We’re evaluating PeerBlock and VPN companies to see which is healthier at defending your privateness whereas downloading or importing torrents. PeerBlock is designed as a firewall with deal with blocking anti-P2P companies, governments, and ISPs from monitoring your torrent actions. Due to this, the software program app is devoted to customers all for secure and nameless torrenting.

Most on-line customers threat getting tracked and fined each time they launch their BitTorrent shopper to obtain copyrighted content material, like films, music, and software program. In 2009, a US jury fined a 25-year outdated faculty pupil with $675,000 for unlawful file sharing. Later, in 2018, over 1,000 lawsuits had been filed within the USA in opposition to BitTorrent downloading by way of The Pirate Bay.

Nevertheless, there are methods to assist keep away from getting caught, like masking your actual id to offer a false result in trackers. Many individuals have already turned to VPN shoppers to encrypt their connections and stay nameless, whereas others have opted for PeerBlock to stop harmful IP addresses from reaching their laptop whereas downloading or importing torrents.

However first, let’s overview the subjects (click on to leap):

Is torrenting secure?

Torrenting is a type of downloading information from the net. Thus, the query of whether or not or not torrenting is authorized comes all the way down to determining which on-line content material is copyrighted. The easy act of downloading information utilizing a BitTorrent shopper is completely secure, so long as you’re not utilizing this implies to pay money for the copyrighted materials.

Many Web customers don’t have any clue in regards to the copyright standing of a file, so they may find yourself unwillingly downloading forbidden content material. And it’s incorrect to imagine that, as a result of a file was uploaded on the internet, you have got the appropriate to obtain it simply because the file’s proprietor didn’t lock it up tight and defend it from thieves. The fault belongs to not solely the thief who distributed the info but additionally to the net customers who downloaded it.

When utilizing your actual IP handle in a BitTorrent shopper, you have to be further cautious whereas looking a torrent web site like The Pirate Bay. Earlier than downloading a torrent, you must discover out if the file is protected by copyright. However few individuals do that. To stay on the secure aspect, it’s finest to resort to software program options like VPN shoppers or PeerBlock.

How am I tracked whereas torrenting?

Because it depends on the peer-to-peer protocol, a BitTorrent shopper depends upon a number of customers all for the identical torrent file as you. Every torrent file is linked to a tracker. The extra customers obtain the torrent, the extra friends are linked to the tracker, the higher velocity you’ll get.

The tracker collects details about every torrent, together with the IP addresses of all taking part friends (often called a torrent swarm), together with the title and model of their BitTorrent shopper. The issue is that this information is public to all friends within the torrent swarm. You possibly can shortly examine this by downloading a file together with your BitTorrent shopper and viewing the friends part at torrent properties.

uTorrent exposes the IP addresses of connected peersTransmission exposes the IP addresses of connected peers

Since anybody can be a part of a torrent swarm, it’s an elementary process for anti-P2P organizations to acquire the IP addresses of customers trying to obtain unlawful content material. The IP handle leads them to your ISP, which is aware of who you might be because it was the entity in command of assigning your IP handle.

The ISP receives a letter from the anti-P2P group, which generally is a lawyer appearing on behalf of the corporate that legally owns the file you simply downloaded and prohibits its distribution. Usually, the ISP provides you a warning. However if in case you have already gone by way of this, you could be sued by the lawyer and compelled to pay a tremendous to keep away from going to courtroom.


Thought-about the Home windows successor of GuardianBlock, PeerBlock is an utility designed to assist defend the anonymity of torrent customers. It’s a firewall with a deal with privateness. The software maintains a database of blacklisted IP addresses belonging to governments, Web Service Suppliers and anti-P2P organizations working towards figuring out customers who obtain unlawful torrent.

The blacklist database is saved updated by importing lists from I-Blocklist, an internet service specialised in distributing IP handle lists of anti-P2P teams and academic establishments, along with malicious adware, adware, promoting, and knowledge tracker servers.

