Torrents have become a universally popular means of downloading content – sometimes legal and sometimes not so legal content (of course, we do not support or condone acts of downloading copyrighted material on this website). Torrents are especially useful as they enable sharing small bits of information from other users of a larger file, enabling much faster speeds for download.
We recommend Express VPN as the best VPN for Torrenting, they have a fast and simple interface to bypass any restrictions.
Are you wondering about torrenting in Australia, and want to know how to get started? Or maybe you want to know about how to stay safe whilst torrenting, as well about the legalities involved. This article covers all of these topics, and more. So lets dive straight in …
Torrenting is exciting
With just a computer and a decent internet connection, you are all set to download new movies, music, and TV shows for free! That is how torrent websites market their services. They don’t mention the risks involved in downloading torrents often misleading people into believing that there’s no potential risk.
This brings up many questions to those who are searching for answers regarding the use of torrents, such as, “Is torrenting actually legal?”, “Is torrenting safe?” “And is it all worth it?”
Before we get into details, let’s answer some of the simpler questions regarding torrents.
Is it legal to use torrents?
Yes, torrenting, per se, is completely legal. Having said that, downloading copyrighted content is not. So it mostly depends on the kind of content you are downloading rather than the act of torrenting itself.
Is it safe to torrent?
Again, that depends on what you are torrenting. If you are downloading copyrighted material, there will be a risk of authorities catching and punishing you. Then there are also chances of downloading files infected with viruses. There are methods you can implement to reduce the risks of torrenting and we will discuss them soon.
Should I take the risk?
That depends on your personal judgment. We don’t recommend downloading copyright material but statistics show that about 170 million people access the BitTorrent software every month, which means that many people believe that it is a risk worth taking.
With that cleared up, let’s dive into more detailed information about torrenting and the laws which surround it.
Torrent users are constantly being put under the radar and confronted by copyright trolls, the DMCA, and ISPs. Because of this, they have to pay heavy fines and are given copyright infringement notices.
Some users are also threatened with lawsuits for downloading media through torrents. Most recently, some of the most popular sites such as Torrentz, Kickass Torrents, and TorrentHound have all been shut down by the DMCA.
How do they catch people torrenting anyway?
ISPs have no trouble in tracing their users who download copyrighted material. This can happen if you do not take certain precautions. Australian IPs have been known to sent out caution letters to their customers, suspected of downloading copyright material.
One of the simplest ways of getting caught is by having your IP address listed through seeding or leeching. Any torrenting software can access this information and show it to those who are using its services.
All that ISPs and copyright holders need to do is to monitor all activity on popular files and they can be taken directly to the IP addresses of people who have downloaded the files or have seeded them. With this much information, copyright holders can head straight to the home of these users and immediately take legal action.
With the fame of torrenting, a new breed of trolls has come to rise, and they are known as copyright trolls who hold culprits of downloading copyrighted content into account. They may be the original creators of the content or companies that hold the content with them. They are also called the digital copyright industry’s “ambulance chasers.”
Copyright trolls can find people who download copyrighted material and either work as a group or independently. Some also have certain arrangements with copyright holders who help in securing settlements with those who have illegally downloaded their copyrighted content.
By using the “numbers game,” copyright trolls are able to scare off people who they think have been downloading copyrighted material. They send out intimidating letters to those people, who are usually culpable. While this may sound like an opportunistic method for these trolls to make an easy buck, they do operate on the right side of the legal grey area. Their methods work too since they make for a convincing case that those who are caught torrenting will be facing severe consequences.
What if I’m caught torrenting?
If you’re caught torrenting, your ISP will first send you a letter and as a consequence, may “throttle down” your connection speed. (Most ISPs will not admit to it, but throttling file-sharing traffic is done by default anyway).
There are places where punishments for torrenting can be more severe than just a slow internet connection. For example, In India, people who are caught visiting torrent sites can be given up to three years of prison sentences. In the UK, there was a case where a 12-month sentence was awarded to someone who shared the 2016 top 40 singles.
Having said that, the authorities do differentiate between the providers of the torrenting material (like the one who was caught in the UK) and people who actually download occasionally. The difference is much like a drug dealer and a customer who only purchases for their personal use. Despite that, some punishments can be truly life-changing and can involve hefty fines, some of which have been reported to be six-figure penalties.
How do I minimise the risk while Torrenting?
To minimise the risks of being caught while torrenting, a few precautionary measures should be considered:
- Keep away from the latest movies and music. These releases are what copyright trolls and other rights holders will want to protect the most since they will garner the most attention. You can expect them to catch people sharing the files illegally.
