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Torrent Proxy: Is it the best option for torrenting?
Last updated: February 28, 2022
Anyone that downloads and seeds torrents know how important it is to maintain online anonymity while doing so. But, how do you maintain your privacy?
A torrent proxy is a popular option for users to keep their torrent activity a secret. These proxies hide your IP address, enable fast torrenting, and are often free. But there are downsides to proxies as well.
Those wary of using proxies turn to VPN providers. VPNs are easy to install and provide advanced privacy and security features.
In this article, we’ll delve into what a torrent proxy is and why it’s crucial. We’ll also explore VPNs and why users tend to prefer them over proxies. We’ve also listed the best VPNs for torrenting.
What is a torrent proxy?
A torrent proxy is any proxy server that you can use to browse and download torrent files. Users opt for proxies to hide their IP address, bypass restrictions, and protect data while torrenting.
A proxy server is an intermediary server between the end-user and the browsing destinations. Your traffic goes through a remote machine that then connects you to the host server.
Proxies work at the application level, meaning it works on only one app. So if you want a proxy for your browser and your torrent client, you’d have to set up individual proxies for both.
There are many types of proxies, but let’s take a look at the most popular ones:
SOCKS5 proxy — The most popular type of proxy for torrenting is the SOCKS5 proxy. SOCKS stands for Socket Secure, and the five shows that it’s the 5th version of the protocol.
SOCKS5 creates a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connection. It creates a middle server between the user and the original server. This type of proxy works on applications, websites, games, and streaming platforms.
HTTP proxy — HTTP proxies only work for web pages. This type of proxy doesn’t work for torrenting. They are used to access geo-blocked content and restricted websites.
While HTTP proxies are faster, they are “high-level.” This means they can’t transfer the “low-level” TCP or UDP packets required for torrent data transfer.
Transparent proxy — This type of proxy acts as the middle man, but without modifying the original requests and responses.
It is used in schools for content filtering and in offices to track employees’ online activity. Parents can also watch their children’s online behavior. They can help individuals save bandwidth on limited plans as well.
Why is it important to use a proxy for torrenting?
A proxy protects you when torrenting. Here’s how:
Anonymity: Torrenting is restricted in many countries, largely due to copyright laws. Downloading or uploading torrent files is frowned upon and, in some cases, illegal. Proxies hide your IP address, so you can torrent without worrying about repercussions.
Proxies are fast: Unlike a VPN, a proxy server does not slow down your download speed. This is because it does not encrypt your data. Your traffic does not have to pass through encryption protocols.
Privacy: A proxy changes your IP address and is ideal for maintaining basic privacy. But if you want optimum online anonymity, you can use a VPN with strong encryption, such as ExpressVPN.
Security: A proxy hides your public identity (IP address) from peer connections on the same torrent file. Thus, you are protected from identity theft. It also becomes harder for cybercriminals to access sensitive information.
Torrent proxy sites
If you’ve used a popular torrent website, like Pirate Bay, eztv, YIFY torrent, or KickAss Torrent for a while, you’ve probably realized that accessing them has become harder.
This is where a torrent proxy site comes in. It offers mirror links or proxies that bypass restrictions and lead to the original torrent site.
Often, torrent proxy sites list mirror site links, along with their status (whether it’s working fine or not), and the speed of the proxy site.
It’s worth noting that most of these sites use proxies just to provide access. They also recommend using a VPN provider before torrenting for safety and privacy. Here’s a warning from torrends.to:
Apart from torrent proxy sites, users can directly set up a SOCKS5 proxy on their torrent client. Most major VPN and torrent clients, like uTorrent and BitTorrent, support proxy connections. But, they need to be manually configured within the app.
Once you’ve subscribed to a proxy service, you need to access your torrent client’s settings and fill in the relevant information. In most cases, you’ll need the server address, the port #, and the username and password.
After installation, your torrent client will also display your proxy IP address.
A VPN also uses encrypted servers to reroute your traffic, which masks your IP address. This encryption provides robust security, so your internet service provider (ISP) or third parties can’t see what you’re doing online, including your torrenting activities.
