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How to Download Torrents Anonymously (2019 Update)

Detailed steps for anonymous torrenting and how to hide IP address when downloading torrents. 

Cute garden gnome reading a book.

Psst. To download anonymous torrents, use a no-log VPN like NordVPN

Torrents can be downloaded in a few easy steps, but doing so anonymously means taking a few extra steps in the process. However, the extra steps are not difficult and are well worth the effort.

The most important step to hide torrenting is to use a reliable VPN for torrenting that does not keep any logs. The best is NordVPN, but keep reading for all the details. 

Any kind of interaction on the Internet, including torrenting and P2P downloading, means sharing your IP address, your device’s unique online digital fingerprint. If you do not take steps to hide your IP address, your torrent downloading activities can be easily traced back to you.

If snoops want to detect your IP address and track you down, they just need to share the same torrent as you and then monitor the activities of the swarm of torrent downloaders. This means that to download torrents anonymously you need to hide your IP address so that your ISP and outside parties cannot detect, snoop on or monitor your torrenting


The 3 Keys to Downloading Torrents Safely

Using a reliable and trustworthy VPN while torrenting will accomplish 3 keys things to keep you safe. Using a good torrent VPN will:

  1. hide your IP address 
     
  2. shield your torrenting behind strong encryption (look for AES-256 bit or higher “military grade” encryption) and
     
  3. not be traceable back to you (because it keeps no logs of your activities while connected to the VPN).

A reliable VPN acts as a shield and protects your torrenting from snooping. It stops your ISP from throttling or shaping your bandwidth. It stops outside parties from eavesdropping on your connection and monitoring your torrenting.

While nothing can ever guarantee 100% anonymity, this combination of features makes it all but impossible for snoops to detect your true IP address, monitor your activities and track you down.

The VPN services we recommend for torrenting do all this and effectively hide torrenting from your ISP and snoops. 

RANK

VPN SERVICE

FEATURES

BEST PRICE

MORE INFO

1

NordVPN best secure VPN service

• best VPN overall
• no-logs & P2P allowed
• 60 countries & 5,589 servers

$2.99/mo
$11.95/mo

save 75%

Try risk-free for 30 days

2

Private Internet Access VPN best value VPN service

• best VPN for privacy
• zero-logs & torrent-friendly
• 32 countries & 3,341 servers

$3.49/mo
$9.99/mo

save 65%

Try risk-free for 7 days

3

ExpressVPN best overall vpn service

• excellent VPN for speed
• no-logs & allows torrenting  
• 94 countries & 3,000 servers

$6.67/mo
$12.95/mo

save 49%

Try risk-free for 30 days


Step-by-Step: How to Torrent Anonymously 

Each step below explains in detail how to download torrents anonymously. 

Step #1, using a no-log torrent VPN, is mandatory: it is simply a “must” for anonymous torrenting. 

Step #2, using an IP address protection tool, like PeerBlock, is an “optional” step. Some people believe the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, especially as it is completely free, but it is not necessary. We'll explain why below.  This means you can skip Step #2 and still enjoy safe torrenting.

If you choose not to use a torrent VPN and instead rely only on an IP address protection tool you will be compromising your torrenting and will not be anonymous. Your ISP and snoops could still monitor your torrenting because your connection won’t be encrypted and your IP address won't be hidden. 

Step #3, shows you how to confirm that your torrent IP address is actually being hidden. 

Step #4, tells you about the dangers of how your torrenting can still be traced back to you through traffic analysis even when you hide your IP address and torrent anonymously. But don't worry, we tell you how to stay safe from this risk too. 


Step 1: Carefully Choose a Good VPN for Torrenting

The best way to hide your IP address for safe torrenting is to use a trustworthy VPN. Generally speaking, this means a trusted no-log torrent VPN such as NordVPN.

A BitTorrent proxy is another way to hide your IP address while torrenting, but a torrent VPN is more versatile, offers more protection and is better value for money than a proxy. If you want the details, you can read more about the differences between a BitTorrent proxy vs VPN.

When you use a reliable torrent VPN:

  1. your ISP will only see encrypted (scrambled) Internet traffic when you are connected to the VPN.   

