Is NordVPN Good for Torrenting Anonymously?

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NordVPN for P2P file-sharing

If you’ve been researching for a VPN for torrenting for any length of time, chances are that you’ve at least seen the name “NordVPN” mentioned a few times. It’s one of the most popular VPNs at the moment, and we wanted to know if it’s also a good option for torrenting.

NordVPN has a friendly policy towards torrenting, which eliminates the grey cloud that we usually see with many VPN providers. On top of that, this VPN allows a fast download speed, thanks to the P2P optimized servers, and finally, it has important features that make torrenting easier and safer.

Does NordVPN Allow Torrenting?

NordVPN is very upfront about its torrenting policy. They allow BitTorrent traffic, and users can be sure of that within the application itself.

If you head over to the “specialty server” area in the NordVPN app, you will see a space dedicated to P2P. The fact that they provide servers built to download torrents is an obvious indicator of their stance on file-sharing.

What Makes NordVPN a Good VPN for Torrenting?

NordVPN has some interesting features that allow users to torrent on the safe side.

NordVPN specs

Servers: Over 5000 spread over 60 countries. But torrenting is not allowed in all of them.
Servers for P2P: There are servers optimized for torrents and P2P in 48 server locations (out of 60).
Download speed: Great download speeds in most servers.
Safety features: There is a kill switch and DNS leak prevention.
Protocols available: OpenVPN UDP and TCP, and NordLynx.
Encryption: 256-bit AES cipher.
Logging policy: User activity is not saved.
Company location: NordVPN is located in Panama, a country with no data retention laws and outside the jurisdiction of the “Five Eye” alliance.

How to Torrent With NordVPN?

It only takes a few steps to download torrents with NordVPN. Following these steps will ensure a safe torrenting experience.

1. Get a NordVPN subscription

To use the software, you first need an account with NordVPN. Head over to the checkout page and choose a plan that suits you.

2. Install and Configure NordVPN for torrenting

After properly installing the VPN software and logging in, you should configure it to download torrents safely.

The main steps are turning the kill switch on and choosing a safe protocol. You can find both options in the settings tab.

3. Connect to a P2P Server

Now it’s time to connect to a server. Remember to connect to one in the “P2P” tab. Those are the ones that allow torrent downloads.

4. Make sure you protect your IP address

To verify that NordVPN has successfully masked your real IP address, you should identify what IP address you are using.

Such a test can be performed online using a site like iPleak. It has a torrent detection test that will show you the IP your BitTorrent client is using.

5. Start Torrenting

You are now protected behind a NordVPN server with its own IP address and an encrypted connection. You can now look for your torrents, open your BitTorrent Client, and start downloading.

NordVPN Servers

NordVPN has more than 5200 servers, spread across 60 countries. But BitTorrent traffic is not allowed in all of them.

The torrent optimized servers

They have built special servers for torrenting to achieve faster and more stable speeds than the standard ones. They have no bandwidth limits and can provide much faster download speeds. Read our post about NordVPN’s P2P servers to learn how to choose the best ones.

Server Speed Tests

It’s time to test the speed of NordVPN’s servers. But before we move forward, here are a few things to have in mind:

  1. The test was performed in Poland.
  2. I am sharing tests on two server locations; one in Germany (very close) and the other in the Netherlands (far away).
  3. I am testing two protocols for each server location: OpenVPN UDP and NordLynx.
Internet speed without NordVPN
Speed test without a VPN connection
Test result for the german server on the OpenVPN protocol
Germany, OpenVPN UDP – Approx. 36% speed loss
Test result for the german server on the NordLynx protocol
Germany, NordLynx – Approx. 4% speed loss
Test result for the server on the Netherlands with the OpenVPN protocol
The Netherlands, OpenVPN UDP – Approx. 40% speed loss
Test result for the server on the Netherlands with the NordLynx protocol
The Netherlands, NordLynx – Approx. 6% speed loss

With this particular test, I wanted to verify two things:

  1. If there was a significant speed loss when increasing the distance between my computer and the server.
  2. The difference in speed for each protocol.

Speed loss with increased distance

As you probably know, the further you are from the server location you have chosen, the bigger impact there will be on your connection speed. In other words, I was expecting a more significant loss in the server located in the Netherlands than the one in Germany. And that was indeed the case.

