If you're looking to protect your privacy when you're torrenting, using a VPN is always the first thing you should implement - that will encrypt your data. There is a method to encrypt it without a VPN though, but it does have its limitations. Encrypting your torrents is what this guide is all about.
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What is Torrent Encryption?
It is changing your torrent data/files to an illegible state using a key that only the sender and receiver have. When it is used, the original data is converted into cipher data from the sender's end, and back into its original form at the receiver's end, making sure no prying eyes get access to the information being shared.
Why Do We Need Encryption?
All unencrypted data that you receive or send goes through your ISP's servers. They have full access to everything. In many countries, your ISP can be required to provide the government with data if requested, in order to help maintain national security, or in order to enforce local laws.
While your ISP has access to almost all of your data, this doesn't mean they also have access to your bank details or other credentials that you enter online. Most of the time, this sensitive data is protected using a secure server which provides encryption while sending or receiving packets, so that any information your ISP receives, is illegible for them.
To know whether the website you are on provides a secure connection, look for a padlock sign before the actual URL in your browser's address bar - like the one you can see here at MacInfo. That padlock means that any data being transmitted is encrypted.
The above applies to your torrents too. If you are transferring sensitive information, that can be easily accessible to your local ISPs.
How to Encrypt Torrents?
Encrypting a torrent is a fairly straightforward process. There are two main methods of encryption. First, using a VPN. This is safe and we highly recommend this method. There is a second way, but it is not 100% foolproof. You can try this second method if you absolutely must.
Using a VPN
You probably are already familiar with the use of VPNs. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a separate tunnel through which any data which you send or receive goes through before reaching your ISP. It encrypts all the data so that it's incomprehensible to everyone but the sender and receiver of the data.
Additionally, a VPN also changes your IP (Internet Protocol) address, so in the case of a data leak, your location is kept hidden. An IP address can be used to find your physical location.
It should be noted that VPNs have other uses too. They assist in hiding your internet activity to ensure privacy or even enable you to access geographically locked content or services by changing your IP address to the country where that particular content is available.
For those of you who aren't tech experts, VPNs might seem very complicated. Don't panic. We have created a simple step-by-step guide on how to use a VPN for torrent encryption. Here's how to do it.
- Open Safari.
- Download a VPN of your choice.
- Click on the downloaded file.
- Drag the VPN icon to the Applications icon.
- Go to Applications.
- Click on the VPN icon.
- Enter your username and password.
- Login to your VPN service.
- Click "Connect" to connect to (or disconnect from) the VPN.
- Change your country by clicking on the list of countries.
Built-In Torrent Encryption
To download a torrent file, you will use a torrent-client, which usually comes with a built-in encryption method. Though sufficient for keeping your information safe from your ISP, this method is certainly less secure. We recommend using a VPN, but if you are not looking to spend any money, here is how to use your torrent client's encryption.
It should be noted that there are multiple torrent-clients, and each of them has a different level of encryption. You should definitely research what suits you best.
- Go to Finder.
- Go to Applications Folder.
- Click on your torrent-client’s icon. In this case, we are using uTorrent.
- Go to "Settings."
- Look for "Encryption."
- Turn on Encryption.
- Confirm your decision.
With so many options available, it might be confusing about which VPN to get. Here in our list are three best VPNs that are definitely worth your attention.
One of the highest-rated VPNs and the top pick for many of the VPN users (including us), NordVPN, does not keep a log of your internet activity. So rest assured no one will know what you do online. They have high speed servers so your torrenting speeds will be unaffected. Nord has more than 5,300 servers in 59 countries, and one NordVPN account can be linked with six devices.
Pure VPN is another excellent VPN service with no bandwidth caps. They have more than 2,000 servers in 140 countries and just one Pure VPN account can be used on ten devices.
Express VPN is last on our list, but definitely not the least. It doesn't keep a log of your data, which means that your internet activity is safe. They offer 160 servers in 94 countries. One express VPN account can be used on five accounts simultaneously. It is slightly more costly, but comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you don't enjoy the service.
We hope this guide has helped you to encrypt your torrents. A VPN helps keep your torrent activity secure by tunneling data through your ISP, making it undetectable. If you are not looking for a paid option, we recommend at least turning on the built-in encryption feature provided by most torrent clients.
Lastly, we don't promote any illegal activity or content piracy - there are dozens of legitimate and incredibly useful purposes for torrents too!