For over 15 years, uTorrent has been one of the most popular tools for free content sharing.
Owned and developed by the US-based company RainBerry Inc., the proprietary software is a safe option as long as you use it correctly.
After all, just like everything else you do on the internet, using uTorrent can come with security and privacy concerns.
To rule out any potential uTorrent risks, I listed a few things below that could help you increase your safety.
How Does uTorrent Work?
Understanding when and why uTorrent is risky to use requires a basic understanding of how the tool works.
So, let’s start there.
The following are crucial components to the process:
- Peer-to-peer (P2P): Think of P2P as a platform where two or more people can share files directly, without using a middleman or third parties. In the same manner, P2P sharing is the distribution of data using this technology.
- Torrent: Torrent is a file format that contains all the information you want to upload or download. It dates back to 2011. Before, people downloaded their files from a single source. Now, torrents have changed file sharing by decentralizing the process. That means you can spread one file among thousands of devices, each holding a piece of data from a much larger file.
- Torrenting: Torrenting is a variant of P2P sharing. Usually, when you download a file from the internet, that file is stored on a central server somewhere. Torrenting, however, is decentralized, meaning your file (torrent) is available for every device on the network to download and use, and files from other users are available to you.
- BitTorrent: BitTorrent is a P2P communication protocol that allows you to upload or download files.
- uTorrent: uTorrent is a BitTorrent client company. They work on the same principle, only uTorrent is more lightweight software, making it one of the most popular BitTorrent clients.
To sum it up, when you’re using uTorrent to share content, you become a part of the collective process.
All devices on the network are somewhat visible to you as you are to them.
That should probably be your primary safety concern.
And as much as I find uTorrent helpful, especially for sharing large files, there are some concerning aspects.
When you open uTorrent and look at the seeders and leechers on a file that you’re sharing, you’ll notice a list of IP addresses.
Each IP address belongs to a uTorrent user that is sharing the same content.
And just like you can see their IP address, they can see yours.
Your IP address is part of your online identity, revealing your real-life location.
So, how can you know whom to trust with your physical location?
If hackers come across your IP address, they can easily use it to launch an attack on you.
That’s why protecting your IP address should be at the top of the list of precautions when you are using uTorrent.
Torrents are quite popular, but they also hold an infamous reputation for being malware spreaders.
You can never be 100% sure that a torrent is safe.
And while uTorrent as software is malware-free, one of your biggest safety concerns are malware and viruses hiding in torrents.
Especially the ones that latch onto your device and run silently in the background.
These silent hackers can be a real threat since they won’t make themselves visible but will compromise your devices and privacy.
uTorrent Crypto Miners
A few years back, news broke out that a new version of uTorrent installed a cryptocurrency miner on users’ devices.
Every device with this new update became a potential crypto-miner without the user’s agreement or knowledge.
At the time, uTorrent’s parent company, BitTorrent, Inc., released a statement confirming the news but denying it happened without its users’ consent.
It was a huge safety concern for all uTorrent users.
However, it’s reassuring to know that, since the incident, the company has released many new and improved versions without a crypto miner.
How to Use uTorrent Safely?
Although uTorrent is safe to use, you should keep an eye on a few things.
From verified and safe versions of the software to using a VPN for additional safety, here are some of the ways you can make your torrenting experience much better.
Download uTorrent From the Official Website
The first thing you want to do is download uTorrent safely.
That means downloading the software from a trusted source.
Obviously, the best and most trustworthy source is uTorrent’s official website.
Currently, uTorrent supports Windows, Android, Linux, and macOS.
Unfortunately, it does not support the iOS operating system.
Another piece of advice is to download the latest version of uTorrent.
Updating your software usually means getting an improved and more secure version of it.
While on the topic, you should also keep an eye on torrent sources.
When you download torrents, always do it from a trusted source.
To check whether a source is reliable, download your content only from legit torrent websites, look for relevant comments on these websites, and always double-check the reputation of the uploader.
Although uTorrent ads do not necessarily cause privacy or security issues, they can be quite intrusive and annoying.
Luckily for you, there are easy ways to remove them.
To improve your torrenting experience significantly, you should adjust your uTorrent advanced settings.
Check out this video for more detailed instructions.
Use Antivirus and Antimalware Software
As I previously mentioned, Malware attacks are one of the primary concerns for uTorrent users.
Consequently, using antivirus and antimalware software represents a significant step in preserving your online privacy and security.
When torrenting, make sure your antivirus is on, and you scan each file before running it on uTorrent and after downloading it.
Don’t forget to perform regular scans on your devices to catch and prevent potential threats.
Even the slightest irregularity and suspicion should be a sign to avoid a particular torrent.