The way it works

PeerBlock repeatedly screens your Web visitors and blocks any IP handle that tries to determine a connection. It does this after cross-checking the IP with the blacklist database and discovering a match. Restricted entry is utilized to not solely incoming visitors but additionally outgoing connections established by your Web-enabled applications.

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The software program utility additionally works with customized lists added out of your laptop, supporting blacklists and whitelists. It signifies that, if you wish to intrude and enhance PeerBlock, you may develop its database by importing lists of IP addresses from different web sites than I-Blocklist, similar to PeerBlockList.

Blacklists and whitelists

Implementing a blacklist means blocking entry to all IP addresses from the checklist and permitting the whole lot else to move by way of. It’s usually used when the id of the threats is already recognized. This type of filtering answer is right for finishing up regular looking exercise whereas being guarded in opposition to these risks.

Choosing whitelists when utilizing PeerBlock is just not such a good suggestion, although. Whitelisting means to dam the entry of all IP addresses, besides those particularly talked about within the checklist. It’s a harsh filtering technique as a result of it may cripple all of your looking actions if most IP addresses are banned from establishing connections to your laptop. And a few companies require round the clock Web entry for upkeep, like Google Chrome or Home windows Replace.

Why blacklists are ineffective for torrenting

In concept, blacklisting IP addresses of malicious organizations whereas torrenting sounds foolproof. Nevertheless, it solely works with static IP addresses. Most firms are behind DHCP networks, which suggests they commonly change their IP addresses (dynamic).

This raises two issues that needs to be swiftly dealt with: the group behind I-Blocklist must discover out the brand new IP addresses related to the anti-P2P teams, and if their outdated IP addresses at the moment are assigned to secure web sites to elevate the ban.

Sadly, I-Blocklist has restricted sources, counting on low-cost yearly subscriptions that can’t presumably cowl the prices concerned in such a excessive degree of upkeep. Caring for an infinite database of up-to-date IP addresses is inconceivable. To provide you an thought, precisely 756,636,052 IPs had been blocked by PeerBlock on the time of this text (solely from P2P lists, excluding the adware, promoting, and schooling classes).


On prime of that, the IP addresses utilized by PeerBlock are both public and free, both personal and bought at a really low worth ($9.99 per yr). It’s secure to infer that “the bad guys” are conscious they’re being blacklisted and take measures are easy as altering their IP handle earlier than becoming a member of a torrent swarm (utilizing a proxy server or VPN service, for instance).

There’s one other important draw back of PeerBlock that’s simple to miss. Always scanning all inbound/outbound IP addresses whereas verifying the blacklist takes up lots of community bandwidth. Subsequently, torrenting velocity decreases.

Benefits of utilizing PeerBlock for torrenting

  • Gigantic database of blacklist IP addresses, powered by I-Blocklist.
  • Can monitor the next ports for trackers: HTTP and HTTPS (internet visitors), FTP (FTP transfers), SMTP (outgoing mail) and POP3 (incoming mail).
  • Filter the default checklist by sort (P2P, adware, promoting, schooling).
  • Add customized lists from file or URL as both blacklists or whitelists.
  • Free and open supply, doesn’t present adverts throughout runtime and doesn’t supply third-party functions throughout setup that you simply would possibly find yourself by accident putting in.
  • Wrapped in an intuitive graphical interface that reveals log particulars about tried however blocked connections. Logs could be recorded to historical past.

Disadvantages of utilizing PeerBlock for torrenting

  • Blacklists aren’t efficient in opposition to anti-P2P organizations utilizing dynamic IP addresses.
  • It doesn’t encrypt your connection or conceal your actual id.
  • It can not defend you from bandwidth throttling if the ISP decides to set community restrictions simply since you’re taking over an excessive amount of bandwidth by torrenting (both legally or illegally).
  • Add and obtain velocity whereas torrenting could be negatively affected by PeerBlock when it’s repeatedly checking its blocklist for matches.
  • Though I-Blocklist continues to be being maintained, PeerBlock is just not. The software program utility hasn’t obtained updates since January 2014. Mixed with the earlier problem, it demonstrates that the group is just not planning to optimize the software and remove velocity delays.
  • It’s solely obtainable for Home windows.

