Will a VPN Hide Torrenting?
Updated: March 31, 2016
Yes. A VPN makes all of your online activity completely anonymous. By routing your online traffic through an encrypted pathway and an external server, you change your IP Address and in doing so make it virtually impossible for anyone to trace your online activity, including torrenting, back to you.
Torrenting is a term used for P2P file sharing which is an incredibly convenient way to share things online. Users make files available for download on their device and other users can then download the files for free. The more popular the file is, the faster it will download.
However, as well as being convenient and free, it is also remarkably insecure and, depending on what you are downloading, or dubious legality as well. There are more and more cases of copyright holders prosecuting bittorent users for sharing copywriting files illegally.
For this reason, more and more bittorrent users (as the program itself is called) are looking to enhance their security while torrenting to minimize the security risks, and also make it harder for them to be traced.
For many a VPN is the solution they turn to, as it offers a number of features that can tackle the issues torrenters face.
If I torrent with a VPN can I be traced?
A VPN is a tool which allows users to change their IP Address whilst online. As your IP Address is the piece of data which websites, and other prying eyes, used to identify individual users and their locations, if this has been altered, you are effectively using the internet anonymously.
When you use a bittorrent site to download a file, usually everyone else in that same group can see your IP Address. There are also a number of monitoring groups which record the IP Address on some of the most popular torrent streams on a regular basis.
If you are torrenting through a VPN, the IP Address they can see is for the server you are connected to, and there is no way of them telling that you are connected to that server, because the link from your device is encrypted.
But, and there is a big but, not all VPNs can absolutely guarantee that no-one will ever be able to work out that you have been using torrenting sites?
So not all VPNs can hide my torrenting?
All VPNs will offer the level of security outlined above. But your VPN provider can still see what sites you are connecting to, and where you are downloading from, and different VPNs operate different policies in relation to this information.
Some VPNs are required by law to retain user data for a minimum period of time. Others choose to do so. But if there is a record of your online activity, this means that law enforcement agencies could gain access to it, and it could even be released if your VPN provider was hacked etc.
Therefore, if you are determined to be untraceable when torrenting with a VPN, you need to opt for a VPN with a verifiable no-logs policy. This means you want to choose a provider which keeps no logs of their user activity at all.
It is also worth noting that some VPNs will claim to have a no logs policy when that is not strictly true, so you should do some research and read our reviews thoroughly to make sure they definitely do permanently delete all user data, before you sign up.
You also need to make sure that your chosen VPN works well with bittorrent sites, because that is not the case with all of them.
So some VPNs don’t work with torrenting at all?
Using a VPN to torrent or stream media is one of the most popular reasons people will sign up in the first place. It is therefore perhaps surprising to some to learn that not all VPNs will welcome torrent users.
Because of the questionable legality of some torrenting, certain VPNs are keen to appear squeaky clean and not risk have such activity on their network. They therefore choose to block access to many of the most popular bittorrent sites.
For others, excessive torrenting can slow their whole network down as it can use up a lot of bandwidth. There might therefore take steps to limit or discourage it for the sake of their overall service,
For example, they might have a limit on how fast you can download files. With such VPNs, using bittorrent sites is possible, but the file downloads can take an awfully long time.
You therefore need to be carefully to pick a VPN that can comfortable support your torrenting usage, and which is happy to do so.
A VPN will certainly hide your torrenting activity from anyone who might have an interest in it. However, some VPNs will do a better job of ensuring your anonymity than others, and other VPNs would prefer you not to torrent on their network altogether. So be sure to choose carefully when you sign up for one.