Torrenting with VPN Provides the Perfect Cover
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are designed to hide your true IP address, and all content that you are accessing online. Without a VPN, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can easily monitor all your traffic, including your torrenting activity. Every online user has an ISP address, and this includes valuable data which can be traced directly back to you.If you don't hide your IP address, bad actors on the Internet will have a clear window into your browsing history. This places you at tremendous risk, since government agencies, hackers, and criminals can easily track every move you make.
A VPN is an ingenious tool. Once you connect to a VPN server, your ISP provider knows nothing about your browsing activity beyond your connection to the VPN. The VPN serves as a global gateway to anywhere you want to go on the Internet. It cloaks your browsing activity from everyone (besides the VPN service provider), allowing you to safely, securely, and anonymously surf the web.
Torrenting has come under tremendous scrutiny in recent years. Copyright laws are particularly harsh, and many torrent websites offering downloads for movies, TV shows, documentaries, and sports broadcasts often do so without the requisite licensing and regulatory approval. As a viewer, you may be putting yourself at risk by accessing torrenting sites uncloaked. Like so many others, I wanted to know whether it is legal or illegal to torrent files. Truth be told, it depends on the type of content you're watching, but generally most of us like to watch content produced by the big movie studios, and independent broadcasting networks. All of this content is subject to copyright laws.
If the torrenting website does not have approval to disseminate this content or allow users to download it, we start to wade into murky waters. Rather than run the risk of criminal prosecution, it's best to stay safe online when you are downloading torrents. VPNs offer the necessary safeguards to help you torrent privately, securely, and anonymously.
Why Do You Need to Use A VPN While Torrenting?
Let's say you are logging on to your favorite torrent site such as 1337X, EZTV, The Pirate Bay, Dytt8, Torrent9, or YTS.am. If you were to forego the VPN option, then government agencies, hackers or criminals lurking in the shadows would be able to see your IP address when you download torrents. That's not a smart move. Your first point of contact should be a reputable VPN service which you connect to before you download any torrents.
Recall that once you're connected through VPN server in a different country or a different city, the only IP address that hackers will see is that of the VPN server to which you are now connected. Be sure that you are using a P2P friendly service and always use a VPN with a kill switch to immediately cut the connection if you're disconnected. That way your true IP address will never be revealed.
Over the years, the authorities have been cracking the whip against people who download movie files, music files, and other proprietary content to their computers and then share those files with other people. It is generally safer to stream ‘gray content’ than to download it. But if you must download torrent files, use this comprehensive guide to do so as safely as possible.
Believe it or not, there are many other downloads you can enjoy through torrent websites. Nowadays, video games, movie files, academic research and other multimedia options are incredibly popular and readily available through top-tier torrent sites too. With a torrent file, small bits of data (part of a much larger file) are shared among many users.
By sharing small bits of data across a vast network, it is much quicker to download large files. You may be wondering why you simply don't use Tor rather than a VPN to download torrent files? The short answer is efficiency. Tor is way too slow and ineffective. VPNs offer rapid download speeds, maximum privacy, and terrific security to users.
It has to be said that not all VPNs support torrent downloads. That’s why our in-house team of VPN experts have scoured the web in search of VPNs that are ideally suited to work with torrents and P2P downloads. It’s really important to heed the experts’ advice on this matter since the wrong VPN will leave you exposed and vulnerable to hackers and government agencies.
What Should You Know Before Picking the Right Torrenting VPN For You?
You should know from the get go that not every VPN service supports torrenting. Some of them actually discourage it entirely. We are not here to debate the issue of whether you should or should not torrent files with a VPN. This guide is designed to explain what to look for if you choose to do so.
Torrent files take time to download. Generally, when you connect your computer, or mobile device to a VPN you can expect your connection to slow down somewhat. This is not always the case however. Sometimes, a phenomenon known as ISP throttling takes place with your Internet service provider. In other words, your Internet service may limit your bandwidth or usage during specific times of the day, or simply based on your own browsing activity. But, if your ISP doesn't know what you're doing – because you’re downloading content through aVPN service – the VPN can actually eliminate ISP throttling. This will help you with torrent-related activity.
