Short Bytes: BitTorrent is an easy method of sharing and downloading the content of our choice. But the increase in illegal downloads has forced law enforcement to keep a close eye on happenings in the BitTorrent. So, the use of services like VPN and proxy servers is heavily recommended for torrent downloading. In recent times, apart from legal services like Netflix and Hulu, many illegal movie and TV streaming sites are also becoming popular. That also makes downloading content anonymously even more important.BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files like videos, movies, games etc. Various surveys keep telling us from time to time that BitTorrent is responsible for about 50% of all the internet traffic. However, the increasing use of BitTorrent networks for downloading and sharing illegal content has forced law enforcement to keep a close eye on BitTorrent users’ activities.
The direct impact of law enforcement’s actions can also be seen on the shutdown of many popular torrent websites. Many sites like KickassTorrents and Extratorrents have been forced to shut down their doors but other sites continue to flourish and serve the needs of pirates. If you’re a torrent user, you might be familiarised with some of these developments that I’m mentioning here. It has also prompted the rise of many new torrent sites and services.
There’s no denying the fact that torrent downloads aren’t safe like before. Even if when you’re downloading legal content like open-source Linux operating systems, in some countries, government agencies are continuously watching you. Many offices and schools also block torrent sites and torrenting traffic. This becomes even more frustrating when you’re trying to grab some legal stuff with the help of this P2P file-sharing medium.
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So, what to do? I’ve written a couple of articles in the past around this issue. For example, I’ve recommended the best VPN services that you can use for hiding your IP. But, here, I’ll be directly answering this question. There are some more popular ways to go invisible and anonymize your torrent downloads. Using appropriate tools and services like, you can continue downloading torrents without any worry.
Just in case you don’t know how a Virtual Private Network (VPNs) works, you can read our detailed article on the same. A VPN lets you bypass different geographical and ISP restrictions. As it encrypts all your web traffic and gives you a new IP address, it’s impossible for anyone to sniff your web traffic. This way law enforcement can’t track you.
When you use a VPN, the encryption process takes place before your data is transmitted to your ISP. But why isn’t VPN so popular? Why aren’t VPN services being used by everyone around us? The actual reason could be people’s unawareness that doesn’t make privacy a chief concern. There are some more myths hovering the VPN services that must be busted.
It must be noted that apart from your BitTorrent client, a VPN service tunnels your entire traffic and clocks it. It can also let you watch location restricted content on services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, etc.
There are some good proxy services too, like Smartproxy, BTGuard or HideMyAss, which allow you to hide your IP address from the public. It works with all major BitTorrent clients. Please note that if you’re going ahead with proxy software, you won’t get the benefit of encryption. Also, a proxy simply anonymizes the traffic of a single application. You can read about the differences in detail in another article.
After setting up your VPN or proxy, you can visit sites like DNSLeak to test if your DNS is leaking. By visiting sites like iPleak.net, you can further confirm your privacy.
If you’re looking for recommendations, I’ll advise you to go with Private Internet Access or ExpressVPN. These are paid services, but it’s wise to afford a few dollars to shield your digital life. In the coming days, I’ll be writing a detailed article on how to choose a VPN service to help you out.
Another method that’s regularly shared online for secure torrenting and hiding your IP is using Tor web browser. But very often people try to configure their BitTorrent applications like uTorrent or Vuze to proxy their traffic via Tor and end up inviting trouble. Many clients ignore your manual proxy settings as they use UDP for talking to the servers but Tor socks proxy only supports TCP.
There are other reasons as well using which a peer might learn your real IP address. Moreover, if your BitTorrent communication isn’t encrypted, the Tor exit relay can observe your traffic as well. Even Tor Project advises against using Tor for bittorenting due to these security concerns.
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Also Read: 10 Reasons Why You Must Use A VPN Service