(List of peers / downloaders for a torrent. Click to enlarge.)
What do you mean by “anonymous downloading?”
Everytime you download a file on BitTorrent and connect to the network, you transfer your IP address (“telephone number” for the Internet) to the whole swarm, meaning you can be identified easily by anyone who wants to. Among those people are your ISP, and various “anti-piracy” trolls who use this information to fine downloaders. This is inherent in file sharing, and exposes your identity wide open.
Various companies try to gather as many peers as possible and issue lawsuits, or warn your ISP which then sends out so-called “copyright notices”.
So, the following information is send out by your computer:
- The file you’re currectly downloading
- How much you already received, and how much you’ve already uploaded to other users
- And, of course, where you are located, under which IP you’re connected, and which ISP you use.
What can you do against that?
To regain your privacy online and hide yourself on the BitTorrent network, you either need a VPN or a BitTorrent proxy service, which replaces your IP by running all traffic through anonymous servers.
Is this hard to do?
Not at all! VPNs take about 5 minutes to setup and setup, which can be done by anyone who can install a program and hit the “Connect” button. These programs are made with usability in mind, as you’ll clearly see when taking a look at them.
Are VPNs expensive?
We don’t think so. One of our recommended services, CactusVPN, has plans starting at just over $2 a month, and is reliable and fast. Others are even more easy to use, and also offer their own BitTorrent client, which eliminates 100% of all techy stuff.
Recommended: Cactus VPN
High speeds, (almost) one-click setup, reliable connection: This VPN is both inexpensive and very secure. Plans start at $2.27 a month is you pay for a year in advance, and with the build-in application killer you’re protected from traffic leaks when your connection fails (for maximum security, remember to set it up before downloading). Highly recommended for BitTorrent downloaders.
More expensive, but they offer an anonymous BitTorrent client that makes things even easier. Basically, you can choose between a VPN or a BitTorrent proxy (or both), with the BitTorrent client just replacing your current client (if you want). So, you can just ditch your old software and replace it with the BitTorrent Anonymizer, and be done with it. Recommended for anyone who wants things to be as easy as possible. Plans start at about 6.60$ per month.