What is a VPN?
A VPN or a Virtual Private Network is a method of adding a layer of security while browsing on the internet. Your information is encrypted, sent to the VPN servers then a connection is made to the website you wish to access, that information is decrypted. A VPN keeps your relationship anonymous.
Why would you need a VPN? The internet is getting more dangerous each day, and some people would feel safer knowing that they have an ‘invisibility cloak’ around the information they consider viewing. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) gives your computer a designated I.P (Internet Protocol) address and redirects you to the website you have requested.
The VPN intern masks this IP address so that both your ISP and the website you visit don’t see the content you view or your current location. Hiding your location and information makes it harder for a hacker to attack your computer’s content, because of heavy multiple level encryption. Furthermore, dubious ISPs cannot view your internet practices and sell that information to willing third-party buyers or document it.
VPN use advantages:
⦁ Encryption of information making it harder to get hacked or experiencing a DDoS(Distributed Denial of Service ) attack. Search engines would not also keep track of your online behaviour. You can reduce the monitoring by your ISP on the content you choose to view which can positively affect your download speeds. Some internet providers choose to lower your internet speed if you view high bandwidth content for example while streaming Netflix.
⦁ VPNs can trick the internet that you are anywhere in the world by assigning you the IP address of their nearest server. Hiding your location can be useful if there exist specific regulations for an internet service you wish to access. Since different people are using the same server, you are consequently anonymous.
⦁ Bandwidth throttling – this is the process by which your ISP reduces the speed of your internet connection depending on the bandwidth required to access certain sites.
Nord VPN is a pay to use VPN service. It has convenient monthly packages for users for as little as 3.29 dollars a month as at April 2018. The payment methods are equally convenient. You can pay for your monthly subscription through PayPal, credit cards and most of the top cryptocurrencies namely bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, ripple, and dash.
Nord VPN offers a three-day trial if you wish to sample their services before paying the fee. Full access to all features is inclusive of this three-day trial making it very attractive for users wanting to torrent under its mask.
Choosing a VPN:
The choice on a suitable VPN depends on a few things which may include:
⦁ The speed of the internet connection while using the service. Does the encryption-decryption process heavily cost the speed? A simple speed test on speedtest.net would quickly answer this question.
⦁ Security – does the VPN service have leaks? A leak is a situation where your network configuration allows information transmission over unsecured links instead of your secure VPN tunnel. This problem is most common on Windows operating system(OS) since the DNS server assigned by the LAN(Local Area Network) gateway is preferred by the OS over the DNS server assigned by the VPN service.
⦁ User-friendly – is the interface easy to use or does it require a rocket scientist to crack its dynamics. Can you easily configure the system to your satisfaction without getting a headache?
⦁ Cost – how much you are willing to spend for the security offered. Are the modes of payment easily accessible in your country of residence?
⦁ Reliability – does the VPN service disconnect without warning leaving you vulnerable to attacks? Are the servers available at a considerable distance from you thus not cost you connection speed?
⦁ Compatibility – is the VPN service compatible with the device you want to use it on?
⦁ User-friendly – after installation a window pops up requesting username and password. After correct entry, the next window has a power button which when clicked turns on the application connecting you to the nearest server available. A pop-up notification informs you that Nord VPN is turned on. You have an option to configure your settings as you see fit and choose which server you want to connect to besides the recommended one by Nord VPN.
The user interface also gets thumbs up for the self-explanatory icons. You receive details at the top of the server of your connection state, either connected or disconnected and the new IP address assigned to you by Nord VPN.
Considering your location and needs is the criteria used to select a server for connection. However, there is still an option of choosing what server you wish to connect if for any reason you find the chosen one does not fit your needs.
⦁ Speed – I ran a speed test, and there was an increase in ping and upload speeds when I had Nord VPN on. The changes might occur since the internet provider doesn’t see the content you are accessing, therefore, doesn’t reduce your access speed. However, speeds may vary taking into consideration the load on that particular server and its performance capabilities.
