowed users to share files efficiently, and thus, torrenting clients were born.
A torrent software splits a large file into smaller bits and allows users to share the file amongst their peers. Chunks of downloaded files are then combined as a whole. The beauty of torrenting software is that the larger the number of seeders (users who upload and share their downloaded files with others), the higher the download speed. During the early days of the Internet, torrenting was way more efficient than conventional downloading and had a distinct advantage in terms of speed and time.
You would have thought that the torrenting community would suffer a slow death as internet speed increases exponentially and gigabytes of a file are downloaded within minutes. But the fact is, the torrenting community is still very much alive. Apart from the upgraded interface, torrent users still enjoy downloading games, videos, music, and other types of files on torrenting clients.
Now, with the rapid advancement in tech, you may be wondering: Is torrenting without a VPN much safer in the 2000s or is the recent hype of using a VPN for torrenting nothing more than mere marketing attempts to get you to subscribe?
To be fair, the Internet has evolved drastically in the past decade. This means that online threats and hacking techniques have grown considerably. New terms like malware, DDoS, and ransomware that were once non-existent are now terrorizing internet users today.
Copyright infringement is also on the rise and enforcement is tightening the legal noose on users violating the law. While torrenting is legal, some of the contents may not be and you can’t be too sure which content is safe. In the UK, torrent users caught downloading and sharing copyrighted material may find themselves facing a 10-year jail term.
We’re not condoning copyright-infringement and the illegal use of torrenting software. However, we want you to be aware of the risk when torrenting even when doing so legally.
Why is Torrenting Unsafe?
There are a number of users on the torrenting sites. To start transferring files on a torrent software, you’ll need seeders to share their files with everyone. There also are leechers or downloaders who receive more than they give to the torrent community.
Regardless of whether you are a leecher or seeder, using torrenting software exposes your device’s IP address publicly to users downloading the same torrent. It’s basically screaming out your virtual address to the community.
Exposing your device’s IP address to the public is a bad security practice. It makes you vulnerable as a target for either direct or indirect attacks.
What are The Dangers of Torrenting Without a VPN?
With your IP address exposed, you’re at risk of potential threats and breaches that you don’t want to deal with.
Breach of Privacy
When you’re torrenting without a VPN, you’re giving away your privacy on the Internet. Users on the torrenting software can acquire your IP address. It’s a mistake to assume that no one will use the information against you.
Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) isn’t the greatest fan of torrenting software. Questions of legality aside, torrenting software is notorious for taking up a huge chunk of bandwidth. And most ISPs do not tolerate that.
When you’re connecting to a torrenting software without a VPN, your ISP is aware of your online activities. It is possible for your IP address to be blacklisted and you may experience throttling that slows down internet speed considerably.
Some ISPs may be more drastic, such as terminating the agreement if you’re continually caught using torrenting software.
TOP VPNs for Safe Torrenting:
Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
Let’s not pretend that torrenting is all pure and innocent. Copyrighted labels, games, and movies are being shared blatantly by torrent users. While torrenting technology is legit, sharing copyrighted material is not.
We’re not supporting the act of breaking the copyright laws, but we’re highlighting the possibility of getting into trouble with law enforcement. With your IP address exposed, you’re at risk of being served a lawsuit if you’re sharing copyrighted files, unknowingly or not.
The content agency or creator may be monitoring the internet traffic for illegal downloads and may flag your IP address when you’re torrenting. It can be the start of a complicated legal process that you can do without.
With an exposed IP, torrent users are vulnerable to attacks launched by a hacker or may find themselves being used in one. If your computer hosts sensitive information, there is a risk of a data breach when you’re using it for torrenting.
Hackers can hack a device based on an IP address. What’s more, they may also gain access to other devices sharing the same network. It’s too much a price to pay just for downloading some files on a torrent client.
How Does a VPN Keep You Safe?
Enter the VPN or Virtual Private Network. It’s a network service that has become increasingly popular as internet users seek anonymity and safety online. A VPN employs a network of servers all over the world to channel your data on the internet.
When connected to a VPN, your device’s IP address will be hidden to the public. Instead, it will take on a virtual IP address that is assigned by the VPN. Hackers would be clueless to your location even if the virtual IP address appeared on the torrenting client.
Besides hiding your identity, a VPN also encrypts information leaving and entering your device. This means your torrenting and other online browsing activities will be hidden from hackers, ISPs, and enforcement agencies.
With that said, you wouldn’t want to use any VPN that you could find on the internet. Some VPNs are littered with security flaws that may unknowingly expose your IP address. Others may log your activities without your knowledge and may be accessed by government agencies.
Instead, you’ll want to use a VPN that is proven to be secure and has a strict no-logging policy. It’s also important that the selected VPN supports torrenting activity. As a rule of thumb, avoid using free VPNs as they are generally less secure than their paid counterparts.
Top VPN for Torrenting
It pays to stay safe when you’re torrenting, and here are some of the top VPNs that deserve your attention.
ExpressVPN is arguably one of the fastest VPNs around. It supports P2P and torrenting software and has more than 3,000 servers that you can connect to. When torrenting, you’ll be protected by the combination of AES-256 encryptions and OpenVPN protocol. No DNS-leak issues have been detected on ExpressVPN.
NordVPN is a well-known VPN that is inherently secure and fast. It allows users access to more than 5,000 secure servers in 60 countries. NordVPN is based in Panama and has a strict no-logging policy. Connections established on NordVPN are protected by highly-secure AES-256 encryption.
Surfshark is one of the newcomers in the VPN industry that has impressed users with its speed and security. It’s located in the British Virgin Islands, and that spares Surfshark from sharing data with government agencies. With that said, Surfshark has a clear no-logs policy that allows torrenting with peace of mind.
TorGuard is a decent VPN that reliably hides your IP address when torrenting. It supports up to 5 simultaneous connections and allows access to more than 3,000 servers in 55 countries. TorGuard is highly optimized for torrent performance, and that translates into greater speed when torrenting.
5. Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access (PIA) packs the speed needed to enjoy downloading on torrenting clients. PIA is torrent-friendly, and none of your activities will be logged by the VPN. The VPN has no known DNS-leak issues and allows you to choose from AES-128 or the highly-secure AE-256 encryption.
6. Avast Secureline VPN
Avast Secureline VPN or popularly known as Avast VPN was launched in 2014 by a company that has been in the antivirus business since 1988. It is downloadable on popular operating platforms like Windows, MAC, Android, and iOS. Up to five different devices are allowed to connect to Avast VPN from a single account.
Torrenting is a convenient way to share or download files. But exposing your IP address to the torrenting community is taking unnecessary risks. You wouldn’t want to become the target of a hacker when all you want to do is to download the movie that you’ve been longing to see.
Also, it’s important to be aware that authorities are clamping hard on users who violate copyright-infringement laws. While we discourage such acts, using torrenting software without a VPN puts you at risk of being hauled up by the law.
It is wise to use a VPN when torrenting. It helps you to stay anonymous and prevents you from being a targetted by hackers. It also keeps you off the radar of ISPs or government agencies that are monitoring the usage of torrenting software on the internet.
We’ve highlighted the criteria that you should pay attention to when choosing a VPN for torrenting. Also, we’ve shortlisted the top VPNs that are highly supportive of torrenting activities.
It makes no sense to continue putting yourself at risk by torrenting without a VPN. Sign up to a VPN now and stay safe when torrenting.