Downloading torrent files is a great way to gain access to media. However, torrenting can be risky and have negative consequences. Without the right precautions, your behavior is easily monitored.
With a VPN that is suitable for torrenting, you can be sure to stay anonymous. The VPN will ensure that your downloaded and uploaded data is encrypted and that your real IP address is not visible.
Even though there are efforts to put a stop to it, torrenting is here to stay. To make sure our readers remain anonymous, we recommend using one of the safe torrent VPNs we tested and approved.
How should you pick a VPN for torrenting?
We know it can be overwhelming to pick out a VPN when you have so many options. With so many variables in the modern digital landscape, some users may feel that it's a challenging task.
That's why we developed this checklist of things to consider when you are researching for a VPN for torrents. We suggest that you go through these factors when considering a VPN provider.
Make sure it allows P2P traffic
Some VPNs outright prohibit BitTorrent activity on their networks. That's because it can create a legal headache for the provider, depending on where they're located. Make sure that the VPN you are looking at allows P2P file-sharing. If they do, that's usually stated in their terms and conditions.
The logging policy should be clear
An important factor that separates a good VPN from an average one is whether they retain user traffic logs or not. In our opinion, keeping activity logs goes against true anonymity.
Excluding the providers that save user activity should be one of your main priorities. Once again, you should read the terms and conditions of each VPN before getting it.
It must include a kill switch
In our opinion, the kill switch tool is so crucial that if a VPN software does not have it, we see it as a deal-breaker. This feature will keep you on the safe side when your VPN crashes. Your anonymity will always be at risk with a provider who doesn't offer a kill switch. It shouldn't even be considered.
It should have strong encryption and VPN protocols
You will see some VPNs advertising themselves with the fact that they have many available protocols. But that is not an advantage. This is one of the areas where you want quality over quantity. For example, some of these protocols are outdated, and they can actually put you at risk when torrenting. That's the case with PPTP and L2TP.
Our advice is that you look for the OpenVPN protocol with a 256 AES encryption cipher. If they have both OpenVPN UDP and TCP available, even better. It's the best combination between security and speed. On top of that, this level of encryption was never broken before.
A fast download speed is essential
When we talk about torrenting, download speed is critical. However, most VPNs have speed issues. Those problems happen for a variety of reasons, but there are usually three main culprits:
1. Encryption consumes resources
In the first place, your Internet traffic has more layers to go through than it ordinarily would. That happens because of the VPN's encryption. This obstacle is an unavoidable challenge for every VPN provider. Fortunately, some of them keep developing and improving their software, reducing the speed impact.
2. Distance to the VPN server
Your computer's distance from the server you are connected to will also affect the speed. The connection speed will be slower the farther away the server is from you. With this in mind, it's always good to visit the VPN provider's webpage and check for their server locations. That's the best way to verify if they have options in your neighbor countries.
In case they only allow torrenting in some of their servers, remember to have a look at the locations of their P2P servers.
3. Low User Saturation
Especially in the cheap rung of providers, there's a risk that you'll run into user saturation. This means that servers are running at 100% capacity. Users who connect to it face very slow download speeds.
A good VPN can automatically route you to a server in the same country you have chosen, but with an adequate bandwidth. That would mean that such a VPN service has several servers in the same location. That's one of the reasons why some VPNs are more expensive.
What are the Best VPNs for Torrenting?
The torrent VPNs we approve and recommend in our list are the ones that tick all the boxes we mentioned above. They have a combination of security features and policies that provide peace of mind for file-sharing.
File-sharing is expressly allowed by NordVPN and the software even has a P2P server category. These torrent servers are built to achieve fast download speeds.
Over the years, the custom NordVPN client has been fine-tunned to accommodate even the most anxious BitTorrent users' worries. There is a kill switch and a DNS leak protection among its features to ensure your activity stays secure.
NordVPN was the first VPN to be independently inspected by a member of the “big four” auditing firms. They wanted to prove to the public that their no-logging guarantee is accurate. Consequently, it has gained even more influence in the P2P community.
