Monday, April 7, 2014

What are VPN Logs? Is a No Logs VPN The Best VPN for Torrents?

Internet users around the world have been rushing to get VPN (Virtual Private Network) service to help keep them safe online. These users largely believe in personal internet privacy and don't like the idea of being tracked online. We know that Internet Providers, Countries, and Companies, and Websites all track our movements online.

Visit the Bittorrent VPN Guide for a more complete overview of VPN logs

Did you ever stop to consider what your VPN Provider is tracking online? 

There are hundreds of VPN providers out there, and they all have different goals, objectives, business plans, and levels of service. They also all have different logging policies. Let's take a closer look...

  1. What are VPN Logs?
  2. What information do VPN's Keep in Logs?
  3. How to find your VPN's Logging Policy
  4. VPN Logs and Bittorrent
  5. VPN's Providers that Don't Keep Logs

No Logs VPN for Bittorrent

What are VPN Logs?

VPN logs are saved information files that some VPN's keep about their users connection history or even browsing history online. Every time you connect to the VPN, more information will be added to the log file.

What Information is Stored in VPN Logs?

This really depends on the VPN provider you are using. Some data that is tracked is much more harmful than other types, but basically the data stored in VPN logs falls into two categories:

VPN Connection Logs: (Minimal threat to your Privacy)

Most VPN providers keep connection logs for at least a small length of time. I would say at least 90% of them do keep this type of information. VPN connection logs usually contain some or all of the following pieces of data:
  • Your Incoming IP Address
  • The IP address assigned to you by the VPN
  • Kb of Data Transferred
  • Timestamp for start and end of the VPN Connection
This sort of information is not a threat to your average VPN user who is trying to stream Netflix or encrypt their internet connection at public hotspots.

Even Bittorrent users may be ok with these sort of VPN connection logs because most VPN's do not assign a single IP address to each user. More often, a pool of 5, 10, or even 100 users are sharing a single IP address. Because of this, the information contained in a VPN Connection Log is usually not enough to identify an individual user.

Moreover most VPN providers do not save these logs for a long time. On average VPN providers destroy their connection logs within 24 hours to 15 days.

VPN Usage Logs: (High Threat to your Privacy)

Some VPN Providers track even more information. Often this includes things like:
  • History of websites visited
  • Protocols/software used (uTorrent, Vuze, Netflix, etc...)
  • Email addresses you use
  • Web browsing or shopping patterns
and it could even include even more sensitive information like passwords! Now this is not a usual activity but the truth is that VPN providers have total access to our online activity. They could track basically anything they wanted, the question is do they?

Note: Most VPN providers do not track this sort of data, though some do, and most of the Free VPN providers do. This is why we never recommend the use of a free vpn. You always get what you pay for.

How do I find out my VPN's Logging Policy?

Everyone should not what logs a VPN provider keeps before they sign up. Fortunately there are several good places to look to find VPN logging policies easily

Read the VPN Privacy Policy

Nobody likes reading legalese, but everyone should read the privacy policy of their VPN provider. They are usually not longer than a few pages and they disclose all of the information that your VPN tracks both on their website and for users of their VPN service. 

The only information you may not find is how long these logs are kept before they are recycled. You can always email support for this answer.

Where can I find my VPN Privacy Policy?

If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the homepage of a VPN's website, you will usually see a link in the footer that says something like Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, or Logging Policy.

Read the VPN F.A.Q.

Almost every VPN has a Frequently Asked Questions section. If you can't find the information you need in the Privacy Policy, many VPN's will list their Logging Policy in the FAQ because it is such a common concern for their subscribers.

Email your VPN's Tech Support Team

If you can't logging information anywhere on the website, you can Email support and they will quite often give you a full breakdown of their policies. In my experience though, if you can't find the logging policy already advertised on the website, you probably aren't going to like it. And even if tech support tells you they track nothing, are you really going to trust them? If that don't keep logs, they would probably advertise that fact publicly on their site.

Do Bittorrent Users Need a No Logs VPN?

