If you’ve heard the word torrent before, but aren’t quite sure what it is yet, in a nutshell torrents are a popular type of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing that includes registered users uploading and downloading files across a central network.
Whether this is legal or not is somewhat of a gray area, and generally depends on the actual file type you’re torrenting as well as your geographical location. The three questions you’re going to want to always ask yourself before considering torrenting are, is it legal? Is it safe? And most importantly, what happens if my IP gets flagged?
These questions are both legitimate and justifiable because the last thing you’d want is to get involved in any illegal activities inadvertently. Whether you’re casually browsing the net, going through some of the best USA no deposit bonuses or even gathering information for some work-related project, understanding the use of torrents is imperative – let’s get into it.
How do Torrents Work?
The first thing we’re going to want to understand is how these torrents work. In this case, we’ve got a series of small data bundles known as packages that are split into two types of users known as the seed and the leech across the centralized network.
Whenever you download a package and share it simultaneously, you’re seeding. This means that these packages can move across your computer to other peers on the network. This technically implies that you’re never really downloading a torrent from one user, but a series of packages from different computers at the same time. For this reason, download speed is generally closely related to seeders, with higher numbers resulting in faster downloads.
If you’re planning on simply downloading a file without sharing it back, then you’re known as a leecher. Now while this goes against the ethical code of the torrent itself (remember the whole P2P concept?), it’s always an option you’re able to select when considering using a torrent, especially if you’re running on a poor internet connection.
Are Torrents Legal?
This is one of those chicken and egg questions, as technically speaking torrenting is both legal and illegal. This is because making use of a torrent is legal, but downloading copyrighted material for free isn’t. For this reason, the act of torrenting itself remains a gray area, so how can safety be ensured?
One of the most popular recommendations in this case is to make use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider in order to encrypt your internet activity. With that said, some VPNs are more suited for torrenting activities than others, which is why you’re going to want to keep a couple of things in mind when selecting yours.
Can I Use Torrents Safely?
Unless you’re keen on getting your computer tracked online, then making use of a VPN is always a good idea. If you’ve decided that torrenting is for you and you’d like to go ahead, then you’re going to want to download and install a VPN, connect to a server in a country where P2P is legit, and always turn on the kill switch if your software provides the option. Of course, we’re not saying that by using a VPN you’re now above the law, but it’s always a good precautionary step to take to safeguard your own personal information and data if nothing else.
Will a Free VPN Work?
Once again, the short answer is both yes and no. Let’s start off by saying that even though free VPN subscriptions may seem attractive, they usually offer limited opportunities in terms of servers and download speed. The kill switch feature is also usually never included in free versions either. Apart from that, there’s also the chance you won’t be able to connect to P2P networks because the server just won’t allow it. Nevertheless, there are a couple of solid VPN companies out there that operate on a freemium basis – this means that there’s a trial period and then you’ll be required to subscribe a couple of days later.
Some popular options include:
- NordVPN – quite possibly the safest and most efficient VPN out there. NordVPN gives a seven-day complimentary trial for all new users, as well as a 30-day money back guarantee should any issue arise along the way. This VPN supports up to six devices at a time.
- Express VPN – this torrent is known for delivering when it comes to high speed torrenting, includes a kill switch, and won’t keep a log of any of your activity. Express VPN also includes a risk-free trial period along with a 30-day money back guarantee if something aint right.
- Surfshark – this cost-effective secure VPN option allows you to run an unlimited number of connections on all devices. It also includes high speed downloads and some serious security features. Once again there’s a free trial period and a 30-day money-back guarantee if you need one.
- CyberGhost – this simplistic VPN offers great value, high connection speeds and a zero-logs policy. CyberGhost includes a 100% free trial period with no credit card required, along with a 45-day money back guarantee.
As a Marketing Director and Editor for a leading affiliate site, Mason Jones does his utmost to research the industry, its trends and most importantly all the necessary legalities. After all, being compliant is the backbone of what makes any site reputable and trustworthy with its customer base. In his limited free time, he meets up with friends for spontaneous hiking trips or even the odd wine tasting tour at a local vineyard, he likes to think of himself as somewhat of an amateurish sommelier.