If you know how torrents work, you know that we’re talking about huge groups of users who form open file transfer groups. Since pieces of data are scattered throughout these groups, anyone can take or give their own data. Naturally, you want to keep these connections secure or even to anonymize your data. Therefore, torrent encryption is always an interesting topic to talk about.
In our guide to torrent encryption, we will tell you all the ways you can protect your data and enjoy sharing P2P files without any restrictions. Also, we are going to show you a few easy ways of encrypting your torrent traffic, so you pick the one that fits your needs in the best possible way.
Why is Encrypting Torrent Data Crucial?
There are two important reasons why you need to encrypt torrent data, and these are related to your Web connection's speed and privacy. Let’s take a closer look at what this means.
There are numerous applications out there that promise to encrypt your Web connection. What this also means is that these applications completely change the way your data travels. They use secure servers and they usually hide your P2P file exchange from your Internet Service Provider. Therefore, these are effective tools for battling ISP throttling. As a result, two things can happen. If your ISP is throttling or blocking P2P traffic, encryption can undo that throttling. This means downloading torrent files at a faster rate. Some torrent encryption-related applications can even reverse all kinds of throttling mechanisms, which leaves you with a much speedier Web connection.
And when it comes to privacy, torrent encryption is the best way to hide what you do online. Encrypting your traffic means it doesn’t show up on any logs. Since this becomes an encrypted stream, your ISP or just about any third-party won’t be able to see your online activity.
Torrent Encryption: How to Secure Your Data?
There are two ways in which torrent encryption can be done. Take a look at brief overviews, and then keep on reading this article to learn more about each of these methods in-depth.
- Built-In Torrent Encryption: A number of torrent clients provide a convenient way to encrypt your data. These are typically desktop clients where you’ll find encryption-related options in their preferences. Still, you need to know that it comes with several downsides – where the most prominent one is a reduced peer availability.
- Encryption via VPN Applications: VPNs are specialized security-oriented applications that encrypt all your Web traffic. As such, they are the most effective way to hide all your online activities, battle throttling, and make sure you’re truly invisible online. However, these are subscription-based services, meaning that they come at a cost.
Method #1: Encrypt Your Torrent Traffic Using a P2P Client
First, we are going to show you how to encrypt your P2P data by using a torrent client. As you already know, there are plenty of popular torrent clients out there. Many of these will let you encrypt both incoming and outgoing data, giving you a piece of mind about your online safety. Still, you need to be aware of the possible downsides of using this method.
- Limited Peer Availability: In general, P2P traffic is not encrypted which makes it free to flow. So, if you switch to an encrypted channel, this will lower your chances of finding peers. That’s because your torrent client will only connect to those peers that allow incoming encrypted traffic. If we’re talking about older torrent files that don’t have large swarms of users, this might mean that you simply can’t download that torrent in its entirety.
- Half-Baked Encryption: As you can expect, torrent clients aren’t made to keep you anonymous on the Web. They are made to help you download and upload torrent files. Therefore, there’s the question of how strong their encryption can possibly be. We know that clients like uTorrent and Vuze offer full encryption, which isn’t the case with other options.
- Inability to Battle Torrent-Blocking Technology: So, if torrent clients can’t guarantee that all your data will be encrypted, this means that your ISP can easily see what you’re doing. Therefore, make sure to properly set up torrent encryption and use reliable clients.
How to Set Up a P2P Client Encryption?
We will show you to enable torrent encryption on five popular clients. All of these come free of charge and they are known for their reliable performance. Having the ability to encrypt files comes as a welcome bonus. Take a look.
uTorrent & BitTorrent Encryption Settings
Without any doubt, uTorrent and BitTorrent are the world’s most popular P2P clients. It doesn’t really matter which one you pick since both of these are close to identical. Here’s how to enable torrent encryption.
- Open uTorrent or BitTorrent on your computer;
- Navigate to Options > Preferences;
- On the left side of the screen, select BitTorrent;
- Now, in the Protocol Encryption field, make sure to select ‘Forced’.
Vuze Encryption Settings
This client is being advertised as the world’s most powerful BitTorrent client. In many ways, this is not an overstatement. This is also one of the rare clients that completely encrypt your torrent traffic.
- Open Vuze on your computer;
- Go to Tools > Options;
- Select ‘Mode’ and make sure you’re using the Advanced mode;
- In the left-placed sidebar, click to open the Connection group of settings.
