PewerBlock is used by many torrent users who want to secure their traffic and it has become very popular, mainly due to the fact that it is free. The truth is that PeerBlock doesn’t provide the level of security that is required to ensure that your torrent activities and your identity are not exposed. Although PeerBlock may seem to be a practical solution, it is better to consider an alternative that can really keep you safe when you download torrents. Here we will go through the downsides of relying on PeerBlock and will talk about other services that are worth trying.
What is PeerBlook?
PeerBlock is a free application that focuses on helping P2P and bittorrent users to enhance their anonymity by preventing specific IP addresses from accessing peer connections. These addresses can be selected from third party blocklists, some of which are free. These blocklists are databases that contain several IP addresses that would be blocked when you are using PeerBlock. These IP addresses may belong to monitoring agencies, government organizations and malicious users. The idea is that PeerBlock will stop them from seeing bitorrent data, which adds a layer of security to their torrent traffic. While it seems like a practical and simple way to make your connection safer, there are some issues to keep in mind.
The first thing to keep in mind is that using the main blocklists that are available for free, would mean blocking millions of IP addresses. Unfortunately, these lists are not very selective and they contain a vast amount of IP addresses, many of which shouldn’t even be blocked in the first place. The number of peers that you can choose from is reduced dramatically, which also affects the speed of your downloads.
Apart from having an impact on the availability of peers and slowing down your torrent traffic, PeerBlock doesn’t offer complete protection from malicious IP addresses. The lists used by the software are created by blocking different kinds of IP ranges. The lists include IPs from government organizations, research companies and more. However, PeerBlock is not effective when it comes to block all the IP addresses that should be blocked, simply because the only way to do it would be to block all the IP addresses used on the internet, which obviously is not a good solution since it would leave without any peers to connect to.
In addition, if someone really wants to monitor your torrent traffic, they will find a way to do it, even if their IP address has been blocked. Major companies and organizations have ways to get around these blocks and they have the possibility of changing their IP addresses easily. They have the resources to find a way to access your torrent activities and if that is their main purpose, you can be sure that they will invest the time, money and effort needed to bypass the blocks.
Another point to consider is that PeerBlock doesn’t encrypt your data, meaning that even if it was capable of blocking every malicious IP address available, it would still fail to be a strong solution to torrent anonymously. After all, it would not be able to block your ISP and since all your traffic is router through your service provider’s servers, they can see everything you do online. Unless encryption is used, your ISP can still monitor your connection and they can see your browsing activities, the applications you use, the data you download and everything else, using deep packet inspection.
How to protect your torrent traffic
The good news is that it is possible to prevent deep packet inspection with the help of the encryption that a VPN applies to your incoming and outgoing data. When your data is encrypted, not even your ISP will be able to read it, meaning that your online activities will remain private. A VPN can also change your IP address, which is something that PeerBlock doesn’t do. Your IP address is used to identify you in a torrent swarm and it can be seen by other peers. PeerBlock doesn’t give you the possibility of masking your real IP address, unlike a VPN or a proxy. These services keep your real IP address hidden.
When you connect to a VPN server, you get assigned an IP address and that is what the torrent peers will see, instead of your true IP address. While proxy servers can also help you to keep your real IP address hidden, they don’t offer the level of security that you get when you use a VPN. VPNs encrypt your online traffic, protecting your privacy not only from your ISP, but also from other parties that may want to monitor what you do on the internet, particularly when you are using torrent clients. In order to enjoy solid protection for your torrent traffic, a VPN is the best solution since it disguises your IP address and encrypts all the data transferred between your computer and the VPN servers.
How to choose the right VPN for torrents
Although there is a large number of VPN services available, not all of them are a good solution to keep your torrent traffic secure. It is important to select a service that is torrent friendly and that doesn’t log your online activities. It is also advisable to look for a VPN that has a dedicated client that is easy to use and that provides efficient performance. A VPN that has its own software client is the most convenient choice since the set up is very simple and provides more stability. These programs usually include useful features such as kill switch and DNS leak protection and they allow you to adjust the encryption level and to switch between servers easily. We recommend the below options as they offer all the necessary features to torrent without compromising your privacy.
Private Internet Access
PIA is one of the most practical solutions available since it is affordable, easy to use and it provides high security. At the moment, they have servers in 25 countries and while that may seem limited when compared to other providers, PIA’s network has more than 3000 servers and the locations covered are strategically chosen. Private Internet Access doesn’t keep logs of your online traffic, it is a torrent-friendly solution and it has a solid record when it comes to privacy protection.
ExpressVPN is known for the speed of its service and for its fantastic software that works with multiple platforms. They allow torrents on their network and no activity logs are kept. You can connect to servers in over 90 countries and their guides and customer support will help you to run the service on different platforms and to solve any issue that may arise. ExpressVPN also protects your traffic with strong encryption. While ExpressVPN is not one of the cheapest options available, all the features that it offers and the overall quality of the service, makes the premium price worth paying.
TorGuard is a service that is specially designed to protect your torrent traffic and its solid no logs policy, will give you peace of mind since it means that nothing about your traffic is logged. They handle DMCA notices internally without ever handing over information about their customers. There are servers in over 50 locations and they also have an anonymous proxy, SmartDNS and even an encrypted email service.