BitTorrent and Peer-to-Peer are some of the most popular methods for quickly sharing files across a network to large groups of people. Instead of downloading a file from one server or a group of servers—which can get clogged up by too many simultaneous downloads—this method allows for each downloader to act like an uploader as well, making the file sharing much more efficient.
Whatever you use it for, it’s always important to keep yourself safe anytime you’re sharing files, either from industry or government watchdogs, or from any other eyes that can log your online activities. Piracy monitoring groups can also join BitTorrent swarms, not to share files, but to track other members of the group and notify their Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
What happens next is not a nice picture: at the minimum, your ISPs can slow your speeds or block your access entirely after multiple infringements, or, at the worst, pay hefty fines after arduous court battles.
One of the best ways to protect yourself while you’re sharing files is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is an efficient, quick, and most importantly safe way to connect to the internet.
What it does is it connects you (say, from your laptop in London) to another remote server (like Singapore) and encrypts and funnels all your communication through that server. So, to any snooping eyes, it looks like someone is sharing files from Singapore rather than the UK, and your ISP or another watchdog won’t be able to connect you with any wrongdoings.
Sounds great, right? Well, there’s one important thing to remember—not all VPNs are created equally. The old adage about “you get what you pay for” definitely applies.
If, for example, you go with the free option, on the one hand you do get a VPN service (though usually with slow servers and a monthly limit), but on the other hand that free VPN may also store your data for analytics or sell your information to interested third parties.
The best advice is to find a private VPN that doesn’t keep logs, such as NordVPN, which doesn’t store your data or keep communication logs and offers flexible pricing suited to your needs. This is important for torrenting and P2P, but VPNs are also useful in other areas that affect your online life, such as keeping safe on free wi-fi, protecting yourself from sketchy emails, or using popular social platforms.
Your information is valuable in more ways than one, and therefore it’s important to keep it as safe and private as possible.