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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

How to Torrent Safely & Anonymously — Updated Guide (2024)

Doris Muthuri Updated on 19th October 2023 Fact-checked by Aleksandra Kovacevic Senior Writer

You're taking a huge risk downloading and uploading files without proper protection. You could expose your device and personal information to cyber threats, including malware, trackers, and hackers.

After extensive testing, I found the best ways to safely torrent, and it's easier than you think. Third parties usually track you using your IP address, which becomes publicly visible when you torrent. So, hiding your IP address is the quickest way to download torrents safely. Combining that with a trusted torrent client and antivirus software can significantly reduce the chances of unauthorized access to your data.

Important. While torrenting is not necessarily illegal in most countries, downloading copyrighted content is against the law. The vpnMentor team does not condone any illegal torrenting activities. Ensure you're familiar with the rules and regulations regarding torrenting in your country before downloading anything. Be sure to only download copyright-free files.

Quick Guide: How to Torrent Safely in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Mask your IP address. Changing your IP address prevents third parties from tracking your torrenting activities and discovering your identity.
  2. Use a trusted torrent client. Choose a P2P sharing protocol like BitTorrent, Deluge, or uTorrent. With these, you don't have to worry about embedded malware and other dangerous code.
  3. Download copyright-free content. Go to a legitimate torrent site, like IPTorents, and start downloading.

Pro Tip: Use a VPN to Torrent Without Being Tracked

A VPN is the easiest way to stay safe and anonymous when torrenting. It encrypts your connection and replaces your IP address with a new one by routing traffic through its private server network. This protects your privacy by keeping your online identity and activities hidden from unauthorized access by hackers and other third parties.

Many premium VPNs also have built-in ad, tracker, and malware blockers. So, you can enjoy torrenting without annoying (or malicious) ads and popups. Split tunneling is another useful VPN feature — you can choose which apps go through the VPN tunnel and which use your regular internet connection. This means you can access services like local food delivery apps while protecting your P2P activity via the VPN.

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The Dangers of Torrenting

Torrenting can seriously compromise your device and privacy. Below are the most common risks associated with downloading or uploading files.

  • Exposing your online identity. When you torrent, your IP address is exposed to the swarm. This makes it easy for third parties to steal your personal information, execute DDoS attacks, or worse.
  • Malware and viruses. Torrenting sites are notorious for hosting files that contain malware and viruses. Downloading these files puts your device and personal data at risk of being compromised.
  • Monitoring and tracking. Your internet service provider (ISP) and other monitoring entities can easily monitor your online traffic without encryption. This invasion of privacy can lead to unwanted data collection and profiling, mostly for advertising purposes.
  • Legal consequences. Accidentally downloading copyrighted content can result in legal actions, including fines and lawsuits. Your ISP may also take action against you for violating their terms of service. Make sure you adhere to and know the laws in your country.
  • Slower speeds. Unprotected torrenting can expose you to bandwidth throttling by your ISP. When they detect torrenting, they may limit your download speeds, resulting in a frustratingly slow connection.

Best Ways to Protect Yourself When Torrenting in 2024 — The Ultimate Guide

Step 1: Protect your privacy with a VPN

When torrenting, your IP address is often visible to other users. Hackers and copyright trolls frequently monitor torrent groups to identify IP addresses and target them. They might use your IP to break into your network or start DDoS attacks. Even worse, trolls may falsely accuse you of piracy and try to extort money.

With your IP address visible, your ISP can see your torrents, which could result in them intentionally throttling your speed or threatening account suspension. A VPN hides your IP address and encrypts your data so your torrenting activity can't be traced back to you. Premium VPNs also offer fast P2P-friendly servers across the globe, so you can download large files quickly.

Step 2: Get a reliable torrent client

You need a reliable torrent client to download a torrent safely and successfully. Because torrents consist of data from different locations, these files can sometimes be injected with malware. While any torrent client will manage and merge those files into one easy download, the best clients will make it clear which torrents have been verified as safe and reliable.

