How Dangerous is To Download Torrents Without a VPN?

Last updated: April 21, 2024 Reading time: 4 minutes
best vpn for torrenting

Torrenting involves sharing and downloading copyrightable files like movies, music, and books. If you are part of the torrent network, you are walking on a legal minefield.

While most copyright owners are not keen on fighting for their rights over the material, a few are aggressive. They have engaged enforcers who have sophisticated systems in place to track violations. 

It is essential to point out that it only takes one vigilant copyright enforcer to turn your life upside down.

Because of the risk involved, nearly everyone on the torrent network is looking for the best VPN for torrenting activities.

But it is not just any VPN that can protect you from being caught. Indeed, you need to make the right choices and use whichever you end up selecting the right way.

How is sharing of copyright files policed on the internet?

How they get to you

The owners of the copyrighted material, through their agents, are always on the lookout for those accessing and distributing their material illegally. Today they have sophisticated tools to do this.

Once they identify a violation, they often reach out to the internet service provider (ISP) that the perpetrator is using. The ISPs usually want to distance themselves from copyright violations.

That being the case, they will reach out to the user and notify them about the concerns they’ve received. Usually, that warning is enough, and if you don’t continue downloading and distributing copyrighted files, you never hear from them again.

Sometimes, however, the first communication you get from them regarding your torrenting activities is accompanied by the termination of an internet connection. 

Meanwhile, the copyright owners might launch formal legal proceedings against you, which can culminate in a fine. In extreme circumstances, it can result in jail time.

Over time, the number of piracy lawsuits being filed is rising. In the US alone, over 3000 cases are filed annually against BitTorrent users.

Besides fine, other damage you are likely to include losing your device, which is seized as evidence and may never be returned to you.

An ID may be outed

It can happen that even though a BitTorrent user is connected through a VPN, the copyright enforcer, as well as the ISP, can find out that they are torrenting copyrighted files. This can happen for various reasons. One of those is that the BitTorrent user is using a VPN that is not secure enough. 

That means the copyright enforcer might find out their activity, identity, and even the internet service provider they are using.

This often happens when a VPN service provider is not putting the necessary effort to protect privacy, including assigning quality IP addresses and encrypting the data between a device and the internet.

It could also happen that the VPN one is using does not support the sharing of copyright material, and they might take it upon themselves to report violations to the enforcers. 

You shouldn’t assume that every VPN out there will be fine with you torrenting all kinds of files. Therefore, it is essential to understand the terms of using a VPN, especially torrenting, before you take up their service.

Also, it is significant to watch out for leaks that might happen through accidental disconnects. A great VPN comes with a feature known as an Internet Kill Switch. 

It turns off your connection when something is not working right. It does the same when you forget to close your BitTorrent client, and the torrents are still running.

How does A VPN help

Suppose a BitTorrent user connects to the network through a VPN. In that case, first, copyright agencies will find it hard to find their identity, contacts, and even the ISP they are using.

That is because it encrypts the data that their device receives and sends. Before a book, movie, or music file reaches the computer, it is encrypted on a server that the VPN service provider owns. It is only decrypted once it reaches their device.

Similarly, before the files leave their device, it is first encrypted and will be decrypted on the VPN service provider’s server before it joins the torrent network. 

Meanwhile, all the communication between their device and the torrent network is assigned a new IP address on the VPN server.

Indeed, not even their internet service provider will know that they are torrenting.


In a nutshell, it is essential to use a VPN, and also important, to use a trusted one. Also, find out all the features of the package you opt to use for your torrenting activities.

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About the Author

Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.

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