It's really important to do your homework with VPN service providers. Even the most popular VPN options may not be the best choice for you. It's all in the fine print. If the logs policy states that the VPN service provider monitors your browsing activity and is prepared to share user logs with the authorities upon request, avoid it at all costs. You may be surprised to learn that high-profile VPN providers like Hide My Ass actually share user logs with the authorities if they are issued a court order for your information. You certainly don't want to be torrenting with a VPN provider that is prepared to share user logs.
Another thing to watch out for is the expected download speeds with the VPN service. The greater the speed, the better the service. In case you’re wondering how to evaluate VPN speeds, look at the number of servers they have across multiple locations. Generally, the greater the number of servers, the less the congestion and the faster the speed.
Let’s turn our attention to 10 really important elements to consider when picking the right torrenting VPN:
- Cost of the VPN service
- iOS and Android apps for torrenting
- Availability of an Internet kill switch
- Automatic connections to P2P servers
- No caps on bandwidth for torrenting activity
- Location of the VPN company headquarters
- Number of simultaneous connections allowed
- Bitcoin capabilities and anonymous registration
- AES 256-bit SSL encryption technology and security protocols
Why Speed Matters?
If you remember the days of dial-up Internet, you know why speed matters. The slower your Internet speed, the longer it takes you to download files. Nowadays, nobody wants to wait hours and hours for torrents to download. If you choose the wrong VPN service, that's what could happen.
Always pick a powerful VPN service that guarantees minimum latency, maximum speed, and seamless switching between servers to guarantee the best possible download speeds with P2P filesharing. Top VPN service providers like IPVanish offer no logs, a speed of 60 mbps with servers located across 70 countries, with iOS and Android apps included. You can expect similar speeds from ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access™.
Slow torrents are the result port forwarding issues, throttling, slow Wi-Fi, and other technical glitches. Port forwarding references computer protocols which tell the PC where incoming data must be redirected. Unfortunately, all the data must make its way through your router and if you have too many simultaneous connections that will slow your torrent downloads by creating slow speeds and bottlenecks. That's why you may have to establish manual port forwarding rules within your router. This means that you will tell your router how to process information vis-a-vis data ports and internal IP addresses.
Why Safety Matters?
- Always pick a VPN provider with thousands of IP addresses across dozens of locations
- Choose a VPN provider with an Internet kill switch
- If possible, select a service with AES 256-bit military-grade encryption
- Try to source a VPN provider with simultaneous connections on multiple devices
- Read the torrent policy of the VPN provider
Why does VPN provider location matter?
Here's one that most people know precious little about, to their detriment. The location of the VPN company – the headquarters – is really important. If the VPN company is based on an obscure island in the middle of the Pacific, or the Atlantic, chances are it's a much better fit than one located in the 5-9-14 eyes countries.
Many people mistakenly believe that it's important to pick a VPN service located in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, or other industrialised countries. The truth is that many countries actively share information for global surveillance purposes. In other words, they actively spy on you. The last thing you want if you are torrenting with a VPN is a coordinated effort between countries to share your user logs.
Let's briefly examine the 5 eyes, 9 eyes, and 14 eyes surveillance alliances:
5 eyes – United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. This alliance has roots in World War II with the UKUSA Agreement. The US and the UK have been sharing intelligence for decades. Multiple agencies in each of these countries are regarded as the worst abusers of online privacy. Agencies you should be concerned about include the GCHQ in the UK and the NSA in the United States.
9 eyes – United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, and France. This is an extension of the 5 eyes countries. Avoid VPN services in these countries.
14 eyes - United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, France, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, and Germany. This entire group of nations is known as SSEUR. If you're looking to guarantee your privacy, anonymity, and security with a VPN – never register with a VPN in one of these countries.
Our Recommendations for A Secure VPN For Torrenting in 2019
Given all of the issues that need to be considered when torrenting online, you certainly don't want to hand over your logs to the wrong VPN service. You’re best served by using reputable VPN providers like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost VPN. We have thoroughly evaluated these VPN providers and can attest to their suitability for torrenting.