Observe: Related performance to PeerBlock could be obtained by manually including blacklists to the Transmission torrent shopper, which requires the identical effort as should you had been including customized lists to PeerBlock. In Transmission, you will discover this setting in Edit menu -> Preferences -> Privateness -> Allow blocklist.

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Digital personal community functions take a unique strategy towards torrenting. Whereas PeerBlock acts like a firewall that tries to protect your actual id in opposition to harmful web sites, a VPN service kicks it up a notch: masking your actual IP handle and swapping it with one other one as misdirection.

A VPN shopper provides you entry to servers from varied international locations. When you select a server and connect with it, you obtain a brand new IP handle that might be distributed to all web sites. The VPN encrypts your connections and unlocks safe looking. Subsequently, you may defend your privateness when performing Web-related duties, even downloading torrents. If an IP handle from the torrent swam pinpoints you, it will not be capable to discover out something about your actual id.

Is torrenting with a VPN secure?

After getting a brand new IP handle from the VPN shopper, you may launch your BitTorrent shopper and begin downloading torrents. You’ll nonetheless be seen to different friends linked to the identical tracker however underneath a unique IP handle. Anti-P2P teams will see your faux IP handle as a substitute of the actual one, which leads them to a lifeless finish.

Apart from the truth that it received’t obtain a privateness warning letter, your ISP will be unable to inform that you simply’re downloading torrents, so that you’re secure from torrent-based bandwidth throttling. The ISP can inform that you simply’re linked by way of VPN however not what you’re doing until it makes use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) expertise.

Benefits of utilizing VPN for torrenting

  • Protects your actual IP handle and offers a false result in friends linked to the identical trackers.
  • Encrypts your connection in order that hackers can not decipher your knowledge even when they pay money for it.
  • With a correct protocol configuration, you may reduce velocity delays when downloading or importing torrents by way of the VPN service.
  • It supplies you with a number of servers from many international locations to attach.
  • Some VPN apps have optimized servers for torrenting.
  • If you happen to want to add an additional layer of safety, you may get a VPN software that obfuscates visitors to make it seem like common SSL as a substitute of VPN.
  • If the VPN has a break up tunneling characteristic, you may have your BitTorrent shopper linked by way of the VPN whereas browsing the net utilizing your common, non-VPN community.

Disadvantages of utilizing VPN for torrenting

  • Free VPN companies should be averted as a result of they compromise privateness. Premium VPN could be costly.
  • Some VPN functions discourage torrenting, so you may’t depend on them to maintain you secure.
  • Not all VPN instruments come geared up with dependable servers for torrenting.
  • Torrent connections could be sluggish should you don’t use a robust VPN app.
  • If you happen to obtain unlawful torrents and if the VPN firm collects logs about your exercise, it would hand it over to legislation companies in search of compensation.

Non-negotiable VPN options for torrenting

If you happen to’ve determined to go for a VPN shopper that may defend you from privateness warning letters when downloading and importing torrents, you must have in mind a number of vital options:


It needs to be evident by now that safety performs probably the most distinguished position in BitTorrent shoppers because the entire objective is to maintain you secure from knowledge trackers. In relation to VPN companies, safety is usually affected by the protocol used.

A digital personal community shopper often helps a number of VPN protocols, every with its professionals and cons. For instance, PPTP delivers glorious velocity for VPN connections, however it’s vulnerable to so many vulnerabilities that some VPN suppliers have dropped assist for PPTP. As a substitute, you may go for the OpenVPN protocol because it’s extensively thought to be the very best protocol for combining safety and velocity.


As a result of a VPN service works by encapsulating knowledge packets into encrypted layers, it shouldn’t be stunning that it wants extra processing energy for transferring information by way of safe tunnels. As such, you may anticipate slower torrenting velocity in comparison with utilizing commonplace, unencrypted connections.

