Online file sharing has exploded in the last two decades. The concept of file sharing has become mainstream thanks to everyone having high speed internet access.
Individuals are now able to download movies, television shows and other media content – for free.However, doing so is not always legal, depending on where the individual lives. It is why many turn to VPN services.
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network is a private network that is extended across a public one. The idea is that users can send and receive data while masking their IP address and DNS servers.
Most people are able to obtain a VPN for less than $10 a month, which is why the service is so appealing. And some VPN providers offer more than just masking IP addresses – they also help users avoid geo blocking on specific services.
For instance, if a video stream is only available to Canadian users, someone from the United States could use a VPN to make the site think they are in Canada, giving them access to the stream.
Risks When Torrenting
The reason why a VPN is popular for torrenting is because many users are able to avoid detection while they are downloading material they are not entitled to get for free.
For instance, many people torrent movies, television shows, video games and other media content. They get this content for free, as compared to paying for it or a streaming service.
But places such as the United States and Europe are becoming more serious about stopping such online piracy. It is why many internet companies can cancel a user’s service if they torrent more than a couple times. Some people even find themselves under threat of legal action from the media company whose content they downloaded illegally.
How Does a VPN Help?
A virtual private network can make all the difference for someone who torrents regularly. When a media company is attempting to catch users torrenting, they are actively monitoring the download stream.
What they do is download the file themselves, becoming one of the seeders. And when other users are attempting to download the file, they can see those users’ IP addresses on the torrent client. It allows them to note down those IP addresses and then file a complaint with the internet service provider giving them internet access.
With a VPN, a user is masking their IP address. There will be an IP address visible in the torrent tracker, but it is one that belongs to the VPN service, not the user themselves. So even if the media company attempts to track down that individual, they do not get very far.
Torrenting Certain Files Is Illegal
With all the talk around virtual private networks and torrenting, it is important to remember the law. It is still illegal to download material that a user has no right to access for free.
Even though a VPN can help a user avoid detection, it does not make their activity any less against the law. It just means they have found a temporary solution that drastically reduces the risk of their actions.