A Complete Guide to Torrenting Safely in 2024
Peer-to-peer (P2P) torrenting users face many risks, ranging from downloading malware to inadvertently downloading unauthorized content. Your computer may get infected with viruses, your ISP may limit your connection, or you may face penalties.
Torrents are distinct in that they are not maintained and distributed by a single website; rather, those tasks fall to users of peer-to-peer networks, who, once a file begins downloading, immediately begin "seeding" – or giving their downloaded data for upload to other P2P participants. As a consequence, torrent downloads are often quick and easy. But, before you get on the P2P bandwagon, it's a good idea first to grasp the risks associated with torrent downloading.
Torrenting demands secrecy and security and is quite straightforward, but you'll need a VPN to ensure you're downloading securely. Using a reliable VPN can assist in keeping your data secure while masking your online activities and provide other useful features for torrenting. This guide will introduce you to being safe and secure online.
Disclaimer: Torrenting is a great way to access and share content on the internet. We don't encourage or condone any kind of copyright violation or circumvention of restrictions. This includes torrenting or downloading illegal content.
What is BitTorrent?
BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file-sharing communication protocol that allows users to transfer data and electronic files across the Internet decentralized. Like HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) and FTP (file transfer protocol), it is a method for downloading data from the internet. BitTorrent, however, is a distributed transfer protocol, as opposed to HTTP and FTP.
Challenges of BitTorrenting
Certain disadvantages or risks are associated with downloading, uploading, or distributing a torrent file. Continue reading to find out.
Legalities of BitTorent
P2P protocol (BitTorrent) is a fully legal filesharing technology. It's important to understand the difference between the legality of the technology itself and how you use it.
What Makes a Downloadable File Legal or Illegal?
BitTorrent has nothing intrinsically illegal about it. It works exactly like any other file-moving computer software.
However, BitTorrent users have difficulty using the filesharing tool for unlawful reasons, such as downloading and uploading copyrighted files. In some countries, this is perfectly lawful (for personal use), but it violates copyright law in others.
According to Business Insider, the legality of BitTorrent is comparable to the legality of weapons. For example, purchasing and possessing a firearm may be lawful. You can go to a shooting range with your gun and have a terrific (and legal) time shooting a paper target. However, if you used that same gun to rob a bank, you would be committing a crime.
BitTorrent's legality, like other software and technologies, is completely up to you. It may be used for either legitimate or illicit purposes.
Repercussions of Using Illegal Files
Most penalties for downloading copyrighted content are civil (such as a fine) rather than criminal; however, local laws vary greatly across nations. Penalties for copyright infringement may be severe, so you should consult an attorney if you face legal prosecution for any unlawful behavior using BitTorrent.
BitTorrent's greatest strength and worst vulnerability is distributed filesharing when it comes to user privacy.
Torrent files may be downloaded in chunks, allowing you to download enormous files easily. However, there is a significant tradeoff: all IP addresses that share a file are public!
There are two kinds of torrent monitoring. Your torrenting activity may be tracked by:
Your Internet Service Provider ("ISP")
The organization that provides you with Internet access. They may automatically check your connections to detect whether you're downloading torrents.
This makes sense since all your Internet traffic passes via your ISP's servers, equipment, and infrastructure.
If your ISP is not pleased with what it sees, it may "throttle" or "shape" your connection (slow it down), send you a formal "strike" notice, suspend your account, and possibly block you.
To detect torrenting, a third-party snoop has to share the same torrent, join its "swarm" (all the users sharing that same torrent), and then track all the IP addresses exchanging the torrent in that swarm.
The snoop may then track each IP address back to its source using this list of IP addresses. This will direct them to your ISP, leading them to you. ISPs preserve connection records that show which of their customers was using a certain IP address at a particular moment. This is how snoops may link torrenting to specific people.
IP address monitoring is the easiest way to track torrents due to the DHT protocol (the Kademlia-based distributed hash table (DHT) used by BitTorrent clients to discover peers through the BitTorrent protocol is known as mainline DHT) and centralized torrent trackers.
In a torrent swarm, simple software can identify your IP address that companies can use to track this data. How? For "trackerless" torrents, DHT, or distributed sloppy hash table, is used to store peer contact information. As a result, each peer effectively becomes a tracker.
So, How Can You Prevent IP Address Monitoring?
You may route your torrent traffic via an IP address that cannot be traced back to you using a non-logging VPN proxy or a seedbox. A torrent proxy is a temporary connection that redirects your traffic via another server, masking your IP address. It is an additional step or detour that your connection takes to protect your identity and the IP address from the website to which you are connected. It routes traffic through another server, causing the BitTorrent swarm to display an IP address from them rather than your own. As a result, peers only see the VPN server and not your true location and identity.
- First, Google "What's my IP?" to get your current IP address.
- Sign up for a VPN service.
- Install the VPN app on your device. Users of Windows and Mac often get their programs through the provider's website. Users of iOS and Android may download the software from the App Store and Google Play, respectively.
- Install and launch the VPN application.
- Sign in using the credentials you set up in step two.
- Choose a server or a server location. This server's IP address will be your new one.
