Torrenting with PIA for Safe File-Sharing (Updated)
Private Internet Access is one of the best VPN services to protect your p2p torrent file-sharing.
Private Internet Access VPN (or “PIA” as it is simply known) has been a go-to VPN for torrenters for over a decade now. In fact, PIA VPN probably boasts the largest number of torrent VPN customers of any VPN.
PIA is famous for its strong privacy:
- PIA keeps no logs whatsoever (claims proven in court twice)
- PIA uses shared IP addresses
- PIA's VPN apps are fast and lean
- PIA is safe from leaks (proven in independent tests)
- PIA owns, not leases, all its VPN servers
- PIA's Head of Privacy was a founder of the Swedish Pirate Party 🙂
- PIA accepts Bitcoin and even major brand gift cards for anonymous payments
- PIA offers a full money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied
Comes with a 7-day full money-back guarantee.
Here's what we'll cover in this in-depth review of Private Internet Access for torrenting:
'Private Internet Access Torrenting' Contents (select to expand)
PIA's Zero-Logging Policy (Proven in Court, Twice!)
Sure, lots of VPN services claim they don't keep logs. But PIA’s privacy claims have been tested in court. Public documents in two separate cases have confirmed PIA's zero-logging claims.
In the first, an FBI case revealed that a PIA server had been seized but that the identity of the suspect could not be determined because of PIA's strict non-logging policy.
The second case was a hacking trial in federal court which confirmed PIA was unable to link online activities conducted through its VPN with any particular customer.
What more convincing could you need that PIA is protecting your privacy? Read more: Best Zero-Logging VPN Services.
PIA Actively Fights for & Protects Your Privacy
Private Internet Access has been at the forefront of safe and anonymous torrent file-sharing. If you check reliable, unbiased websites such as TorrentFreak and Lifehacker, you’ll find PIA comes highly recommended for safe torrenting. That’s been the case for many years.
PIA has taken out full-page ads in the New York Times shaming US politicians who vote in draconian privacy laws and claw back Internet freedoms.
In other words, not only does PIA have your back, but it also gives back.
PIA also recently announced that it’s going open source (meaning that anyone can scrutinize the code of the apps). Now that’s commitment to privacy and security.
Try it 7 days risk-free
Lean Easy-to-Use Apps
PIA bucks the trend in providing apps that put functionality over appearance.
Too many VPN services have pretty-looking apps that are more focused on having interactive maps and animated logos than on good performance. Not PIA.
PIA’s VPN apps are squarely focused on launching fast and getting you connected quickly.
That means their apps are not much to look at, but when you select ‘connect’ no other VPN connects as quickly to VPN servers as PIA.
Case in point, its VPN app for Windows will seem bare bones compared to other VPN services. The app sits in your System Tray (the collection of small icons beside the displayed time at the bottom-right of your screen). From there, you can connect or access settings with a simple right-click.
Massive VPN Server Footprint
But the real magic of PIA happens behind the scenes.
PIA has one of the world’s largest collection of VPN servers, currently standing at 3,160 servers.
This amount of server resources means that PIA VPN’s speeds and reliability are top notch, two other things that torrenters appreciate in a VPN service.
This massive number of servers are spread over 33 countries.
That’s fewer countries than a lot of VPN services offer, but PIA insists on owning all the servers it uses.
Most other VPN services are happy to lease servers wherever from whomever and that means you can’t really be sure about the privacy claims they make.
PIA’s fewer number of countries offered than other VPN services is not a problem for torrenting but if you want, for example, to use a VPN for accessing online sporting events all over the world you should probably look at other VPN services.
For torrenting, PIA has servers in many of the countries that are best for connecting to download torrents. Choose servers in these countries when torrenting.
Inexpensive Torrent Protection
For its low price point, PIA VPN represents the best value torrent VPN on the market today.
Increasingly stiff competition in the VPN industry has been good news for torrent fans. Following the trend of other VPN services, PIA VPN has recently introduced a 2-year plan which brings it monthly price down to a measly $2.91/mo.
Plus, you can use a single PIA VPN account on up to 5 devices at the same time. That’s literally pennies per device per day for VPN protection.
Try it 7 days risk-free
At these prices, we have zero sympathy for anyone who gets in trouble not using a VPN for torrenting or using a “free” VPN to torrent.
That low cost goes a long way because after all PIA is a full-fledged VPN you can use not only for safe torrenting but for dozens of VPN uses such as Wi-Fi hotspot protection and geo-shifting your IP address to accessing online price bargains.
