If you are torrenting or downloading pirated content, it is crucial to use the right browser that will protect your privacy and keep your identity anonymous.
Fortunately, there are a number of browsers that either have built-in torrent clients allowing for easy torrenting or have extensions that you can add to torrent with.
In this article, you will learn about the best browsers for torrenting and downloading pirated content. Let’s get into it.
Before we begin, it is important to explain what exactly torrenting is and how it differs from simply downloading pirated content.
Torrenting is a peer-to-peer sharing technology that allows for the transfer of files and other data between multiple computers and users. Using torrenting, you can download files from another user or multiple users, and you can share files with multiple users.
You’ll need a torrenting client so you can connect to the BitTorrent network. Originally, you will download a small torrent file that contains the basic data of what you want to download (like a movie), and then you will download bits and pieces of the movie from other computers connected to the network.
You can download parts of the file from one user and other parts from another user; once all the data is collected, the system will piece them together and allow you to view the movie on your own device.
As you are a peer in the network, others will be able to download the same data from your computer. In fact, they can start doing so as soon as you have partially downloaded the information — remember, torrenting allows for the download of bits and pieces of each file.
The network will track which users have which parts of the file and download accordingly. All users are called peers; those who download but don’t share with others are called leeches.
Torrenting takes up a lot of bandwidth, so do keep that in mind.
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Torrenting is often used for downloading pirated and illegal content, as you don’t need to store any information on a server as with regular downloading. Therefore, it’s not subject to the same amount of governmental control or control from private corporations like web hosting services.
However, at its core, torrenting is simply a file-sharing technology that relies on peer-to-peer transfers. You can use it for any purpose — it doesn’t necessarily have to be used for copyrighted or banned content.
Furthermore, you can download pirated, copyrighted, or illegal content using a traditional downloading method, where you download an entire file hosted on a server at once instead of bits and pieces from other users on the network.
If you do that, you don’t need a torrent client to access the BitTorrent network. Nevertheless, you must use a good browser that will protect your identity.
In this article, I will talk about the best browsers to use for torrenting. Some browsers have built-in torrent clients, allowing you to torrent easily, and others let you download extensions for that.
Later, I will explain how to stay safe when torrenting with any browser.
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The best browser for torrenting is, by far, Brave. Brave is known for its safety and privacy features, but did you know that it includes built-in support for torrenting — both downloading and real-time streaming of torrented content?
First, let’s focus on how Brave hides your identity and keeps you safe online, and then we’ll talk about its support for torrenting.
Brave not only blocks all ads and trackers, so websites can not keep track of what you are doing, but it also uses the Tor network to hide your IP address. Although its Tor proxy is only available on the desktop browser for now, a release for the mobile browser version is in the works.
Tor basically reroutes your internet traffic through the IP addresses of other users, so nobody can tell where the traffic is coming from. To others, it will appear as if the traffic is coming from the last user it was routed through, even if they are in another country.
That way, when you download content from sites like The Pirate Bay, it will be impossible for anyone to track your location.
But Brave goes beyond that and allows you to download and torrent files directly in your browser with its built-in torrent extension (you can view and enable or disable it in the extensions section in your settings).
Brave uses the WebTorrent protocol; when you initiate a torrent download, it will open in another tab and start torrenting (as long as the extension is enabled). If you don’t want to download the content to your device, you can stream it.
Remember, always use a VPN in addition to your torrent client to keep your identity safe.
Another browser with a built-in torrent manager is the Torch browser. When using Torch, just click on the torrent button to start downloading a file, without the need to install additional software.
You can view and manage your downloads directly in your browser. You can even open a download in the Torch Media Player to start playing it (if it’s a movie or video) — and you don’t even need to have finished downloading the file!
That’s because Torch supports playing partially downloaded files.
Torch is great for downloading regular files, using traditional downloading, as well. It splits up download files into multiple segments and uses multiple connections to download those segments simultaneously to speed up the downloading process.
It also has a Media Grabber tool that makes downloading videos and audio from the internet easy. Another cool feature is the ability to drag and drop links, text, and images from any webpage to start a new Google search for them.
Torch is based on Chromium, and it is available for Windows computers.
While perhaps not as well known as some other browsers listed here, Citrio is one of the few browsers that have built-in torrent clients. That means you won’t need to download additional torrent software to access the torrent network.
