BitTorrent is a bit of an internet scourge. It’s a peer-to-peer protocol that lets you easily transfer huge files but also has its dangers. Looking for a way to block it and other P2P services on your network? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Unfortunately, there is no turnkey solution for blocking BitTorrent traffic on a home router. While there is no perfect option, you can still do a few things to make BitTorrent harder to access throughout your router.
Unlike a website, BitTorrent works peer-to-peer, so you can’t block a single IP or port, rather, you’d have to block the protocol used by your computer, but BitTorrent can change that to evade the restrictions. For this to work effectively, you’ll need high-end equipment.
Regardless, you can still take some steps to avoid BitTorrent from bogging down your wireless network. But before we get there, let’s examine what makes it so difficult to block it completely.
How Does BitTorrent Work?
When it comes to BitTorrent, many people believe that it can be easily blocked through a router. However, this is not always the case.
To begin with, let’s take a look at what BitTorrent is. BitTorrent is a file-sharing protocol that uses peer-to-peer networking to share large files between multiple users.
It works by distributing small pieces of the file to multiple people who can then combine them to form the complete file. This process is called “seeding” and helps keep the file distributed evenly.
Additionally, BitTorrent is decentralized, meaning that there’s no central server that hosts the files. This makes it difficult for companies or governments to control or monitor the distribution of those files.
Why Would You Block BitTorrent?
There are several reasons why people might want to block BitTorrent traffic on their network. Perhaps they’re concerned about the amount of data it transfers or believes it contributes to online piracy.
BitTorrent can be used to illegally share copyrighted material. As the files are spread across many users, it is difficult for copyright holders to identify and prosecute people doing this.
In addition, BitTorrent is a bandwidth hog since you’re downloading and uploading files simultaneously, causing a spike in internet usage.
Other risks are associated with torrent downloads, such as viruses or malware that can damage your computer.
Why Can’t BitTorrent Be Blocked Through a Router?
Blocking BitTorrent through a router is equivalent to trying to block water by throwing a net over a river. The torrent packets will just flow around the blockade, unaffected.
One big reason is that BitTorrent is a distributed peer-to-peer file-sharing system; individual users don’t have access to the full file, just pieces of it.
So even if your router could block specific IP addresses or ports that are actively sharing material, it would still be possible for other users on the network to share that material in their place.
Or, if you block specific ports on your network, it won’t work because BitTorrent has evolved to randomly change the port it uses so that it can bypass restrictions like this.
By blocking random network ports, you will only end up disrupting other apps or websites that use those network ports. BitTorrent, on the other hand, would just use a different one.
What Can Be Done To Restrict Access to BitTorrent?
While it’s hard to block BitTorrent completely on a router, there are ways to limit BitTorrent access if you want to safeguard your computer or network.
The following tips may help.
Block the BitTorrent Client
One thing you can do to restrict access to BitTorrent is to block the websites that let you download the BitTorrent client on your router.
You can do this from your router’s web admin panel by clicking on parental controls or website filtering options and adding such websites to the blacklist.
Restrict App Usage
Controlling and restricting every device on your network from installing BitTorrent or any other torrent client is another effective way to restrict BitTorrent.
Administrator rights can be used to limit access to certain users or third-party software, such as WinGuard Pro, can be used for this purpose.
Block Network Ports
Another way to possibly restrict access to BitTorrent is to block every network on your router port except 80 and 443, as these ports are associated with web browsing.
You might stop some peer-to-peer traffic from BitTorrent on your router by blocking every other port except these.
Get Server-Grade Firewall
You can block BitTorrent by investing in a server-grade firewall with deep packet inspection if you’re serious about blocking it on your router.
In this case, you can use WFilter or other similar solutions on the internet, but they are generally not recommended for home routers because they are expensive.
And that’s it. Limiting torrents on your router will reduce the amount of data sent out in the wild and decrease the chances of getting infected with malware or viruses.
Frequently Asked Questions
BitTorrent’s standard ports are 6881-6889 TCP, but it can operate on any other port, making it impossible to block it this way.
Torrents, in general, and BitTorrent, in particular, pose many risks, including malware threats, legal problems, vulnerability to cyberattacks, and high bandwidth usage.