And if for whatever reason you are not happy, just utilize PIA’s guarantee and ask for your money back in the first 7 days.
Excellent Performance with Fast Download Speeds
If you spend time reading PIA reviews and comments on Reddit, you'll think that PIA is not the fastest VPN for torrenting and that the title for fastest VPN for torrenting belongs to NordVPN or ExpressVPN.
While such anecdotal evidence is often compelling, let's take a look at some credible, independent studies about VPN speeds.
In the category of VPN Performance (which included download speeds and torrent speeds), PIA ranked ahead of NordVPN and ExpressVPN for performance. In fact, PIA ranked 2nd overall, only finishing behind Hotspot Shield Elite which we do not recommend for torrenting as it does not have as excellent a privacy track records as PIA.
Here's the excerpt from the report:
In the AV-TEST study, PIA also won in the category of VPN Security - no surprise there.
PIA's Advanced VPN Features
Private Internet Access’s VPN app for desktop computers is rich in features but is also easy-to-use and fast connecting.
You simply choose the VPN proxy server location you wish to connect to and off you go. You can even select ‘auto’ and let the app select the fastest location for you (select screenshot to zoom).
In the screenshot you may have noticed the Kill Switch and DNS Leak Protection options.
Kill Switch (Disconnect Protection)
A kill switch means that your Internet connection is disabled should your connection to the VPN unexpectedly disconnect.
This helps ensure that your true IP address is never revealed at any point.
DNS Leak Protection & No IP Leaks
These are 'must have' features of any torrent VPN.
DNS Leak protection ensures that some special connections your computer and devices make at a very low technical level are also routed through the VPN, further making sure that your true IP address is never compromised or leaked to be monitored.
A well-respected German standards firm, AV-TEST, recently conducted independent tests on a number of VPN services, including for different leaks that could expose a customer's real IP address when using the VPN. It's leak test results are on page 6 of its report.
AV-TEST found that PIA suffered no leaks of any kind. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
- PIA had no DNS leaks as tested through https://www.dnsleaktest.com/
- PIA had no IP leaks due to kill switch malfunctions as tested by deactivating and reactivating the network card and/or network connection at different time intervals
- PIA had no WebRTC leaks as tested through https://browserleaks.com/webrtc and https://www.doileak.com/
- PIA had no Windows login leak as tested through https://msleak.perfect-privacy.com/
- PIA had no torrent IP leak as tested through https://ipleak.net/
- PIA had no HTTP request leak as tested through https://www.doileak.com/
In the earlier screenshot, you may have also noticed the button labelled Encryption. Select it and PIA's encryption settings will be displayed.
The default encryption settings used by PIA (see image at right) to protect your traffic inside a secure data tunnel is strong enough for most users, but you have full control over the encryption settings.
Try it risk-free for 7 days (money-back guarantee)
Free SOCKS Proxy Too
Although we recommend using encryption while torrenting, some people prefer to use a SOCKS proxy for slightly better speeds when torrenting.
Well, the good news for these folks is that a PIA subscription includes a free SOCKS proxy.
In PIA's Client Control Panel, simply scroll down until you see the heading 'PPTP/L2TP/SOCKS Username and Password'.
Click the button and you'll receive a separate username and password you can use for a SOCKS proxy.
And Much More
PIA Torrenting Steps: From Signing Up to Downloading Files
The steps for PIA VPN are like other VPN services – pay, receive a welcome email with your details, download and install the VPN apps, connect to a VPN server - but with a cool twist we’d like to highlight.
We first reveal the twist and then outline the sign-up steps.
Truly Anonymous Payment Methods
Another way that PIA PN stands out is letting customers pay with gift cards from other stores such as Starbucks, Walmart, Best Buy, and hundreds more. What’s that about?
Well, if you buy one of these gift cards using cash and then use it to pay for PIA VPN you have basically arranged truly anonymous VPN access. Not even PIA will have any of your personal details, especially if you sign up with a spoofed email address.
Given PIA’s strong privacy protections listed above like keeping no logs, most people will not have to go as far as paying anonymously, but those who wish to can.
Step 1) Sign up for PIA
This will take you less than 2 minutes on their website.
You can also pay anonymously for PIA VPN. But even if you aren't tempted to pay with Bitcoin or anonymous gift cards, the fact that PIA offers such industry-leading private payment methods is testament to its firm commitment to user privacy, safety and anonymity. 🙂
Worried PIA may not be the VPN for you? No worries. They have a full money-back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.
