BitTorrent is one of the greatest and best ways to download and share files in the world of today; however, there are a lot of risks involved with the method due to the increasing level of piracy on the service and internet service providers’ constant and ever increasing scrutiny over their subscriber’s internet usage and habits. There are a lot of ways to hide BitTorrent from your ISP — methods vary from using proxies, simple encryption, seed boxes, VPNs to switching to the more obscure and harder to track Usenet.
The truth is, these methods or switching services are not nearly enough to keep your hide BitTorrent activity completely from the prying eyes of your ISP and copyright holders. Even if you’re not doing anything illegal, and we hope you’re not, or only sharing content you have bought, you might still be at risk because some ISPs don’t even allow that, and this is why you need to mask your BitTorrent activity, and the best way to handle that is using an external proxy of encryption service to filter and hide your connection.
Hide BitTorrent downloads from your ISP
This is where BTGuard comes in – a proxy server and connection encryption service that is especially designed with the BitTorrent protocol in mind. There are lots of other such services out there and some of them are even free or offer a free trial, but they do not offer the level of anonymity, security or speed that BTGuard does so we will be using BTGuard as a reference point for the purposes of this article. BTGuard also offers an encryption service if you prefer a torrent client that does not have one already built in.
Of course BTGuard isn’t free, it costs $7 a month but can go down to a $5 per month if you subscribe for a whole year. View their pricing plan here.
Hide BitTorrent Activity: Step #1. Configuring your anonymity
BTGuard and other proxy server and connection encryption services mask your BitTorrent activity by filtering your internet traffic or your BitTorrent traffic through another server, so that your IP address cannot be traced and anti-piracy groups can’t contact your ISP and the ISP has no reason to take drastic actions. One more awesome thing about BTGuard in this regard is that the service does not keep any records, so there are no chances of your ISP or anti-piracy groups getting your download or BitTorrent information from them.
In order to mask your BitTorrent downloads, you are going to need proxy support in order to use proxy services, or BTGuard in this case. uTorrent (for Windows) and Vuze (for Windows, Mac, and Linux) have proxy support, but Transmission (for Mac and Linux) does not have proxy support.
Hide BitTorrent Activity: Step #2. Setting up BTGuard
It’s super easy to install BTGuard due to its easy setup process, but the other services we mentioned mostly require manual configuration and the settings are usually the same for all SOCKS 5 proxy services, so we’re going to configure BTGuard manually in order to pinpoint all the areas you need to hit to complete your configuration to mask your BitTorrent activity.
First off, you will need to sign up for an account at BTGuard. Once finished, you will get an email notifying you that your service is good to go. Next, open up your torrent client of your choice and find the proxy settings within its preferences. We will be using uTorrent as an example, so go to Preferences > Connection and enter the information for BTGuard or the other proxy service you’re using.
- Proxy Type: SOCKS v5
- Proxy Host: proxy.btguard.com or other service
- Proxy Port: 1025
- Username: username for proxy service
- Password: password for proxy service
Make sure to enable any settings for using the proxy for hostname or tracker lookups and peer-to-peer connections – or all the settings available in uTorrent. Disable connections or features that might compromise the proxy, so check all the boxes in the Proxy Privacy section. You should also randomize your listening port in order to make your activity harder to track. Click Apply and exit the preferences. Restart the torrent client if needed and your proxy is now ready.
Hide BitTorrent Activity: Step #3. Testing your connection
To check if the proxy has properly masked your BitTorrent connection, go to CheckMyTorrentIP.com. Click the Generate Torrent button, and open the torrent file in uTorrent or your torrent client of choice. Check the passkey from the tracker page in your client and enter it in the web page to see your real IP. Now enable your proxy service and go back to the browser to the IP checking page and click the Refresh button under the Check IP tab and you should now have a different IP address, meaning that the proxy service is working correctly. You can also use a more simple and manual method of checking your IP address by going to this site.
Hide BitTorrent Activity: Step #4. Setting up your desktop torrent client
The next and final step in masking your BitTorrent activity is setting up your desktop torrent client. We would generally recommend that you use uTorrent because it’s just so awesome. In uTorrent, go to Preferences > BitTorrent and look for Protocol Encryption. Change the outgoing connection to Forced encryption, and uncheck the Allow incoming legacy connections. This will allow you added encryption protection. But some torrent clients do no have built in encryption support.
If your torrent client does not have encryption support, or if you want better encryption, go to the Encryption page at the BTGuard web page, download the software, and install it to C:\BTGUARD. It will cost you extra, but the added protection is worth it. Start the program you just installed and open the torrent client. You will just need to change the proxy server from the one we set earlier to 127.0.0.1 and restart the torrent client.
Your BitTorrent activity are now hidden from your ISP and anti-piracy groups. Keep in mind that we’ve described how to mask your BitTorrent activity purely for educational and security reasons, please do not engage in downloading content illegally or support piracy even though you’re now completely anonymous.