Terrible idea in 2022 and any other year
We’ve all wanted to watch a movie, TV show, or play a game that wasn’t immediately available to us. You might want to watch Shield But all you have is a Netflix subscription, or you want to play a game that is not on Steam. The easiest thing you can do is torrent whatever you want, but before you do that, you need to know that torrenting without a VPN is a bad idea.
This is because in most countries (check out our censorship map to see which ones, specifically) torrenting has become illegal, and that will mean fines and possibly jail time when you get caught. Note that we said ‘when’, not ‘if’. Detection methods have only improved since the first time some poor people hit digital notice to cease about 15 years ago.
The only good way to stay safe while torrenting is to use a VPN, an app that encrypts your internet connection and hides your IP address. There are plenty of good reasons to use a VPN, and we recommend one to everyone, but they are absolutely essential when downloading copyrighted material.
We’ve picked several services for our ranking of the best VPNs for torrenting, but if you’re in a hurry, go ahead and check out NordVPN. It is a great VPN and has many features that make it a must for torrent users. Currently, you can get three years of service for just over $100, which makes it a steal.
If you’d like to learn more about all of this before deciding on any of them, keep reading. However, we’ll get a little more technical on the sites then, so if terms like “seeding” and “recipients” sound like something from medieval surgery and nothing from the here and now, we’ve got a guide on what torrents you might want to read first.
Torrenting risks without VPN protection
Before we go any further, we want to stress that we are not prophets of doom trying to dump some snake oil your way. Several members of the Cloudwards team have experienced DMCA (or equivalent in other countries) notices when torrenting without protection. For example, your author was slapped by two: one in Taiwan and one in the Netherlands.
In almost all cases, you will receive a warning the first few times, but the number of warnings you receive depends on which country you live in. Copyright law is still mostly a national affair and different countries handle these matters differently.
Ignore the warnings and the fines will start. Again, these vary from country to country, with some fixed amounts set while others are dependent on civil lawsuits being filed.
You read this correctly: in some places, when you download a torrent file, you are starting a process that may require hiring a lawyer. These types of strong arm tactics have become popular in the Netherlands, for example. Read our guide on the best VPN for the Netherlands for details.
Will torrents get caught?
However, the more intelligent people among you have already noticed that it is not a crime until you get caught. This, of course, is true, but rest assured that you will indeed be caught torrenting.
That’s because there is so much money in catching people that copyright watchers don’t set up monitoring on the best torrent sites and wait for some over-confident devices to fall into their trap.
Although there are ways to circumvent this monitoring, most of them are fairly technical or will limit what you can download. That’s why we recommend a VPN to the vast majority of users. They are easy to set up and will cover all your torrenting needs, as well as make streaming more enjoyable.
How to torrent safely: Use a VPN
As we mentioned in the introduction, our favorite VPN for torrenting is NordVPN. Other competitors we really like are ExpressVPN and CyberGhost, so check out those for some solid alternatives to NordVPN.
If you choose NordVPN, check out our guide to torrenting with NordVPN. However, in all cases, the process is pretty much the same: you go to the website of your favorite VPN provider and sign up. Any of the best VPN services we recommend will have some sort of money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.
Once you sign up and install the VPN client on your device, make sure the VPN is turned on. It’s all pointless if you don’t, so be sure to do it. Once it works, browse to your favorite torrent site and find the movie or program you like.
Click on it, download it using uTorrent or any other download client and simply wait. Whatever you do, don’t mess with the VPN while this is happening or you will be caught (also read our best VPN guide for uTorrent).
Once the file is on your computer, you can either leave the torrent to stream using the VPN or disconnect the VPN if you removed the file. Then, make yourself some popcorn and watch your movie.
How to torrent with a VPN
- Sign up for the VPN of your choice
- Make sure it is turned on, then browse the torrent site
- Find the torrent you want and download it
- Do not touch the VPN while the download is in progress
- Relax and enjoy the show
That’s really all there is to it. It’s very easy to download with a VPN, and frankly we can’t understand why people wouldn’t. The risks of not using a VPN when downloading are well known and messing with copyright agencies is no joke.
We hope you found this short guide useful and used NordVPN as your preferred VPN choice. Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or feedback, and as always, thanks for reading.
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