What is BitTorrent and Is it Safe? Guide to Torrenting

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Sure BitTorrent downloads and P2P file sharing are fun.

But when you’re torrenting, you’re basically on thin ice. While torrenting isn’t necessarily illegal or dangerous, you need to consider all the possible dangers before you lurk in deeper waters.

Security must be your priority when you share P2P.

So, if you care about it, keep reading as we’ll explain all you need to know about torrents and how to torrent safely.

What is Torrenting and BitTorrent?

⚠️Make sure you only download torrent files that are legally distributed. Any type of copyright breach or distribution of illicit content will result in legal consequences. VPNCentral does not embrace or encourage copyright violations or any other illegal actions.⚠️

BitTorrent is a P2P protocol for torrenting that facilitates file transfers on pretty much all operating systems.

It lets you download the same file from multiple sources. This makes the process somewhat faster.

Thanks to the BitTorrent protocol, the user connects to a torrent community and not to a single computer, and each community member provides a piece of the file.

As a result, the downloading process is considerably faster.

When only two computers connect to share large files, as in the case of P2P file sharing, there is always a chance of web server overloading. Web server overload results in slow downloading or frequent disconnections.

The BitTorrent protocol has been introduced to get around this annoying problem and made torrenting very fast and easy.

torrenting and p2p illustration

How to Use BitTorrent

Using BitTorrent is pretty easy. Here are the steps for it.

  1. 1. Install a BitTorrent client. You can find some good options below.
  2. Search for the right files on their interface or on a torrenting site.
  3. Find the right torrent file and put it on download. It’s just like downloading regular files.
  4. Wait for it to finish. The BitTorrent works in the background and you don’t have to do anything for it.

Is torrenting safe?

This is by far the most asked question by our readers. The best answer is: it depends. The way torrent works are not illegal or dangerous in itself.

However, if you use BitTorrent to download copyrighted material, things turn illegal.

Just so you know as you search for BitTorrent downloads, you can be seen by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and copyright enforcement agencies.

Is there any way to download BitTorrent safely?

Yes! You can use a BitTorrent VPN to upload and download your torrents safely.

We’ll soon discuss how to do it in just a second.

But first, let’s discuss how torrent works.

What does seeding mean in BitTorrent?

Torrent works by downloading and uploading files at the same time. The uploading process’ name is Seeding.

Seeding means that once youve finished downloading a copy of the file, you let others download a piece of the file from your computer.

It consumes minimum resources and its considered a good thing as you get to share what you have.

Besides, its really simple and you dont have to do anything. Just leave the client open after the BitTorrent download is finished and the downloaded files will be seeded.

Seeding isn’t risk-free.

While downloading copyrighted torrents is illegal in almost all countries, the ban isnt very strictly imposed in some.

For example, in Italy, if you download copyrighted content for your personal purposes, you might not land into trouble.

However, if you’re found seeding and distributing the content, you can land in legal problems.

So proceed with caution, always check the origin of the content you torrent.

How to stop seeding on BitTorrent

If you want to stop seeding, just close the BitTorrent client, and your seeding will stop.

Make sure your BitTorrent client won’t launch at startup. If that’s the case, it may run in the background without you even realizing it.

Is anonymous torrenting possible?

Yes, all you need to do is use a VPN.

A torrenting VPN is the only way to keep yourself anonymous and download BitTorrent safely. It can help you stay hidden in your web browser and while torrenting, alike.

Most of the content you find on a typical torrent-sharing website may be copyrighted. Which makes BitTorrent download potentially illegal.

Simply put, it’s not the safest scenario.

So, why is torrenting so inviting?

BitTorrent is popular because it’s fast, and in many cases, free.

These are the two magic words that make BitTorrent download irresistible.

However, there is often a third term strictly related to torrenting, which is illegal, but it is surely the most overlooked word among the three.

BitTorrent download is a better version of P2P file sharing and it comes with several advantages.

