A virtual private network (or VPN) is very similar to a proxy, but instead of rerouting just your BitTorrent traffic, it reroutes all your internet traffic. For some people, that’s a good thing—it gives you privacy all over the web. However, it can also be inconvenient, navigating you to different web pages for that VPN’s country or causing issues with streaming services. If you have a NAS, you can set up your VPN on it to route only your NAS traffic, which is a perfect option for downloading anonymously. VPNs are about the same price as most proxies, and I personally have found that I get better speeds with most VPNs than I do with a proxy.
ExpressVPN unblocks Netflix on every platform tested, including Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Linux, and certain wifi routers. ExpressVPN lets you connect up to three devices at a time. Plus, every ExpressVPN subscription comes with the MediaStreamer smart DNS proxy. MediaStreamer can unblock Netflix on devices that don’t normally support VPNs, such as Apple TV, PS4, and Xbox One.
Depending on the VPN software, you may be able to disable the NAT firewall somewhere in the settings. If not, you will need to use port forwarding. This is usually a manual procedure where the VPN provider designates a specific port to be used for P2P traffic. Users must configure their bittorrent client to use this port. If the port is not listed on the VPN provider’s website, the user will need to contact customer support and ask for it.
VPNs work by routing your web traffic through an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a server operated by the VPN company. Anyone snooping on your activities, even if they are the ones running the network, won't be able to see what you're up to. Even the ISPs will be blind. Advertisers and others on the web will have a harder time tracking your movements because your true IP address is hidden behind that of the VPN server and your traffic is mixed in with everyone else on that server.
A proxy (like Private Internet Access) funnels traffic—in this case, just your BitTorrent traffic—through another server, so that the BitTorrent swarm will show an IP address from them instead of you. In this case, Private Internet Access’ proxy server is in the Netherlands. That way, those anti-piracy groups can’t contact your ISP, and your ISP has no cause to send you a harrowing letter.
If you are going to use BitTorrent for whatever reason, good luck to you. If you are going to use a VPN, more power to you. But be sure that you take the time to read the VPN's terms of service before you start. And be aware of the local laws and possible penalties before you start, whatever your willingness to obey them. "I didn't know the law," or "I don't agree with the law," won't hold up as defenses in a court, so make sure you can live with any potential punishments should you choose to do something legally dubious.
Using a VPN goes a long way to improving your personal security, but it's not a bulletproof, magical solution. When it comes to security, we often say that it's better to think of tools like VPNs as raising the effort required to successfully attack you. If someone is willing to invest the time and money in targeting you specifically, they will eventually get what they're after. A VPN needs to be part of a layered approach to security and can't take the place of critical tools, such as good antivirus software.
Antivirus software protects you from malware, but to protect your privacy and security on the web, you need a virtual private network, or VPN. Ivacy offers VPN protection at an affordable price and boasts servers in far-flung corners of the world. It's a strong offering on paper, but we had some hiccups in testing. At the end of the day, it can't match our Editors' Choice winners NordVPN, Private Internet Access, and TunnelBear VPN in terms of robustness or ease of use.
Buffered CEO Jordan Fried suspects Netflix could put the final nail in the VPN coffin if it truly wished to do so. Instead, it has resisted avoiding losing more customers. The argument against a billing address-based filtering scheme, Netflix might argue, is that the copyright licensing restrictions apply to where content is being watched from, not where the subscriber’s money comes from.
ExpressVPN is our preferred option. It has a dedicated Netflix page and a few server locations can reliably unblock Netflix. They change on occasion, so it’s best to send a quick message to the live chat support on ExpressVPN’s website to ask which server to connect to. Every subscription comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk free. We found speeds suitable for HD streaming without buffering.
Torrent websites and torrents themselves are havens for malware. Because torrents are uploaded by the community, they often go unchecked for viruses and malware. A case in early 2018 saw 400,000 users hit by a malware outbreak caused by a Russian torrenting client. Every time you download a torrent, it’s a good idea to scan it with good, up-to-date antivirus software. If the website you downloaded from has a comments section, other users might have already posted about potential threats. This is especially true for software and video games that contain a lot of files, making it easier to hide malicious files.
The blockage of torrent websites by governments and ISPs isn’t the only reason why you need to look for the best VPN for torrenting. Streaming of pirated content is illegal and can put you on the wrong side of the authorities. Depending on your region, you can end up receiving a DMCA notice. Your ISP can also decide to throttle your internet as they can always see what you are doing on the internet. Thankfully, all these concerns can be averted by the use of a private and secure VPN.
A VPN that unblocks Netflix in a web browser might not unblock the Netflix app on your mobile device, set-top box, or smart TV. That’s because a web browser must use the DNS servers specified by the operating system. Most VPN apps take care of this for you and route all DNS requests to their own in-house DNS servers, which ensures that DNS requests match the location of your VPN server.
Unlike proxies and VPNs, seedboxes don’t route your BitTorrent traffic through another country. Instead, you actually rent a dedicated server that resides in that country, and do all your torrenting through that machine. They usually have insanely fast speeds, and if you’re on a private tracker, they’ll seed 24/7, giving you a great ratio. Once you download a torrent on your seedbox, you can just connect to it via FTP and download the file as fast as your home connection allows. Note that seedboxes also require a bit of extra setup, and some may require a little command line work to get running.
When you download or seed a torrent, you’re connecting to a bunch of other people, called a swarm. All of those people can see your computer’s IP address—they have to in order to connect. That’s all very handy when you’re sharing files with other netizens, but file sharers such as yourself aren’t necessarily the only people paying attention. Piracy monitoring groups (often paid for by the entertainment industry either before or after they find violators) also join BitTorrent swarms, but instead of sharing files, they’re logging the IP addresses of other people in the swarm—including you—so that they can notify your ISP of your doings.
Certain Kodi add-ons also source video streams from torrents. Keep an eye out in particular for a newer platform called Acestreams. Acestreams use peer-to-peer bittorrent connections so concurrent users can share the load of a stream. That means your connection is shared with others, causing potential security and privacy issues that can usually be averted with a torrent VPN. Acestreams are increasingly popular for both live and on-demand content.
I have been with Ivacy for about 2 years; I think it's a great service for what you pay. It is not gold-plated and sometimes got into some issues, but all of them were temporary and promptly resolved. So, if you need a perfect VPN, this is not for you (but arguably any VPN can be perfect). For what you pay it is already a great service and speed is good.