How To Download Torrents without your ISP Knowing
Bit torrent is a file sharing protocol that can be used for many things. Some of them completely legal and others not so much. The common link that comes to mind when thinking of bit torrent is piracy. This is why most ISPs monitor bit torrent traffic. This tutorial will walk you through how to download torrents without your ISP knowing.
ISPs aren’t the only ones to watch bit torrent. Organizations like MPAA, RIAA and companies also watch bit torrent to track and hopefully prosecute downloaders. These entities use automated systems to track IP addresses and is not reliable. That doesn’t stop them trying to extort money out of you even if you have never downloaded anything illegal in your life.
To add to that, some organizations use honeypots. Fake torrents whose only role is to collect the IP addresses of those downloading the fake file. These are also used in prosecutions or those extortion attempts by companies.
Finally, bit torrent traffic makes up a significant proportion of all internet traffic. ISPs tend to throttle, or slow down bit torrent traffic regardless of its legality to ensure other connection types are not compromised by bit torrent traffic volumes.
All good reasons to stop anyone knowing what you’re downloading. Even if you are downloading completely legally, getting mistakenly caught up in these unreliable IP harvesting systems can become a real headache.
Download anything without your ISP knowing
Your main defense to prevent your ISP or anyone else knowing what you download or what you do online is to use a VPN. A Virtual Private Network is a service you buy from a reliable VPN provider. You install a VPN client onto your device and use it to connect securely to the VPN server. This creates a secure VPN tunnel that hides all traffic from anyone trying to see what you do.
Traffic between your device and the VPN server is encrypted so it is safe from prying eyes. Your ISP will see you are using your connection but will not be able to see exactly what you’re doing. Most VPN providers use very strong encryption which is beyond most non-state entity’s ability to crack.
It is important to know that traffic from the VPN server out to the internet is not encrypted. As long as you use a ‘no log’ VPN provider, nobody can link your connection with any activity on the internet, including downloading bit torrent.
So that’s the why and the mechanics of the how. Let’s get to the good bit.
Using a VPN to download torrents without your ISP knowing
You can install a VPN client onto almost any device. You can use it on your phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, Mac, Linux, Windows, iOS and Android. Much depends on what apps the VPN provider has. I suggest always using a VPN as you are always being monitored online.
TechJunkie publishes a lot of information on VPNs as we think privacy is something we all need to take control of. If you want to know what is the best VPN service around right now, check out this page.
Here’s how to put everything together.
- Sign up for a VPN service and download the VPN client to every device you own.
- Download a bit torrent client if you haven’t already.
- Enable the VPN and make sure it uses the closest server to your location or the fastest VPN server.
- Enable the VPN Kill Switch feature on the VPN client if it has one.
- Find your torrent and download in secret!
It really is that simple!
Once you have a reliable, no- log VPN service, I recommend using it for everything you do online. The only exception to this would be online gaming, especially if you play twitch games or FPS. VPNs introduce a small amount of latency which under normal circumstances, is not a problem, but in games where split seconds really count, it will work against you.
Quick overview of how a VPN works
If you want to know how a VPN can protect you, read on.
A Virtual Private Network is exactly what it says it is. The VPN client is configured to communicate privately with a bunch of VPN servers. Between them, they create what is known as a VPN tunnel. This is essentially a virtual link between the two along which you send all of your internet traffic.
The VPN client on your device encrypts all your web traffic and sends it to the VPN server. The server decrypts the traffic and sends it onto its destination. All traffic between your device and the VPN server is encrypted and unreadable. Once decrypted, the traffic is anonymized and sent on its way. Because you’re using a ‘no log’ service, there is no link between your VPN connection and the traffic going out to the internet from the VPN server.
Imagine you’re sending a letter but don’t want the post office to know it is you that is sending it or who you’re sending it to. You pack the letter inside another envelope and send it to a friend. That friend unpacks the original letter and sends it on from somewhere else. The post office sees the letter but there is no link to you and that letter. This is similar to how a VPN works.
The bit torrent protocol
The bit torrent protocol is not illegal. It is merely a transport mechanism for peer to peer networks. It is what you transport using bit torrent that can be illegal. There are many legal uses for bit torrent. Some big games publishers use it to download games or large updates. Many Linux distributions are downloaded using bit torrent. Manu enterprise organizations share large files using bit torrent.
It is a very efficient way of sharing large files. As it is peer to peer, meaning users share the files among themselves, it doesn’t need a centralized server or any management. You just maker the file available, provide a magnet link and let people manage it themselves.
If you are accused of using bit torrent. That’s fine as it is legal. Because bit torrent is also used for illegal purposes, some organizations don’t take the time to sort legal use from illegal use. ISPs don’t bother either and often throttle bit torrent traffic. This slows down your download to help maintain service levels for all users.
A VPN is the only effective way to download torrents without your ISP knowing. It also protects everything you do online. If you don’t use one, you need to start right now!