How to pick the best VPN for torrenting from the dozens of VPN services available. Choose wisely!
With almost 200 VPNs on the market and all of them clamoring for your attention, it can be tough to find the right VPN for torrenting.
Which VPN you choose for your torrent file-sharing is probably the most important decision you will make for safe and anonymous torrenting. Let's cut through the clutter and help you with your decision.
In this post, we take you through the process of whittling down all the available choices and deciding on the best torrent VPN for your needs.
[+] 'Best VPN for Torrenting' contents (select to expand)
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Why Use a VPN for Torrenting?
Torrents can be an awesome way to download and share files, whether it’s movies, games, or apps. But those rewards come with plenty of risk as well.
For starters, many torrents are controversial. Whether seeding (uploading) or just leeching (downloading) you can land yourself in trouble.
So, let's review why you need a VPN for torrenting and the benefits it brings. It's a myth to think that you can torrent without a VPN. In fact, there are three reasons that a VPN is an absolute must-have for anyone who loves torrenting.
Whenever you download a file via BitTorrent, you become part of what’s called a torrent “swarm”, which includes all the users that are leeching or seeding a particular file. This is what makes p2p file-sharing possible in the first place – but it also makes you very vulnerable.
That’s because each member of the swarm can “see”, find and connect with the IP address of every other member in the swarm.
Why does this matter? Because your IP address is then associated with what you download, in many cases being added to and stored in various databases around the Internet.
And since your IP address is easily connected to your identity through your Internet service provider’s records or in other ways via online “fingerprinting”, everyone from your ISP to snoops to the government are able to go after you for what you do and download online.
This could be as simple as a letter warning you to stop torrenting. Or informing you that your account has been suspended or terminated. Or even worse, a notice that you're being sued for huge sums of money!
Fortunately, when you use a VPN, not only is your IP hidden from the prying eyes of others on the internet, there are other benefits, like encrypted data and connections. This is invaluable for protecting you from all the risks, whether from your ISP, copyright trolls or even hackers.
Because torrents have a bad reputation, torrent sites are often blocked, whether by your ISP, the Wi-Fi network at your local coffee shop or the government itself.
This could mean that you’re blocked from accessing the most popular torrent sites, like The Pirate Bay.
Similarly, sometimes torrent trackers themselves are blocked. These are the mostly invisible services that match up members of a torrent swarm. When they are blocked, you queue a file to download with your torrent client, but it fails to find seeders or peers and never starts downloading.
Bummer! But a good VPN will bypass torrent blocking and let you download files with your torrent client software.
Because the VPN “hides” your traffic inside an encrypted tunnel of data, your ISP can’t see what’s inside of it and can’t know what you are doing. Your ISP can only see the amount of data - but not what kind of data it is. You may be downloading torrents but for all your ISP knows, you're just downloading photos from the cloud or streaming an HD movie from Netflix.
Speaking of the amount of data, torrenting can take up a lot of bandwidth. After all, a 720p movie file is around 700MBs, while 1080p or HD movie files can be 10GBs or more. True videophiles might need to use 30GBs or more of bandwidth to grab the latest 2160p UltraHD REMUX for their collection.
Some PC games can be as large as 50GBs. And a long-running TV series can be into the hundreds of Gigabytes.
With the popularity of torrents, there are millions of people downloading these types of huge files each day, leaving ISPs to try to accommodate the massive bandwidth loads on their servers.
For this reason, many ISPs will throttle your download speeds when downloading torrents, saving themselves bandwidth – and making your downloads much slower in the process. And of course, many ISPs also throttle speeds for other reasons, including daily or monthly usage caps and file size limits or just to manage server loads at peak times. This practice by ISPs is also called traffic shaping.
And who doesn’t hate slow internet speeds!? Fortunately, a good VPN will help you here as well. Since it prevents your ISP from monitoring your traffic, they won’t be tipped off that you’re using BitTorrent and will be much less likely to throttle your torrent speeds or impose usage limits.
The result? Faster downloads for you across the board!
Best Free VPN for Torrenting?
