How to hide (protect) your IP address on Bittorrent

You might be reading this because you have received a DMCA (Copyright) notice about downloading a copyrighted file on your computer. Disclaimer: I do not condone downloading pirated movies or TV show episodes; you can find how to watch content at www.wheretowatch.com

To protect your privacy and hide your IP address when using Bittorrent, you can sign up at www.privateinternetaccess.com. They provide a 24/7 private network (VPN) that can be set up on your computer in just a few minutes. The method I’m describing in this post goes over how to set up qBittorrent to use a SOCKS5 proxy from www.privateinternetaccess.com, instead of connecting your entire computer’s network to the VPN.

Sign up for VPN Access

private2Visit www.privateinternetaccess.com and sign up for the monthly or yearly VPN access plan. I went with the $39.95 option for one year, which turns out to be only $3.33 per month.

Follow their instructions for generating a SOCKS5 username and password.  You’ll need this username/password a bit later.

Download and Install qBittorrent

You could use almost any other bittorrent client like uTorrent or Vuze, but this guide will be for qBittorrent.

Ubuntu/Debian users can simply run this at the console to install:

sudo apt-get install qbittorrent

Configure Proxy Settings in qBittorrent

qbittorrent1

  1. Open the options/settings dialog.
  2. Go to the “Connection” button/tab/section.
  3. Under the Proxy Server section, choose Type: SOCKS5
  4. For the host, enter proxy-nl.privateinternetaccess.com and enter 1080 for the Port.
  5. Check Use proxy for peer connections
  6. Check Disable connections not supported by proxies
  7. Uncheck Use proxy only for torrents.
  8. Check Authentication
  9. Enter your username & password you generated earlier.

Now open the Bittorrent panel/tab/section.

qbittorrent2

  1. For Encryption mode, choose Require encryption. This ensures your traffic cannot be decoded and tracked.
  2. Check Enable anonymous mode.

Click Apply/OK to save the settings, quit qBittorrent and relaunch it to make sure it’s using the new proxy settings.

Testing your proxy and privacy

Now that you have everything configured, you want to see if it’s really working. There’s an easy way to do that:

  1. Visit IP Magnet (http://dev.cbcdn.com/ipmagnet/)
    1. This is a really nice tool that gives you a custom torrent url to download, and the page will auto-update with all the IPs serving it.
      proxy1
  2. Copy & paste the magnet link it gives you, and stay on the web page, don’t close the tab!
  3. In qBittorrent, choose File -> Add Torrent Link (Or press Ctrl Shift O)
  4. Click Download and choose a location to store it (it’s hardly any data so don’t worry about the location)
  5. Now when it starts downloading, check the ipMagnet page that you kept open before.
  6. It will start showing IP addresses serving the file.
  7. If your proxy is set up correctly, none of the IP addresses will match your real IP address, which is listed at the top of the page next to FYI.

That’s it, you’re done!