Vuze is a program that helps you download files. The program that runs on your computer is called a “client.” This program connects to other computers that hold copies of the file that you want. Vuze uses a methodology that is called the BitTorrent Protocol. This is a type of connection management configuration that is known as “peer-to-peer” (P2P).
Traditionally, when you download a file, you get it from a server. The server serves the client program on your computer, which manages the request for, and receipt of, the file.
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The P2P method works differently. Instead of connecting to one central computer, the client software seeks out its counterparts on the computers of ordinary people around the world. While you’re connected to the network, the client makes the files on your computer available to others. Thus, you and a bunch of people you’ve never met exchange files. This is called “file sharing.”
There are a number of clients that implement file sharing. They don’t all use the same methodology and so aren’t all compatible. However, other client programs that are based on the BitTorrent protocol can speak to each other.
You start a BitTorrent download by acquiring a very small file, which has the file extension “.torrent.” That file needs to be loaded into Vuze. It contains a few lines of information on the file that you want to download. These lines include the size of the file, the number of segments that it is divided into, and the address of a tracker file. The tracker contains the addresses of all of the computers that currently hold copies of that file.
Your Vuze client then tries to contact all of the computers on that list. It asks for a segment of the file that you want to download. The Vuze client can download different segments from different computers simultaneously. As soon as a segment downloads to your computer, the client makes it available to other BitTorrent users who might want it. As such, Vuze ends up downloading a file from several sources while simultaneously sending out segments of the same file.
The chance to download files from other members of the public means that you don’t have to pay a central service and no one can really keep track of who is downloading which file at any one time. Thus, it is very easy to dodge paying for copyrighted material.
Copyright Holders and Vuze
Copyright holders know about the way Vuze and other BitTorrent clients work, and they don’t like it. They have started to pursue individual downloaders and in the United States, file sharing is defined as “conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.” That definition was created by the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act. The presence of the word “criminal” in there tells you that you can even be sent to jail for downloading. This is because not only does Vuze help you download copyrighted material, but it also sends out segments of files from your computer. That means that you are actually distributing copyrighted material illegally.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t like file sharers either. The legal ramifications of the practice create a lot of paperwork for them. If an ISP doesn’t cooperate with copyright holders’ lawyers, they can sue it for being a part of the conspiracy to cheat the owners of their earnings. Different ISPs implement blocks and controls on P2P downloading in different ways. Some pay no attention and let you get on with it. Some block access to torrent directory sites, such as The Pirate Bay. Others will pass your details on to the lawyers of copyright holders if they detect your file sharing activities.
You really need to protect your identity when you use Vuze. There are two ways that you can expose your activities. The first is through your ISP tracking the file sharing messages as they travel from and to your computer. The second is that copyright action groups can join in on a download. A group of computers that are engaged in sharing a specific file is called a “swarm.” Each swarm member can see the internet addresses of others in the swarm.
Your internet ID, called an IP address, is unique. Copyright lawyers can trace it directly to your door. You can protect your identity by preventing your real IP address from appearing in the Vuze window. However, the “fake” address has to actually work, otherwise you wouldn’t receive any files. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help you with this problem. If you connect to a swarm via a VPN, all of your traffic will travel through the VPN server. It is the address of that computer that will appear in the Vuze client, instead of yours.
VPNs mask your traffic, so your ISP isn’t able to detect what you’re doing. If the ISP can’t see that you’re participating in file sharing, it can’t report you. You could still get caught out, however. Your VPN company will still know that you’ve been downloading with P2P networks. While the VPN server masks your identity, it has to keep track of the mapping between the temporary IP address that it assigned to you and your actual IP address. Without that note, it wouldn’t be able to forward file segments to your computer.
As such, it’s important to check that a VPN doesn’t keep activity logs before you subscribe to the service. If copyright lawyers follow the trail of downloads from the IP addresses that appear in the Vuze client, they will arrive at the VPN company. They can get a court order to force the VPN to hand over records of who it assigned specified temporary IP addresses to at a particular time. This information would enable the investigators to continue on the trail, through your ISP and straight to you. If the VPN keeps no logs, the information that could lead to your prosecution doesn’t exist. Thus your activities remain secret.
You can read a guide on how to use a VPN or set up a proxy in the Vuze client later on in this report. However, first take a look at our list of recommended VPNs for Vuze. We have selected only the best VPNs. They offer quality of service, value for money, and cast-iron privacy. Your search for a Vuze VPN will be simple if you limit your investigations to these five services.
Best VPNs for Vuze: Summary
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- Self-installing, easy-to-use app
- Kill switch
- No logs
- Based in the British Virgin Islands
- Strong security
- Only three simultaneous connections allowed
ExpressVPN is an incredibly easy-to-use app with strong security procedures. The company that runs this VPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which has no data retention laws and no specific piracy legislation. Along with the company's refusal to retain records of clients' activities, these factors make ExpressVPN an excellent choice for those who want to use Vuze.
The company operates servers in 94 countries. The network is fast and should help your downloads progress quickly. In order to protect your identity with ExpressVPN, you just need to install the app and turn it on. The VPN also comes as a browser extension. However, don't rely on that when you are using Vuze, because the extension only protects activity within the browser. A kill switch in the app prevents all applications on your computer from connecting to the internet if the VPN is not engaged.
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- Free version with 10 GB data per month
- No logs
- Accepts P2P connections
- Unlimited simultaneous connections allowed
- Good speeds for downloading
- Account sharing not allowed
Windscribe has a number of methods to protect you when you're using the internet. There is a browser extension version of this app, but don't rely on that to protect you while you're logged into Vuze. You need to use the Windscribe app in order for the VPN to protect all of the traffic from your device. Windscribe also has a Socket Secure (SOCKS5) proxy server that you can use for free when you subscribe to the Windscribe VPN (this is not available with the free version of Windscribe). You can set up the proxy in the Vuze client program to ensure that your downloads are always protected whenever you connect to share files. Keep in mind, though, that the VPN option has stronger security with encryption and that will protect you from snooping procedures carried out by your ISP.
