The more you information you share online, the easier it is for advertisers, hackers and anyone else to access your data. Sophisticated systems and programs exist, and data miners are often several steps ahead of mainstream internet sites. Don't allow your personal or private information be compromised by unsecured internet connection or by public internet access points. Windscribe VPN for Chrome is a simple but powerful way to keep your private activity in your own hands.
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.
If cost is a major hurdle, fear not. There are many excellent free VPNs on the market. Our Editors' Choice winner, TunnelBear, offers a free version with a limited amount of data available. ProtonVPN, on the other hand, limits the number of simultaneous devices and available servers to its free customers. Ivacy does not, however, offer a free version.
Ivacy also has some very strategically positioned servers. While most VPN companies ignore the entire continent of Africa, Ivacy has six locations. South and Central America is another region passed over by many VPN companies, but not Ivacy. It also provides servers in regions with repressive internet censorship, including China, Russia, and Turkey.
“We are receiving an unprecedented number of inquiries from people looking to access Netflix service, suggesting there are not a lot of VPNs left that offer an alternative workaround,” NordVPN CIO Emanuel Morgan tells Comparitech. “Keeping up with offering new workaround solutions might require significant resources and it is understandable that some services chose to forgo advocating for this issue – choosing to concentrate their resources on primary service functions (offering privacy and security solutions) instead.”
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.
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Hide.me is a fast VPN that has apps for all major platforms including iPhone and Android. In the free version, you can only connect to three servers and get 2GB per month. Hide.me also does not have OpenVPN support, which might be a disappointment for security-conscious users. Hide.me does, however, support PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, and IPSec. While you only get 3 servers to choose from, you can download torrents without any restrictions (except for the data limit). Find out what real Hide.me users have to say here.
Another great benefit is the fact that most VPN services operate a network of servers located across the globe. In other words, the user can select a server located in a specific country, and have a new IP address from that country. With a VPN, anyone monitoring your traffic only sees the IP address of the VPN server. Your location, IP address, downloads, and Internet activity are masked behind the VPN.
Some VPNs redirect users to the US version of Netflix regardless of server location. NordVPN, for example, can unblock Netflix when connected to any country, but uses a DNS proxy to route Netflix requests to the US version, except for Australia, Canada, Japan, Netherlands, and UK. Opening Netflix while connected to any other country through NordVPN will return the US version. And though Surfshark users can access Netflix on any server, they all redirect to the US version except France, India, Japan, the Netherlands, and the UK. Similarly, AirVPN redirects many international users to US Netflix regardless of their VPN server’s IP address.
Another reason why your internet speeds suffer over the Wi-Fi connection is due to many physical obstructions for example distance from the router will also cause speeds to fluctuate drastically. Besides that, physical hindrances like walls and other furniture can also impose a negative impact not to mention interference from radio waves emitted by so many electronic devices in your vicinity.
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But wait, can’t the piracy groups then go to the anonymizer service and requisition their logs to figure out what you’re downloading? Theoretically, yes, but if you’re using a truly good anonymizer, they don’t keep logs, so there’s no paper trail of activity leading back to you. All the piracy monitors see is a proxy service sharing a file, and all your ISP sees is you connecting to a proxy service. If you encrypt your BitTorrent traffic (which we recommend), your ISP won’t even be able to see that you’re using BitTorrent.
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.
Romania-based CyberGhost allows P2P filesharing on any server that isn’t located in the US or Russia. Due to legal pressure, CyberGhost actively blocks BitTorrent traffic in those two countries (presumably by blocking popular ports used by BitTorrent clients, but we haven’t tested this). CyberGhost isn’t wholly adverse to torrenting, though, and even has a “Torrent Anonymously” profile that will connect you to the best torrenting VPN server available.
Max Eddy is a Software Analyst, taking a critical eye to the Android OS and security services. He's also PCMag's foremost authority on weather stations and digital scrapbooking software. He spends much of his time polishing his tinfoil hat and plumbing the depths of the Dark Web. Prior to PCMag, Max wrote for the International Digital Times, The... See Full Bio
Hi Paula, thanks for the question. File sharing is indeed under fire in countries like the US, UK, Canada and Australia. But you can engage in P2P/File-sharing activity from these countries by connecting to the VPN servers of the countries where File Shharing is legal. As long as you don’t engage in any copyright infringements, you have nothing to worry about. However, anti-file-sharing measures are usually very limited and are usually always preceeded by rather harmless warning notices by the ISP so you have a bit of a margin in case you ever get flagged during a P2P session in the event of a worst case scenario.
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.
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I submitted several other queries designed to gauge the knowledge and efficacy of the team (all of them were submitted at similar times) and all of these queries were answered in a similarly timely (and brief) manner. To ensure that my experience was an accurate representation of their customer support team, I also reviewed their social media accounts to see how well they handled other customer complaints and questions.