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Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. Internet users of a certain age will associate it with the likes of BitTorrent clients. But the tech has a host of legitimate uses.

It involves users sending and receiving data stored on any hard drive connected to the network. It’s regularly used by scientific researchers, blockchain applications, and business organisations. The US Federal Trade Commission even has a guide on the proper use of the technology!

That said, P2P file sharing does have a shady history. This means many internet service providers (ISPs) will flag and throttle any data they think is being used for the activity. Thankfully, there’s a way to overcome these dangers: virtual private networks (VPNs). In this guide, we look at how a VPN can help.

VPNs keep your IP address hidden

You conceal your IP address when using a VPN. It routes your internet activity through a server in a different country. This means your ISP cannot see the data.

VPNs protect IP addresses across all manner of devices. You can get a VPN for Mac, Android, Windows, or whatever device you are using for P2P file sharing.

VPNs stop bandwidth throttling

Activity sessions show your ISP how much data you are using while accessing the internet. This can be significant in the case of P2P file sharing because your ISP can throttle your internet connection in response. To stop this from happening, VPNs encrypt your data when turned on. Your activity sessions show up as zero, preventing a reduction in your internet speed.

VPNs keep files secure

In business, research, and other P2P applications, files sent may be of a sensitive nature. Protection is paramount. Bad actors could steal or access your files without an encrypted internet connection. With a VPN, this cannot happen. That’s because the data sent through the VPN-protected connection is completely encrypted. This means no third party, including the VPN provider, can access it.

VPNs prevent foreign access restrictions

Many P2P file-sharers need to be able to access files while they’re abroad – in business and higher education, for instance. But many countries regulate the sending and receiving of data. This prevents users from enjoying free remote access. A VPN’s ability to encrypt data and route it through servers in any country circumvents this problem. This lets you access any computer or file in practically every territory.


VPNs can be a great choice when sharing files via P2P. Do you use a VPN when P2P file sharing? Let us know your experiences with the technology in the comments section below.