Torrent is a protocol devised and designed for downloading files through an exchange network made up of two nodes (or P2P, “peer-to-peer” ) where users connect directly with other users to download and share files of all kinds.
Created by Bram Cohen, the protocol was first implemented in 2001, with several modifications since then. For several years, it has been the P2P file-sharing network with the highest traffic worldwide.
The main reason for the success of P2P exchange networks is that it is possible to download large files in bulk, avoiding the saturation that would entail doing so using the traditional client-server scheme.
Likewise, there are no mechanisms within the network that can control or censor the content that is published on it.
The main difference between Torrenting activity and other similar protocols, such as the legendary eDonkey, lies in the speed with which files are downloaded: The more users share a certain file, the higher the download speed tends to be.
Why should you download Torrents anonymously?
The devil is in the details. Among its main disadvantages, this protocol does not offer protection to user privacy. In fact, the user identifies himself on the network with his public IP and therefore, it is possible to track and locate said users by their IP address.
The content that is downloaded could also be monitored, if security measures are not taken around the configuration of the Torrent client. Users are also exposed to various attacks by not having adequate protection on their computers.
Associations linked to the cultural industry have spoken out against P2P exchange networks since their inception, and have already lobbied in the past to restrict their use partially or totally.
In addition to its fight to penalize individuals and even unfairly tax consumers through laws related to anti-piracy in some countries; Associated guilds invest considerable sums of money to actively monitor traffic on P2P networks globally.
In the same way that the content on P2P networks cannot be censored, neither can third parties be prevented from carrying out monitoring activities and tracking the activity of said networks. But it is possible to keep records of the activity (or ‘Logs’) of users, and said records can be used against them individually by those who have said information in their possession, at full convenience and at any time.
Finally, there is a de facto censorship applied in the way that many internet providers block or hinder the use of P2P networks through traffic shaping. In summary, any user of P2P download networks would at least be better off hiding their identity when downloading Torrents, or hiding their activity from their ISP.
How to download Torrents without being monitored
Before proceeding further, it is worth noting that there are security options that no one should forget to configure in their respective torrent client, such as:
Require encrypted connection, preventing third parties from monitoring what is being downloaded
Disable most or all peer discovery methods (for example: DHT)
Apply IP ban blacklists, publicly known to monitor users or offer malicious content.
In cases where your ISP blocks P2P networks, it is usually advisable to switch to the TCP protocol instead of UDP, which is used by default.
These options vary according to the client, the network, and even the specific torrent to download. In most cases they will make the download slower (and even impossible, when there are very few peers sharing a given file), but in return it will be a safer activity.
However, the IP will still be visible to both your ISP and the same destination peers to which you connect.
There is no simple solution to this problem, unless the P2P traffic is routed to / from a Virtual Private Network or VPN. Being a tool par excellence to hide the trace of our activities on the Internet, it is also possible to download and even share through VPN Torrents, as long as the provider of this service has compatible servers for it.
Best VPN Services for Safe and Fast Torrents Download
We have put together a list of the various UK VPN service providers for Torrents.
Recently analyzed in depth, with a focus on its main characteristics, its compatibility, level of protection against tracking and above all, the performance at the time of download, a key factor in the final selection. Here the results:
Avoid Using Free VPNs to Download Torrents
As we have already highlighted in other articles on this website, using free VPN providers or services is not recommended as a long-term strategy, due to the risks involved when downloading Torrents, and in the use of P2P networks.
At best, the user will frequently experience very slow download speeds or even not being able to download Torrents at all.
However, this would be the least of the complications. Using free VPNs can result in:
Eventual service outages, where the absence of a «Kill Switch» button would immediately expose your IP to P2P networks
IP / DNS leaks (even when browsing or downloading torrents within said VPN
Tracking your activity on the internet (not limited to Torrents) to deliver targeted advertising.
Unclear policies regarding privacy, where the information of your activity would eventually be sold to third parties, and be used for their benefit, when not against you as a user.
For these reasons, its use is inadvisable. Free service providers also carry infrastructure, upgrade, personal development, and maintenance costs. The way to compensate these expenses can be varied, but it involves something of value.
Either by offering advertising (which to be effective requires being segmented, and this requires knowing the user’s browsing habits and history); or even worse, granting third parties indirect or direct access to the same user using the VPN in question, where it would be possible to spy on users’ activities even more easily than if they were not connected to a VPN.
As we have seen, a VPN service offers great benefits to users interested in torrenting and being able to choose the right VPN service is essential.
We believe that Fastest VPN is the best option for most users because it fulfills the core aspects of P2P traffic:
Compatible to download Torrents anonymously and have strong privacy policies
Good speed performance
They allow you to configure the torrent client to connect directly with your VPN servers, without the need to route all the traffic
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