- Use a reliable VPN for torrenting. A virtual private network shields your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic so that your ISP will not be able to see what you’re doing.
- Not all VPNs are made equal. For torrenting, you will want a VPN that ensures the best privacy standards. You will need a provider who does not track your activity and works in a country that’s not obligated to submit information to the ISPs or the authorities. Don’t worry though, because our comprehensive list of the top 5 torrenting VPNs takes all of these features into account.
- Use Tor because it uses relay techniques and encryption to hide your online activity. One of the downsides to their service is that it offers slower performance and its “dark web” links can attract the government’s eye and put it under the radar due to its criminal associations. For more robust and secure anonymity, you might want to consider using both VPN and Tor simultaneously.
- ALWAYS use good antivirus software and check every download thoroughly. People do not just selflessly share files with others and some can come with a “bonus” such as a virus, or a Trojan or a keylogger.
How can I select the right VPN for torrenting?
It’s important to find a VPN that has a good balance of offering good download speeds as well as proper security and privacy. Not all VPNs support downloading, so you will need to be careful while picking the right kind of VPN client for this very purpose.
Finally, using a VPN with fast download speeds is important so that the required files are loaded into your system quickly. Ensure that your VPN does not throttle down the bandwidth of your internet. Now that we have all the major points out of the way, let’s move on and talk about our recommendations for torrenting.
Here are the Best VPNs for Torrenting
While most VPNs function essentially the same way, some function better than others.
For sharing torrents and downloading them, a fast connection with encryption is paramount to keep you safe and to keep your connection private. We’ve listed some of the most popular VPNs on the web and how they compare to all you renegade torrenters:
#1 Express VPN
Torrenting requires only the most secure and anonymous connection if you want to keep yourself out of trouble. Express VPN is one of the most robust and secure platforms. Offering 256-bit military-grade encryption that will let no one in.
Their connection is also one of the most reliable, so you don’t have to worry about abruptly getting disconnected during a download (which is always annoying). The service has unlimited bandwidth and an incredibly fast connection, making the VPN not only one of the best for torrenting, but also for streaming.
There is virtually no monthly cap or usage limit at all and you can use the service on up to three devices simultaneously as well. The service’s tech support team is helpful as well and are available 24/7. Average email response time comes in no less than 20 minutes, giving it legendary status in customer service.
They even have a 30-day money back offer, giving you at least a month of a free trial before you decide whether you want to stick with them or not. One of the more unique features that they offer is a neat referral program. For every friend that you get to sign up with them, Express VPN will give you both a month of free service through their referral program – a deal that you won’t find in any other VPN service currently.
It is also compatible with all major operating systems and provides super-fast and a truly anonymous connection, which makes Express VPN the best method for anonymous torrenting.
- Special deals and discounts
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Good privacy – no usage logs
- Servers in 94 countries
- Supports multiple devices – up to three simultaneous connections
- Great customer service
- It is one of the more expensive services, but for the features it offers, it is truly worth it.
#2 Buffered VPN
Buffered is hands down, the best VPN for torrenting. The company is located in Hungary and keeps no logs. Buffered offers shared IPs that make it next to impossible to identify the VPN user. The VPN has extremely fast speeds and earns the top spot on this list.
Apart from its primary features, the VPN also offers five simultaneous connections at a time, and is compatible with many platforms, meaning that it can be used on any device you have. The Hungary based operation has servers in 30+ countries as well as a sweet port discovery feature for public Wi-Fi – something that no other VPN will offer you.
The service has an active 24/7 live chat so that any problems you chance upon can be solved quickly. The platform also has a 30-day money-back offer if you don’t like the service and need a refund.
- Special offers from time to time
- No usage logs
- High-speed servers
- 256-bit Blowfish encryption
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Five simultaneous connections
- 24/7 Customer support
- Not the cheapest, but is worth its cost
This one is especially for those of you who are located in a corner of the world where getting reliable and fast ExpressVPN servers are next to impossible. If you are one of those people, IPVanish is just what you need.
Not as well-stacked as Express VPN though, IPVanish offers enough and more to keep you secure and anonymous and away from the eyes of the authorities. The connection of IPVanish is usually as fast as Express VPN’s is, but only depending on the server that you are on.
It offers over 40,000 shared IPs from 850+ servers. You can hide behind the IP of over 60 countries over the world. It offers unlimited P2P traffic which means you can download as many movies, TV shows, games, and software as you like. Also, the VPN lets you connect to 5 different devices simultaneously. It has a 7-day moneyback guarantee which means you can try their VPN for a week and if you don’t like it, just let them know and get your money back. This lets users try their services without risk.