It's not an absolute definite must-have, but if you download torrents frequently you should consider a VPN that doesn't keep logs. Here's why:

VPN Providers that don't keep logs tend to be very torrent friendly. I don't know of a single no logs VPN that doesn't allow torrents on some servers.
A no logs VPN is the only way to stay truly anonymous while using bittorrent. Everything else is just a compromise.
Many log-free VPN providers are very affordable. Cheap even! 

Here's a list of no logs vpn providers that allow torrents from


Our Favorite Torrent VPN's with no logs:

Friday, April 4, 2014

Is a Torrent Proxy Service Better than a VPN for Bittorrent?

In there quest for Anonymous Bittorrent, many people frequently ask: "What's better for torrents, a VPN or a Proxy Service?" The answer, of course, is it depends. 

The truth is, they are better in combination. You will be much more anonymous online if you combine a separate proxy and VPN service together. For more information how tunnel a proxy inside a VPN connection, read this guide on anonymous torrenting.

 Not everyone is willing to spend twice the price for double the anonymity however, so let's look at the pros and cons of each and then we'll show your who has the best torrent proxy service...

proxy vs vpn for torrents

What are the differences between a VPN and Proxy server

1. A VPN encrypts and anonymizes your entire internet connection, a proxy anonymizes one program or protocol (web browser, Bittorrent, etc)

Sometimes its a disadvantage to have to change your IP for your entire internet connection as a VPN does. Many users prefer only to keep bittorrent anonymous well keeping their web browsing or netflix etc on their own normal internet connection.

2. All VPN's are encrypted. Some, but not all proxy services are encrypted.

All of the best bittorrent proxies offer encryption however. The encryption can be is sometimes optional. Most popular bittorrent clients have an encryption option even for non-encrypted proxies (utorrent and vuze do)

3. Proxy services generally use lower grade encryption (but still anonymous). As a result, they are faster than VPN's on the same server because there is less encryption overhead.

All things being equal, a proxy will be faster than a VPN, just as a PPTP VPN protocol is faster than OpenVPN (usually) because of lower encryption. 

VPN Pros and Cons

VPN Pros: 

  1. Can encrypt multiple internet connected apps at once.
  2. Higher grade encryption than proxy
  3. More IP flexibility, often more server choices. May offer advanced functionality through VPN software

VPN Cons:

  1. Can be slower than a proxy
  2. Can't have separate IP for Bittorrent client and web browser without a proxy

Torrent Proxy Pros and Cons

Proxy Pros:

  1. Faster than a VPN on average
  2. Can have separate IP addresses (keep torrents anonymous and web activity normal so you don't have to route facebook, twitter, etc through a remote server)

Proxy Cons:

  1. Requires a separate proxy connection for each application or protocol you would like to make anonymous
  2. Encryption is optional and often not as powerful as a VPN (though still strong enough that your ISP can't read your traffic)

The Best Anonymous Proxy Services For Bittorrent

These proxy providers are divided into 2 categories. Those that offer standalone torrent proxy service, and those that offer a free torrent proxy included in a VPN bundle.

1) Torguard Anonymous Torrent Proxy

We are a huge fan of Torguard's anonymous Bittorrent proxy service. They have dozens of differnt servers to choose from, fast speeds, and absolutely no logs. Setup is easy and they offer a preconfigured bittorrent client if you don't want to do manual setup, but it will work with almost any Bittorrent software.

Prices are $5.95/month with monthly service, or only $3.95/month with yearly service. Click here to get the discount.

2) BTGuard Bittorrent Proxy

Much like Torguard's service, BTGuard offers an anonymous, encrypted, proxy starting at only $5 per month. They have an easy install option with a preconfigured utorrent client (my favorite). They also keep no logs whatsoever. Learn more.

3) Private Internet Access VPN and Proxy Combo

It's no secret that Private Internet Access is one of the best VPN values around. At $40 a year for unlimited access and no logs, PIA is a steal. Most people don't realize that their VPN service also includes free access to proxy servers in 3 countries, all for the same low price! Click here to sign up.

4) IBVPN Ultimate VPN Package (with bonus proxy servers)

Invisible Browsing VPN's ultimate VPN package includes access to 100% of their VPN servers. It also includes access to proxy servers in 5 countries for maximum flexibility and anonymity. Their service is fast and cheap. While other plans like their torrent vpn package start as low as $3.20/month, the ultimate vpn package is only $82.95/year.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why Are My Torrents Downloading So Slow? (A VPN can fix it)

A common complaint of new bittorrent users is that their torrent downloads are much slower than their internet connection speed. The reason your torrents are so slow is almost always caused by one of three things and the good news is it's very easy to fix.