⦁ Security – running a VPN leak test on dnsleaks.com only returns your host server IP not the personal IP address. These results mean that there are no leaks on the test Nord VPN system I am using. Nord VPN gets thumbs up on security. In case of connection interruption, Nord VPN immediately disconnects all web services securing your identity.
⦁ Reliability – on disconnection from the VPN network an alert notifies the user. Having not received a notification while using the internet guarantees that it is a reliable service.
⦁ Cost – monthly price packages range between 3.29 dollars and 11.95 dollars which is quite cheap for internet security. Additionally, the payment modes are internationally accessible. The use of cryptocurrency is also an attractive feature on the website. If you hold some virtual assets, you can use them for payment without having to undergo the hassle of liquidating them and transfer costs. Thumbs up for cost and keeping up with new trends in the financial space.
⦁ Compatibility – Nord VPN ran smoothly on windows OS and also on the Android platform without any bugs or crashes. In google play store the Android sister of application receives 4.4-star rating with a million downloads with nothing but positive reviews in the comment section.
The relationship between VPN and torrenting:
What is a torrent?
The number one rule of using a torrent site is remaining anonymous. Why is this? When downloading a torrent file, your IP address is public to anyone else sharing that particular torrent.
Torrent in computing is a file that contains metadata about the content you are about to download that works on the BitTorrent protocol.
The BitTorrent is a file transfer protocol that takes a file and breaks it down into smaller pieces. By downloading a file using BitTorrent, you are simultaneously downloading this file from the source and at the same time from other users who have downloaded the file.
Every user downloads and uploads the torrent file making them a seeder. Being a seeder exposes your exact location through your IP address hence the need for a VPN.
Torrenting is treated differently by a variety of countries. In Poland, for example, torrenting is legal if content downloaded is for personal use.
However, in Japan, it is considered illegal while some countries like South Africa and Russia have entirely shut down torrent sites.
How to download a torrent file?
To download a torrent file, you need to find a torrent tracker website. A torrent tracker website acts as a link to a server that regulates the communication between those downloading and uploading files.
Once in the site search for the content, you wish to download just like on any other website. Download the magnet link usually by clicking on a horseshoe magnet icon next to the content you wish to torrent. Install a torrent client.
According to www.techopedia.com, a torrent client is a desktop application software that initiates, truncates and manages the download or upload of data using BitTorrent file sharing protocol. The client has tools to execute BitTorrent protocol on a local machine.
Also check :- Bittorrent vs Utorrent
Once the torrent client is properly set up open the torrent file, and the download commences after you choose a location to save the last download.
The most typical torrent file clients are utorrent, transmission and Vuze with the most popular sites being https://thepiratebay.org/ and https://www.extratorrents-cc.com/.
Advantages of torrenting:
⦁ Resumable – the most apparent benefit of torrents is that you can always resume the download from the previous point you stopped. Two obvious causes that stop a download could be, the download was paused or the loss of internet connectivity. After resuming the download continues from where it had left off. If you delete the file by mistake, you can retrieve it and keep downloading.
⦁ Allows remote download monitoring– some torrent clients allow users to monitor the progress of their download even when they are not available in front of the computer to check the actual download. Torrent download speeds depend on file size. The bigger the size of the file, the longer it takes to download. Using your smartphone, you can allow for remote monitoring of your download. This feature notifies the user about the status of the download. You can pause or restart a stuck torrent remotely.
⦁ Allows to download files of large size – the maximum size of the file to download using torrent depends on the format. For fat32 the maximum torrent download size is 4 gigabytes while for NTFS the size is 16 exbibytes equivalent to 18 million gigabytes.
⦁ Decentralized – since downloading does not occur from one centralised server then if it happens to be unavailable you can always get the file from the other sources.
⦁ Faster download – torrents speeds are much faster than traditional means even when internet connections are slow.
Disadvantage of torrenting:
⦁ Considered illegal in some countries – countries like japan frown upon torrent downloading even for personal use.
