Should you use a VPN or seedbox for torrenting?
If you are a sporadic torrent user, a VPN might fulfill your needs. But when you are taking your torrenting to the next level, and you might be looking for speed, full privacy, and overall better experience, a VPN will not suffice. Torrents are precisely the domain where a seedbox takes its place.
In the following post, you’ll understand the differences and similarities between both technologies. Although you could torrent with both, there are immense differences that would break or make your day. Seedbox or VPN for torrenting? It depends on what you are looking for.
Seedbox vs VPN.
A seedbox and a VPN are entirely different technologies. They were designed for individual purposes and work completely differently to achieve their purpose. But still, they have something in common, and that is probably why you are here. Within the context of Internet anonymity and safe torrenting, either one of them provides an exceptional level of privacy.
How do they achieve this privacy? Again, it is very different.
But before dwelling into the torrenting space, let’s understand how a VPN and a Seedbox work to provide that privacy.
What is a VPN?
Simply put, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a “virtual extension” of a Local Area Network (LAN) into a different geographical place using networks, such as the Internet. To make this “extension,” a VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your home (VPN client) and the endpoint (the VPN server).
VPNs are commonly used to connect remote sites together, bypass geo-restricted content, censorship, or hide IP information while web browsing.
Nobody— no hackers, ISP, Government, security agents, etc., could see what’s inside the tunnel.
It doesn’t matter the distance of the tunnel; with a VPN you could extend your local network to China, Switzerland, France, Japan, India, Mexico, Canada, the North Pole, a remote island, or anywhere as long as there is:
- A reliable connection (via WAN, or the Internet)
- A server at the remote endpoint that can encrypt/decrypt messages.
What is a Seedbox?
A seedbox is a powerful server (box) located on high-speed data centers with the purpose of (seeding) torrents. A Box to Seed, that is exactly where the name comes from. Seedboxes improve torrent sharing ratio and download torrents at high speeds (sometimes 1Gpbs and even up to 10Gbps).
A seedbox doesn’t rely on a client to work (as a VPN does). Everything comes down to “the server,” its capabilities, performance, speed, location, etc. You could use a crappy computer to connect to a seedbox, and it still wouldn’t make a difference to the seedbox, as it does for a VPN.
Generally, a seedbox doesn’t have to be a cloud-based server; it can also be deployed on your premises and still be called a seedbox. But it requires dedicated powerful resources 24×7 and outstanding Linux skills to implement and maintain it. So people prefer renting a seedbox to an online managed services provider rather than setting up their own.
Downloading Torrents with a VPN.
The privacy provided by a VPN is simply a result of attempting to extend the boundaries of a network via the unsafe Internet. Since all traffic between you (VPN client) and the remote (VPN server) needs to be fully encrypted, nobody in between would be able to understand it.
When it comes to torrenting, first, your local ISP and anyone supporting the communication of your VPN tunnel will not understand its contents, and second, the torrent server will use the VPN’s IP address (and not yours). So if you are worried about copyright trolls roaming around public torrent swarms and recording IP addresses, they will not get your information but the VPN’s server IP.
However, when you download torrents with a VPN, problems will not come from your local network or ISP, the issues may come from the VPN service provider itself.
Recommendations when downloading torrents with a VPN.
- Make sure the VPN provider allows torrenting. Just like you could get into trouble if you download copyright content from public sites, such as the PirateBay, the same could happen to the VPN provider. In the end, you are still using somebody else’s information to download torrents, so when a copyright troll finds the VPN’s IP you are using at the moment within the torrent swarm, they will send a DMCA notification to the VPN. And VPNs can trace back to your IP using logs. So make sure they allow torrents.
- Make sure the VPN is not keeping logs. If the above is true, “they allow torrents,” then make sure they don’t keep any traffic logs. This ensures that your traffic with a particular VPN IP cannot be traced back to your IP and that all traffic history is being deleted instantaneously, in case a copyright agent would request it.
- Use it for occasional torrenting. The problem with torrenting with a VPN raises, especially within private trackers. The sharing ratio requested by private trackers is impossible to maintain with a VPN. VPNs use your resources, bandwidth, PC processing, data plan, utilities, etc. Additionally, VPNs provide dynamic random IPs, so it is impossible to do serious torrenting via private trackers.
- Look for the following extra VPN services. Look for SOCKS5 Proxy as it is a lighter and faster alternative than a VPN. SOCKS5 credentials can be entered directly into the torrent client, providing dedicated privacy for the torrenting activity. Another cool feature is Kill Switch, which automatically disconnects your Internet when the VPN goes down, ensuring your real IP never gets revealed.
Downloading Torrents with a Seedbox.
Seedboxes are made especially for torrenting. When you hire a seedbox, you let a high-speed server built for torrenting to handle communication with the torrent tracker and download/upload from the swarm. That means that you use your resources only to manage and monitor torrents.
To torrent with a seedbox, you would have to log into the server using remote access connection methods, such as web console, Radmin, X2Go, etc.
With a high-performance VPS seedbox, you download and store everything into the cloud-based seedbox storage; then, you can choose a wide range of secured direct file-transfer mechanisms, such as FTPS, or SFTP, and move everything to your computer. Or you can also choose to stream all your media right from the Seedbox.
When torrenting, a Seedbox provides the following benefits:
- Full privacy and anonymity. Seedboxes do not keep any logs, don’t require contracts, hide your traffic from ISP, and even let you pay with cryptocurrency. Some seedboxes are located in countries with friendly data laws, allowing public and private torrent trackers.
- Speed: As mentioned before, seedboxes are built to download/upload (seed) torrents REALLY fast. The low latency network speed may vary from 1 Gbps to 10Gbps (shared or dedicated).
- Automation: Seedboxes include torrent automation tools, such as Couchpotato, which automatically downloads movies as soon as they are available. Also, Radarr/Sonarr that automatically downloads movies and TV shows via BitTorrent.
- Streaming: Some seedboxes come with streaming media applications like Plex, Emby, or Kodi. You can build your own streaming server “Netflix-like” and play all your movies anywhere, anytime, and with any device.
Do you need a VPN if you have a Seedbox? No. You connect to the seedbox via secured remote admin methods, download torrents directly to their server, then download to your computer via SFTP (or other safe methods). In fact, most Seedbox providers include the OpenVPN installer on their server so that you can have your VPN service. Install the VPN client on your computer and browse through your seedbox.
Is a Seedbox safe? A seedbox is the best and most reliable solution for torrenting.
So you might ask yourself, Seedbox or VPN for torrenting?
As mentioned before, both technologies work differently, and both were built for different purposes. Although you can torrent with a VPN (or proxy), they were not made for torrenting; they had to be re-marketed to fit that purpose. When torrenting with a VPN keep in mind that,
- The provider needs to allow torrenting,
- The provider doesn’t have to keep any logs whatsoever,
- Your download/upload speed will be much lower than without a VPN.
- It is challenging to use a VPN with a private tracker due to the sharing ratio and dynamic IP allocation.
In contrast, Seedboxes were explicitly designed for torrenting. If you are a serious torrenter, a seedbox will cover a broader ground in terms of torrent security, speed, automation, and extra features.