ExpressVPN for Torrenting

If you’re a torrent user, you’ve probably heard of ExpressVPN, a VPN provider that is often recommended as a solution for P2P file-sharing. And it’s understandable why. It has a great download speed, strong encryption, and plenty of servers.

In this review, we will evaluate every aspect and feature of this VPN that concerns torrenting. We will also explain in detail how to use ExpressVPN to download torrent files in a safe way.

Is ExpressVPN Safe for Torrening?

To determine if ExpressVPN is safe for file-sharing and P2P, we must go through some important topics. That’s because a VPN has to follow some best practices in order to be considered safe.

Does ExpressVPN Allow Torrenting?

To be on the safe side, you should always make sure that your VPN allows torrenting. If they don’t, your VPN would probably disconnect all the time for doing something that goes against the VPN policy.

For that reason, it’s important to verify ExpressVPN’s take on file-sharing. I can say for sure that ExpressVPN supports torrenting in all their servers. During my extensive testing, with dozens of torrent downloads, I was never blocked.

Does ExpressVPN Save Logs?

ExpressVPN has a zero log policy. That means they do not keep your activity logs, and they are clear about that on their terms of service. Here is a screenshot from their privacy policy describing how they handle logs.

A screenshot from ExpressVPN's privacy policy concerning logs

Nor keeping user logs is one of the key factors to look for in a VPN service. You don’t want your torrenting activity saved or accessed by anyone, even your VPN provider.

Company Location

The fact that the company is based outside the US and the European Union is crucial. Those are the most intrusive governments when it comes to monitoring user activity.

Because they are located in the British Virgin Islands, the EU and USA data retention laws are not applicable. That way, even if a government agency asks for user information, they don’t have to obey.

Encryption and Protocols

They use the highest level of encryption available, a 256-bit AES encryption cipher. And they have a good selection of protocols. You can choose from OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec and Lightway (UDP and TCP). 

The Lightway protocol was created by the ExpressVPN team. It’s promising, and it will probably be a great option in the future. But it needs more testing before we recommend using it. For now, we still suggest using OpenVPN. 

Available IP Addresses

ExpressVPN uses shared IPs, which is a great advantage. Thousands of users share the same IP, making it impossible to identify a single person.

How To Download Torrents With ExpressVPN?

Downloading torrents with ExpressVPN is very easy. Unlike other VPN providers, ExpressVPN allows torrent downloads on every server. There are only a few steps you need to take to make sure you are protected at all times:

1. Choose a BitTorrent Client

You will need a torrent client to manage your downloads. qBitTorrent is one of our favorites, but you can’t go wrong with uTorrent as well. If you like a lot of information about your downloads, you will love Vuze.

2. Get an ExpressVPN subscription

Now you need a subscription to be able to use the ExpressVPN software. Just visit their website and get one of the available subscriptions. Remember that the longer the plan, the higher the price reduction.

3. Configure ExpressVPN for torrenting

Even though there isn’t a particular setup for file-sharing, there are some configurations you should pay attention to. 

The first one is the kill switch. This tool should always be on. Go to the options and, on the “General” tab, tick the two boxes under Network lock. They have a different name for it, but it’s the same as a VPN kill switch.

You should also select a strong protocol. We always recommend OpenVPN UDP. In our opinion, it offers the best combination between encryption and speed. You can access the protocols by going to “Options” and then “Protocols“.

4. Select a fast server

A tab with the servers suggested by the ExpressVPN software

There are some different ways to find fast servers for torrenting with ExpressVPN. One of those methods is the smart location feature, where the VPN selects the best server for you. 

In the following image, the software is recommending France as the best server for my connection, at the present moment. That suggestion can always change depending on factors such as server load.

In case you don’t want that one, there are more recommended locations in the same tab.

As I mentioned before, you don’t have to worry about servers for torreting. ExpressVPN allows BitTorrent traffic on every server.

We always recommend choosing a VPN server in one of your neighbor countries. That way, you won’t have a significant impact on speed due to distance. At the same time, you will be connected to a different country than yours, contributing to stronger protection.

5. Make sure you are using the VPN’s IP address

Now, you should verify that you are using the IP address that belongs to the VPN server, and not your real one. 

You can quickly do that by going to the ipleak website. It tells you the IP address you are using and lets you know about the country it comes from. Apart from that, it also verifies DNS leaks, and it even lets you perform a torrent address detection test.

If you want to learn a bit more about it and do a more extensive test, check out our blog post about testing your torrent IP.

6. Start torrenting

Now you are good to go. Just remember that turning your VPN on should always be the first thing you do. Even when searching for torrents online, you should only do it after connecting to the VPN.

Servers

There are more than 3000 servers, in 160 cities, in 94 countries (and they add new ones frequently). The main advantage of such numbers is that users will always have servers available that are not overcrowded. That way, there are higher chances of having a fast VPN connection.

Another positive point is that it’s easy to find and connect to nearby countries, increasing the chances of fast speeds.