Windscribe is based in Canada, which could make the company vulnerable to legal pressure. However, it keeps no activity logs, so copyright holders will not be able to extract any information from Windscribe about your connections to P2P networks.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Fast network speeds
- Optimized settings for torrenting
- System-wide and per-app kill switch
- Strong anonymity procedures
- Free version doesn't have torrent optimization
CyberGhost has a special setting for torrent downloading. When you open the app it presents you with a number of activity options - anonymous torrenting is one of these. If you select the torrenting option, the VPN adjusts its settings accordingly. Be careful about which server you choose to connect to because not all of them accept P2P connections. The servers that shouldn't be used for torrenting are marked in the server list by an exclamation mark ("!"). Another settings page in the app allows you to specify that Vuze opens automatically once the VPN is engaged.
You can install a free version of this VPN, but that doesn't include the torrent optimization feature. You also get slower speeds with the free version of CyberGhost.
The company operates a great system for account creation to keep your identity safe. Payments are collected by a separate company and within the CyberGhost system you're only identified by an account number. The company keeps no activity logs and is based in Romania, where the High Court has protected individual online privacy by throwing out data retention laws.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Three-hour free trial
- Strong privacy procedures
- Allowance of five simultaneous connections
- Good for P2P downloading
- Can't get into Netflix
Mullvad is based in Sweden, where all data retention and state-access laws have just been invalidated by the European Courts of Justice. This company uses a similar account creation method to CyberGhost and uses a separate company for payment processing. This means that Mullvad doesn't hold any personal details about its customers. Added to this, Mullvad is run by internet freedom activists who make sure that the company keeps no logs of users' activities.
The company charges a flat rate of €5 per month and you can try out the VPN with a three-hour free trial before you subscribe. You get an allowance of five simultaneous connections with Mullvad, which mean that you can leave your laptop running a download through Vuze and make other connections on your mobile device while you are out.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Servers in 61 countries
- No logs
- Up to six simultaneous connections allowed
- SOCKS5 proxy option
- Customer support can be slow
NordVPN offers you the option of just turning on its service to protect you with Vuze or using its SOCKS5 proxy in a manual setup. NordVPN is fine about its customers using its network to download files with torrents and it has servers that are optimized for P2P downloading.
The company is based in Panama and keeps no logs, so you don't have to worry about the possibility of being pursued by copyright lawyers. The security features of the VPN include strong encryption and a kill switch to prevent your Vuze client connecting to peers without the VPN being turned on. You get an allowance of six simultaneous connections with this service and the company doesn't mind if you share an account with friends.
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Best VPNs for Vuze: Considerations
Setting Up Vuze
You may read that Vuze tries to hijack your browser, alter your default search engine, change the default homepage, and install a toolbar. The installer for Vuze used to perform all of these actions, but this sneaky trick has now been removed.
There is a free version of Vuze that carries adverts. If that bothers you, there is a subscription version that doesn’t include advertising. Below, you can see the layout of Vuze the first time you open it after the installation completes. The advert panel can be seen in the bottom left corner of the client. You will notice that the initial setup of the client includes a settings optimization process. This is optional.
VPN Anonymity with Vuze
Once you have installed your chosen VPN and turned it on, you’re covered. The address that registers with Vuze and shows up in the Peers tab will be the temporary IP address that the VPN server assigned to you.
Check out the rules of your VPN because not all servers work well with P2P systems. If you connect to Vuze and find that no downloads work, you may have to switch the server that you’re using through your VPN client.
Manual Proxy Setup
You can set up a proxy service manually in Vuze so that it will always run with anonymity, even if you don’t start the VPN interface program on your computer. To implement this version of protection, you need to use a VPN that also provides a SOCKS proxy.
1. Click on the Tools option in the navigation bar at the top of the client. Select Options from the drop-down menu.
2. Visit the Mode panel and click on the Advanced radio button.
3. Select Connection from the left-hand menu panel and click on the arrow next to that word to expand out the options. In the main Connections panel, deselect Decentralized tracking, Supplied by another peer, Added by a plugin, and Incoming connection in the Peer Sources section.
4. Click on the Proxy subsection of the Connection menu heading. In the Tracker Communications section, check the boxes for Enable proxying … and I have SOCKS proxy.
5. Get the proxy settings information from your VPN’s website. Once you’ve entered the proxy details, you can test the service with the Test SOCKS button. This will open a new Window. If the results include the message Connection OK, the test completed successfully. Click on the OK button to close the test screen.
6. Click on Save at the bottom left of the Options screen. Press on the X in the top right corner of the screen to close the Settings menus.
7. Click on the File option in the navigation menu of Vuze and select Restart Vuze from the drop-down menu.
If the installation ran successfully, the SOCKS indicator at the bottom of the client should be green.
Best VPNs for Vuze: Conclusion
You can protect your identity within the Vuze client with an anonymizing proxy. However, such services don’t give you encryption to protect you from protocol detection by your ISP. As you can see above, setting up a proxy server with your Vuze client is quite complicated. Focus your search for Vuze security on VPN services. Our list of the five best VPNs for Vuze details the top services for protecting your P2P activities. Take advantage of the free trial and money-back periods of each of these systems to test them out. That way, you’ll be able to choose the best VPN for your circumstances.
Best Vuze VPNs: Side-by-Side Summary
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- $6.67PER MONTH
- $7.50PER MONTH
- $2.90PER MONTH
- $5.50PER MONTH
- $3.29PER MONTH