The internet has opened up a lot of opportunities to people all over the globe, especially in terms of getting access to movies, music, video games, and other forms of content. For many years now, torrenting has been one of the most popular ways for people to get their hands on these kinds of files.
While we can’t condone online activities that overlook copyright laws and involve any kind of illegal activity, it’s important to note that there’s nothing illegal about having torrent software installed on your computer or other devices and using it to download certain files.
Different countries have different laws regarding torrenting and there are many perfectly legal torrent downloads available for public domain or open-license files. But no matter what you’re torrenting, you need to know that this form of online activity, while quick and convenient, also comes with risks.
Every time you download torrent files, you open yourself up to the possibility of other users being able to see your IP address, hack into your system, and even steal your identity. Not only that, but internet service providers and other companies might be able to observe your use of torrents and even send you to cease and desist notices, cut off your connection, or even contact the authorities.
This is why a lot of regular torrent uses are starting to make use of VPNs for torrenting. A VPN can make you totally anonymous when downloading files through torrent clients, protecting your identity, and providing an added layer of security from hackers and other threats. This guide will teach you all you need to know about VPNs and torrenting.
How Does Torrenting Work?
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of torrenting or just want to know how it works on a technical level, it’s basically a unique form of file sharing that differs from the usual form of downloading a file from a site or server. Usually, when you go on a website to download a file, the file will be stored on a server and made available for download directly from that server.
Torrenting uses a different approach in which files are stored on the computers and devices of lots of different users throughout the file-sharing network, also known as a peer to peer or P2P system. Those files can then be broken down into tiny chunks and sent off onto the computers of other users who want to download them, allowing all the users to share the files with each other.
So when you download a file using a torrent client, you’re actually downloading pieces of that file from lots of other users around the world, and then uploading it back to other users too. This means that downloading via torrent can be exceptionally fast, but it also makes it quite risky.
What Are the Risks Associated with Torrenting?
One of the main risks associated with torrenting is the fact that, when you download a file, your IP address is exposed to all the other users out there who are sharing that same file. This can make you a target for hacking attempts like DDoS attacks, as well as letting other torrent users, companies, and monitoring agencies see what you’re downloading and potentially use that information against you.
Some of the risks associated with torrenting depend on the files you’re downloading too. There are many perfectly legal files that are made available for download via torrent clients like uTorrent and BitTorrent, but there are also many users of these clients who download things like films and TV shows without paying the proper fees.
This is illegal and a violation of copyright law, meaning that you may receive a cease and desist letter from your internet service provider and you may even be threatened with legal action by the copyright holder in the worst-case scenario, with many torrent users actually being prosecuted for downloading new films and games for free.
Finally, some risks associated with torrenting concern the files themselves. Unless you’re downloading from an authorized, recognized site, you don’t always know what kinds of files will be in the torrents you download, and some torrents may be infected with malware, keyloggers, and other undesirable elements that could put you at risk.
How Does a VPN Help with Torrenting?
For frequent file shares and torrenting enthusiasts, a VPN is an absolutely essential anonymity and security tool that can give you a whole new layer of protection for all of your future torrenting, providing peace of mind and letting you use torrents without having to worry about anyone spying on you.
With a VPN installed and running on your system, your IP address will be hidden away from prying eyes, so no other torrent users or anyone else spying on the system will be able to see what you’re downloading at any one time, meaning that your torrenting activity can never be traced back to you.
Do VPNs Make Torrenting Totally Safe?
No, it’s important to stress that VPNs do not make torrenting totally safe if you plan on downloading torrent files from unsafe sites. A VPN will keep you anonymous and protect you from other users, hackers, and spying companies, but it won’t keep you safe from any malware you download or any unsafe ads you click on while visiting certain torrent sites, so you still need to exercise caution and only download torrents from trusted sources in order to stay totally safe.
What Devices Can I Use VPNs for Torrenting on?
This all depends on the torrent client you use and the VPN provider you choose as well. Some torrents, like uTorrent, can work across many devices and operating systems, with mobile apps for tablets and phones, and the same applies when it comes to torrenting VPNs as well; some of them are limited to use on computers and laptops, but others come with effective mobile apps to let you torrent on any device.
What Are Some Key Features to Look for in a Good Torrenting VPN?
If you want to find a torrenting VPN you can rely on, there are some key features that you should try to prioritize:
- Strong Encryption – If you want maximum protection from your VPN while torrenting, it pays to invest in one with state-of-the-art encryption technology. We’re talking about 256-bit encryption here, and you should definitely avoid any VPNs that are making use of the older and weaker PPTP system.
- A Kill Switch – A kill switch is a unique feature of some of the best VPNs for torrenting in which the whole internet connection will be automatically shut down if your VPN loses connection somehow. This is a major bonus for torrent users, as it means that your IP address will never be exposed, even if your VPN connection suddenly cuts out for a moment.
- Leak Protection – Leak protection or DNS protection is also essential in a top-rated VPN for torrenting. This helps to ensure that your VPN is totally solid and secure at all times, without any chance of accidentally leaking your true location or IP address to other users or agencies.
How Do I Find the Best VPN for Torrenting?
To find the best possible VPN for torrenting, we recommend focusing on the following aspects: security, speed, and privacy. You need strong security in order to encrypt your connection and stay safe when downloading your torrent files. You need good speeds to be able to download those files quickly and conveniently. And you need solid privacy features in order to remain anonymous when torrenting.
We also recommend paying special attention to the key features (256-bit encryption, kill switch, and leak protection) mentioned above, as these features all play key roles in how a VPN can keep you safe while torrenting. Lastly, we recommend reading through our expert VPN reviews and recommendations to learn more about the pros and cons of each one and see how well they performed for torrenting in our tests.
Will a VPN Slow Down My Torrent Downloads?
It’s possible that some VPNs out there will slow down your general download and upload speeds. This is because, when you connect to a VPN, you’re connecting to a server that may be very far away from you. With bigger distances come slower internet speeds, and this can result in longer download wait times for users to deal with. However, the best torrent VPNs tend to have large server networks and won’t affect your speeds in any noticeable way, whatsoever.
What Are Some Key Torrent Terms I Should Know?
If you’re just getting into the world of torrenting, all those new terms and phrases might seem a little confusing, so here’s a quick breakdown:
- Client – A client is the software you use to actually download torrents and connect with other users.
- P2P – This stands for ‘peer to peer’ and is the name of the file-sharing system used by torrent clients.
- Torrent – The term torrent usually refers to a very small ‘metadata’ file which is loaded into your client to help it find and connect with other users who have the file you want.
- Peer – Peer is the general term for users of a torrent client.
- Seeders – A seeder is a torrent user/peer who already has the file you want and is sharing it with you. More seeders usually means faster downloads.
- Leecher – A leecher is a user/peer who is downloading the file.