Which free torrent VPN is best, you ask? None of them.
A free VPN is OK(ish) for using Wi-Fi hotspots in a jam, but for activities as risky as torrenting you would be crazy to rely on a free VPN.
Heck, even the US federal consumer watchdog FTC warns against using free VPN services:
Torrent users love getting things for free, so why not their VPN?
If you need any more convincing, read more about why it is a BIG mistake to use a free VPN for torrenting and what you should do instead to stay safe while torrenting.
Torrent users love getting things for free, so why not their VPN?
Those free media files you downloaded are often as good byte-for-byte as the real thing, but the same cannot be said of VPNs. A free torrent VPN is seriously lacking compared to the paid variety.
And when we say “lacking”, we mean that using a free torrent VPN defeats the whole purpose of using a VPN in the first place. Here's why.
Providing a VPN service costs money, in the form of tech development, bandwidth, servers, support staff, and more. If customers aren’t paying for these things through their VPN subscriptions, who is?
The VPN service is, and they do it in a variety of ways, all of which are to your disadvantage.
- mining and selling your data
- skimping on security and features
Free Torrent VPN Upselling
One common tactic of a free torrent VPN is to offer a free plan, with stripped down features and limits on things like speeds or bandwidth, in the hopes of convincing you to pay for their “full” service in the future.
While there’s nothing particularly wrong with this method, you’ll be left using an inferior VPN – and getting hit with a barrage of upgrade offers in the process. But, in the meantime, you'll be suffering all the other disadvantages of using a free torrent VPN that are listed below.
Another way for "free" VPNs to make money is through advertising.
The ads may be on the VPN app itself or superimposed during your online sessions. And they can get a little annoying. They slow down your computer, use up bandwidth, expose you to tracking by third parties and employ dirty tricks to get you to click.
And if the VPN can insert ads into your online experience, it can do the same thing with malware. The providers themselves probably wouldn’t do this, but it’s a risk if they get hacked.
On the other hand, paid VPNs don’t insert ads. They don’t need to.
Free VPNs Are Mining (and Selling) Your Data
There are hundreds of companies out there willing to pay for your data and downloading habits. A cash-strapped “free” VPN may be happy to sell it to them.
This is a serious problem and not one to take lightly.
That data may come back to haunt you, and after all, protecting our info is one of the main reasons we use a VPN in the first place!
Free VPNs for Torrenting Have Skimpy Features & Security
Of course, the above methods can only make a VPN service so much money. And that’s why they must also cut costs and keep them down.
These cost-cutting measures all have an impact on quality and can include:
- throttling your download speeds
- limiting your bandwidth
- imposing data caps
- using poor quality servers
In short, your downloads are going to be much slower and probably capped.
When you consider how substandard a free torrent VPN service is and how many high-quality but low-cost premium VPNs there are, the decision is easy.
If you want to torrent safely and securely while hiding your IP address all the while, you’re going to need a solid VPN – and that means one with a small monthly (or yearly) fee.
This means the VPN provider has an incentive to keep your activities as anonymous as possible and to fight to keep your data safeguarded.
And because a premium VPN’s reputation can be destroyed overnight, they take the responsibility of protecting our privacy very seriously. A free torrent VPN has no such incentive and will likely do and disclose anything to avoid, for example, potentially expensive litigation.
In other words, when the chips are down, you cannot count on a free torrent VPN to have your back when you most need them.
Ultimately, the choice is yours, but for less cost per month than the price of a coffee you can have all the protections offered by the best VPN for torrent file-sharing. How many more reasons do you need?
But if you absolutely must use a free VPN for torrenting...
Now, we just went into painstaking detail on why you should not use a free VPN for torrenting. But we're realists.
We understand that some of you are still going to be drawn to free VPNs, whether it's because you can't afford a paid VPN, can't sign up, or some other reason. Heck, maybe you're just a rebel who does the opposite of what anyone tells them.