- Next, click on Transport Encryption;
- Make sure to enable ‘Require Encrypted Transport;
- Also, select ‘RC4’ as the minimum encryption level.
Deluge Encryption Settings
In case you need more granular control over torrent encryption settings, Deluge offers a nice solution. Here’s how to enable encryption on this client.
- Launch Deluge on your device;
- Go to Edit > Preferences;
- Select Network and then take a look at the Encryption segment;
- There are different combinations here. For ‘Enabled’ use these values Inbound > Enabled, Outbound > Enabled, Level > Either. Also, make sure to enable ‘Encrypt Entire Stream’;
- For ‘Forced’ use these values: Inbound > Forced, Outbound > Forced, Level > Full Stream, and enable ‘Encrypt Entire Stream’;
QBittorrent is a very integrated open source torrent client that does things a bit differently. It’s incredibly simple out of the box – but you can fine-tune every single aspect of this software. It supports all kinds of torrent files, lets you schedule downloads, and even remote control it. On top of that, there’s encryption involved as well.
- Open QBittorrent on your system;
- Go to Tools > Options;
- In the left-placed menu, click on ‘BitTorrent’;
- Now, take a look at the Privacy set of options. Choose ‘Require Encryption’ next to Encryption Mode.
Those of you willing to take full control over P2P file downloads are well-aware of Tixati. This client lets you fine-tune every single aspect of your user experience. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see that encryption can be fine-tuned as well.
- Open Tixati on your device;
- Go to Settings (Gear Icon) > Network;
- Now, select Connections on the left side of the screen;
- For ‘Optional’ encryption, select ‘Encrypted Preferred’ for Outgoing and Incoming Peer Encryption;
- For ‘Forced’ encryption, select ‘Encrypted Only’ for Outgoing and Incoming Peer Encryption.
Method #2: Encrypt Your Torrent Traffic Using a VPN
Next, we have another way to encrypt torrent data – and that’s by using a Virtual Private Network application. What you need to know is that VPNs often use military-grade encryption in combination with VPN protocols that fully encapsulate your data. Here’s what else you need to know:
- Easy Setup: A while back, VPNs were complex applications built around even more complex systems. These days, using a VPN is incredibly simple as they’ve become incredibly optimized. You can easily install a VPN on Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, or even on your router.
- VPNs Keep Your ISP at Bay: Even though torrenting is legal, we all know what kind of reputation follows P2P traffic exchange. That is the reason why many ISP are aggressively blocking this type of Web traffic, even if you don’t download copyrighted material.
- No Peer Availability Limits: As noted earlier, peer availability can be a big problem when using built-in torrent client encryption. However, this doesn’t apply to VPNs. Once you connect to a remote server, all your Web traffic becomes encrypted. So, P2P is only one aspect of this incredibly wide spectrum.
- Plenty of Amazing Options: When it comes to VPNs, you can find hundreds of providers online. Not all of these are the same, and not all of these support P2P traffic. That’s why we’re here to help. First of all, here’s our overview of the best VPNs for torrenting. If you want to expand your options a bit, here are the best VPNs overall.
How to Set Up a VPN Encryption?
To get started with VPNs, you first need to select a service that you’d like to use. Once again, here are our recommendations for torrent-friendly websites. Also, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at the fastest VPNs out there since you want to ensure smooth P2P traffic flow.
For the sake of this example, we are going to use ExpressVPN. This has been one of the favorite VPNs of our editorial team, and we use this VPN to secure our Web connection. So, here’s how to use this VPN provider to encrypt your torrent traffic.
- First and foremost, you need to have an active subscription. So, go ahead and sign-up for ExpressVPN;
- Next, download and install this application on your computer. Then, open it;
- By default, ExpressVPN will try to find the fastest server available for you. This is usually going to be a server that isn’t too far away so that you can avoid any throttling. Of course, you can also click on ‘Choose Location’ to find a server manually;
- In many cases, the ‘Smart Location’ should do the job. So, you can go ahead and activate it;
- After a few moments, your Web connection will become fully encrypted;
- Now, you can proceed to download torrent files. Go ahead and use one of the popular torrent repositories, download a torrent and activate it;
- That’s pretty much it. Once you’ve downloaded the torrent, make sure to seed it for a while. After all, it’s always a good idea to help others download that torrent as well. So, give something back to the community.
Dear readers, that would be all you have to know about torrent encryption. In case you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below. We’ll do our best to provide a timely response.