The torrent manager in Citrio is built into the regular media downloader. Just click on a torrent link to start downloading it; you will be asked if you want to use Citrio, and you can also set it as the default downloader for future torrent files.
You can save the file to your download folder or another destination. You can then manage your ongoing and completed downloads, pause or cancel downloads, and restart downloads.
If you simply want to hide your identity while browsing the web, access content blocked regionally, or download pirated content, you can use Citrio’s built-in proxy manager. This little widget comes preinstalled with the browser and allows you to quickly swap your real IP address for another one.
There are many IP addresses to choose from, and all it takes is the click of a button. Website owners will see the fake IP address, so they or the government won’t be able to figure out your real location.
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Vuze is a popular torrenting client, and its Chrome extension (for Windows computers only) allows Chrome users to torrent straight from their browsers and manage their downloads easily. It is entirely free to use and does not display any ads.
If you are on a Chromebook, you can use the JSTorrent extension, specifically designed for Chrome browsers on Chrome OS. It can be hard to torrent on a Chromebook due to limited support for popular Windows software, but JSTorrent makes it possible.
JSTorrent works even on lower-end Chromebooks, and it can download large files straight to your download folder.
One reason I’m including Chrome in this list is that if you are using a Chromebook, Chrome may be the only way to torrent. Chrome OS doesn’t natively support other browsers, though there are workarounds.
For example, the newer Chromebooks allow you to install Linux and run Linux applications on your Chromebook.
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Another browser worth looking at is Opera. Opera used to have a built-in torrent client, but it later removed it.
Despite that, it is still a decent choice as there are extensions you can add to Opera to torrent files. For example, the Easy uTorrent Opera extension allows you to torrent files directly from your Opera browser using uTorrent.
Opera has a built-in ad blocker and VPN, but I still recommend using a third-party VPN. Opera’s VPN doesn’t offer the full functionality of standard VPNs.
For example, it only encrypts data sent while using Opera, not when using other applications on the device.
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If you have Firefox, you can also use it to torrent files, provided you download a torrent client extension. There are several excellent Firefox extensions you can choose from.
An example is the uTorrent Easy Client extension, but there are many others. If one doesn’t work for you, try another.
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Pirate Browser was released by The Pirate Bay. It’s not exactly meant for torrenting, nor is it designed to obscure your identity.
Rather, Pirate Browser is meant to help you access sites that would otherwise be off limits due to geographical restrictions with the use of proxies. For example, if your country blocked The Pirate Bay or another torrenting site, Pirate Browser can help you access it.
I included Pirate Browser in this list because, if you torrent often, you will find it useful in many ways. It allows you to unblock torrent sites, and it comes with bookmarks of not only popular torrent sites but their backup sites as well.
Since torrent sites often get taken offline, it is important to know their backup sites so you can continue accessing their content.
You can download Pirate Browser from Techspot. However, it is important to remember that it does not make you anonymous, and it does not have a built-in torrent client.
It is an anti-censorship browser useful for avid torrentors, that’s all.
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Basilisk is an open-source browser with a Firefox interface. It is based on UXP and uses Goanna as a layout and rendering engine instead of Gecko.
You can download the MagDown extension for Basilisk to download torrent files.
You might have expected to see Tor on this list, but there’s a good reason it’s not. Tor can be a good option for torrenting, but only if you make sure you use the right torrenting client, and it’s still not the best option.
I already explained how Tor works. It hides your IP address by assigning you a fake one.
The problem is that this doesn’t really work when you use Tor with many popular torrenting clients. In fact, researchers in France were able to quickly discover the real IP addresses of two out of three internet users who were using Tor to torrent files.
The problem is that torrenting clients may ignore your proxy settings, usually because Tor doesn’t support UDP connections. For an in-depth analysis of how your identity can be leaked even when using Tor to torrent, read this blog post on the Tor Project site.
You can download .torrent files over Tor and then use your torrent client to download the full files, but Tor is slow and not meant for downloading files.
I do want to mention OnionShare — a unique peer-to-peer protocol that allows users to share encrypted files directly with each other over the Onion network. OnionShare is an open source protocol that allows you to share files securely and anonymously.
Unlike standard file transfer services like Google Drive or WeTransfer, OnionShare needs your computer to be running for other users to be able to download it. You can create an anonymous link and multiple users can download it, but you will be the only seeder, unlike with torrenting.
With torrenting, you can download bits and pieces of a file from multiple people, as I mentioned — these people are called seeders.
