Torrenting is the easiest free way to access the music, movies, TV shows, games, apps, e-books, or other files you want. At the same time, torrenting without the appropriate protection can be quite risky, as you may end up downloading a fake or malicious file, clicking on an inappropriate link, and getting your computer infected and your data stolen.
Also, without protecting your IP and physical location, you risk being intercepted by your ISP and government authorities who regulate and, in many cases, ban torrenting and sharing copyrighted content.
Thankfully, there are some excellent VPNs that you can use for torrenting, which will hide your identity and activity and also help access geo-blocked torrent websites and keep you safe from malicious links and annoying pop-up ads.
If you are new to torrenting and P2P file sharing, read on to find out how to torrent easily and safely.
What are P2P and BitTorrent file sharing?
The BitTorrent technology for file sharing doesn’t rely on a central server where the files available for download are stored. Instead, the files are stored on the millions of computers of the people who are using the torrenting network. Thus, when you download torrents, they come from the computers of all users connected who are seeding the files at the moment.
This is P2P or peer-to-peer file sharing.
With this technology, you start seeding the file as soon as you start downloading it, so other users can connect to your computer to download it as well. The file is broken down into tiny chunks, which become available for uploading as soon as you download them.
This technology and the fact that the torrents are located in a huge network of different computers make torrenting so fast and easy.
But by joining this network, you make your real IP address available to the other users who are downloading the file which you are downloading.
This poses a risk of DDoS attacks or other hacking attempts, as well as a risk of exposing your privacy.
This is why you should always use a reliable VPN when torrenting. A VPN will provide you with a virtual IP address, so you can download and upload torrents completely anonymously and safely.
Related content – Which is the best free VPN?
Step-by-step guide for how to torrent anonymously and safely
Step 1 – Install a VPN
The first step to get started before even accessing a torrenting website is to install a VPN app and connect to a VPN server.
The VPN will provide you with a fake virtual IP address, so your real IP will be masked and you will remain anonymous and safe from potential tracking, hacking, and trolling attempts while you download torrents.
Also, if you happen to torrent to download a file that is copyrighted according to the laws in your country, you can get in serious legal trouble with the authorities who can easily track you down if you use your real IP address.
Another plus for using a VPN for a torrent download is that even your internet service provider (ISP) will not be able to monitor your activities and throttle your download speeds due to heavy usage due to downloading or uploading a large number of torrent files.
With a good VPN, you can also access torrenting websites that are banned in your country as well and will thus have access to many more files to choose from.
Please note that some VPNs come in the form of browser extensions, and while they are great to protect you while browsing, they will not hide your activities when downloading a torrent, which are done via a separate BitTorrent client and not a browser. So make sure that you install and use a VPN that protects your entire computer, or even better, one which is installed on your router and protects all of the devices in your home.
You can read on to find out which the best VPNs for torrenting are.
Step 2 –Check the settings of your VPN app
Make sure that you check the encryption type in your VPN settings. Most good VPNs offer users the option to manually configure what type of encryption and protocols to use.
For torrenting, it is recommended that you opt for the highest level AES 256-bit encryption, which is military-grade and virtually unbreakable.
Also, if your VPN app offers it, make sure that you enable the DNS and IP/IPv6 leak protection options. This will prevent your real location from being exposed when you download torrents.
Enable the VPNs Kill Switch – this can also be called a Network Lock, and will make sure that your torrenting activities and your real IP address remain hidden from your ISP, the authorities, and other prying eyes even if the connection to the VPN server drops while you download torrents.
Many of the best VPNs have these settings all enabled by default, but you check them just in case.
Step 3 – Connect to a VPN server
Connect to a VPN server of your choice, or let the app do it automatically for you. This depends on the VPN provider. Some offer automatic connections to the closest server, but with others, you can choose the closest one to you for a faster connection.
If the VPN service has dedicated P2P servers (this should be marked beside the server location), then you should select one of them before you start to download torrents.
These optimized P2P servers ensure faster file sharing.
Step 4 – Download and install a BitTorrent client of your choice
This is the step that confuses some newbies who are wondering how to download torrents. The fact is that it is pretty simple. You need to choose which client (program) you will be using for torrenting since you can download and share torrents through your internet browser.
These specialized torrent clients are programs which you need to install and which will allow you to seed and leech torrent files.
After downloading the BitTorrent client, go ahead and install it on your computer or another device.
Step 5 – Go to a torrent website
Once you have adjusted your security settings, connected to a VPN server, and installed a BitTorrent client, you are ready to try out how to torrent download.
Navigate to one of the best torrenting sites, and go ahead and explore the available torrents.
Depending on whether you are looking for a specific movie, show, book, game, app, or another file, or whether you are simply browsing for something interesting to download, you can use the search engine of the torrent website or look through its available catalogs. Most of the best torrenting sites have catalogs with download files by type, genre, popularity, newest uploads, and more.
Step 6 – Pick and download the torrent file
Once you find the torrent you are interested in, make sure you take note of how many active seeders it has. The seeders are the users/computer which are currently online and have the file available for others to download. The more active seeders, the faster the download speeds of the file will be.
The link for the file should be a torrent file, which can be opened with the BitTorrent client you have installed.
Once the client opens the file, it will start downloading the file, and at the same time, uploading it to a large number of other users immediately, so in fact you don’t need to know how to download to torrent because the client will do it for you.
Step 7 – Enjoy your downloaded file
Once your file is 100% downloaded, it is ready to be viewed, listened to, read, or otherwise used depending on the type of file you have chosen.
Remember to always look for verified torrents and use reputable torrenting sites to avoid download files which are fake or malicious.
Also, always have your antivirus switched on to check the files you have downloaded before you open them.
