torrent IP address

Usually, when you download a file, your computer connects to one other device and transfers the data across. However, with torrenting and P2P networks, you might download part of a file from one user and the rest from another. The problem is that during this process, anyone who’s downloading the file from you and anyone you’re downloading the file from can see your IP address.

Why should you hide your IP address when using P2P networks?

There are several reasons why you should hide your IP address from public view. First, if someone has your IP address, they can use it to determine your approximate location. IP geolocation is fairly inaccurate, but at the very least, an attacker would be able to find out which country (and perhaps even city) you live in. While it’s unlikely, they could also target your network with a DDoS attack, which could prevent you from using the internet temporarily.

More commonly, people hide their IP addresses to prevent their activities from being tracked. IP addresses actually reveal quite a lot of information about the user, including the country you’re in and who your ISP is. Often, copyright holders will monitor torrents of their own content and send out infringement notices to anyone who downloads the file. They can use the data from your IP address to send a copyright violation notice to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Know, which could lead to your services being canceled if you continue to use torrents. In some cases, copyright holders even contact you directly, usually demanding an exorbitant amount of money and threatening legal action if you don’t pay.

Your ISP may also throttle your internet connection if you stream or torrent regularly.

How to check your IP address

The best way to check your IP address is with an online tool. While you can find your current IP address by running commands in a terminal, checking it online is quicker and easier. Plus, they work on any operating system, whereas if you were checking manually, you’d have to use different commands for Windows, MacOS, and Linux devices.

While there are dozens of sites that can tell you your IP address, most offer some form of geolocation as well. Different platforms often return different results, however, so we recommend using IPlocation.net. This service searches your IP address on multiple different sites to illustrate just how much personal information is available to anyone who cares to look.

Screenshot of IPLocation test results
Note the small differences between tools

How to hide your IP address

The best way to hide your real IP address is with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). These work by encrypting your data and routing it through one of their own servers elsewhere in the world. Most VPNs offer servers in dozens of different countries, and once connected, you’ll be given a new, temporary IP address. This means that anyone attempting to look you up will only be able to find the VPN server’s details. Often, VPNs will use a shared address system, wherein every user who connects to a particular server is given the same IP address. This adds another layer of anonymity since it’s effectively impossible to tell which user accessed a given site.

Better yet, even your ISP won’t be able to tell what you’re doing online. While they will know that you’re using a VPN, they won’t know which sites you visit, what you do there, or even what type of traffic you’re sending. This is particularly useful if you like to watch videos on your device since some ISPs have been known to throttle the speeds of users who stream or torrent frequently.

Hiding your IP address is simple enough; follow the steps below.

Here’s how to hide your torrent IP address from your ISP:

  1. First, register for a suitable VPN (we recommend NordVPN).
  2. Next, check your IP address on www.iplocation.net.
  3. Log in to your VPN and connect to a server in your desired location.
  4. Check your IP address again. It should be completely different, and you’ll notice that the geolocation information no longer points to you.

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Best VPN for hiding your IP address

There are plenty of VPN providers out there to choose from, but they don’t all offer the same level of service. Check out our article on the best VPNs for torrenting, or jump straight to:

The best VPN for hiding your IP address from your ISP provider

NordVPN

NordVPN Jul 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • Background FireTV

Website:  www.NordVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

NordVPN is the number one VPN provider we recommend when torrenting. This is a fast, reliable VPN with over 5,400 servers in around 59 countries worldwide. It supports just about every device and allows you to connect up to six at the same time. Better still, because it keeps no logs, it’s a great choice for anyone looking to torrent securely. Of course, it’s great for streaming too, and works reliably with major platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu.

Signing up is quick and easy: choose a subscription length (one month, a year, or two years) and complete the checkout process. NordVPN even supports Bitcoin, Ripple, and Ethereum payments, so privacy-minded torrenters can register without providing their bank details or credit card number. This VPN comes with 24/7 customer support should you have any problems, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try it completely risk-free. If you’re unimpressed or only need a VPN for a short time, cancel to receive a full refund.

Pros:

  • Strong security and privacy credentials
  • Has a kill switch
  • Up to 6 simultaneous connections
  • Keeps no logs
  • Specific servers optimized for torrenting
  • fast speeds

Cons:

  • Desktop apps can sometimes take a while to connect

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST VPN FOR P2P NETWORKS:NordVPN offers very high speeds, a strong set of security tools, and real streaming potential. Further, unlike most of its rivals, this provider has twice independently verified its no-logs policy. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Are there other ways to hide your IP address?

There are a couple of other ways to hide your IP address for torrenting, but these are generally more complicated and less effective than using a VPN.

1. Using a proxy server and web-based torrent platform

Proxies tend to be very slow and won’t encrypt traffic from any of your other apps. This means that your ISP could still monitor what you do in a different browser (and possibly even a different tab in the same browser).

There’s no way of knowing what the proxy owner (or torrent site owner) does with the details of your activities. They might sell them to advertisers, for instance, or provide them to anyone who asks. In contrast, the best VPNs intentionally keep as few logs as possible and will stand up for your privacy, even in the face of governmental pressure.