Features and Settings

One of the things that make ExpressVPN stand out from the crowd is that they listen to suggestions and requests from their users. Let’s analyze the most important features, which are located in “General” and “Advanced “.

ExpressVPN options and settings
Advanced security tools

The Internet Kill Switch

This tool is of extreme importance on a Virtual Private Network. If something goes wrong and the VPN drops, the Kill Switch stops your Internet connection. This prevents your real IP from being exposed and your data visible while the VPN is not working.

The kill switch is the kind of tool that should always be enabled, especially when torrenting. To turn it on, tick the box “Stop all Internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly “.

The DNS Leak Prevention

This feature prevents DNS leaks, which can compromise anonymity. The goal is simple, to make sure that the DNS requests are made through ExpressVPN’s private servers, instead of those from your ISP.

IPV6 Leak protection

This is another important option that we recommend activating. It ensures that there is no IPv6 traffic going outside the VPN tunnel.

Speed Test

The speed test included in the software is an interesting and unique tool. It measures the speed of each server so that you can see which is best at that moment.

The ExpressVPN speed test tool

This feature can be handy for the “old school” VPN users who prefer to manually test and select a server.

ExpressVPN Torrent Speed Test

Server speed is one of the areas where ExpressVPN invests the most. They keep developing and including new servers, which increases the speed of their connection. As a result, this VPN is among the fastest we tested. Here’s the test result we registered when performing one of many tests:

Torrent speed test without a VPN
Torrent speed without a VPN
Torrent speed test with ExpressVPN
Torrent speed connected to ExpressVPN

Additional notes:

  • The protocol used to establish a VPN connection was OpenVPN UDP.
  • The server is in the Netherlands, in the same continent as our real location.
  • This test was performed with qBitTorrent.

The User Interface

The ease of use of the software is a big plus. Even VPN beginners will have no problem managing all the options. From the main window, the user can connect/disconnect and also access all the settings.

The user interface of ExpressVPN

Directly from the main window, you have the possibility of letting the smart location choose the best server for you, or simply select a recent location.

The interface may be simple, but that does not mean you have limited choices.

Compatibility

The software has a high device compatibility when compared to many providers. The most common platforms are available, like Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux. We tested the mobile apps, and they were also efficient and straightforward.

There are five simultaneous connections available, which is enough to cover every device of the average user. For example, you can use a desktop, laptop, and mobile simultaneously with the same account.

Price

Like most VPNs, long-term subscription packages are cheaper. In our opinion, the annual subscription has a fair price, if you consider the quality of the service. We know it’s a bit more than other VPNs out there, but you are getting what you pay for in this case.

ExpressVPN plans

There are several payment methods available, including Bitcoin, PayPal, and credit card. If you are not happy with the service, there is a money-back guarantee policy of 30 days, with no questions asked.

Is ExpressVPN a Good VPN for Torrenting?

ExpressVPN provides a great torrenting experience. In our opinion, it’s one of the top 3 VPNs for torrenting. It includes every detail that a good VPN should provide: no logging, unbreakable encryption, unlimited bandwidth, and great speeds. 

It’s also important to mention that ExpressVPN has been in business for years, and it has a reputation for reliability. Even though we like a few newcomer VPNs, having so many years of experience and a reputable name is a great advantage.

That’s the reason why many users don’t mind paying a bit extra; they know ExpressVPN is going to keep them safe while providing very fast speeds.

Pros

  • It’s a premium and trustworthy brand name, operating for many years without user identity leaks.
  • It’s located in the British Virgin Islands, outside the reach of governments with harsh online privacy laws.
  • No logging policy, meaning they will never keep their user’s activity.
  • It has mandatory tools for torrenting, such as the kill switch feature.
  • Powerful and modern encryption that keeps users safe from snoopers.
  • An extensive network of fast VPN servers make it possible to download torrents at high speeds.
  • Very easy to use, suitable for both new and experienced VPN users.

Cons

  • It’s more expensive than other VPNs. 
  • There are very few server locations available in Africa and the Middle East. Those users will have to connect to distant locations, which means speed loss.

ExpressVPN for Torrenting FAQs

The best servers for torrenting and P2P depend on the physical location of the user. The closer the VPN server is to the user’s real location, the higher chances of a good download speed.

ExpressVPN is compatible with every BitTorrent client, such as uTorrent and qBitTorrent. There is no integration needed between the VPN and torrent software. You just need to turn the VPN on, and the BitTorrent client will download the torrent files.

Like most VPNs, ExpressVPN does not allow port forwarding. That’s because port forwarding is known to increase the risks of exposure when downloading torrents.

If the download speeds are slow, it could be because of an overcrowded server. Try switching to another server. Changing protocols is also effective when it comes to increasing connection speeds. For example, changing from OpenVPN TCP to UDP should make the download faster, as it consumes fewer resources.

With a higher number and quality of their servers, ExpressVPN has to invest more than most VPNs. Additionally, they have a reputation for being among very few VPNs without any leaks or hacking incidents, which allows them to charge a higher price.