With OnionShare, sharing is temporary. As soon as you close your computer everything is erased and no trace remains.
OnionShare is also good for chatting and setting up an anonymous website for free.
What Tor is good for is for browsing pirated content if you are worried about privacy. Since it hides your IP address, nobody will be able to trace such web activity back to you.
Nonetheless, Tor is known to be incredibly slow when it comes to downloading stuff, just because of the way it works. Downloading large files can place a huge burden on the Tor network, so the community encourages users not to do so.
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Torrenting is pretty safe if you know what you are doing. There are two main risks people worry about when torrenting.
The first is being tracked. Depending on where you live, you may not want anyone to be able to find out that you have been torrenting.
Fortunately, there are several ways to hide your identity, and I’ll talk about them in the next section.
The second major risk is downloading malware or a virus. There are many torrenting sites, and since they often violate copyright regulations, some of them are kind of sketchy.
The last thing you want is to download malware or a virus from an unknown torrent site. Unfortunately, hackers see it as an easy way to infect people’s computers with malware and adware.
After all, thousands of people look for torrented movies. The more popular movies have an even greater chance of containing malware — in fact, Game of Thrones torrents were most likely to contain malware, according to a study.
In the next section, I’ll talk about how you can avoid that.
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I’ve gone over several of the best browsers for torrenting and browsing. However, to stay safe when torrenting, there are additional steps you must take.
Ultimately, to protect your privacy and identity and avoid viruses, you’ll need to follow these steps, regardless of which browser you are using.
You should always use a VPN when torrenting. Even if you use a browser with a built-in VPN, such as Opera, install a third-party VPN and don’t rely on the one the browser offers.
Many browser VPNs only protect the traffic routed through the browser, not things you do on other applications.
VPNs do a lot more than hide your identity by giving you a different IP address. Many VPNs come with anti-malware protections; some have firewalls or block phishing attempts.
While there are many free VPNs out there, I recommend a premium one for torrenting, as the free ones are sometimes slow and may have usage restrictions. NordVPN and Express VPN are among the top VPNs in the world.
Express VPN and NordVPN are no-log VPNs. That means that they do not collect or log any type of data that might be traced back to you.
Many VPNs, and especially free VPNs, do collect some sort of data. While a website owner might not see your real IP address, the government could theoretically force the VPN company to hand over data it has on users.
A no-log VPN keeps you safe.
It is also crucial to use the right torrent sites. There are many famous torrent sites, like The Pirate Bay and 1337x, that you can use.
Some torrent sites require a membership, and they tend to be safer. However, never download a link from an unknown, suspicious torrent site.
If you have a Pirate Browser, you will see bookmarks of the top torrent sites you can trust.
You also need to look at what you are torrenting to see whether it seems legit. Look at how many people have torrented that file and what they are saying in the comments.
Use your common sense. If you see a torrent for a movie that hasn’t even been released yet, stay away.
You’ll also want to have a strong antivirus and anti-malware program installed on your computer in case you accidentally downloaded malware. These programs can stop malware in its tracks and wipe it off your computer, protecting you from spying eyes, ransomware attacks, and other dangers.
Avast is a good free antivirus software. I also recommend using Malwarebytes, which protects you against malware, not just viruses.
Scan your device regularly, including deep scans. Depending on the antivirus software you have, you may be able to schedule regular scans or enjoy a protective shield that immediately detects malware on your device before it is too late.
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If you are more advanced and are torrenting a lot of .exe files, you can use a sandbox environment on your computer to protect your computer from attacks. Whatever happens in the sandbox stays in the sandbox; the rest of your computer will not be affected in any way.
So, if you download malware, your personal information stored on your device won’t be leaked.
I recommend using Brave, not only for torrenting but for browsing in general. It will protect your identity through the Tor proxy, and its built-in torrent installer means you can instantly torrent files on the go, without needing to install a torrent client.
Always use a VPN when torrenting and download only from trusted torrenting sites. Install an antivirus and anti-malware program on your computer to protect yourself from hacking attempts and malware.
If you use a VPN (and use a trusted one like NordVPN), it will be almost impossible for anyone to track your torrenting activity. Even your internet service provider won’t know that you are torrenting large files.
Benjamin Levin is a digital marketing professional with 4+ years of experience with inbound and outbound marketing. He helps small businesses reach their content creation, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising goals. His hobbies include reading and traveling.