    Your torrenting will be hidden inside an encrypted tunnel of data directly between you and the VPN’s servers. Your ISP will still be able to see the amount of data you are downloading, but not how you are downloading (via torrenting) or what it is you are downloading (movies, music, software, etc). The torrent VPN’s protection hides torrenting from your ISP and outside snoops.
    A solid VPN service will have strong levels of encryption (256-bit and higher) and offer different "protocols" to choose from. Don’t worry too much about VPN Protocols: if you use OpenVPN and avoid PPTP you’ll be safe. ​
     
  2. outside snoops will not be able to trace your torrenting back to you as the VPN will be hiding your true IP address and not keeping any logs of your activities.

    Every time you connect to the torrent VPN, your torrenting will be routed through a different IP address assigned to the VPN’s servers rather than your ISP. To outside snoops, your torrenting will seem to be coming from an IP address and location that is totally different from your true ones. 🙂

    And if the snoops did trace back your activities to the VPN servers, they would hit a dead-end because your VPN keeps no logs. This ensures your torrenting stays anonymous, safe and untraceable. 

NordVPN is a torrent-friendly, no-log VPN that fulfills all these criteria and can safely hide your torrenting. Plus, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee for full peace of mind. 


Getting Started

Using a VPN to download torrents anonymously may sound intimidating, but these services are now easy to use.

After paying online for a plan and receiving a welcome email from the VPN provider, it is as simple as downloading and installing a small app for your computer or device and then entering the username and password provided to you.

Expert Tip – For ultimate anonymity, you can even pay anonymously for some torrent VPN services with Bitcoin or redeeming gift cards. The advantage of this is you do not share any personal information in the sign-up process. 


Connecting and Disconnecting

Whichever anonymizing torrent VPN you decide to use, Connect to it before you open your torrent downloader software and start torrenting.

This is a simple 1-click in most VPN apps. 

Screenshot of NordVPN app connecting.

Connecting is an easy click away (NordVPN shown). 

Your Torrenting is Now Protected & Safe!

This is really all you to do to hide your torrenting from your ISP and snoops, and download torrents safely. 🙂 


The rest of this post can be considered optional, but will be of interest if you want to dig deep into the topic. For example, Step 4 is also very important to avoid getting caught by traffic analysis


Advanced Settings


Our recommended VPNs for torrenting will protect you "out of the box", but have a look under the hood at some of the advanced settings supported by your torrent VPN. 

Some of these advanced protections are pictured below (select to zoom) and include features such as a Kill Switch, DNS Leak Protection, IPv6 Leak Protection and the type or strength of encryption to use.

If you are not technically-inclined, don't worry, just stick with our recommended VPNs' default settings to download torrents safely.

Screenshot of NordVPN app's Settings.

NordVPN app's advanced settings

Screenshot of PIA's Encryption Settings.

PIA has advanced encryption settings for its VPN apps

Screenshot of ExpressVPN's advanced VPN settings.

ExpressVPN's kill switch.

ExpressVPN advanced settings protocols image

ExpressVPN's protocols settings.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN's advanced settings (IPv6 and DNS leak protection).

ExpressVPN's IPv6 and DNS leak protection.

RANK

VPN SERVICE

FEATURES

BEST PRICE

MORE INFO

1

NordVPN best secure VPN service

• best VPN overall
• no-logs & P2P allowed
• 60 countries & 5,589 servers

$2.99/mo
$11.95/mo

save 75%

Try risk-free for 30 days

2

Private Internet Access VPN best value VPN service

• best VPN for privacy
• zero-logs & torrent-friendly
• 32 countries & 3,341 servers

$3.49/mo
$9.99/mo

save 65%

Try risk-free for 7 days

3

ExpressVPN best overall vpn service

• excellent VPN for speed
• no-logs & allows torrenting  
• 94 countries & 3,000 servers

$6.67/mo
$12.95/mo

save 49%

Try risk-free for 30 days


Step 2 (Optional): Use an IP Address Protection Tool (such as PeerBlock)

Remember - If you are using one of our recommended no-log torrent VPNs, it is not necessary to use an IP protection tool. It is simply an additional layer of protection that some people like to use. For Windows, the most popular free tool is PeerBlock

This step of using an IP address protection tool to download torrents anonymously is only optional. These tools are free and prevent “unfriendly” IP addresses from ever connecting with your computer or device.

