Torrenting over a peer-to-peer (P2P) network can be dangerous. You could risk infecting your computer with viruses, having your connection throttled by your ISP, or even facing fines if you unwittingly download malware or accidentally download copyrighted material.
Anonymity and security are essential for safe torrenting, and luckily, we have a solution that addresses both of these concerns: using a reputable VPN. A good tool will protect your data and hide your online activity, as well as provide other useful features for torrenting.
We’ll go over everything you need to know about protecting your data and remaining anonymous while torrenting in this guide.
Safe torrenting Guide
Step 1: Sign up for a reputable VPN service.
The best way to torrent safely and anonymously is to use a reliable and trusted VPN. It works by routing your data through one of its private servers, obfuscating your identity from other users. Your personal data, online identity, and activity will be exposed to unwanted third parties if you don’t use a VPN.
For example, if you don’t hide your IP and encrypt your traffic with a VPN, hackers can target you with attacks, and your ISP can see everything you do online. If your ISP notices that you’re downloading a lot of large files, they may limit your download speeds. A VPN obfuscates your traffic, allowing you to bypass speed throttling and download faster.
Choose a VPN that has military-grade encryption and hides your IP address if you want to torrent safely. This secures your connection and keeps your identity and location hidden from prying eyes. A trustworthy VPN will also have a large server network with P2P-optimized servers, allowing you to download torrents quickly and without throttling your bandwidth.
Step 2: Keep your VPN connected at all times.
It’s possible that failing to connect to your VPN before opening your torrent client puts your security at risk. When you open a torrent client, it immediately starts seeding, exposing your IP address. Remember to properly close your torrent client when you’re finished, as simply closing the window isn’t enough. Also, before disconnecting from your VPN, double-check that your torrent client is completely closed.
Step 3: Find a trustworthy torrent client.
You’ll need a reputable torrent-client to download a torrent. You can’t just download a torrent from the internet and be done with it because it contains many files from various locations. The torrent client’s job is to organize and bring all of the files together so that you can download the entire package.
When it comes to torrent clients, you want something that is simple to use, light, and customizable. It should allow for a reasonable amount of customization and functionality, allowing you to torrent safely. I recommend the following torrent clients:
- uTorrent — The most popular torrent client, with a straightforward and user-friendly interface. It also allows you to personalize its features, though it does include advertisements.
- BitTorrent — Has a user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop functionality, making it ideal for beginners. However, it, like uTorrent, has advertisements.
- Deluge is an open-source client that works with a variety of extensions. However, it is not the most user-friendly.
- qBittorrent — Has a lot of customization options and is ad-free. Unfortunately, extensions are not supported.
Step 4: Set up your VPN and torrent software.
While torrenting, properly configuring your VPN and torrent client will eliminate any privacy and security risks. Your IP address will not be revealed, and your connection will be encrypted, preventing hackers from stealing your identity and data. Although ExpressVPN has all of these useful security features, these are the settings to enable/configure on any VPN you choose:
- If your VPN drops out unexpectedly, the kill switch disconnects you from the internet. Make sure it’s turned on in your default settings if it’s not already.
Advanced protocol — OpenVPN is the best protocol for torrenting, so enable it. It offers a good balance of speed and security, which is ideal for torrenting.
- The strongest level of encryption is AES-256 bit encryption, which scrambles your data. Your data becomes impenetrable and unreadable to third parties when it is scrambled.
- DNS leak protection — This feature prevents your browsing activity from being accidentally exposed to third parties due to a DNS leak.
- Split Tunneling — This feature allows you to select which apps use and which do not use your VPN connection.
Step 5: Set up an antivirus program.
In addition to your VPN, good antivirus software adds an extra layer of security. It looks for malware, spyware, and viruses in all the files you’ve downloaded. If any of them are discovered, the antivirus will eliminate or isolate the problem before it becomes more serious.
Norton, McAfee, Windows Defender, Avira, and Malwarebytes are all popular antivirus programs that are both affordable and simple to install.
Step 6: Get a secure torrent.
It’s critical to download a safe torrent because the wrong one could contain malware. Torrents are usually filled with malware and disguised by hackers in order to cause havoc. As a result, only download torrents that have been verified to be safe.
A good place to start is with a well-known and trustworthy torrent site. Don’t download a torrent from an obscure site you discovered through a Google search, as Google frequently displays the URLs of fake websites.
The following are some reputable torrent sites:
- The Pirate Bay
Another issue is that many torrents, particularly new ones, are copyright protected. I don’t recommend downloading them because they’re illegal to do so. It’s best to download torrents from legal sites like the Internet Archive and Public Domain Torrents to stay safe from this threat.
Examine the files in a torrent after it has been downloaded, removing any.exe files and looking up any unfamiliar extensions before opening them.