When choosing a torrent client, you want one that is easy to use, lightweight, and customizable. It should enable a decent degree of customization and functionality and provide safety settings to protect you. These are the torrent clients I recommend:

  • uTorrent. The most popular torrent client with a clean and simple interface. It also allows you to customize its features, although it does come with ads.
  • BitTorrent. It has a user-friendly interface with a drag-and-drop feature, making it ideal for beginners. But like uTorrent, it has ads.
  • Deluge. An open-source client that is compatible with many extensions. However, it’s not the easiest to use.
  • qBittorrent. Allows plenty of customization and is free of ads. Unfortunately, it doesn’t enable extensions.
  • Vuze. Not the most lightweight torrent client, but it compensates for it by offering a vast selection of tools and plugins.
A screenshot of uTorrent clutter-free use-interfaceThe basic uTorrent plan is free, but the paid one allows torrent streaming and file conversion

IP binding is the crucial feature on your torrent client. It enables you to authorize connections from certain IP addresses and block the rest, allowing you to torrent files only when your VPN is connected. Not all torrent clients offer this feature, so ensure to select one that does support IP binding.

Step 3: Use a reputable torrenting site

There are tons of torrenting sites on the internet, but not all of them are safe. Only use sites that prioritize safety and don't host malicious content. But before using one, check user reviews and ratings to determine its reliability. Prioritizing trusted, well-known torrent sites minimizes risks and ensures you download genuine files without compromising your security.

Some reliable torrenting sites include:

  • IPTorrents
  • The Pirate Bay
  • YTS
  • 1337x
  • RARBG
  • Limetorrents

Note. Avoid downloading copyrighted content from the above sites because it's illegal.

Step 4: Turn on an antivirus software

Before torrenting, activate a reliable antivirus tool on your device. Downloading torrents means connecting to a network of peers sharing parts of the same file. This peer-to-peer connection broadens exposure, increasing the risk of connecting with someone with malicious intentions.

Antivirus software scans incoming files, stopping you from accidentally downloading harmful content. I recommend going for software that has real-time scanning and automatic updates.

Step 5: Download a safe torrent

Downloading a safe torrent is crucial because hackers may seed (or distribute) files filled with malware. Make sure you only download torrents that have been verified. When you search for a file on a torrent site, you will find many different versions of the same file. This can be confusing. Here are some of the factors you can take into account to determine whether a file is safe:

  • Use magnet links instead of torrent files. A magnet link has all the information a torrent client requires to download large files. It's faster and more convenient. Most reliable torrent sites offer these links.

    A snapshot showing how to download a torrent using uTorrent's magnetic linkuTorrent only offers the option of using the magnetic link

  • Inspect the torrent for unwanted or malicious files. When you click on the magnetic link on a torrent client, a popup will appear on your torrent client, showing you the file's content. Always inspect these files to make sure there's nothing suspicious.

    A screenshot showing a uTorrent popup while attempting to download a torrentThe popup will show even more details depending on the content of the files

  • Scan the file for malware. Once a file is downloaded, I recommend running it through your antivirus program. This will scan the files you download and notify you if they contain malicious code.
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Military-Grade Security Features
DEAL: Save 49% + 30-day money-back guarantee
Editor's Choice for Security
Our Score: 10.0
High-level encryption keeps you safe online
Verified to not collect or share data

Additional Tips to Help You Torrent Safely & Anonymously

In addition to the steps above, you can take extra measures to ensure a greater level of security when torrenting:

  • Look for a high seeder/leecher number. A seeder shares a full copy of a file with other users while a leecher downloads those files. A torrent with many seeders and leechers is more likely to be safer and faster because of its regular activity.