These tools act similar to firewall software by checking the IP addresses trying to connect to your computer against blacklisted IP addresses, including those of known snoops, trolls and government agencies. 

The first time you run PeerBlock, it will take you through a setup wizard and let you choose from several blacklists including IP addresses associated with snoops, spammers/advertisers, spyware, educational institutions, governments and, of course, anti-torrent elements (called P2P in the lists). In addition to the P2P list, select any other lists of IP addresses you want to block.

The P2P lists are especially handy as they block the IP addresses of organizations that monitor IP addresses of torrent downloads. In addition, you can easily add even more custom blacklists (many are free and some are premium) from resources such as I-Blocklist.

Screenshot of PeerBlock in action.

PeerBlock hides you from over 1 billion (with a 'b') potentially unfriendly IP addresses.

Screenshot of i-Blocklist's available lists.

i-Blocklist has IP address blacklists available including for free.


Step 3: Confirm your Torrenting IP Address

Once your VPN is connected, you can start your torrent downloader software whether qBitTorrent, µTorrentDeluge, VuzeTransmission, etc. But before you start enthusiastically downloading torrents, you should first check your torrent IP address.

This is important, especially when starting out, because it’s possible that while your true IP address is hidden for web browsing, it might be leaking for torrenting. This can happen when your VPN or proxy doesn't fully support the torrent file-sharing P2P protocol.

Top Tip – Make your life easy and eliminate this risk by sticking with our recommended torrent VPN providers, NordVPN.  No-logging, reliable, fast, affordable and with a 30-day money-back guarantee for your full peace of mind.

It’s always good to double-check for yourself that your torrent IP is truly being protected and hidden. Here's how.

Make a Note of Your New IP Address

Once your VPN for torrenting is connected, take note of your new, masked IP address. This means the IP address assigned to you by the VPN provider after you connected to it. This should be easy to find and is displayed in the VPN app's main display.

If your VPN doesn’t easily and clearly show your masked IP address, consider changing VPN providers. Seriously.

Another way to check your masked IP address is to visit a ‘What’s My IP’ page like those found on dozens of websites including Cogipas.com at https://www.cogipas.com/whats-my-ip/.

Just keep in mind that these sites only detect your IP address for web browsing (your IP address might be different while downloading torrents), but that’s good enough for now. There are special tests for verifying your torrent IP which we cover in detail next.

How to Check your Torrent IP

The best way to check your torrent IP address is to undergo an IP check especially for torrenting. We recommend three ways you can perform a torrent IP check. The instructions are rather long and detailed, so to keep this article a reasonable length, they are in a separate post, Is My VPN Working > Torrent IP Checks.

By checking that your torrent VPN is functioning and hiding your true IP address, you can be sure that snoops will not be able to discover your true IP address, complain to your ISP, learn your true identity and take action against you.

Whichever of the torrent IP tests you do (or maybe you do all of them), once you've confirmed your torrent IP is truly hidden, you can be confident that you are torrenting safely and even anonymously. 

Full money-back guarantee. Try it completely risk-free for 30 days.


Step 4: Make Sure to Avoid Traffic Analysis 

We know you are keen to start finding and downloading torrents from the best torrent search sites, but there is an often overlooked tip that we need to tell you about.

As a further precaution, ensure that you also hide your IP address when visiting any websites related to your torrent activities. This includes websites such as torrent search indexing sites, torrent-related forums, movie subtitle archives, etc.

Many people fail to think about this and only focus on hiding their IP address when actually downloading torrents. But it's too easy to inadvertently reveal your true IP address while conducting activities related to your torrent downloading. This can even be true when you are undertaking these related activities at a different time.

An example may help: maybe last night you downloaded a movie torrent with your VPN enabled, but today you looked for its subtitles file without using your VPN. With traffic analysis techniques, snoops might be able to pinpoint you from this activity related to your anonymous torrent downloading. 

Avoiding Traffic Analysis

With this in mind, you should protect your torrent-related web browsing too.

Let's illustrate traffic analysis in detail with another example. You search for a certain torrent on the web without anonymizing your web browsing. Those web searches are now “stamped” with your true IP address for any snoops to collect and try to trace.

Maybe the snoops are monitoring and logging the IP address information to eavesdrop on you in real-time or maybe they are collecting this information to use it later. Or maybe they have set up a honeypot subtitle, torrent search or other torrent-related website.