Proxies are fast and, often, free. However, many experts recommend using a VPN for torrenting over a basic torrent proxy. Here’s why:
VPNs offer better privacy
Industry-leading VPNs, like SurfShark and ExpressVPN, focus on user privacy and online anonymity. They have strict no-logs policies, preventing companies from storing any activity or connection logs.
Other notable privacy measures are DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and advanced server technology for 24/7 protection.
VPNs provide extra features
Most VPN clients have thousands of servers. For example, NordVPN offers 5,000+ servers across 60 countries.
The larger the server network, the higher the chances of reliable connection speeds. It also allows you to access region-specific content.
Many VPNs can bypass geo-blocks on major streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu. So you can watch shows and movies that are restricted to specific regions.
VPNs are generally more reliable for torrenting compared to a proxy. They offer system-wide protection rather than just app-level protection.
Some VPNs, like CyberGhost, even offer optimized torrenting servers. These block trackers and offer end-to-end encryption for all your P2P file sharing.
VPNs are more secure
VPN services generally have AES-256 encryption. This is the highest level of encryption and is considered unbreakable.
Security features also include double VPN, dedicated IP, split tunneling support, and ad-blocking.
Proxy services rarely have customer support. On the other hand, high-level VPNs offer 24/7 customer support. So, any time you have a technical issue, you can get an immediate resolution rather than risking your data for prolonged periods.
VPNs offer various support options, including a knowledge base, live chat, online ticketing, and email support.
Setting up a VPN is easier
Manually setting up a proxy can be complicated for a user with no technical knowledge. For a VPN, you just need to download, install, and click the “Connect” button.
Private Internet Access is super easy to install and offers both VPN connection protocols and a SOCKS5 proxy.
The 5 best VPNs for torrenting
If you believe that a VPN is better for torrenting over a proxy, you can choose from this list of the five best VPN providers:
ExpressVPN is a VPN industry leader that offers some outstanding features.
ExpressVPN uses its custom Lightway protocol to provide super-fast speeds and strong security for torrenting, streaming, or gaming.
The provider’s TrustedServer technology ensures none of your data is ever stored on ExpressVPN’s servers for a prolonged period. Even if third parties access the server or government authorities seize it, they can find no user data.
You can choose from thousands of servers in 160 server locations across 94 countries. It even works in ultra-restrictive regions like China.
CyberGhost is heavily focused on user anonymity and privacy. Headquartered in Romania, the VPN service has a no-logs policy and special NoSpy servers that they directly run. These features make it perfect for torrenting.
To add to this, users can choose between multiple specialized servers optimized for torrenting. It aims to provide complete privacy and super fast download and upload speeds.
CyberGhost also offers a kill-switch, AES-256 encryption, and multiple VPN connection protocols.
SurfShark has top-notch security and privacy features. Apart from gold-standard AES-256 encryption and a kill switch, SurfShark has Camouflage mode to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN from your ISP. It also has NoBorders mode so that it can bypass stringent restrictions in some countries.
Surfshark allows unlimited devices to connect via one account and has CleanWeb to block ads, trackers, and malware. You can also use split-tunneling to allow some apps to connect without the VPN.
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a veteran of the VPN game. It has served over 15 million customers over the last 10+ years. This service works on fully open-source software that is available on GitHub.
PIA supports torrenting on most of its servers and even has a SOCKS5 proxy. You can use the VPN for quick torrenting and the proxy for extra IP and DNS protection.
The service offers high-level security features, including a kill switch, advanced split tunneling, and a dedicated IP.
A torrent proxy is an essential tool for anyone that torrents regularly. A proxy is a simple tool that masks your IP and provides fast connection speeds, but it comes with trade-offs, particularly with security and user experience.
In comparison, a VPN is easy to install, ultra-secure, and protects all your online activity from snoopers.
Both torrent proxies and VPNs have their pros and cons. If you prefer a VPN over a proxy, you can read hundreds of expert VPN reviews to find the right one for you or read our blog to learn more about the software.