How to download torrents anonymously? When downloading or uploading torrents, there is one major privacy issue you should be concerned about. Both copyright holders and your ISP are able to monitor your torrenting activity. In recent times, many file-sharers across Europe have been threatened by lawsuits unless they pay huge settlement fees. Therefore, it is paramount that you protect your online privacy and download torrents securely. In this help guide, I will provide you with info on how you can hide your online identity and seed or leech torrent files anonymously via VPN. But first, how do these “copyright trolls” actually trace your torrent downloading activity?
Download Torrents Anonymously with VPN
How Can Copyright Holders ‘Catch’ you for ‘Pirating’ – Download Torrents Securely
There are several methods copyright holders can use to trace your downloads and thereby catch you for downloading. Below, I’ve listed the most common techniques used by companies to trace who has downloaded what.
- Traffic Logging: When you’re either downloading or uploading files from or to hosting sites, your IP address is recorded. While most of these hosting sites clearly state that they ‘are not responsible for files uploaded by users’ in their EULA, copyright holders might pressure them into revealing user info.
- Torrent Honey-Pot: Content holder might use two approaches here. They either upload the torrent files themselves or download the same files you are downloading. When downloading or uploading torrents, everyone else who is leeching or seeding the same file, including copyright holders, can see your public IP address.
- P2P Network Sniffing: P2P stands for peer-to-peer. It is a technique used by BitTorrent, Limewire, and Napster which would allow users to directly transfer files between each other without the need for a centralized server. When you’re sharing via P2P, your IP address is associated with that file you’re uploading. Copyright holders can then ask your ISP for your physical location based on your IP address.
How to Download Torrents Securely? Achieve Anonymity with VPN
Unfortunately, more and more ISPs are caving in under pressure from rights-holders. Most recently, a Swedish ISP named TeliaSonera, handed over info related to some of their IP addresses to copyright holders. It was claimed that these IP addresses were involved in illegal file sharing. When your ISP starts revealing your info without putting up much of a fight, you need to start worrying.
So how do you protect your online anonymity and keep your web browsing activity to yourself? The answer is VPN. VPN stands for virtual private network. It allows you to encrypts all of your traffic by passing it through a secure private tunnel. That means that neither copyright holder, your ISP, nor hackers can eavesdrop on what you are doing online. Your real IP address will be hidden at all times. In order to download torrents anonymously, follow these steps:
- First, sign up with a VPN service provider that supports the P2P protocol. ExpressVPN is a good example.
- After you’ve created your VPN account, it’s time to download and install the VPN app on the same device you wish to download torrent files on.
- Launch the VPN application you’ve just installed and sign into it using your VPN account.
- Next, connect to a VPN server. Usually, the closer the VPN server is to your real location, the faster your Internet speed will be.
- Wait a couple of seconds until the VPN connection is established.
- Now your real IP address is completely hidden. You will appear to be connected to the web via the VPN server’s IP address.
- Finally, download any files you want anonymously.
Download Torrents Anonymously – Choosing a VPN Provider
Before signing up with a VPN provider, however, there are a handful of issues that you need to be aware of. First of all, connecting to a VPN server means that all of your traffic will be redirected. This will affect your Internet speed to some extent. With reliable VPN providers, your Internet speed only drops by around 10%. Secondly, only choose a VPN provider which does not impose download/upload limits. Most importantly, make sure that the VPN provider you choose keeps no logs of your browsing activity.
Having tried a lot of VPN providers, I’ve been most impressed by ExpressVPN. They keep zero logs of my browsing activity and have VPN servers in more than 87 countries. While there are some free VPNs out there, I would never recommend using them. They severely slow down your Internet speed and in some cases, there is no guarantee that they will not keep logs of your online activity. Here’s my list of the best VPN providers for torrenting anonymously.
Usenet – Safe Torrent Alternative
BitTorrent is the most famous form of file sharing on the Internet, but it is certainly not the only one. Far before torrents came to the surface, Usenet was invented. Usenet can also be used to download music, video, software, and games online. There are major differences between BitTorrent and Usenet, however.
- With Usenet, you do not need to seed the file you are downloading. Therefore, your public IP address is not exposed as in the case of torrenting.
- Usenet uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to encrypt the data being sent from or to your computer.
- With Usenet, you are directly downloading from the Usenet server. Thus, you are able to utilize your ISP’s full bandwidth.
Below is a list of the top Usenet providers. Even if you’re not considering switching from BitTorrent yet, these Usenet providers are worth checking out for the sole purpose of getting a better idea.
Downloading Torrents Securely, Safely, and Anonymously via VPN
Anti-piracy agencies and law firms are infiltrating BitTorrent swarms at an increasing rate. There is no doubt that copyright holders such as Crystalis Entertainment will keep pressuring more and more ISPs into revealing info related to their users. To stay on the safe side, whether you actually download torrents or not, use VPN. It is, after all, the most trusted way to keep your identity hidden from those prying eyes.
*Disclaimer: This guide is intended for educational purposes only. In no way does the owner of this blog condone any form of piracy.