At Cyber
Is uTorrent Safe? Is it Illegal? Can You Be Arrested?
Alex Stroud
Alex Stroud

Head of Product @ Batten

uTorrent ranks amongst the most trusted and popular torrents  in the world. Internet users across the globe depend on uTorrent to download files, movies, songs, e-books, software, apps, and documents. The platform is very convenient and effective especially when it comes to downloading contents that are not readily available in other sites, but is uTorrent safe to use? Is it legal?

Installing uTorrent in your computer or mobile device in itself is not legal. This torrent client is licensed and is allowed to operate in most parts of the world. However, there has been a never-ending debate whether downloading content with uTorrent is legal or illegal.

uTorrent is not short of controversies. In 2015, there were reports that uTorrent was bundling a bitcoin mining software that would discreetly install automatically in users’ devices and source for bitcoins without their consent. However, this later turned out to be untrue and the rumor was dismissed.

In 2014, the search giant Google flagged the uTorrent software as a potential malware. This too was later cleared after several cleaning and virus scans proved that the software was fit to run.

Torrenting is not illegal. However, downloading copyrighted material without the owner’s consent is illegal. It is very hard for a user to single-handedly tell whether certain materials are copyrighted or not.

In many cases, the materials downloaded by torrents fall in the gray area. As a result, you might find yourself on the other side of the law unwittingly.

How uTorrent Works

Torrenting refers to the process of downloading files on the internet using the BitTorrent network. uTorrent is one of the biggest and popular clients of BitTorrent. With it, you can download files such as videos, e-books, movies, songs, and applications.

To use uTorrent, first you need to download its software from the internet and install it. After installation, click on its icon and follow the steps. The uTorrent platform is very easy to use. Simply search for your desired content and click on “download.”

Once the download is complete, it will start seeding for some time depending on the number of files that you have downloaded. Incomplete files do not seed. Instead, they are labeled “inactive.”

Is uTorrent Safe?

The answer to whether uTorrent is safe or not depends on how you intend to use this torrent client. It can be safe or unsafe depending on your activities on the internet. We analyze each critical aspect below:

  • The Privacy of the User

Every internet user would love to know the status of their security as they browse. This is understandably so because cases of data breach and cyber-attacks are on the rampage. In some cases, your Internet Service provider (ISP) might be responsible for the data breach.

When using uTorrent, you can enhance your privacy by using quality and effective Virtual Private Network (VPN) services. A VPN blocks your ISP from tracking your activity on the internet. It also prevents your IP address from leaking to third parties.

For torrenting, you have to be careful on the type of VPN service that you use. Some VPN services are amazingly good but may not be suitable for downloading torrent files. While shopping for a perfect VPN service, consider one that does not keep your log activity for long.

  • Legal Security

Different regions of the world have authorities with different regulations. That means that one aspect of torrenting might be legal in one region but illegal in another. Fortunately, VPNs help solve this problem.

For example, if you are living in a region where certain content is prohibited, you can use a VPN service to change your virtual location to a place where the regulations are not as strict.

However, you should consider a VPN service that comes from a region where the authorities or the legal system cannot compel it to provide its customer records and activities.

  • Technical Security

The uTorrent platform is very secure. After downloading and installing the software, you are good to go. A VPN might also be necessary if you desire more privacy. This way, you will be sure that your log activities are erased quickly.

Disadvantages of Using uTorrent

Even though uTorrent is extremely useful especially when downloading contents that may otherwise be restricted, it has its shortfalls as well. Here are the major ones:

  • Seeding is Very Crucial

After downloading a file from uTorrent, it must seed for some time before you can finally view, install or use it. The seeding process is time consuming especially if you are downloading a lot of files at the same time.

  • uTorrents Can Make Your Device Slow

For all BitTorrent clients (uTorrent) included, downloading and uploading of files runs simultaneously. As a result, a lot of internet data is used thereby causing your internet connection to be slow. In worst cases, the internet might be so slow that you may not be able to open other tabs.

  • You Must Wait for Download to Complete Before Viewing

Unlike most streaming and downloading websites, with uTorrent, you will not be able to view or preview your file before the download is complete. This is extremely disadvantageous because first, you will not tell the quality of your file before it downloads and second, you will not be entirely sure that you are downloading the right file.

With uTorrents, if you are not sure about what you are looking for, you will have to do with the opinions of other users on the platform.

  • You Must Use a VPN for Enhanced Privacy

Because your internet service provider can always track your activities, you need a VPN to help you cover your tracks. VPN services require subscriptions for you to access their premium services. The VPN also ensures that your IP address does not leak to third parties. This makes the whole process costly in a way.

Can You Be Caught?

There is a very slim chance that you can be caught and arraigned in court for torrenting. However, if caught, the penalties are very hefty. In 2009, Copright pirates were caught and sued and were told to part with a significant amount of money. This was settled out of court though.

How to Safely Use uTorrent

Torrenting without a VPN means that your ISP can see what sites you visit and the files that you download. Third parties can also gain access to your IP address, and you might be subject to cyber-attacks and data breach.

So how do you use uTorrent safely? Well the answer is simple- use a VPN. Follow the steps below:

  • From your browser, just type “best VPNs for torrenting”, you will get a list to pick from. We suggest that you choose NordVPN because of its amazing torrenting services.
  • After downloading your preferred VPN service, install it and follow the instructions to the end. Do not forget to turn on the VPN’s kill switch feature. The kill switch feature allows the VPN to automatically lock you out of the internet if you forget to turn on your VPN. This prevents IP leakages.
  • Choose a P2P- friendly country and turn your VPN server on.
  • After establishing the connection, open uTorrent and start downloading your files. The VPN is now effective and you can use uTorrent safely.

For extra protection, make sure your device is equipped with antivirus software, like Norton360 or Bitdefender.

uTorrent Free and Paid Plans

Different uTorrent plans are available. We analyze them below:

  • The basic plan uTorrent

The services offered by this uTorrent plan are free. However, you will experience plenty of distractions together with plenty of ads.

  • Ad-free Plan

Currently, this plan costs $4.95 per year. You enjoy premium support, streamlined torrenting and comes with no distractions.

  • Pro Plan

The pro plan comes with the “secure torrenting” feature. No ads, no distractions and blocks all possible threats. This plan costs $19.95 per year.

  • Pro+ VPN Plan

This is the premium uTorrent plan. It comes with a CyberGhost VPN that secures all your activities online. It has no ads or distractions and costs $69.95 per year. With this plan, you can download as many files as you wish.

Final Verdict

uTorrent is an online platform that allows you to download videos, movies, songs, and other files that may otherwise be difficult to find. As BitTorrent’s most popular client, uTorrent continues to split sides regarding its safety.

In the past, there have been a lot of negative sentiments regarding this torrenting client. However, all the allegations were cleared and people from all over the world continue to use uTorrent daily.

This platform has both free and paid plans. The plans differ depending on their features. The Pro+ VPN uTorrent plan provides users with premium features. No distractions, no ads, and no security issues.

The uTorrent free plan on the other hand comes with plenty of distractions and ads.

Is uTorrent safe? Well, after looking at how it works and the purpose of the platform, we can comfortably say that uTorrent is very safe for use.

However, you have to be very clever with how you conduct your activities on the platform. To enhance your privacy, you need to have a quality VPN. This will prevent your IP address from leaking, and it will be very hard for your internet service provider to track your activities.