[ adapted after an original article written by Ulrich Brügmann on the German version of the CyberGhost blog ]
Torrents have always been a source of controversy, but this is unfortunately not a fully deserved bad reputation. Although they are best known as a means of distributing illegal content such as copyright-protected music or movies, peer-to-peer file sharing is also popular because the technology behind it has some considerable benefits.
Those who offer files through torrents thus distribute the required load of resources through a network of computers and thereby relieve the respective provider – which is why Linux files and other large types of documents are offered as torrents. Thus, instead of a single server that just goes down with new releases quickly, many individual computers take over the distribution and ensure noticeably faster download rates.
Even so, using torrents – or better, downloading files through torrents – is illegal in some countries. If not, their use is logged. Another downside: ISPs may take measures to throttle Internet speed when heavy torrent use is detected. Furthermore, they may choose to block certain torrent platforms.
Download torrents using a VPN
To avoid the above-mentioned disadvantages or unjustified warnings, it is recommended to use a good VPN for torrenting. Its purpose is to make you safe and anonymous online, but also to enable you to access regionally blocked torrent sites.
However, not all VPNs are appropriate for torrenting. Many block VPN traffic, just like regular Internet providers do, while others do not hesitate to close user accounts they suspect of P2P file sharing. This means that in spite of probably promoting the fact that they do not monitor their users’ traffic, these VPN providers actually do, otherwise how would they know the websites their users are accessing?
So here is what you should pay attention to when deciding on a VPN provider:
- The VPN should have locations in countries where torrent file sharing is legal
- It should maintain special servers that support P2P protocols
- It should hold a strong company policy regarding the privacy of its own users, and not keep any logs
- It should refrain from bandwidth limitations
- It should have no speed restrictions, or better, boost speed wherever possible
- It should have many servers, so that you can easily change them when some become too crowded.
Which torrent websites are safe to use
Given the right prerequisites, there are still torrent websites which are safe to use. However, please consider the type of content you are downloading, because it is not legal to share certain copyright-protected materials.
The following list is for informational purposes only and CyberGhost expressly warrants that it does not endorse the use of torrents for purposes other than those permitted and considers violations to be in breach of the User Agreement. Before visiting any of these websites, please first check the legal context existing in your country.
The Pirate Bay: The veteran of the scene, founded in 2003, in Sweden, and still active after a few moves, still offers large volumes of high quality torrents with many seeders.
Extra Torrent: After having actually been shut down, the second largest torrent database has re-entered the web and even expanded its user base.
RARBG: Five years younger than The Pirate Bay, RARBG provides its daily 300,000-user international community with valuable torrents, primarily videos and TV series, so you’ll have to search for content a bit longer.
TORRENTZ2.eu: Torrent index page to search for… correct, other torrent pages. The predecessor was closed by judicial order, therefore the successor has a noticeably improved search algorithm.
Torrentdownloads: Includes the most comprehensive collection of torrents, but is unfortunately blocked in many parts of the world by ISPs – which obviously causes no headaches for over one million visitors a month. Unless they all come from countries where the site is freely accessible.
EZTV: Also an old name in the business, EZTV concentrates almost exclusively on TV series. Who likes it: Linux users and those seeking legal content will probably need to invest time to find the right one.
KAT: Blessed with the most provocative name among the listed services (KickAssTorrents), KAT is also something of a living dead. Not too long ago actually closed, the site from the freer regions of the planet visibly continues kicking.
To use any of these securely, simply activate the CyberGhost VPN profile dedicated to torrenting.