    A screenshot showing the number of seeders and leechers on a torrent client's dashboard.Take caution not to download copyrighted torrents and get in trouble with the law

  • Read reviews and comments. Be sure to check out the comments, as they will warn you of any dangerous torrents. But don’t rely on this alone, as hackers sometimes leave fake comments to lure suspects. Also, if the comment contains gibberish or irrelevant text, it’s most likely a virus.
  • Use a private torrent site. Try using private torrent sites because these work on an invite-only basis, and carefully moderate their torrents. They act as a community where users only share files between members.
  • Download files into a sandboxed environment. This is a secure way to check files for malware without endangering your device. It can be created using a program like Sandboxie or a virtual machine, which acts as a separate operating system.
  • Look at the file type. If you want a video and the torrent file ends in.exe, something isn’t right. Also,.exe and.bat types are most likely to contain a virus.
  • Check the release dates. For instance, if you see a torrent for a program or video that hasn't been released, it's probably fake.

Best VPNs to Torrent Safely in 2024

  1. ExpressVPN — A strict no-logs policy means no torrenting activity is stored or shared. It also has a RAM-only TrustedServer network that wipes your data with every server reboot. Its entire network of 3,000 servers in 105 countries is P2P-friendly, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. CyberGhost — Dedicated torrenting servers for easy and reliable torrenting from anywhere. Plus, military-grade encryption and a built-in adblocker protect your data from hackers, trackers, and malware.
  3. Private Internet Access — Customizable settings to balance speed with security while torrenting and MACE adblocker add an additional layer of security.

FAQs on How to Torrent in 2024

Is torrenting legal?

Yes, but you should check the laws in your country. In most cases, it’s illegal to torrent copyrighted content. Even when you’re downloading non-copyrighted content, some users will use your IP address to report you to your ISP or try to blackmail you. Make sure to inform yourself about the legality of torrenting in your region before downloading anything.

Is torrenting safe with a VPN?

Yes — torrenting with a VPN is the safest way to download files. That’s because a premium VPN will encrypt your data and hide your IP address, keeping you safe against malicious third parties and snoops while you torrent. A VPN prevents anyone from uncovering your identity, targeting you with attacks, and spying on your activity.

Will I get caught torrenting if I use a VPN?

That depends. Using a VPN while torrenting prevents your ISP and snoops from monitoring you. However, while a VPN can help protect your privacy by encrypting your internet traffic, your ISP may potentially identify that you are using a VPN.

You should always make sure the content you want to download isn’t protected by copyright. Engaging in illegal torrenting activity can result in legal consequences, even if you use a VPN. So, it is important to use a VPN for legal purposes only and to follow your country's laws regarding online activity.

How do I download torrents without being tracked?

Hiding your IP address is the easiest way to avoid tracking when torrenting. Masking your real IP will keep you safe from numerous online threats, such as cyberattacks, and let you download torrents anonymously. It also stops your ISP from throttling your bandwidth.

How does P2P file sharing work?

P2P file sharing works by creating a virtual network that allows multiple users to share files. But torrenting reveals your IP address to other parties, who can use it to steal your data. Luckily, there are a few ways to download torrents safely.

When you request a file download from a P2P network, every computer works together to upload it onto your device. The full download is complete once all the different parts are uploaded. The benefit is that you can download files faster than from one server.

Can I use a free VPN to torrent safely?

Yes, but it's not recommended because a free VPN can compromise your privacy, security, and speed. Many free VPN providers may log your online activity and sell it to third parties, exposing you to privacy risks. To ensure a safe and secure torrenting experience, it's best to choose a reputable premium VPN that offers fast download speeds, strong security features, and a no-logs policy.

Additionally, free VPNs typically have strict limitations on P2P traffic, or they may not allow it at all. While paid VPNs have an up-front cost, they provide superior security features that are worth the investment.

How can I check if my IP is hidden before torrenting?

You can use an IP checker tool. First, conceal your IP address via a proxy server, VPN, or Tor browser, then go to a free IP lookup website. You can safely and anonymously torrent if your IP address shows a different country.

Conclusion

You can torrent safely and without getting tracked with a few simple steps. However, the first thing to do is hide your IP address. This allows you to access and download files without being visible to other users. On top of that, be sure to use a reliable torrent client, torrenting website, and robust antivirus software.

Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

About the Author

Doris is a tech writer and a cybersecurity researcher for vpnMentor. She is enthusiastic about educating people about their rights to online freedom and provides actionable ways to protect their data.

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