Try it 7 days risk-free
Step 2) Download the PIA VPN Apps You Need
With PIA you can use up to 5 apps at the same time with a single account. So, share an account with your partner or family members for extra good value.
Step 3) Launch a PIA VPN App
Open the PIA VPN app of your choice (Windows app shown).
Enter the userid and password PIA provided to you in step 1 above.
Step 4) Connect to a VPN Server
Go ahead and Connect to the VPN server location of your choice.
You have over 33 country server locations to choose from.
Or simply choose Connect Auto and PIA will pick he fastest VPN server location for you.
Step 5) If Paranoid, Confirm your Torrent IP Address is Masked
We fully trust PIA's reliability – after using it for 6+ years – but it’s always good to make sure your real IP address is hidden before gorging on torrents.
Consult our torrent IP address resources for all the details but here are just some of the sites you can use to check your torrent ip:
- Mullvad Torrent Check > https://am.i.mullvad.net/torrent
- IPLeak > http://ipleak.net/
- ipMagnet > http://ipmagnet.services.cbcdn.com/
- Upcoil > http://checkmytorrentip.upcoil.com/
Step 6) Start Downloading & Sharing Files Safely!
You are now all set for safe and anonymous torrent file-sharing. 🙂
If new to torrents, start with some high-quality but copyright safe ones such as these awesome open source torrent videos:
If you are familiar with torrents or once you are, you can then search for content on popular torrent search sites.
How Could PIA VPN be Better?
Have little doubt: PIA is a fantastic VPN, whether for torrenting or any other VPN uses you have in mind.
However, nothing in life is ever perfect. Here's how Private Internet Access could be better:
- As with most VPN providers, PIA sends your login details to you via plain text email. Therefore, we recommend that you change your default password through PIA’s web-based panel at the first opportunity.
- PIA offers the largest proxy server network (3,160+ servers!) and highest number of anonymous IP addresses in the VPN industry, but not the most countries.
PIA has servers in a respectable 33 countries, and although these include most popular VPN server locations including those for safe torrenting, this number is low compared to the number of exit point locations offered by some of its VPN rivals. This is not an issue for anonymous torrent file-sharing, but can be a factor if you want to stream online content (such as TV and live sporting events) from many different locations.
"But Private Internet Access is Based in the (Evil) USA!"
We hear this a lot.
- see how PIA stacks up against ExpressVPN in our detailed 'PIA vs Express' post
We disagree it’s a big deal that PIA VPN is based in the USA.
Read the start of this post again: PIA has gone to great lengths to protect user privacy. Remember the court cases we mentioned right off the top of this review? For example, late last year, PureVPN, a VPN based outside the USA, handed over its logs to US authorities.
What’s far more important than where the VPN provider is based, is the measures it takes to protect you. PIA does not log, uses shared IP addresses and owns all its servers.
If you think you are safer with a VPN services based outside the USA, you need to look more closely. Do they log? Do they own all the servers they use? If not, who does, and do they log? Etc.
Private Internet Access VPN At-a-Glance
|Platforms:||Windows, Android, Mac OSX, iOS, Linux|
|Servers:||3,160 servers covering 33 countries.|
|Security:||Up to OpenVPN with AES-256 encryption, RSA-4096 handshake and SHA-256 data authentication. Also features kill switch and DNS leak protection.|
|Privacy:||No logs at all (including metadata logs), period.|
|Torrents:||P2P torrent file-sharing & downloading permitted.|
|Price:||Special reader offer of $2.91/month ($69.95 biannually), $3.33/mo ($39.95 annually) or $6.95 month-to-month.|
|Payment methods:||PayPal, VISA, Mastercard, AMEX, Discover, Google Checkout, Amazon Payment, Bitcoin, Liberty Reserve, OK Pay, CashU. PIA also accepts anonymous payments using 100+ major brand gift cards, such as Starbucks, Walmart, BestBuy, etc.|
Go ahead and compare PIA with 150+ VPN services and we're sure you'll agree that PIA is the overall best value VPN on the market today.
Try it 7 days risk-free
As you’ve seen, it’s hard to go wrong with PIA VPN for protecting your torrenting.
It’s a VPN with great features that’s got your back and at unbeatable prices too.
Remember, PIA offers a full money-back guarantee, so you have 7 days to try it for yourself totally risk-free. Sign up, put it to the test and we’re sure you’ll agree it’s the right torrent VPN for you.