Unlike common P2P file sharing where two computers are connected to share content, the BitTorrent consists of an entire community that exchanges data.

This is the reason why the BitTorrent download is fast.

When you look for a file, the BitTorrent protocol doesn’t look for it on a single computer. Instead, it looks for the same file on several computers.

Once it locates them, it downloads only a piece of the file from each computer connected.

Since each computer has to use only minimum resources, there is no overload and the download speed is good.

Once all the parts of the file are downloaded, they are organized on your computer to create a complete copy of the file you were looking for.

This is a pretty smart solution.

The result is that torrent download is both free and fast.

Since only a little portion of the file is taken from each computer, web server overload is not an issue anymore.

On torrent websites, you can find a lot of open-source material. However, as soon as you download your first file covered by copyright, you have officially become a pirate.

In a while, I will go into the details of all the dangers related to BitTorrent download.

But first of all, let’s consider how to protect yourself.

Is torrenting without VPN safe?

If you want to download torrents free, use a VPN as it will make your navigation anonymous.

A VPN or a Virtual Private Network reroutes your traffic through one of its own servers.

This means the internet cannot see the place from where the request originated (your computer). Instead, it sees the IP address of the VPN server you’re connected to.

In essence, it hides your real IP address and all information it contains.

All you need to do is connect to a torrent-friendly server and start torrenting.

That’s it.

Now that you know how to use a VPN with BitTorrent, make sure you always stay secure when torrenting.

Most of the best VPNs have large networks, which means you have countless IP addresses to choose from. By using a VPN, you add a layer of protection to your online identity.

What are the benefits of having your real IP address hidden?

There are several advantages.

For instance, if a copyright enforcement agency tries to track you, the only thing they can see is the IP address of the VPN server.

The server can be in any location inside your country or outside.

This means that when you use this fake IP, it will be impossible to know your real location, not to mention your identity.

Besides that, the VPN will encrypt your data as well.

So your ISP will be unable to monitor your activities.

And not just the ISP, even the government cannot see your browsing sessions. And if there’s a hacker trying to steal your data, they won’t be able to get any details either.

Once you are assigned a new IP address and your traffic is encrypted by the VPN, it will be impossible for anyone to know what you’re doing online.

Unless, of course, they have physical access to your computer.

If you want to hide your online activities from your friends and family as well, it’s best to use an incognito web browser instead of a regular one.

However, keep in mind that the incognito web browser hides only your history and not your data.

But wait, what can possibly go wrong if you start torrenting without VPN? Let’s discuss the risks.

  • Cyber attacks: If a hacker is snooping on your network, they can read your data and manipulate it to harm you
  • Hacking: If a hacker can read your data, they can use it for identity theft and other cybercrimes
  • Malware issues: Without any protection, there is a chance you’ll infect your device.
  • Bandwidth throttling: When your ISP sees that you’re consuming data at a high rate, it will throttle your connection and kill the speeds.
  • Monitoring from your ISP: If the ISP finds out you’re torrenting, it may flag your activity as suspicious
  • Legal risks for downloading copyrighted content: As you might already know, sharing copyrighted content isn’t legal and this can make you pay a heavy price, possibly even land you in prison.

With a good VPN, you get protection from these risk factors.

Since the internet can only see the IP address associated with the VPN server you’re connected to, you can rest assured that your true location and identity will stay private.

Plus, because of encryption, the other risks are obsolete.

Safe torrent VPN for BitTorrent download

There is just one bit of a problem with using a VPN when you download torrents.

Sure, your ISP provider, copyright enforcement agencies, or government agencies cannot see what you’re doing online if you use a VPN service.

But keep in mind that your VPN provider can have access to your data. In this regard, your connection is not 100% anonymous.

Do you know what that means? If you use a VPN, is torrenting safe?

If you want to download BitTorrent safely, not every VPN will suit the purpose.