- To connect, click the Connect icon or double-tap the server. You are now linked over a private network.
- You will be assigned a new IP address after the connection is established. Google "What's my IP?" to confirm. Your new IP address should be different from the one in step one.
How To Torrent Safely
Beware of malware and fake torrents.
You must use caution while downloading anything from the internet, just as you would anywhere else.
Make use of a VPN.
Using a reliable VPN while torrenting will hide your IP address from the swarm and encrypt your data so your ISP doesn't know what you're doing.
Stay away from dead torrents.
If a torrent only has a few seeders, you will most likely download the file slowly; if there are no seeders, you will not be able to download the file. To achieve the greatest speeds, make sure you download a current torrent with many seeders.
Observe BitTorrent Etiquette.
Seed files after you have downloaded them, enabling others to get the data themselves. If you can't seed the file indefinitely, seed it until you've shared the same amount as you've downloaded (also known as having a 1:1 "ratio") before removing the torrent from your client.
Benefits of Using the Right VPN
As we have seen previously, torrenting may be risky if not handled effectively. You may torrent anonymously while protecting sensitive data using a VPN service.
Here are some of the primary advantages of torrenting when using a VPN:
Prevent ISP Restrictions
Everything you do online will be accessible to your ISP using an unsecured internet connection. It may limit your connection if your ISP frowns on huge torrenting files. You can prevent these ISP restrictions by using a VPN.
Every internet user's first concern is security. If you use a torrent client to download torrents onto your PC, your name, location, and IP address will be visible to anybody who connects to the torrent file. This exposes you to possible breaches, intrusions, and viruses. A VPN lets you browse any torrent while keeping your data and personal information secret. It keeps you out of the sight of hackers.
Choosing the Right Torrent Site and Client
To prevent risks, you may download torrents from several websites. However, it is important to validate the legitimacy of the source.
Why It Is Important to Download from Genuine Torrent Sites
Several sites provide torrent downloads. Torrent links may be found all over the internet, from dedicated torrent listing sites to forums and blogs.
However, before downloading anything onto your computer, be sure the source is legitimate; otherwise, you risk getting a wrong file, something different than what you needed, or even a harmful virus.
That's why you should only download torrents from trustworthy websites. Top torrent sites often have obvious means to demonstrate that a torrent has been confirmed authentic. This implies it will be exactly what it claims, with no hidden surprises.
Torrent files are normally named with the extension ".torrent." Check the files you are downloading prior to downloading the torrent. If any of them have an a.exe or.bat file extension, they are most likely unsafe and not a valid torrent. Torrent sites distributing such files are usually not genuine.
Another way to determine whether a torrent website is genuine is to check its domain age using a whois lookup tool. The older a site, the more trustworthy and reliable it is. A popular torrent site that’s survived five, 10, or more years can be considered genuine and reliable, provided they do not distribute malicious executable files instead of valid torrent metadata files.
Why It Is Important to Download from Genuine Torrent Clients
A specific application known as a torrent client is also needed to download a torrent, as these files are sent in tiny parts from different locations.
There are several torrent clients to select from, each with its own features, simplicity of use, and functionalities. Ideally, you want a torrent client that takes up little space on your device, is simple to use, and has useful features, such as security, that will allow you to torrent securely.
Here are a few examples of good torrent client apps that you may use:
- qBittorrent is simple and 100% free, with no advertisements on the app. It also includes features like an in-app torrent search engine and safe, encrypted transfers.
- uTorrent is quick, lightweight, and simple to use, with a clean and straightforward interface.
The Importance of Antivirus
Quality antivirus software on your computer is necessary to protect yourself from cyberattacks like malware. This is even more crucial when downloading torrents.
Such a program should scan each file you download and include automatic security mechanisms. There is another advantage to utilizing an antivirus. You will not only eradicate malicious torrents, but you will also safeguard your complete Web browsing experience.
What Is Seedbox and Why You Should Use It
A seedbox is a remote server that is optimized for torrenting. They generally have nothing but torrenting software on them and provide fast internet. Instead of using your PC, you perform all of your torrenting on a remote server. It is a great option that can be used as an alternative to a VPN.
This enables you to seed files without using the internet or even turning on your computer. A seedbox keeps your IP address hidden since your computer never directly uploads or downloads anything.
Using a Seedbox is a two-step process. First, you must download the torrent metadata file (.torrent file) to your computer and upload it to your seedbox via a web interface to start downloading the files associated with the torrent metadata file. You can also use the magnet URL instead to start the download process. Then, you can download those file(s) from the Seedbox to your computer using an HTTP file browser web app that comes pre-installed with most seedboxes or via FTP.
Final Thoughts on Torrenting Safely in 2024
Torrenting is a great option for downloading files quickly and efficiently from the internet, but it is important to do it safely.
Best practices for safe downloading include only downloading torrents from reputable websites, confirming the legitimacy of your torrents, using a good P2P client, avoiding copyrighted material, and getting a VPN. Using a VPN also drastically reduces the risks of torrenting, hiding yourself and your ISP from hackers, and blocking malware from infecting your devices.
This brings us to the end of our selection of safe practices for torrenting. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Please comment below, and we will respond as soon as possible.