As you can see how to torrent and how to download torrent file is not complicated at all, and all you need to do is take precautions to stay safe every time you download a torrent.
The best VPNs for torrenting in 2020
- Some of the fastest download and upload speeds among all VPNs for fast and frustration-free torrenting
- Access to 5,450+ servers located in 59 different countries, which you can use to unblock geo-restricted and banned torrent websites in your country (this feature can also be used for unblocking Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Video, and other blocked content in your country)
- It has dedicated optimized P2P servers for torrenting
- The company provides access to unlimited data
- It offers secure IP masking and prevents any DNS and IPv6 leaks
- It will help hide your torrenting from your ISP, the authorities, and other third parties
- It can override most VPN blocking technologies, including those used by Netflix, and other streaming services
- Military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to keep all of your data safe from being tracked, monitored, or hacked
- The Kill Switch will keep you protected even if the connection to the server fails
- It has a built-in ad-blocker and malware protector, which is perfect for staying safe and not bothered by pop-up ads, which are common on most torrenting websites
- You can install and use the VPN on up to 6 devices at the same time
- The VPN can be used on a wide variety of devices and platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV, and on some routers
- The company has a zero log policy and will not save or give your data and IP to third parties
- It comes with 24/7 live chat customer support
- All plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee
- If you purchase the 2-year plan, you will get an added VPN plan for free
- All of the 3,000 servers in 92 countries of the company are P2P friendly and suitable for fast and easy torrenting
- You can access servers in any of the 90 different countries, which means that you can unblock a geo-restricted torrent website or streaming content from just about anywhere
- There is no bandwidth limit, which means you can torrent all the time without restriction
- You will remain hidden from your ISP, so there will be no problems or throttling of the connection due to heavy usage
- The VPN has a special split tunneling technology allowing for the use of a VPN connection for torrenting simultaneously with a regular internet connection for your other needs
- You can install the VPN on nearly any router, which will allow you to secure the connections of all of the devices in your home Wi-Fi network
- The VPN comes with apps for all of the popular platforms and can be installed on computers, phones, tablets, Smart TVs, game consoles, and routers
- You can use the VPN simultaneously on up to 5 devices. If it is installed on the router, you can use it on as many devices as you want
- It offers the highest AES 256-bit level of encryption
- It has DNS and IPv6 leak protection
- A kill switch will help protect your anonymity and hide your torrenting or other activities even if the connection to the VPN server breaks down
- You can use it to unblock geo-restricted content on Netflix, Showtime, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, BBC iPlayer, Sling TV, and more
- The company has a strict no-logs policy and audited and verified TrustedServer technology
- The service has 24/7 live chat customer support
- If you buy the 1-year plan, you will get another 3 months for free
- The service comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked
- More than 6,400 servers located in 90 countries
- The service offers dedicated P2P servers in over 30 locations
- A very high download speed and unlimited bandwidth for easy and fast torrenting
- The military-grade encryption will protect your data even from your ISP
- Your masked IP will keep you safe from problems with the authorities and your ISP, as well as with hackers and trackers
- You can use the VPN to access torrent websites which are banned or blocked in your country
- You can also use it to unblock restricted content on Netflix, HBO, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more streaming platforms
- There is leak protection for your DNS and IPv6 and a kill switch to keep you safe even if your connection fails while you are torrenting
- The VPN works on most popular platforms and devices, including on Smart TVs, Amazon Fire Stick, and routers
- It has a zero logs policy
- The app is very easy to use, even for newbies
- Currently, the company is offering a massive 83% discount from its 3-year subscription plan
- The service is sold with an industry-leading 45-day money-back guarantee
FAQs about torrenting and VPN use
Is torrenting actually legal?
In most countries, the answer is yes. Some countries do have specific laws banning P2P sharing.
But no matter where you live, and whether torrenting is legal or not, remember that downloading or uploading copyrighted movies, shows, and other files without permission is not legal anywhere.
Will the VPN connection affect the speed of torrenting?
All VPNs slow down your connection speed, but how much a VPN will affect the downloading speed for torrenting depends on your current speed, machine, the VPN you are using, and the torrent availability.
The good news is that most of the best VPNs come with free trials or with money-back guarantees for 30 days or more, so you can try out more than one to decide which one works best for you when you test how to torrent.
Can’t I use Tor for torrenting anonymously instead?
No. While the Tor project is excellent for many other uses, it is not designed or safe to use for torrenting and handling large traffic volumes. So, using a VPN is recommended, and torrenting via Tor should generally be avoided.
BitTorrent terms for newbies
Torrent: this is a metadata file with a .torrent extension, which is more of a roadmap to the peers who are sharing the file you are interested in it. The torrent file can be opened and used by a BitTorrent Client.
BitTorrent Client: this is the software or app which you will use to download and upload torrents.
Peer: any BitTorrent client is a peer. As soon as you start using it, you will become a peer for peer-to-peer file sharing.
Swarm: all of the peers in a network who are sharing the same file.
Seeders: all of the users who have the file downloaded and available for sharing. The more seeders a file has – the fast you can download it.
Leechers: these are the peers who are currently downloading the file. A torrent with many leechers and few seeders will take a longer time to download.
Indexers: this is a torrent website where you can find the torrents you want to download.
Hopefully, now you are feeling more confident and are ready to enter the world of torrenting after learning what are torrents how to download them..
Please remember to stay safe via a VPN and an antivirus program.
Also, be aware that sharing, downloading, and uploading copyrighted content without paying or without permission is illegal, so you should be careful about what you download and upload.
The VPN can help mask and protect your IP and online activities from authorities, your ISP, and hackers.