⦁ Can expose you to threats – since your IP address is made public it is easy to hack into your system if you do not have a working VPN in place.
⦁ You cannot download a file without seeds.
Why use NorVPN for torrenting?
Nord VPN has proven to be a reliable VPN service. It checks all the boxes for cost, usability reliability and most important of all security a key component in torrenting since user IP address can be easily tracked.
⦁ It is easy to install and use this software. The executable file barely 15megabites in size therefore really quick to download. However, the installation phase takes a little longer than most applications.
⦁ As observed the torrent downloading space is full of insecurities. If you wish to find some content on the internet for a project and can only download it from torrent yet you don’t live in a country like Mexico with no laws against them, then it would be a pickle situation. A safe alternative would be a VPN service. Nord VPN with at least three thousand servers scattered around the world would be a good bet. If its use is not a long-term then getting a free trial and downloading your content is a win-win.
⦁ The VPN has an Android application so that torrenting is not only limited to your personal computer. Similar features to those of the website are present in the Android application. Therefore no additional knowledge is required to use the app. On the IOS a VPN icon appears at the top when connected and similarly a key on the Android platform.
⦁ Nord VPN has a feature known as CyberSec. The feature covers the users who find themselves on a malicious website. In the torrenting arena, this can happen. However, clicking on to the wrong site will not be an issue with Nord VPN. CyberSec is anti-malware, anti-phishing and blocks ads.
⦁ The best reason why Nord VPN is ideal for torrenting is its ability to allow a peer to peer service. Peer to peer by definition is the interaction of two individuals without the involvement of a third party. In torrenting the BitTorrent decentralized protocol utilize this service to distribute files over the internet. Not all VPN services accommodate torrenting possibly because their server locations are countries that find the activity illegal. Selecting the peer to peer option automatically connects you to the closest torrenting server available.
⦁ An automatic kill switch feature is present in the Nord VPN settings. The function automatically terminates all connections in case of a network connection drops thus protecting your IP
⦁ Nord VPN overcomes the problem of geo-restrictions. Geo-restriction or geo-filtering blocking particular content in a specific geological location. A users location is identified by checking their IP address against a blacklist or whitelist or measuring the delay in connection.
A VPN masks the user’s location, and therefore these methods would assume the user is at a point where they are not. The obfuscated server settings bypass firewalls that restrict users from accessing restricted foreign content. The feature is handy in case one travels and finds a service like torrenting blocked.
⦁ Nord VPN’s support team responds quickly to any complaint. If the grievance does not fit any of the frequently asked questions, then you can contact them via their live support feature or by submitting a ticket.
The disadvantage of using Nord VPN:
Nothing comes without a ‘but’ at the end. A few of the minor flaws uncovered with Nord VPN include:
⦁ One significant downside of Nord VPN would be the freedom to use the app kill switch. This feature allows you to turn off an application that you would deem unnecessary. Unfortunately killing some of the claims most specifically on windows may result in crashing of your computer. Therefore before disabling an application, be confident of its role in the overall performance of your machine. A wrong move and you may lose the precious information you meant to secure not to a hacker but your finger.
⦁ Getting support from Nord VPN support requires that you access the website. The mobile application, unfortunately, does not have this feature.
⦁ Some problems might arise when using the service on a Linux system.
Nord VPN is a great companion to anyone wishing to use it for torrenting. It considers security not only in the content one view but keeps no logs that can be later retrieved. Great features that terminate any unsecured connections are in place. These measures would not affect a torrent user since torrent downloads could always resume on reconnection.
Even in cross borders where regulations, either geo-restrictions or law restrictions are in place one can choose a server and therefore appear to be accessing the web from that location. The ability to select which server you wish to connect to is also ideal depending on internet preferences to the user.
Nord VPN should come recommended to anyone with interest in the torrent space. Their embracement of crypto for payment is also commendable. Especially at a time when not so many organisations have accepted them as a means of payment. Overall Nord VPN should be the first choice for anyone conscious about their internet security.