Three Reasons Your Torrents are Slow

1. Your ISP is throttling (slowing) your p2p and Bittorrent traffic

Your internet provider (Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, etc) may advertise specific download/upload speeds, but it doesn't guarantee them over all protocols. ISP's commonly throttle (deliberately slow) bandwidth intensive types of data sent over their network. These commonly include things like video streaming (Netflix and Youtube) as well as P2P and Bittorrent Traffic.) 

We wrote an entire article on how to avoid bittorrent throttling but the solution is easy. You just need an encrypted VPN or Proxy service for bittorrent. Your ISP can't legally slow your entire connection, they can only throttle specific services like bittorrent. The VPN wraps your internet traffic in an encrypted data tunnel so even your ISP can't see what sort of internet services you're using. They can't tell the difference between torrent traffic and regular web browsing so they can't throttle you, and you can torrent at top speed.

Here are a few of the best VPN's for bittorrent users:
Remember, a VPN is a must-have if you're a frequent torrent downloader, even if you're not being throttled. Learn why you need a VPN for Bittorrent

2. Your Router is slowing you down (port forwarding)

Bittorrent traffic is sent on specific ports (these are like channels within your internet data tunnel) sometimes your router gets confused on where to spend packets of data if it doesn't have specific instructions on where that port's traffic should be sent on your network. This can cause your torrent traffic to slow dramatically. IF you are getting under 100kb/s on a 10Mbps connection, your router is probably to blame.

Option 1: 
If you are using a popular bittorrent client like vuze or uTorrent, there is an option in the settings menu to enable uPnP port mapping. This allows your torrent client to automatically tell your router where to send the data packets for Bittorrent, so none of them get lost or slowed in transit. This is definitely the quickest fix, though uPnP has been found to have some security vulnerabilities on older routers.

Option 2:
If you use a VPN for bittorrent, your torrent downloads will be wrapped in the VPN's encrypted data tunnel, so they will pass through your router without any sorting or slowing until the data is decrypted by the VPN software on your computer. This means you shouldn't have any speed loss from port forwarding issues. Your router will just send all your VPN traffic straight to the appropriate computer. Checkout the list above of the best VPN for torrents.

If you're concerned about the cost, don't be. Most of these VPN's are under $8 a month and well worth the cost for the added security and speed. Private Internet Access VPN is only $3.33 per month!

3. Your torrents ARE downloading full speed (seriously)

If your torrents are downloading at around 1 MBps on a 10 Mbps connection, you may think you are getting a fraction of your bandwidth when in reality you are using almost all of it. The difference comes in a technicality:

Most bittorrent client's measure speed in MB per second (notice the uppercase B) while ISP's advertise connection speed in Mb per second (note the lowercase b).

They may seem the same, but they aren't. A MB (Megabyte) is 8 times as large as a Mb (Megabit) so a connection that is downloading at around:

1 MB per second = approximately 8 Mb per second, which is around 80% of your maximum speed for a 10 Mbps connection. Not to shabby!

Hope this guide helped! Good luck and safe torrenting!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

BTGuard Bittorrent Proxy Review

VPN's are quickly becoming a popular choice for frequent Bittorrent users, but did you know that there is a simpler solution that offers just as much anonymity for torrenters, faster speeds and a Lower Price? Enter the encrypted Torrent Proxy service from BTGuard. Most torrent downloaders don't need to anonymize their entire internet connection the way a VPN does, they just want to keep their torrent use safe, anonymous, and encrypted. For these users, an encrypted proxy service like BTGuard is probably a better choice then a VPN.

BTGuard - BitTorrent Anonymously

What's the difference between a proxy and VPN?

A VPN and Proxy offer many of the same benefits. They offer a connection tunnel between your computer and a 3rd party server with optional encryption. They can both be anonymous when combined with a zero-logging policy.

