If I use some IaaS cloud hosting provider to create my own VPN, and then I connect to that VPN before torrenting something, can I be identified in any way?

I assume that when you spin up an instance of a server, your name is connected to the MAC address of that computer.

I do not know if this is true nor do I know if web traffic can be traced to a computer that is only acting as a VPN.

  • 1
    It can be tracked to the VPN, and the cloud provider could give them your details and/or the IP address you used it from. This is no different than a dedicated VPN service except you have to set it up yourself. Feb 29, 2016 at 9:27
  • @robertFraser but there are some VPN services that don't keep that information right ? (Making those services a more anonymous bet?)
    – Startec
    Feb 29, 2016 at 11:23

1 Answer 1


From the perspective of the Bit Torrent swarm, your virtual server will appear as a client and the swarm will learn its IP address. Virtual servers rented from IaaS providers usually have static IP addresses, so the provider knows which IP address belongs to which one of their customers.

When someone wants to press legal actions for copyright violation, they will notice that the IP belongs to a block of IP addresses registred by the IaaS provider, and press charges on them first. Their complaint will include the IP address of your server. The provider will then look up who pays for the server with that IP address and forward the complaint to them.

When the provider does not cooperate, they could be made liable for the copyright violation themselves. So you likely can not rely on your IaaS provider to protect your anonymity in case of legal problems.

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