2. Torrenting on public wifi networks

You might think that if you use a public wifi network, your activities can’t be traced. After all, you’ll have a different IP address, right? Well, there are several problems with this plan.

First, most public networks block P2P traffic entirely. But let’s say you find a way around this. The hotspot owner almost certainly logs user traffic, meaning they can tell which IP address was torrenting. They may even record the MAC address of the device that was connected, which can prove that you were the person responsible. When you consider that these locations usually have CCTV cameras too, it becomes clear that you’re far less anonymous on public wifi than you may have thought.

Finally, public networks are a prime target for hackers since they’re rarely as secure as they should be. Even if you aren’t torrenting, your traffic could be intercepted using a Man-in-the-Middle attack, which could provide hackers with sensitive information, including login credentials, online banking details, or even (if you shop online) your home address.

IP address leaks: everything you need to know

In theory, when you connect to a VPN, your true IP address should be completely hidden from website owners and other people torrenting the same files as you. However, it is still possible for your real IP address to leak out and become visible.

The reason for this is because there are two types of IP addresses. The first is IPv4, which is a string of numbers that looks like this: “123.123.123.123”. The second is IPv6, a 32-character hexadecimal string such as: “1231:1e4f:1231:2312:3123:1a2b:1231:2312”.

Most VPN providers only support IPv4 addresses at the moment, which means that your original IPv6 address remains out there for the world to see.

How to check if your IPv6 address is leaking

The good news is that testing for IP address leaks is very straightforward. All you need to do is connect to your VPN and visit one of the tools created for this very purpose. Comparitech has its own IP leak checker, but you could also use IPleak.net or something similar.

The test will return an IP address. If this points to your actual location, your IP address is leaking, and your VPN likely isn’t actually providing you much in the way of anonymity. Don’t panic, though: we’ll explain how to resolve this below.

How to prevent IPv6 leaks when using a VPN

The easiest way to prevent IPv6 leaks is to choose a VPN that deals with them for you. NordVPN, for instance, disables IPv6 altogether to prevent your address from being revealed when browsing. And some other services have an IPv6 leak protection toggle that must be turned on in the settings menu.

Finally, if neither of the above is an option, you can manually disable IPv6 on your device. We walk you through this step-by-step in our IPv4 vs IPv6 post.

What Are HTML5 Geolocation Leaks?

HTML5 geolocation leaks refer to the potential for a website or web application to discover a user’s location without explicit permission. It is possible due to recent advances in HTML5, which provides web applications access to the user’s current geographic location. This can be done through both client-side and server-side scripting. While this technology has a variety of legitimate uses, it can also be used to collect information about users without their knowledge or consent.

For example, a website could use HTML5 geolocation to determine the user’s current geographic location and send customized advertising content based on that location. Similarly, an application could track a user’s movements over time, giving them comprehensive data about where the user goes and when. This data type can be extremely valuable to malicious actors who may use it for targeted attacks or other nefarious activities.

To prevent HTML5 geolocation leaks, users should ensure that their browsers are up to date with the latest security patches. Additionally, users should pay attention to the permissions they are granting to web applications and websites and disable any location-tracking features unless necessary. Finally, using a secure VPN when connecting to public networks is essential, ensuring your data stays safe.

What Is a Tor Exit Node?

A Tor exit node is the final point on a network of computers that routes internet traffic from users who access the internet through the Tor anonymity network. The nodes are typically hosted by volunteers, who allow their computers to be used in exchange for free access to the network. Whenever data passes through an exit node, it can be monitored and potentially logged by the node operator. As such, exit nodes are a security risk for those who rely on Tor for privacy and anonymity. That being said, many people still prefer Tor exit nodes over other options due to their convenience and reliability.

Tor exit nodes also play an important role in helping people access blocked websites. For example, in some countries, governments restrict access to certain websites by blocking their IP addresses. This can be bypassed by using a Tor exit node located in an unrestricted country, which will then route the user’s traffic through it and allow them to connect to the blocked website without any issues.

Will torrenting get me into trouble?

Torrenting isn’t inherently illegal. Having said that, you could find yourself in trouble if you download copyrighted material. It’s usually fairly easy to tell if something is copyrighted or not: if a torrent claims to offer a recently released movie or TV show for free, it’s probably copyrighted. If it’s a public domain film like Night of the Living Dead (1968) or content that’s available freely elsewhere, you’ll likely be fine.

As so many people torrent these days, copyright holders tend to go after the person who uploaded their content instead of those downloading it. That’s why new episodes of shows like Game of Thrones can be downloaded over 100,000 times shortly after their release without anyone mentioning that they’ve received an infringement notice.

Comparitech does not condone or encourage any violation of copyright restrictions. Please consider the law, victims, and risks of piracy before downloading copyrighted material without permission.

Useful terms to know when torrenting

Several words appear on just about every site that discusses torrenting. Below, we’ll explain exactly what these terms mean and what their impact is upon the user:

  • Seeds: People who have downloaded the complete file and are now sharing it.
  • Peers: A user who has partially downloaded the file. Peers automatically share the file with others as the download progresses.
  • Leeches: Users who download the file and do not share it afterward.
  • Client: The program you use to download torrents.