So, if you absolutely insist on using a free VPN, despite the risks, then PrivadoVPN is the only choice. It's definitely not as trustworthy and safe for torrenting as PIA VPN, but it's as good as you're going to get without paying.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Torrenting
Now that you know why you absolutely must use a good VPN for torrenting, here's a summary of what you should look for when trying to choose a VPN to protect your torrent downloading.
Of course, many of the general criteria for choosing a good VPN service still apply. But there are several other factors you need to consider when searching for a VPN specifically for torrenting or other p2p activities:
- Does the VPN protect the privacy of its customers? Does it keep no logs or records of your activities?
- How much does it cost? Are discounts, free trials or money-back guarantees available?
- How many servers does the VPN have and in how many countries?
- How reliable & fast is the VPN for torrenting?
- How do current and former customers rate their experiences with the VPN?
- What advanced features does the torrent VPN have to protect your IP address from leaks?
Making Sure the VPN Actually Supports Torrenting
This may sound obvious, but plenty of VPN providers (and especially free VPNs and free proxies) do not support P2P file-sharing and so won’t protect your privacy or identity if you want to download torrents anonymously.
Make sure the torrent VPN you are considering explicitly allows torrent file-sharing (sometimes called p2p or peer-to-peer). They should say so in black & white.
Look for specific statements on the VPN provider’s website and documentation (like the screenshot above). These are not always obvious or easy to find, as many VPN providers keep quiet about this and don’t loudly advertise that they support torrent file-sharing.
Avoiding VPNs That Do NOT Allow Torrenting
The VPN providers listed below do NOT permit torrenting. So, if you are in the market for a VPN to protect your p2p torrent file-sharing, you do NOT want to choose one of these VPNs!
Also remember that The Onion Router, or Tor for short (a free, open source anonymizing tool), is not suitable for torrent file-sharing. If you try torrenting using Tor, your true IP address will leak and expose you in the process. Your downloads will also be slow as heck.
- Read more: The Onion Router (Tor) For Torrenting? No!
Instead, stick with our tried and true torrent VPN recommendations above.
- Perfect Privacy
- Smart DNS
- Unblock VPN
- VanishedVPN (not to be confused with IPVanish which does allow p2p)
- VPN Gate
- VPN Land
- VPN Unlimited
Make Sure the VPN Keeps No Logs
One of the most, if not the most, important things to confirm when shopping around for the best VPN for torrenting is that it does not keep any logs.
The reason? If a VPN allows torrent file-sharing on its servers but also keeps logs of your activities, you're taking a huge risk. Because these logs can too easily destroy your privacy and open your torrenting activities to the kind of snoops who monitor torrent downloads.
That's why it's extremely important to choose a no-log VPN service for torrenting. This way, even if they are compelled to disclose information, there's nothing meaningful for them to disclose, as they don’t keep any logs of your activities in the first place.
- Do they keep logs?
- What kind of logs (connection, activity, others)?
- Do they disclose customer information?
- If so, under what circumstances?
If you cannot find the answers to these questions, do some more homework.
- Read more about Zero-Log VPN Services
Let’s take an example.
Anyone trying to snoop or monitor your torrent file-sharing activities will link your torrenting activities to the anonymous IP address assigned to you by the VPN. So even if a snoop went through the trouble of tracing back the traffic and IP address to its source, this would lead them to the torrent VPN’s proxy servers, rather than to you.
And if the VPN keeps no logs of customer activities, that’s where the trail would end: the snoop would hit a roadblock and your identity would remain anonymous.
Therefore, it is important to confirm the VPN provider is not logging user (your) activity or connections. You will want the snoop’s back tracing to hit a dead-end at the torrent VPN provider and not be further traceable back to you.
As you can see, non-logging is a very important consideration for those seeking out a safe VPN for torrent file-sharing. However, it can be an important consideration for anyone wanting to keep any of their online activities private, anonymous and away from prying eyes.
Also Look for these Torrent VPN Advanced Features
Advanced features that are great for torrenting include a kill switch. This feature will disable your Internet connection like a tripwire if your connection to the VPN unexpectedly drops.