NOT EVERY VPN ALLOWS TORRENTING AND NOT ALL OF THEM ARE SAFE FOR BITTORRENT DOWNLOAD

You need to find a reliable VPN that IS serious about protecting your data.

This means not just their encryption standards but also their logging policy. Ideally, you’d want a VPN that has a strict no-logs policy.

A no-logs policy means that even though the VPN provider can see what you do online, they will not keep any record of it.

If somebody requests to access your data record to discover any possible illegal activities, the record simply doesn’t exist.

Now I’ll discuss some best VPNs for torrenting that do not log your activities.

I strongly recommend you skip using a free VPN to download BitTorrent.

First of all, they usually don’t work on this task. Most importantly, a free VPN doesn’t guarantee your privacy.

With that in mind, below are the best VPNs for torrenting, based on my and my VPN reviewers team’s experience.

1. CyberGhost

cyberghost vpn ui

CyberGhost is torrent friendly and offers a number of servers specifically for torrenting purposes.

It has recently entered a partnership (not openly advertised!) with BitTorrent and uTorrent, enabling its users to torrent files easily.

Just start the CyberGhost client and select the Torrent Anonymously profile and you will be redirected to the closest and fastest VPN server that’s optimized for BitTorrent download.

Is torrenting safe with this VPN? CyberGhost offers stellar security features and the integrated killswitch makes this provider the ideal partner for BitTorrent lovers who are looking for peace of mind.

 CyberGhost

CyberGhost

Use CyberGhost for a fast connection & data protection when torrenting.
Check price Visit website

2. ExpressVPN

expressvpn user interface

One of the market leaders in VPN services, ExpressVPN, offers a solid privacy policy.

The company has been on the market for a very long and offers several amazing features such as DNS leak protection and apps for all major operating systems.

Apart from the no logs policy, ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN connections that makes BitTorrent download pretty easy.

 ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

Protect your privacy and get good speeds for limitless torrenting!
Check price Visit website

3. NordVPN

nordvpn user interface

NordVPN is based in Panama.

This country has online freedom and its laws do not require a VPN provider to collect user logs. For this reason, NordVPN applies a strict no-logs policy that makes it perfect for BitTorrent download.

NordVPN takes user privacy very seriously and offers the best-grade encryption.

Additionally, NordVPN offers fast connections for a great file-sharing experience. The client may not be as user-friendly as ExpressVPN but if you are not totally inexperienced with VPNs, you will enjoin this service.

 NordVPN

NordVPN

Stay completely under the radar using this reliable VPN!
Check price VIsit website

4. IPVanish

ipvanish user interface

IPVanish is another great option. It allows BitTorrent and is one of the veterans in the VPN world.

The speeds are good, which means you can share P2P quickly and enjoy your fresh downloads in no time.

It has a no-logs policy and the company has always proved good in protecting its customers.

If torrenting is your passion, IPVanish can be an excellent option.

IPVanish

IPVanish

Shield your IP and location & get lightning-fast torrenting speeds.
Check price Visit website

5. PureVPN

purevpn interface

PureVPN has its headquarters in Hong Kong and doesn’t keep logs of your activities.

The service comes with several add-ons that make its price totally reasonable.

The Split Tunneling feature can be used to save more bandwidth for BitTorrent without compromising your security.

During our download speed test, we were happy to see that PureVPN can keep your Internet connection surprisingly fast.

 PureVPN

PureVPN

Hide all of your data and download fast with the help of PureVPN!
Check price Visit website

Dangers of torrenting

A scary downside of torrenting is that the peers that you’re downloading the copy of the file from can see your IP address.

Obviously, your ISP and copyright enforcement agencies can see it too.

This is quite a problem. Through your IP address, authorities can track you down and take legal action.

The scary part is that, depending on your location, your online activity logs may be maintained by your ISP for several years and these can be shared with the government authorities.

And of course, there are several other dangers as well. One small slip and you might land yourself in a legal soup.

