How to Hide Torrenting from your ISP and Snoops
If you are torrenting in plain sight you are simply asking for it. Learn how to hide torrenting. It's not difficult.
Plenty of people still download torrents and want to hide torrenting activities. While torrent file-sharing has lost ground to online streaming sites in recent years, torrenting is still an easy, powerful and fast way to get the content you want.
For some people, torrenting may be the only way the content is available or affordable for them to enjoy. For others, they may prefer to save the files on devices for watching later while offline. Still others may have more philosophical reasons for downloading movies and TV shows via torrenting.
Whatever the reasons, you would be wise to hide your torrenting activities. Here’s how.
'Hide Torrenting' Contents
Use Trustworthy Torrent Software
Torrent software (sometimes called a torrent client) is easy to use. As long as you don't download dodgy software or download it from dodgy sites, you'll be fine.
We’d recommend you download qBittorent from their official site: https://www.qbittorrent.org/. qBittorrent is free and open source.
Using open source software is always recommended because this means the source code for the software is completely transparent and can be scrutinized by anyone and everybody for any hidden dangers or risks.
qBittorent is far and away the torrent community’s favorite torrent client. Plus, it looks a lot like uTorrent and is just as easy to use.
uTorrent had been the leading torrent software for years. It remains a popular choice but lost a lot of support and users to qBittorrent after some scandals. Plus, although uTorrent is free, it is not open source. It is proprietary software whose code and copyright belongs to a private business.
Use a VPN to Hide Torrenting
Once deciding on the torrent software you want to use, nothing stops you from starting it up, searching for torrents and downloading files right away.
But stop! There’s one more step you should take.
If you torrent out-of-the-box “naked” in this way, you are exposing yourself. The way torrenting works means that it is possible (actually it is quite easy) for anyone else to figure out what torrents you are downloading.
This could get you in trouble.
Your ISP may punish you for torrenting with slower speeds or formal warning letters. Worse, online snoops and spies are constantly monitoring torrent downloads and you may get caught in one of their sweeps.
Here’s why torrenting naked is risky. As with any activity on the Internet - whether browsing web pages, receiving emails or exchanging instant messages online - the data is being sent back and forth on the basis of IP addresses to and from the sending and receiving sides. Torrenting is no different.
When you download a file with qBittorrent (or uTorrent or any other torrent client), the IP address your computer or device is using to share a file via torrenting is both sending and receiving data.
This makes it easy for your ISP and snoops or spies to hone in on your IP address and see what files are being downloaded and shared by that IP address, your IP address. Here’s just a simple example.
It’s then easy to trace that IP address back to you personally. That’s because your ISP can simply look at their records and see which of its customers was using an IP address at any given time.
Similarly, a snoop or spy can complain to your ISP and request their records about the IP address that was being used. This will lead them right to you.
Hopefully, you see why you must hide your torrenting.
OK, but how?
By using a VPN (virtual private network service), that’s how.
A VPN Services Hides Torrenting by Giving you a Different IP Address
A VPN is a nifty little software tool you install that connects your computers and devices to a service which gives you a different IP address than your ISP. This means anyone trying to trace back your torrenting activities by IP address will be led to the VPN service rather than your ISP.
If you choose the right VPN, they will not be able to provide any information about you in response to any complaints they receive about their IP address.
In other words, any snoops or spies that trace torrenting to a VPN service will hit a dead end and will not be able to trace activities back to you personally.
That’s because the right VPN service, unlike your ISP, does not disclose or even keep records of who is using its IP addresses or when.
A VPN Service Hides Torrenting (even from your ISP) by Encrypting your Connection
A VPN service also does something else that keeps you safe: after you connect to the service, it encrypts the connection between you and the VPN service. Encryption scrambles your connection so that anyone trying to spy on it only sees gibberish.
This is important too because it means the VPN service prevents even your own ISP from seeing what’s going on inside your Internet activities. Your ISP will only be able to “see” that you are connecting to a VPN service but everything you do after that will be completely dark to your ISP.
If you think of your ISP as the road you use to connect your computers and devices to the Internet, your VPN service acts as a covered tunnel on that road. Your ISP will be able to see the VPN service (your ISP can see that there is a covered tunnel on its road) but not what’s going on inside that tunnel or what you may transporting inside of it.
Remember that because your ISP controls your connection to the Internet (they run the road in the analogy above) they will be able to see how much data you use but not what the data is or even where it comes from. That’s because all the data you send and receive is going through your VPN service and is hidden from your ISP thanks to the VPN’s encryption.
So, whether you are torrenting inside that tunnel or accessing websites or backing up your computer to the cloud or anything else, your ISP will not be able to tell what you are doing. They will only be able to tell that you are connected to a VPN service and the amount of data that is traveling back and forth, but not what it is.
Using a VPN to Hide Torrenting Seems a No-Brainer; Is there a Catch?
But a good VPN that protects you and hides your torrenting isn’t free.
To make sure you are using a VPN service that keeps it promises to not disclose your identity and keep your connection protected with reliable and strong encryption, you will be happy to pay for it.
A good VPN service can cost as little as $2 per month and even the absolutely best VPN with the most bells and whistles costs only about $6 per month.
Here’s a handy summary table of the VPN services we recommend. You can check out more detailed reviews of them on other pages on our site.
But rest assured: they hide torrenting and keep you safe.
• best VPN overall
Try risk-free for 30 days
• fastest VPN
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• cheap VPN
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Don’t be Tempted by Free Torrent VPN Services
If you Google around, you will see plenty of “free” torrent VPN services, but don’t use them. They have no incentive to keep you safe and hide your torrenting.
Paying a modest fee for a long-standing VPN service is the way to go.
For example, 2 court cases in the USA have proven that Private Internet Access cannot link customers to online activities.
That peace of mind is worth its weight in gold to torrenters.
Are There any Alternatives to Hide Torrenting?
Using a good VPN service is a tried and trusted way to keep your torrenting hidden and safe.
However, if you are looking for a different alternative you could also try a cloud torrenting service. This is a service which does exactly what you’d expect from its name: it lets you download torrents completely in the cloud.
The advantage of this is that everything happens in the cloud and not on your own computer or devices.
Please keep in mind that these are a relatively new service and do not have the same track record as torrenting with a VPN service. But, in theory, cloud torrenting is a great service. Plus, some of the cloud torrenting services have free basic accounts.
Because they are new, we hesitate to outright recommend cloud torrenting as a reliable way to hide torrenting. We would be more comfortable once/if there are some court cases proving the claims that their customers’ torrenting activities cannot be traced back to them.
Ironically, if you use a VPN whenever connecting to the cloud torrenting service (and sign up to the cloud torrenting service using a fake email address), this would be excellent protection. But in that case you might as well skip the cloud torrenting service and just stick with using a VPN service with classic torrenting.
If you haven't been hiding your torrenting, now is the time to do it.
As you've seen the steps are not difficult and you have a couple of different options.
Sign-up for a free trial of one of our recommended VPN services above or try a free account with a cloud torrenting service.
Whatever you do, start to hide your torrent file-sharing now.