The primary difference is that a Proxy generally protects one or a few individual programs, applications, or protocols while a VPN will anonymize your entire internet connection. BTGuard Proxy for example only routes your bittorrent traffic through the secure anonymous proxy service, while the rest of your programs (like web browser) will use your normal internet connection. This means that things like netflix streaming won't be slowed down or blocked by a connection to an international VPN server.

BTGuard Proxy Features

  • Bittorrent Optimized and easy setup
  • Free customized version of Utorrent with BTGuard already configured
  • BTGuard does not keep logs or monitor usage
  • Affordable (as low as $5 per month)
  • Encryption available
  • Fast Speeds (proxies are general faster than VPN's on the same server)
  • Proxy servers are in internet neutral countries like the Netherlands.

Setting Up BTGuard

BTGuard setup is super easy. If you just use their preconfigured version of uTorrent, it's as easy as downloading and installing the program, and you're good to go.

We're huge fans of uTorrent and it's our favorite torrent client, but if you can't part ways with your own personal favorite, don't worry, BTGuard Proxy can be manually configured to work with any Bittorrent Client. BTGuard has manual instructions for many of the most popular clients on their website, but you can find instructions for other clients easily on other sites.

BTGuard Proxy Performance

We were extremely pleased with BTGuard's performance in our testing. It just plain worked all the time. There were no dropped connections. And the best part of using a proxy instead of a VPN, is when your proxy connection drops, so does your bittorrent connection so there is no fear of having your true IP exposed to other computers in the Bittorrent swarm, because the torrent client can only access the internet through the proxy connection. No proxy, no connevtion, no problem.

BTGuard Speed

BTGuard Proxy was able to easily max out our 15Mbps connection. We've read reports of other users maxing out connections as high as 50 Mbps. The bottom line: BTGuard should be plenty fast.

Note: We found our speeds to be consistently higher when using BTguard's uTorrent client rather than our manually configured Vuze client in testing.

BTGuard Security

BTGuard proxy offers guaranteed anonymity when using bittorrent. They keep no connection logs and record no usage data. They also utilize shared IP addresses which means that multiple BTguard users share a single IP address, meaning that activity cannot be traced to a single user. They cannot share information about there customers' usage because they have no information to share.

BTGuard proxy offers secure encryption in addition to anonymity. Users can either use the encryption option built into the uTorrent client or use BTGuard's standalone encryption software which is included free and works with any Bittorrent Client. Encryption prevents even your ISP from intercepting and reading your internet traffic.

Tip: For super security, you can use Bittorrent proxy and a VPN simultaneously. In doing this, you create a secure proxy tunnel inside a secure VPN tunnel for maximum privacy!
We recommend Private Internet Access or IBVPN for an affordable VPN option with no logs.

BTGuard Price

BTGuard Proxy costs:
  • $6.95 per month
  • $60 per year ($5 per month)

Friday, January 25, 2013

3 of the Best Anonymous VPN Services for Bittorrent or p2p

We all know that these days, your activities online aren't nearly as safe or private as we would like. The easiest way to dramatically improve your anonymity and privacy online is with a VPN that does not track or log your internet usage. All vpn services are not created equal, and there are a select few that offer the perfect blend of privacy and speed that makes them perfect for Bittorrent users.

What is an Anonymous VPN

An anonymous VPN service is one that specifically states to their customers that they do not keep records of  internet activity, and do not keep data usage logs or connection logs. Interestingly, the United States is one of the few developed nations that doesn't mandate data retention for VPN providers. 

An anonymous vpn allows their subscribers to connect to a secure, remote server and obtain a new IP address which servers as a privacy buffer between the user and the outside world (internet). Although the user must first connect to their internet through their ISP before reaching the VPN's servers, the ISP will not be able to monitor the connection because all of the between the user and the VPN server will be encrypted and safe from prying eyes.

Why Bittorrent Users need an anonymous VPN service

Most Bittorrent users are unaware of the security risks inherent in the technology. Anytime you connect to a swarm to upload or download a file, your IP address is 100% visible to everyone connected to the same swarm. An IP address is a digital identifier that can be linked to your exact address through your internet provider. An IP address is all that is needed for a hacker to target a specific computer. Various organizations around the world are also monitoring Bittorrent usage and assembling huge logs of the ip addresses of bittorrent users and files they have downloaded. We don't believe in promoting digital piracy, but we do believe in the right to personal privacy and internet freedom. An anonymous vpn is the best way to achieve this.