Whether thirty seconds later or 2 days after you did those web searches, a different IP address starts downloading the same torrent you had searched for.

Even though you are downloading the torrent with your VPN and using an entirely different IP address, snoops can cross reference these two separate activities – the web search and the torrent download – and still figure out that it was the same person who - you! - did these 2 seemingly separate activities.

It works like this: IP address 123 searched for movie torrent XYZ and then IP address 789 started downloading movie torrent XYZ, therefore the person using IP address 123 for the (unprotected) search could also be IP address 789 for the (protected) download. 

Even for popular torrents that are being searched for and downloaded by thousands of people, you cannot hide in the crowd and avoid these cross-referencing, traffic analysis techniques. And the more you conduct torrent-related activities unprotected, the more chance you could get caught by this kind of traffic analysis. 

The solution? Stay anonymous behind your VPN when engaging in any web browsing related to your torrent downloading activities. You don’t want to make it any easier for the snoops by giving yourself away by performing related web browsing unprotected.

In fact, you should browse the web with a VPN as much as possible to help prevent other privacy problems too, such as online tracking and profiling and to help avoid identity theft and doxing.


Final Step: Start Downloading Torrents Anonymously & Safely!

Of all the steps, this is the easiest and most fun. 🙂 

The difference now is that your n-log torrent VPN will be hiding your IP address and encrypting your connection, protecting you from your nosy ISP and unfriendly snoops.

For such a low monthly cost, you really should sign-up for a VPN. Plus, all our recommended ones below have a full money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied for any reason. 

RANK

VPN SERVICE

FEATURES

BEST PRICE

MORE INFO

1

NordVPN best secure VPN service

• best VPN overall
• no-logs & P2P allowed
• 60 countries & 5,589 servers

$2.99/mo
$11.95/mo

save 75%

Try risk-free for 30 days

2

Private Internet Access VPN best value VPN service

• best VPN for privacy
• zero-logs & torrent-friendly
• 32 countries & 3,341 servers

$3.49/mo
$9.99/mo

save 65%

Try risk-free for 7 days

3

ExpressVPN best overall vpn service

• excellent VPN for speed
• no-logs & allows torrenting  
• 94 countries & 3,000 servers

$6.67/mo
$12.95/mo

save 49%

Try risk-free for 30 days

 

Expert Tip – This anonymous torrenting guide showed you how to protect yourself from online snoops. Depending on what you are downloading, you can keep your torrent downloads safe from the prying eyes of offline snoops too. You can safeguard torrents on your computer and devices by:

  1. hiding your torrent downloads with strong file encryption to keep them hidden and safe 
  2. wiping the evidence of torrent activities from your computer and devices by cleaning their traces.

Now Go Forth and Enjoy Anonymous Torrenting

Now you know how to hide your torrenting to stay safe from your ISP and snoops. Enjoy the freedom. 

Oh, and speaking of free: if you are thinking about anonymous torrenting for free, think again. While there are some free VPN services out there, you really shouldn't trust them with keeping your torrenting anonymous and safe. 

If you are still paranoid about keeping your torrent downloading hidden and safe, you can also check out these torrenting alternatives which also protect your IP address:

The point is that you have lots of options to stay protected while torrenting and to keep your torrent downloading safe and hidden.

Now go out there and start downloading the content you love!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 9 comments
matas - March 8, 2018

@Dave, Charlie is right.

Most VPN providers allow for multiple simultaneous connections. This means you can use a single VPN account on a number of different devices at the same time. As of today: NordVPN allows 6, Private Internet Access VPN allows 5, IPVanish allows 5, and ExpressVPN allows 3. Most allow at least 3 simultaneous logins.

Check our Ultimate VPN Comparison to see the data on almost 200 VPN services, https://www.cogipas.com/which-vpn-to-use-ultimate-vpn-comparison/ including how many simultaneous connections they allow.

Reply
Dave - May 16, 2017

I have Kodi on my computer (iMac) and TV (Smart), do I require a VPN for each device?

Reply
    Charlie - March 6, 2018

    If you use for example nordvpn you will be allowed to use one subscription for 6 multiple devices, for me it works just fine I would recommend.

    Reply
Safer Downloading - July 10, 2016

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