Here are some dangers associated with BitTorrent downloads.

1. Using encryption means that activities are undetectable, right?

Not really. While many people think encryption = anonymity, it is not completely true.

While encryption can help in anonymity, it’s not exactly anonymous.

The copyright holders and their affiliates can still track what ISP was used to download copyrighted material. This means that even copyright owners can use this route to find who uploaded the file in the first place.

2. There is still a risk to your device

While you may be downloading and sharing anonymous files, your device is still prone to the same issues as if you were downloading from anywhere online.

These files can still contain malware, spyware, and adware that can be very dangerous for your operating systems.

Anything you download poses online threats, and BitTorrents are not an exception to this rule!

3. There are scams in these files

There are several spoofed websites that are created to attract unsuspecting users.

Once you open the website and click on a link, it will generally install malware on your computer. From there, it can lead to identity theft and several other dangers.

You might think that these dangers are generally for traditional file downloading and torrenting is safe. However, torrenting can also lead to malware installation.

The main aspect to remember while using BitTorrent is that you are at risk and since the websites hosting the torrents are illegal, they can host malware-infested files as well.

What happens if you get caught torrenting?

You can land in prison!

Let’s take an example.

If you were to get caught by one of the many copyright trolls, who are usually companies that act on behalf of those who own the copyright content, you may receive a settlement letter.

Depending on how serious copyright infringement is, they may offer you an agreement outside the court.

Your internet provider can penalize you. This can go in two different routes; the provider could disconnect or simply slow down your internet service.

Or, they could give your personal information to a copyright troll who will then threaten lawsuits and court dates.

Is there any way to get around this problem and download BitTorrent safely?

Let’s see.

Anonymous torrenting – how to do it

You’ve probably heard of services like PeerBlock or Moblock.

While they have their own advantages, keep in mind that you’re not completely safe just because you use their services.

First of all, they dont hide your real IP address.

Secondly, your data is not encrypted. Yes, these IP blockers grant you some control, but they do not protect you from legal issues.

The recommended approach to BitTorrent download is through a VPN connection. If you connect using a VPN, you can have anonymous torrenting.

If you want anonymous torrenting, follow these steps:

  1. Select one of the best VPN providers mentioned above.
  2. Download the VPN client to your machine.
  3. Connect to the VPN client choosing a server of your liking.
  4. You’ll get a new IP address and your data will be encrypted.
  5. Connect to one of the BitTorrent clients.
  6. Download an torrent file safely.

These extra steps are the only way that you can truly say you are anonymous while using a torrent client.

The VPN encrypts your data and hides your real IP, a combination that makes it very difficult to track back to your real location and identity.

Is Tor good for torrenting?

There are many people who will recommend Tor. While Tor is similar to a VPN and can protect your privacy, do keep in mind a VPN is always the better option.

Tor is slower, thus downloading BitTorrent is going to take hours.

Plus, when using Tor, you attract the attention of your ISP. Tor is often used by hackers and criminals; thus, law enforcement officials look get alerted if you use Tor.

How to check your torrent IP address

This is an important step to take for those who want to ensure they are completely anonymous while their BitTorrent works on downloading the files.

This will give you peace of mind knowing that your real IP address is not being seen by anyone!

If you want to see if your IP address has actually changed after using a VPN, you need to follow these steps.

  1. Check your real Ip address before you connect to the VPN. You can use the What is my IP address tool.
  2. Open the VPN client and connect to a server.
  3. Check if your IP changed, using the same What is my IP address tool.

You can also go to one of the BitTorrent clients in the list and check the tracker tab to make sure the IP now associated with you is different from the real one.

Another method of checking the IP address is to simply download an ipMagnet tool.

This is a tool that will automatically start when you connect to a BitTorrent client. It will display the IP address being used while logged into this BitTorrent client, along with a timestamp and the user agent.

An ipMagnet is relatively easy to code, as it is only 500 lines of code, and there are several tutorials out there that are going to show the person how to do this.

