With the ongoing talk about online surveillance, we decided to ask some of the people that run anonymizing BitTorrent services if they’ve seen a rise in users.
One of the well established services in this niche is BTGuard, an easy to configure proxy service that hides the IP-addresses of its users from the public. Services like these are a thorn in the side of anti-piracy outfits because they make it impossible to track down infringing users.
As expected, the demand for BTGuard from UK citizens has grown significantly in recent months. One of BTGuard’s founders told us that their service now has almost as many UK users as US users, and also detailed some major changes that have been implemented since we covered the launch of the service two years ago.
“At the time of the initial review, BTGuard was just a basic proxy service that you had to configure yourself. Now BTGuard is a cinch for anyone to use with our easy to install software. BTGuard also went through some serious bandwidth upgrades & optimization to provide the best possible reroute speeds,” the BTGuard founder told TorrentFreak.
Besides using the pre-configured client, users can also setup their own client to work with BTGuard. It works with all clients that support “Socks V5″ proxies including uTorrent and Vuze. In addition, BTGuard also includes encryption tunnel software for the real security purists.
The servers are located in across several continents. We briefly tested the download speeds from Europe and were able to pretty much max out our connection, with an occasional downswing.
Aside from speed concerns, potential users are always worried about their privacy. The BTGuard team is very clear about this issue. “BTGuard only stores your username, password and e-mail address. We do not store IP addresses under any circumstances, it’s against our policy and technically unfeasible for us,” the BTGuard founder told us.
Of course, as more and more ISPs decide to throttle or otherwise interfere with BitTorrent traffic, BTGuard also provides a way to mitigate these upcoming threats by sending your traffic via an encrypted tunnel.
Sounds too good to be true? Well, the downside to anonymous and interference-free BitTorrent is that it comes at a cost. Although BTguard is cheaper than most of the competition (€5.24/month for the proxy and €7.50/month for the VPN), users will still have to cough up a monthly fee.
According to the reported (and predicted) surge in users of BTGuard and similar services, many people think it’s worth the cost.
Update: 2014, added some tweaks and changes