One of the service’s most tempting features is that there is no bandwidth limit so that you do not have to put a limit on your torrent downloads every month. IPVanish also lets you use the service on five devices simultaneously but only one connection should be on PPTP/L2TP.
The customer support is similar to Express VPN’s, in that it offers 24/7 support for any technical or account problems you may face. While the customer support may not be as fast, the live chat feature is always there if the problem is urgent.
- Protects data and keeps no logs
- Shared IPs means almost impossible to identify
- Servers in 60+ countries
- Torrenting and P2P allowed
- Accepts Bitcoin payments
- US-Based operation, making it a prime target for the NSA
- Support is decent but not exceptionally excellent
One of the most widely known VPN services, NordVPN, offers a secure connection that supports OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP, and PPTP protocols. There are also some “Double VPN” servers that pass encrypt your data twice for extra security – perfect for those who are paranoid about their anonymity.
Nord has a no-logs policy, and offers ample coverage, an auto kill switch, is a reliable client, and offers impressive performance and steady download speeds. It has superfast servers that make it one of the best VPNs, not just for torrenting but also for streaming videos. It also has onion over VPN, making it more secure than other VPN providers. And despite its super cool features, it is really easy to install and use. It also offers a lightweight extension for the Chrome browser, which makes your browsing even more secure.
It also has DNS leak protection that ensures that your real IP is not leaked to the website you’re visiting. There is no point of using a VPN if bits and parts of your information are leaking online. Nord makes sure you’re completely covered.
The pricing is also quite reasonable, but their monthly plan is on the higher side. There is, however, a free 3-day trial. It also has a 30-day money back guarantee which means if you’re not happy, you can get your money back if you’re not happy.
- Double data encryption
- Strict no logs policy
- Accepts Bitcoin payments
- Easy to use app
- Not many people know about its free trial
VPs To Avoid When Torrenting
Free VPNs – When you get a free VPN, you cannot expect premium service. Because torrents require huge bandwidth and secure operations, most Free VPNs are a bad choice since they ban all types of P2P torrenting.
Hola – Hola was caught using personal and identifiable information for money, so we would not recommend using it for the sake of your privacy.
Hidemyass – The service is subject to UK data retention laws of the user’s traffic. They have been sued before as well, and have turned over their data.
Hide.me and TunnelBear Free Versions – Their data cap gets used in 10 minutes and after that, speeds are restricted, making it next to impossible to download anything at all.
PureVPN – it keeps logs on data and will monitor your traffic and information.
IronSocket – Puts heavy restrictions on P2P activity
Is your VPN protecting you?
Here’s how you can check the reliability of your VPN.
While you’re connected to VPN:
Open IPLeak.net. If it doesn’t display your real IP, it means you’re protected.
There’s nothing much else for you to do, but if you be one of those paranoid people, you can test to see if your BitTorrent software is leaking your IP address.
Here’s how to do this.
When you’re logged in with your VPN and are visiting IPLeak.net, go to the column “Torrent Address Detection.” Now add the given magnet link to the torrent client.
Now IPLeak.net will start monitoring the IP of anyone who is sharing the uniquely generated torrent file (that will be you). You’ll be able to view the results in a few minutes.
If it doesn’t display your IP there, you are safe. Ensure that your service always comes with its own kill switch. If it doesn’t, VPN dropouts mean that your IP is exposed. This can happen for many hours at a stretch if you leave unattended downloads!
There are some P2P VPNs that support port forwarding as well, which should make it convenient for file-sharing, overcoming problems with NAT firewalls. Many VPN providers offer NAT firewalls that shield you from incoming online traffic. If it also includes P2P traffic, there can be complications.
VPN NAT firewalls affect you by slowing down downloads, and it can also slow down P2P networks for all connected users. Port forwarding is the solution, as it lets you open a NAT firewall port to let through P2P traffic.
This will improve your download speeds and add efficiency to the P2P network. To get the best out of port forwarding, your VPN client will need to know the open ports so it can listen and check for incoming connections.
Some clients require this setup to be manually configured. And others support technologies come with built-in UPnP and NAT-PMP mapping. These should make your life much easier.
Final Thoughts …
Alright, let’s all be grownups now and accept the facts as they are. Torrents aren’t always banned or copyrighted material but they generally contain things that are illegal. If caught, there can be some serious implications for you. Law enforcement makes it pretty easy to spy on you as well, so if you are going to torrent, might as well invest in a secure and fast VPN. A VPN will hide your identity and keep you safe from the government. A good VPN might cost you a maximum of about $10 per month, but a prison sentence or fine can be much, much more than that. So choose wisely.