Nevertheless, there are numerous strategies for counteracting this undesirable aspect impact, similar to connecting to the closest server. A VPN software ought to characteristic many servers from many international locations, providing you with the chance to discover IP addresses till you discover one with satisfying torrenting velocity, particularly when discussing big information.

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Many VPN functions have optimized servers for torrenting. As an example, CyberGhost VPN has further modules reserved for nameless torrenting, like granting further velocity or blocking malicious web sites and on-line monitoring.

Leak safety and kill change

A VPN service that by accident spills your actual IP handle on surprising connection drops or energy outage fails to guard your privateness. An utility is as highly effective as its weakest hyperlink, so it ought to come geared up with leak safety and kill change modules.

To be sure that all is working appropriately, take a look at your Web connection for IP and DNS leaks utilizing an internet service like IPLeak. WebRTC leak safety is equally essential however depends upon your internet browser settings, not your VPN service.

If you wish to be super-careful about IP leaks, you may bind your VPN to Vuze. The BitTorrent shopper has a novel characteristic for leak prevention when utilizing VPN. Additionally, you may flip to IP magnet companies like TorGuard’s Verify My Torrent IP to see what IP handle is being broadcasted by your torrent shopper and to observe any IP modifications.

Jurisdiction and privateness coverage

VPN jurisdiction most likely performs probably the most important position with regards to defending your anonymity whereas downloading or importing torrents (particularly importing). The corporate should abide by the legal guidelines of its nation. As an example, if a VPN firm is positioned in a rustic a part of the 5, 9 or 14 Eyes alliances, it could be required by legislation to show within the logging knowledge it collected on you.

On the identical time, you shouldn’t overlook the VPN’s privateness coverage. In 2017, the FBI managed to monitor down a suspected Web stalker with the assistance of PureVPN, though the VPN firm’s privateness coverage on the time clearly stated that it doesn’t monitor consumer exercise or hold logs.

The occasion goes to point out how crucial it’s to double- and even triple-check an organization’s logging coverage and background historical past earlier than utilizing its VPN service for torrenting. A optimistic instance is Mullvad VPN, which fits to nice lengths to know as little as doable about its prospects, like accepting untrackable money funds and utilizing nameless registration.

Concerns about free VPN

Connecting to the Web by way of a VPN service and hiding your looking exercise out of your ISP means transferring particulars about your visitors out of your ISP to your VPN supplier. It’s a matter of belief. Nevertheless, software program builders who supply free VPN shouldn’t be trusted with this accountability.

Web customers are sometimes tempted to select the most cost effective possibility obtainable. Though free VPN functions exist, they don’t seem to be with out price. As a substitute, they feed in your looking habits and promote knowledge to advertising organizations. In flip, these teams paint a personalised profile and use it generate focused adverts you might be prone to click on. They’re partly the explanation why VPNs get a nasty fame.

Alternatively, premium VPN builders use your month-to-month subscription to pay a group of pros in command of guaranteeing your privateness, so there’s no must promote your knowledge to 3rd events. The purpose is that you must by no means belief a free VPN and at all times go along with a premium model.

Our suggestions

If you happen to need assistance with choosing a VPN service for torrenting, you must know that the top-ranked apps on our web site are glorious for the job: ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost VPN, Mullvad VPN, and Surfshark. For more information, click on their names to take a look at their evaluations with rankings, velocity, and leak checks.

PeerBlock vs VPN: Who’s the winner?

VPN companies are superior to PeerBlock in each manner. As a substitute of appearing like a firewall that blocks the IP addresses of well-liked anti-P2P companies, a VPN encrypts your connection and scrambles your knowledge in order that it can’t be deciphered even when it’s acquired by somebody. It retains you secure from media firms and legislation companies seeking to sue you for copyright infringement when downloading or importing torrents with protected content material.

Which one do you like for torrenting with regards to PeerBlock and VPN? Or, do you have got one other contemporary suggestion you’d prefer to share with us? Drop us a line within the part beneath. We’re curious.

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