With an anonymous vpn, your IP address when using bittorrent will not be your own, it will be an ip address assigned to you by your vpn server. Moreover, because anonymous vpn providers do not keep logs, your new ip address cannot be traced back to you. This is the only way to be truly anonymous online.

The Best Anonymous VPN Providers for Bittorrent

1. Private Internet Access VPN

Private Internet Access is one of my all-time favorite vpn providers. For starters, it's just about the most affordable pro-level vpn provider around, with monthly prices as low as $3.33 when you buy 12 months at a time. Even better, they don't keep logs and they have a number of U.S. and international servers with solid speeds. Anything over 1.5 Mbps is good enough for bittorrent, and Private Internet Access usually averages around 3-6 Mbps in testing.

2. Torguard VPN and Proxy

Torguard is one of those vpn services that tailors their service towards bittorrent users specifically. They don't keep logs and have servers in more than 6 countries. They do restrict p2p/ bittorrent users to specific servers, but those servers are plenty fast (usually between 3-5 Mbps). Torguard offers several solutions for bittorrent users, ranging from a proxy service that secures and anonymizes only the bittorrent client, to a full-on vpn that will secure your entire internet connection.

3. BTGuard VPN and Proxy

BTguard attracts users with a simple motto: No Logs, period! Even their name suggests they welcome Bittorrent and p2p users. They offer an encrypted bittorrent proxy service that comes with a free customized version of utorrent with all the relevant settings built in to make setup super easy. They also have a VPN service for $9.95 to secure your entire internet connection. For maximum security, you can subscribe to BTGuard proxy service and use it through another vpn service like Private Internet Access, for total anonymity.

Everyone has to internet privacy, but these days, we have to take steps on our own to secure that freedom and privacy. We hope you check out the vpn's above, and see if they are right for you. You can also check out the list of the Best VPN's for Bittorrent for more ideas. As always, Torrent Safe!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bittorrent: How to bypass ISP torrent throttling

If you use Bittorrent and find that you are having trouble with slow downloads or connecting to peers, you are probably being throttled. P2P file sharing takes up lots of bandwidth, so your internet provider is probably doing his best to limit your download speeds. Comcast, Time Warner, ETC would much rather have 5 customers who just check email than 20 customers sharing files with bittorrent.

How to tell if you're being throttled:

If you're upload/download speeds using your bittorrent client are less than half the speed of your internet connection, you are being throttled.

How to avoid being throttled:

There are a couple ways to bypass bittorrent throttling. The easiest and most effective way to avoid being throttled when using bittorrent is to sign up for a VPN service like BTGuard or TorentPrivacy.

The VPN service creates an encrypted private connection that is routed through a super high bandwidth remote server. All of your internet traffic including bittorrent will be routed through this VPN (virtual private network). Your data is then put in an encrypted tunnel before going back to your computer through your ISP. Because the data is encrypted, your ISP can see you are connecting to a VPN, but cannot see any of the data or tell where it is coming from, and therefor cannot throttle you.


What are the advantages of a VPN?

  • Bypass throttling for maximum/upload and download speeds
  • Remain anonymous (your torrent activity can't be traced to your real IP address)
  • All of your internet traffic is encrypted which helps protect you from other threats like identity theft.

What is a good VPN service for bittorrent?

There are a number of VPN services designed specifically for bittorrent users. They feature easy 1-click connection, and most of them offer a free custom version of a popular bittorrent client that is already set up for connection to the VPN.

Three of the best VPN services for bittorrent are:
Also, Torguard and IBVPN both offer free trial periods with no payment info required. All these VPN's have a moneyback guarantee between 7-30 days (except BTGuard)

How much does a bittorrent VPN connection cost?

Almost all of the best VPN services for bittorrent are priced around $4-10 per month. The benefits of a VPN are tremendous if you are going to use file sharing software like bittorrent. It would be hard to find a better way to spend 10 bucks.

How do I know which VPN to choose for bittorrent?
The Best Bittorrent VPN Guide has reviews and ratings on many of the best anonymous VPN and proxy services for use with bittorrent.