Surfshark is lesser-known than the competition because of its very young age. The fact that we are ranking a newcomer in second place says a lot about this provider and how much we like them.
Surfshark is as feature-rich as the top VPNs on the market. Like most VPNs in this list, it does not log any identifying information. Also, every server in its network allows P2P traffic. These features, combined with good speeds and modern encryption, make it a very decent option to protect your torrent downloads.
Finally, because it is a new company, they still have a very affordable price, one of the lowest in this industry.
ExpressVPN is another mainstay in the VPN industry. With servers available in nearly 100 countries and a strict “no logging” policy, it's a clear contender. It has a simplified interface, making it one of the easiest VPNs to use.
To make it even more painless, they allow file-sharing on every server, meaning you can connect to any of them and start downloading torrents.
If you like to test servers individually, you will love their built-in speed test tool. You can test every server, making it easy to identify the fastest ones, which is always handy when it comes to torrenting.
IPVanish is famous for its consistently high speeds, great UI, and additional security capabilities, such as an Internet kill switch. Its most distinguishing features are the sleek and user-friendly interface.
You can even see the download and upload speeds in real-time directly from the main window. That shows how much the IPVanish team values speed. Many users in the BitTorrent community consider them the fastest VPN for torrenting.
PureVPN is a well-known VPN provider hailed for its affordability. With full support for P2P traffic on selected servers in its network, torrent users can stay anonymous through any of the major VPN connection methods.
Though it doesn't have the highest speeds of providers in this list, it's still faster than many VPNs we tried.
It also has some unique security services, such as automatic connection when the user connects to public WiFi. It's also worth noting that the service offers the unusual perk of having a “personal IP address”.
VPN for Torrenting FAQs
What are the risks of torrenting without a VPN?
Torrenting without protection has very different consequences depending on where you are. Many countries actively pursue criminal and civil charges against those who share copyrighted material.
Can you torrent with every VPN?
Unfortunately, not every VPN is ideal for torrents and there are several reasons for that. Some of them simply don't allow BitTorrent traffic. Even though file-sharing has different uses, it's connected to online piracy. Because of that, some VPN companies decide to stay out of it.
Additionally, many VPNs don't provide the proper security tools that are required for torrenting with safety. We are talking about tools like the kill switch, the DNS leak protection, and strong encryption.
Should you torrent with a free VPN?
Getting torrents with a free VPN can be a risky thing. These companies claim to have a free product, but they are spending a considerable amount of money. They have to develop the software, maintain servers, pay employees, among other costs. The thing to have in mind is that they are getting their money back somehow, to pay for all those expenses.
Not so long ago, some of these so-called “free VPNs” were caught logging user activity and selling it to all kinds of entities. Usually, they sell it to the highest bidder. It could be a government agency, a marketing company, or some other entity that has an interest in your activity.
How To Use a VPN For Torrenting?
Virtual Private Networks come with their own software, each with its customized options and user interface. As a result, the VPN setup and connection method differ, depending on which one you are using.
But there are some common things among all VPN software. The first thing to do is to make sure the configurations are set up correctly, such as activating the kill switch feature.
After that, the most important thing is that you select a VPN server to connect to. That will replace your true IP address with one from the location you selected.
Can a VPN increase the torrent download speed?
A VPN does not have the power to increase your download speed. There are some ways to make your torrents faster, but a VPN alone will not do that for you.
A VPN will only increase your download speed if your Internet Service Provider is currently throttling you. Since the VPN's encryption masks your torrent activity from your ISP, they won't know what you are doing. Therefore, they can't reduce your speed.
Thanks to the anonymity it provides, a VPN is a very popular choice among torrent users. But some of them don't do a good job protecting you. If you use a low-quality VPN software, you may end up getting exposed. That's why it is crucial to do a good research.
All the options that we listed above passed our security tests. They are all capable of hiding torrenting activity. But they are different when it comes to extra features, ease of use, servers, and price.
Do your research thoroughly and see which providers match your preferences and budget. After that, you'll get that peace of mind you've been looking for. Happy torrenting!