Make you get the best BitTorrent client

Is torrenting safe if you use any BitTorrent client? No, the right BitTorrent client can make a lot of difference.

You’ll find several websites that offer torrents for free. But not all of them are necessarily good.

Apart from legal issues, torrent files are prone to carry malware installed by hackers. Therefore, besides using a VPN, make sure you have installed good anti-malware software.

The way BitTorrent works its file-sharing system is a perfect and fast way for a hacker to infect the web. You need to be extra careful when you download BitTorrent.

These are some simple security guidelines you can keep in mind:

  • Use BitTorrent clients that are attentive to your security.
  • Never download files that are executable (.EXE, .BAT)
  • Never download cracked programs

When thinking of BitTorrent, we generally think about Kickass, a long-term king among BitTorrent sites.

However, Kickass is currently down and there is no evidence that it is going to become available any time soon.

The owner of Kickass was arrested in Poland on the charges of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. For this reason, Kickass is no more.

However, we have several BitTorrent options that are great alternatives!

Among the more trustworthy BitTorrent clients you may find:

1. Transmission

Transmission can be controlled remotely with the web, PC, or mobile devices.

It is often cited as being one of the best torrents for Ubuntu. This is an open-source torrent client, which is a huge plus, as it is always improving.

Moreover, most times it works great with a VPN. But if you have problems with it, feel free to check our troubleshooting guide that explains all you need, step-by-step.

2. uTorrent

uTorrent offers lightweight software.

And that’s not all. It has a faster download and upload rate than several other clients out there, and they support downloads with .torrent and Magnetic URLs.

It offers a simple interface that’s available on all operating systems and works great alongside VPNs.

3. Vuze

Vuze was formerly known as Azureus.

This is the second fastest torrent with uTorrent being number one.

Vuze is available for free but they also have a paid version called Vuze Plus. With the Plus version, you get antivirus protection and an ad-free experience.

To top it all of, Vuze works great with a VPN, so your IP and traffic are easy to protect.

4. BitLord

BitLord is not available for mobile devices, which is a major drawback for mobile users.

However, some of its features include a lightweight downloader, support for .torrent and Magnetic URL, and it lets you create and add your personal torrent files.

5. Torlock

Torlock is a torrent client that offers several features for torrent lovers.

With other BitTorrent clients, there are always chances of downloading malicious or phony files.

Torlock doesn’t have many corrupt or infected files because it pays the users who report fake files, thus keeping scam files at bay.

6. Popcorn Time

Popcorn Time (one of the best for BitTorrent movies) offers a smart interface, and it is open source.

It does have a built-in VPN, but that’s not free.

Plus, it is available on just about any platform. Check additional information on how to watch movies on Popcorn Time risk-free.

If you don’t want to wait for long after you start the BitTorrent movie download, you can watch it directly on Popcorn Time.

7. BitPort.io

BitPort.io is another BitTorrent client that does not have actual files on hand for you to download.

However, they give the power for you to find these yourself and then download these onto their private servers. You can then download those files on your computer.

It comes in paid and free versions, with the free version only allowing 100MB per hour. The paid version allows for faster transfer speeds.

In conclusion, is torrenting safe?

Downloading BitTorrent involves some amount of risk. It is very easy to get into illegal activities when looking for content on a BitTorrent website.

If you decide to take the risk, be careful about your online security. Maybe torrenting has always been easy for you up to now.

However, just because you haven’t been caught yet doesn’t mean you’ll never be caught.

Remember that your online activity is all stored by your ISP. Even after several years, you are accountable for what you did online.

Several VPN companies offer their service for a very reasonable monthly fee. It is a small investment to guarantee your online security.

If you are not willing to pay a VPN fee, maybe give a little rest to torrenting. To download torrents through an unprotected connection is too risky and should be absolutely avoided.

A wise person is one that sees the problem and does something about it. Are you a wise user?