BitTorrent technology has been around for quite a while. It’s a good way to move big files across the internet, and if you’re a Linux user, it’s the best way to get Linux updates. That’s because it splits the burden of a large download among peers. Of the BitTorrent (sometimes just called torrent) clients in the community, uTorrent is the most popular outside China. While you could technically use a torrent client that had a built-in VPN (often really proxies), it is not something we suggest. You’ll want to connect to a VPN when torrenting. Here are some of the best options.
ISPs hate torrenting with a passion because of the heavy data usage. Often, they will punish P2P filesharers by doing several things. These include connection throttling, threatening users with account termination, and more. That’s where connecting to a VPN comes into play. When selecting one, you first want to make sure the provider allows P2P traffic. Recently, TorGuard agreed to block P2P traffic on their U.S. servers. If you choose a provider like that, you may still be able to use servers outside the U.S., but you’ll definitely want to check to ensure the company allows it.
Though VPNs are wonderful tools to protect you while torrenting, you’ll also want to check to see if the provider offers a kill switch. A kill switch will automatically shut down your internet traffic if your VPN connection drops. That’s helpful to stop your ISP from spying on your activities. To be clear, we are not promoting or condoning copyright infringement. You need to make sure you are staying within the laws of the country in which you live in. It may be debatable whether the laws of the country in which you connect to a VPN server in comes into play, but in general we would suggest conforming to local copyright laws.
How to use a torrent client anonymously
If you want to torrent anonymously, please follow these steps. Please note we are using the Windows version for this demonstration.
- Before you start downloading anything on uTorrent, go to the website for ExpressVPN and sign up for service. They offer a 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee for new users.
- Next, download and install the ExpressVPN app on your laptop, desktop, or favorite mobile device. It really depends on where you want to torrent.
- Click on the Menu icon and choose Options>General>Network Lock and choose the option that says “Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly“.
- Connect to a VPN server closer to your current location for the fastest download speeds.
- Now you can download the uTorrent client, or open it if you have already.
- If you have any setup issues or questions, you can reach out to ExpressVPN support. Their team is available 24/7.
Differences between VPN and proxies for torrenting
When using torrenting software, you may see advice to use a proxy or a built-in VPN. While proxies will change your IP address, and built-in VPNs (often really proxies) can provide you with some protection, it’s not advisable. You still leave yourself vulnerable to the prying eyes of the ISP if you use one. That’s because the data is not encrypted. Even though proxies are faster because of that, that’s something we can’t suggest. As a rule, you would use a proxy if you wanted to change your IP address to another region. If you use one of the next-generation protocols like ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol, you can enjoy low overhead and encryption together.
What to look for in a VPN to torrent
When considering a VPN to use with torrenting, you need to look for the following things:
- Availability – As we mentioned above, you need to find out if the VPN provider you choose supports P2P/Torrenting activities. If so, does the provider have specific servers for that? That last part is not necessary, but it could be helpful while downloading.
- Network stability – When torrenting, the network needs to be stable. That’s achieved by having multiple servers in a location. Even though you are looking for a VPN with a kill switch in case the network disconnects, it can still be frustrating to have your VPN disconnect and all your internet traffic stop.
- High-speed servers – This is a big one when torrenting. Your goal should be to get the file as quickly as you can. No one wants to wait forever for a Linux distro to download.
- Next-generation protocols – If your ISP is using DPI (Deep Packet Inspection), using the wrong protocol could be an issue. Instead, you’ll want to use one of the next-generation encryption protocols like Lightway, NordLynx, or WireGuard. Those will all do a good job of protecting your privacy while providing good performance.