Torrenting is a method of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. It works differently than regular downloading because instead of taking a file from a single server, it breaks up large files into small packets that come from many different servers at once. Although torrenting has a reputation for illegally distributing copyrighted content, torrenting itself is legal. We would never condone any type of piracy or the sharing of copyrighted movies, books, or games. But torrenting is an important tool for many internet users who rely on open source software. In fact, there is a large and rapidly growing amount of Creative Commons and public domain content that is free and legally distributable. In 2017, an average of 27 million users PER DAY downloaded and shared files on P2P networks, according to thebestvpn.com.
Nevertheless, even when you are torrenting legally, you are at risk of arousing the suspicions of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Thus, it’s a good idea to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). As its name suggests, VNP technology provides privacy on the internet and enables you to torrent undetected. VPNs are great for accessing content blocked by your college or workplace, which can happen sometimes even when you’re doing legitimate research. Many businesses rely on VPN technology to permit remote workers to securely access company resources. A VPN will also protect you when using all forms of public WiFi because your connections and data are securely encrypted. Another benefit of using a VPN is that it masks your identity from any kind of surveillance, government or otherwise.
Just last week, The Intercept identified eight data processing centers across the U.S. that are allegedly being used by the NSA to spy on citizens by monitoring emails, social media posts, and internet browsing sessions with the cooperation of ISPs. VPNs guard against this by hiding your data, traffic, and IP address, which is your online identity. But for a VPN to be any more private than an ISP, the VPN itself needs to be trustworthy. Check whether the VPN keeps logs of user activity. Many privacy-focused VPNs are intentionally up-front about their no-log policies. Although free VPNs aren’t inherently bad, a totally free service simply may not have the resources to maintain the security features it claims. While a VPN encrypts your activity online, you should still exercise caution when downloading and opening certain files or links. To protect against malware and viruses, you must have up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware software installed.
Learn more about how to safely torrent with this beginner’s guide to safe torrenting infographic from thebestvpn.com.