Why does this matter? Because if your VPN connection drops but you keep torrenting, you're no longer protected. The kill switch will stop this from happening, by cutting your internet (and thus stopping the torrent transfer) until the VPN is back on.
Another key feature is DNS leak protection, which ensures some special connections your computer and other devices make at a very technical level are always routed through the torrent VPN. Again, this is to make sure that your true IP address is never disclosed to would-be snoops.
More 'VPN for Torrenting' FAQs
Always look for a VPN with a money-back guarantee or free trial period. This gives you peace of mind and ensures the VPN works well for your circumstances (your location, devices, operating systems, intended uses, etc).
A money-back guarantee is also a sign of a reputable VPN provider, rather than the many fly-by-night VPNs out there. Any good VPN for torrenting will be willing to offer at least a 7-day guarantee period.
PIA VPN, NordVPN and ExpressVPN all have 30-day guarantee periods!
The terms 'p2p' (short for peer-to-peer) and 'file-sharing' are just other ways of saying 'torrenting', so all the information here will answer your questions.
Price is important but not as straightforward as you may think. There are a couple of different ways to look at price.
You could compare VPNs based on their absolute price or you could compare their price per device as many VPN services allow you to use a single account on multiple devices at the same time.
If you plan to use your VPN account simultaneously on multiple devices, this can be a big attraction and have an enormous impact on your price calculation and the overall value of the VPN service you are thinking about.
For example, you could use a single VPN account to protect your Windows laptop and Android tablet as well as your girlfriend’s Mac laptop and iPad. 🙂 Even if you were using all 4 of these devices at the same time, it’s no problem as a single account from any of our recommended torrent VPNs allow multiple devices to be simultaneously connected.
The fastest VPN to use for torrent file-sharing is also - no surprise - one of the most expensive, ExpressVPN (read our full ExpressVPN for Torrenting review).
At this stage, some people might be tempted to exclude any US-based VPN services (or any VPNs based in “Five Eyes” or “Fourteen Eyes” countries) but we are of 2 minds about that.
Yes, US-based services (or those in “Five Eyes” or even “Fourteen Eyes” countries) may be more susceptible to NSA style surveillance. But we don’t think there is any less risk of that for VPN services based in other countries.
As the Snowden revelations demonstrated, the NSA is not shy about spying on foreign citizens, companies or even governments.
Plus, a recent court case showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that even the FBI couldn't identify one of Private Internet Access' customers thanks to its strict no logging policy.
And anyway, we are not convinced that the NSA or similar agencies are inclined to take any interest in your torrenting activities (unless for example you are downloading ISIS recruitment videos or such things).
Top Tip - If you are worried about NSA-style surveillance as revealed by Ed Snowden, you may want to consider choosing a non-logging VPN based outside the USA, such as NordVPN.
Our Recommendation for the Best VPN for Torrenting
While the above criteria will give you the tools you need to evaluate and compare VPNs for yourself, not everyone wants to (or has the time) to dig through all that info just to decide on a torrenting VPN.
So, we'll also fill you in on our favorite torrenting VPN, which checks all of the boxes we discussed above. And it is...
Private Internet Access VPN!
PIA VPN allows torrenting, doesn't keep logs, includes a built-in kill switch, and has lots of other nice features, like Wireguard servers for faster downloads. Plus, with their current deal, it's really affordable.
You can sign up with confidence, and it only takes a few minutes to set up.
Okay, so we’ve looked at why and how a free torrent VPN simply doesn’t cut it when it comes to torrenting (and pretty much everything else).
When torrent file-sharing, you need the full protections offered by the best VPN for torrenting you can afford so that your torrent file-sharing activities are safe.
There's a time when it's worth spending a few bucks to protect your online privacy, and torrent file-sharing is definitely one of them!
Whether you choose one of our recommendations or reach your own conclusions, take heart knowing that you are protected in your torrent downloading activities. 🙂
PureVPN is offering trial for 7 days at 0.99$ with 47% off onwards.
Thanks. Here is a link for readers, PureVPN’s $0.99 7-day trial.