If you’ve ever visited a torrenting forum, you must have heard horrifying stories about individuals getting DMCA notices. Some talk about their internet being throttled, while others narrate their experiences with viruses and hackers. How much truth do these accounts hold, and what happens when you torrent without a VPN?
We’ll answer all these questions in a few seconds. We’ll also explain why and when you need a VPN and the torrenting risks. So let’s get to it.
Is It Safe to Torrent Without a VPN?
No, torrenting without a VPN isn’t safe at all. Torrenting without a VPN is like driving in the rain without your windshield. It’s like eating 40 Big Macs without any digestive tablets. It’s like sliding down the stairs on your knees. It’s like… Yeah, you probably get the point.
Torrenting is risky because most P2P files have hidden viruses, malware, and loggers. When you download these files, the filth attached to them executes and wreaks havoc in your system. But that’s not even the worst part because Torrenting can get you into legal trouble.
If you live in a country where torrenting is illegal, your ISP and the government could use your information against you. They could use your torrenting to throttle your internet speeds. If your ISP doesn’t use it against you, other hackers and blackmailers could.
Sites like IKnowWhatYouDownload can give people your whole search history using your IP. This is even more dangerous with torrenting because the people downloading and seeding a torrent can see each other’s IPs.
A hacker or scammer could use your IP to trace your location, connect it to your email, and find your home address. They could use your history to blackmail or threaten you. They could even send your information to the authorities to have you caught.
What Are The Legal Repercussions of Torrenting?
The legal repercussions of torrenting vary based on the local laws and the country you reside in. In some countries, torrenting is completely legal; in others, you are only allowed to torrent legal content. What’s the worst that can happen?
In the UK, they have sent people to jail for torrenting. In the US, companies can sue you for copyright infringement and torrenting. Some people have received fines of up to $250000. You won’t get fined right away. You will probably get a DMCA first, and if you persist with your shenanigans, they’ll come after you.
In other countries, the laws are much more lax. In the worst-case scenario, your ISP might throttle your internet, or you’ll get a light tap on your wrist. We cannot stress this enough, check your local laws before torrenting. Don’t take the risk, and please use a VPN.
How Does a VPN Help With Torrenting?
A VPN helps with torrenting in multiple different ways. One major way a VPN can help you is by allowing you to bypass ISP throttling. But that isn’t all. A VPN also helps by:
VPNs are designed and built with security protocols that keep your identity hidden and secure. This feature is very important in modern times because just about anyone can track your activity.
For example, IKnowWhatYouDownload keeps tabs on everything you’ve torrented. When VPNs mask your IP address, you become untraceable to elements on the internet. They can’t link your new IP to your activity. So you can torrent safely without reproach.
Most VPNs come with inbuilt ad blocking. It means you won’t be bombarded with ads when visiting a torrenting site. It also means you’re much safer from spam mail filled with pestilent malware and pop-ups.
Some modern VPNs also have anti-virus software that you can get as an add-on. This anti-virus can scan and save you from unnecessary threats hidden in your torrented file.
Hide From ISP
When a VPN encrypts your data, your ISP can’t see what you’re doing. They can roughly anticipate your actions, but there’s no surefire way to pin you to a particular activity. Some VPNs even have a camouflage mode that hides your VPN usage from your ISP.
So even your ISP won’t know that you’re using a VPN. For now, the only VPN that we know of that offers Camouflage is Surfshark. You’ll only enjoy these benefits if you use a good VPN.
3 Top VPNs for Torrenting Safely
After testing multiple VPNs, we shortlisted the best of the best. These are the best VPNs for torrenting and are also affordable. The VPNs that we’ve shortlisted are:
Surfshark has more than 3000 servers across 90+ countries. Each server is heavily encrypted and very secure, so your data won’t be leaked, no matter what. Surfshark also uses WireGuard protocol, so you’ll get fast speeds and pure quality.
Surfshark also offers a camouflage mode that hides your activities from your ISP. You can torrent all you want without any pesky snoopers ruining your day. And you can enjoy all of this and more for $2.30 per month with a 2-year plan.
ExpressVPN is the Quentin Tarantino of VPNs. It doesn’t need an introduction. ExpressVPN has between 3000 and 3500 servers in around 90 countries. The servers are encrypted like state secrets. No one can access your torrenting history as long as you have ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN also offers its unique Light Way protocol for lightning-fast downloads and uploads. Seed or Leech all you want, ExpressVPN won’t let you down. ExpressVPN is a bit more expensive than Surfshark, with its monthly price of $6.67 with the yearly plan.
NordVPN has 5000 servers in 60+ countries. You can connect to any server to access or torrent on your favorite platform. NordVPN follows the same suite of protocols that ExpressVPN and Surfshark offer.
NordVPN also offers AES 256 encryption and double VPN servers. These snoopers will cry tears of blood when they can’t track you. NordVPN also has a Kill Switch, which means your location or activity will not be leaked in case of an accidental leak.
But remember, just using a good VPN won’t save you. You have to take extra measures to save yourself from the bane of your security.
Extra Tips to Torrent Safely
Confidence and faith can only take you so far in this world. You need to take extra measures to protect yourself from different threats. Now, let’s get to the tips and tricks in question:
Use a Credible Torrent Site
Torrenting is already risky, and when you use a shady torrent website, it’s like walking into a pub full of bikers and yelling, “Fight me if you can, chickens.” Use only credible torrent sites that are widely publicized and trusted.
Avoid Proxies While Torrenting
Proxies are IP masking tools that many people use to increase speeds. However, proxies won’t save you from the prying eyes of your ISP. You need to use a VPN that offers good encryption while torrenting.
Only Torrent Legal Content
Yeah, torrenting is great and all, but please don’t use it to download illegal content. Copyright infringement is a major crime, and it may lead to jail time or hefty fines. The last thing you want is to get fined for downloading a pirated version of Monty Python. Just use normal streaming sites like Good, Lawful Citizens to stream movies and shows.
Beware of Trackers
Sometimes agents place trackers in torrents, usually popular and newly released movies. These are blatantly pirated; when someone downloads the file, the agent gets confirmation about their activity. They can use this information against the user at any point in time. The moral of the story, use malware and tracker protection, and don’t pirate content!
Torrenting without a VPN is risky, especially if you don’t know how to protect yourself. You should only torrent when connected to a credible torrent like Surfshark. You should also use the best practices listed above to keep your torrenting activity private from your ISP and other malicious forces on the internet. Stay away from trackers and only torrent legal content to avoid fines and punishment.
Can I use uTorrent with a VPN?
Yes, uTorrent is compatible with a VPN. We would actively recommend using a VPN like Surfshark when torrenting via uTorrent. It will save you from your ISP, Snoopers, and other dangerous elements on the internet.
How does an ISP know you’re torrenting?
Your ISP could know you’re torrenting because someone tipped them off. ISPs can also infer activity from bandwidth allocation. If you’re suddenly downloading a large file, your ISP could understand that you’re torrenting.
Will I get in trouble if I’m torrenting?
You might get in trouble if torrenting is illegal in your country. It also depends on what you’re torrenting. For reference, torrenting illegal content in the UK could lead to fines and jail. On the other hand, you can torrent in most Asian countries quite safely without any legal impediments.