If you would want to download torrents without showing your identity, there are tools that could help you make you anonymous. You could use a VPN or a proxy. But the question is which would offer you more protection?
VPN or proxy? both are similar in terms of them being able to route your connection through third party server and will hide your IP address. The differences however, will definitely be the factors that you will need to consider when choosing which is best for you.
Torrent Privacy Tools
1. Peer Block/iBlocklist/Other IP blockers
Torrent IP blocklists prevent you to connect. It is said that if you could know and is able to identify “suspicious” IPs, you could block and minimize the risk of the monitoring of your torrent downloads. However, it is not real that you will be able to identify and block every IP address. Hence, blocklists is better than nothing but it could not provide you privacy and you could not download anonymously.
2. Proxy/Socks5 Torrent Proxy
This tool routes your connection from an app through a 3rd party server. It connects all torrent peers for you. The benefit of this is your peers will be the only ones that will see the IP address of proxy server. This means, it will keep your real IP address hidden.
Socks5 is known to be the best secure proxy type and does not use HTTP. The only problem with this type is it does not encrypt your connection this means your ISP could still be monitored.
3. Virtual Private Network/VPN
A VPN’s role is to route all your internet connection through a remote server and have it interact with internet and torrent peers. This platform encrypts your device’s connection. It offers the highest levels of privacy and security. It can hide up your real IP address from torrent peers and could encrypt your internet activity.
There are many torrent-friendly VPNs which includes SOCKS5 proxy service and could simultaneously change your IP address twice and keep your IP address for browsing the web.
Torrent IP Blocklists (Peerguard, iBlocklist, etc.)
Torrent IP Blocklist comes with a huge database of IP addresses which tells you which torrent client not to connect to. Many IPs tend to get included in blocklist due to the following reasons:
- Non-residential IP address
- Suspicious activity from IP address
- Known torrent monitoring companies
What is a Blocklist?
Torrent blocklists lets you connect to safe peers only and anything from blocked peer will not be connected. This means, it will not be able to connect for you to download or seed. Though this feature is great, unfortunately, it also has lots of security issues which makes it a bit worthless.
Why Torrent Blocklists Don’t Not Work
Blocklists don’t work because of the following reasons:
- Bad peers can use an unblocked IP address. – it is easy to get new IP addresses. As a matter of fact, one could use a commercial VPN service and you will have unlimited supply of unblocked IPs.
- Block too many peers
- Torrents could be monitored through DHT and tracker lists. – block peers could still see the IP’s of downloaders
Virtual Private Network – Best option for many users.
A VPN is the best option for many. It is the best tool for the job and it is best to be used for torrents.
How Does A VPN make Your Torrent Downloads Secure?
Torrent downloads are monitored through the gathering of IP addresses and directly from your internet traffic. However, a VPN could bypass these by hiding your real IP address and will replace it with through a VPN server in torrent swarms. Aside from that, it also encrypts your internet traffic 100 percent.
Choosing the Best VPN
In choosing the best VPN, it is important to consider the following:
- Logging Policy- this means that they do not record your browsing history, IP address and server location.
- Other features such as Kill switch/IP leak protection, Socks5 proxies p2p-optimized servers.
How to Use VPN for Torrenting
To be able to use VPN for torrenting, all you have to do is to follow the steps below:
- Sign up with a VPN of your choice
- Download and install the VPN software on your device
- Run the app
- Choose your server location
- Connect and start downloading torrents.
Disadvantages of Using VPN for Torrents
- Slower the speed due to encryption’s usage of bandwidth
- Torrent IP and browser IP are the same
- Slower speeds due to distant servers
Socks5 Proxy is another good option. It does not route 100 percent of your traffic but its proxy will be configured inside your torrent client. Aside from that it has the following features:
- Changes the IP address
- Hides your real IP address
- Does not use HTTP proxy
How Torrent Proxy Works
Torrent client routes all peer and tracker communication through the use of SOCKS5 proxy server. This way, torrent peers and trackers will only be able to see IP address which was assigned by proxy server.
Take note that proxies do not have any encryption features. Hence, your data will still be seen and could still be read by your ISP.
SOCKS vs. HTTP/HTTPS
SOCKS5 is one of the best proxy type for torrents. It offers multi-function proxy protocol which handles tracker and peer connections. There are some VPN services that also offer socks5.
It is highly recommended for you not to use HTTP proxies as they transport data to HTTP traffic. This means, they do not have the capacity to handle peer connections.
Best Zero-Log Socks5 Proxy Services
This VPN/proxy is one of the fastest. It comes with zero log policy and comes with fast speed of 50mbps.
Both VPN and proxy service have the same offered price.
NordVPN is known to be one of the best VPNs. It offers zero logs policy and they are based in Panama. It could bypass restricted sites.
NordVPN for Torrenting
NordVPN has numerous servers located in 10 countries. Plus, they also have torrent-friendly SOCKS5 servers in 10 countries. They allow up to 6 devices simultaneously connected.
This VPN comes with zero-logs policy and they are the most torrent-friendly VPN/proxy service providers. PIA also offer Socks5 proxy. They offer their services for only $3.33/month.
Proxy vs VPN vs Blocklist/Peerblock
To help you decide on which is the best that will suit your needs here is the summary for each tool:
- Blocked peers could easily get unblocked by new IP address
- List of IP addresses to block
- Does not encrypt torrent traffic or change of IP address
2. Proxy Summary
- Manually configured inside torrent client
- No built in encryption
- Costs about $4 – $6
- Easily installed on any device
- Has numerous server locations
- Has strong encryption features
- Slower connection
- Costs about $3.33+
Winner – VPN services
Considered all the downsides of PeerBlock, it is clear that VPNs are a better choice. Apart from being more effective and convenient, VPNs offer more versatility because they do more than simply blocking certain IPs to cover your torrenting. VPNs protect all your traffic and keep your real IP address hidden. Since your real IP address is masked, you won’t need to use an application like PeerBlock. Even if an agency that is monitoring torrent activity manages to avoid being blacklisted and get access to your IP address, they won’t be able to see the real one.
Additionally, some VPN services feature a kill switch that shuts down all internet traffic or the applications you set, if the VPN connection suddenly drops. This prevents your IP address from being exposed. In order to get the best level of protection, it is important to choose a VPN that is fast, that offers high security, shared IPs and that includes a kill switch.
Although VPNs tend to slow down your connection, there are high quality IPs that minimize the impact on the speed, allowing you to download content without hassle. Shared IP addresses are ideal for torrenting because there are many people using the same IP at the same time, which makes the process of identifying specific users practically impossible. With a Kill switch, your real IP address won’t be revealed, even if the VPN connection stops working for some reason. There is an extensive selection of VPN providers available, but some of the best vpn options for torrenting include VPNArea, PIA and TorGuard.
After signing up for the VPN of your choice, it is important to check that the service is working as it should. Once you connect to a VPN server, go to an IP checker website to confirm that the IP address shown is not your real one and that it is located in the country of the VPN server. You can also see how your IP address appears in a BitTorrent client by using a BitTorrent tracker site like IPMagnet. This offers a magnet link that you can add to the BitTorrent client and then the website will show you the IP address that appears when you are torrenting.