Torrent Anonymously With a VPN
To use uTorrent safely and privately, get a VPN.
Since you’ll be revealing your IP address, I highly recommend using a reliable one.
VPNs mask your online identity by assigning you to a different IP address, thus allowing you to torrent anonymously.
They also hide your internet activity from your internet service provider (ISP).
And last but not least, by connecting to one of their servers, VPNs allow you to access torrent websites blocked in your country.
Best VPNs for uTorrent
There are so many VPN choices.
But the more you have, the more difficult it becomes to get the right one.
Below, I’ll list some of my favorites, not only for uTorrent but also for overall internet protection.
Hopefully, this makes your decision easier.
Also, each suggestion I make in the list includes all crucial criteria you need for a smooth uTorrent performance: P2P support, great privacy and security features, and reliable download and upload speeds.
Surfshark is one of my favorite go-to VPNs whenever I need a more advanced provider.
It has so many good features, and all for a very affordable price.
The VPN has 3200+ servers in more than 60 countries and has dedicated P2P sharing servers located in countries without strict torrenting regulations.
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about your security or privacy, nor upload and download speeds while you’re using uTorrent.
Surfshark has you covered in those aspects, and it does a pretty good job.
Finally, you might appreciate the fact that Surfshark comes with a 7-day free trial, so I’d say give it a go.
NordVPN supports P2P sharing in many countries, making this popular provider a good choice for torrenting.
There is one disadvantage, however.
NordVPN doesn’t support port forwarding, a feature that, although not necessary, can make torrenting much more effective.
For precise information on which server locations support P2P sharing, you can check out NordVPN’s detailed server list.
You’ll also notice that the VPN has an extensive choice of locations with thousands of IP addresses all over the world.
This will keep your online identity hidden and prevent your ISP from tracking you.
ExpressVPN has been one of the best VPN providers on the market for more than a decade.
Being one of the leaders in the industry, it comes as no surprise that the VPN supports P2P sharing on all servers.
ExpressVPN also offers top-notch protection, protecting you from prying eyes on the internet, including your ISP and the government.
And if you’re worried it will take you hours to download or upload files on uTorrent, you don’t have to be.
ExpressVPN is also one of the fastest providers on the VPN market.
The only downside is that the VPN’s a bit expensive, but if you go for a long-term subscription, ExpressVPN is a bargain for the value you’ll get.
What Is the Best Version of uTorrent?
The best version of uTorrent is the latest version of the software.
Recently, the company released version 3.5.5 Build 45952, but this changes often, so keep an eye on updates or allow uTorrent to download any updates automatically.
Although some users claim that older versions like the 2.1.1 version of uTorrent are better than the more recent ones, I’d still recommend updating your software regularly.
Each new version of the software comes with fixed bugs and patches that make your torrenting experience safer.
Is uTorrent Safe for Mac Users?
Mac computers are less susceptible to malware and viruses, but this doesn’t mean they’re immune to online threats.
Downloading and using uTorrent on your MacOS can be safe, just as any other legit proprietary software, but downloading shady torrents can compromise your safety.
If you aren’t entirely sure that the torrent you’re using is trustworthy and safe, your best call is not to download the content and to always use anti-virus and anti-malware software.
Is uTorrent Legal?
uTorrent is legal as long as you use it legally.
The software itself is entirely legal.
However, due to its nature, many people use it to download pirated content, which is illegal in most countries.
Depending on the country you reside in, using uTorrent to download pirated content can vary from small-scale penalties and warnings to hefty fines or even imprisonment.
Can I Use uTorrent With a Free VPN?
One of the reasons you should be using a VPN with uTorrent is to stop third parties from interfering with your privacy since uTorrent can’t prevent ISP tracking.
Yet, with free VPNs, you run the risk of losing your privacy, as they’re notoriously known for selling users’ data to third parties.
So, to protect yourself from one thing, you might become a victim to another.
Free VPNs are usually a hard pass for me for this particular reason.
But, with a bit of research, you can indeed find a few good ones.
For example, some pretty decent VPNs, like TunnelBear, ProtonVPN, or Hotspot Shield, offer free plans besides their premium subscriptions.
Still, each of these VPNs has very limited free plans, be it bandwidth, servers, or speed.
My advice is to go with trusted premium VPNs like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or Surfshark.
And if you don’t want to pay a lot of money, you can always make good use of a free trial to see whether a VPN fits you.
I hope this article answers your questions about uTorrent and gives you peace of mind when it comes to your online privacy and security.
By knowing and using these tips to your advantage, you’ll stay protected anytime you share files on uTorrent.
Remember, no matter what you do on the internet, your safety should always be a priority.