But I have to say that the speed loss did not increase as much as I thought. It went from 36% (Germany) to 40% (the Netherlands) with the Open VPN protocol and from 4% to 6% with the NordLynx protocol. Considering the distance increase, it’s a pretty good result. Just for you to have a better idea of how far I am from the server locations, here are the exact distances (on a straight line):

  • The first server location (Germany) is 518km / 321.87 miles away
  • The second location (the Netherlands) is 1094km / 679.78 miles away

Protocols and speed

NordLynx was the clear winner, maintaining 96% (Germany) and 94% (the Netherlands) of the original internet speed. NordLynx is NordVPN’s own protocol, based on wireguard, but with some improvements that make it safer. If you want to know a bit more about it, you can read the following post about the NordLynx protocol.

When comparing directly to the OpenVPN UDP numbers we registered, one might think it’s a bad result, but it’s not. OpenVPN also showed some good test results.

The main thing to have in mind is that OpenVPN’s higher encryption consumes more resources, and such an impact on speed was expected. In most VPNs, the speed loss with OpenVPN is usually more visible than this.

Our recommendation

In my opinion, connecting to a server in a neighboring country when connected to the NordLynx protocol provides an excellent download speed. This is one of the highest speeds we achieved with a VPN, and it’s one of the main reasons why NordVPN is at the top of our list of recommended VPNs for torrenting.

Security Features and Settings

There are many features and tools that can help you increase your online safety. I am not going to go over every single tool, because not all are relevant for this review. Instead, I will focus on the ones that can have an impact on your torrenting experience.

Internet Kill Switch

This is one of the most critical VPN tools for P2P. If the VPN goes down, it suspends your Internet connection and stops protecting you. It guarantees that your identity doesn’t leak while the VPN is offline.

The NordVPN kill switch settings

We have a post about NordVPN’s kill switch where you can learn more details about it and how to use it properly.

DNS Leak Protection

NordVPN uses its own DNS servers, making a DNS leak impossible. You can even insert custom DNS servers if you want, but we strongly recommend leaving it as it is and using NordVPN’s DNS servers.

It’s good to see this option. Some VPN services use your default DNS servers, leaving you open to snooping by whoever hosts them (hint: it’s often your ISP!).

Encryption and Protocols

The software lets you choose between OpenVPN and the NordLynx protocol. As I mentioned before, NordLynx is their own protocol, based on WireGuard.

The software uses an AES-256-CBC encryption cipher, which is very modern and one of the strongest options available.

Socks5 Proxy

It’s possible to increase safety when downloading torrents with a Socks5 proxy. This isn’t mandatory, and we actually recommend torrenting with the NordVPN software only. But if you want to learn how to configure this tool, read our NordVPN socks5 proxy guide.

Security tests

For a long period, we performed daily tests to verify if NordVPN’s security features worked as they should. These are some of the tests we’ve made:

Ip address detection

The following is the IP address detected when connected to one of NordVPN’s servers in the Netherlands.

The detected IP address from NordVPN

The test came out clean, with the detected IP being the one from the NordVPN server, not my real IP address.

DNS leak test

The DNS server address from NordVPN

Again, no leaks whatsoever. The DNS request was made through NordVPN’s DNS servers.

Torrent address IP detection

The final test I am showing you is the detection of which IP is being used when downloading torrents.

The NordVPN IP when torrenting

Like every test we performed with NordVPN, this one also showed the IP address from the VPN server.

Compatibility and Simultaneous Connections

The software is compatible with the major Operating Systems and devices, such as Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Linux, Android, etc.

Regardless of the platform, users can connect to the service six times at once. For example, you can simultaneously protect your three laptops, smartphone, smart TV, and gaming console. This also makes it possible to share your NordVPN subscription with your family members.

Safety Details About the NordVPN Company

To be considered safe to download torrents, a VPN must follow a few good practices that ensure the user’s safety:

No Logging Policy

One of the essential details in a VPN that aims to be torrent-friendly is its no-logging policy. And according to NordVPN’s privacy policy, they do not keep logs of their user’s activity.

NordVPN's privacy policy stating they don't save logs

A famous and neutral audit company recently confirmed this policy claim after auditing NordVPN. They got permission to see what NordVPN sees and verify if they saved any activity logs.

Company Location

NordVPN’s business license is in Panama. It would be very tough to legally coerce the VPN company since it’s located outside the US and EU jurisdictions.

Staying away from the reach of governments that are famous for snooping on their citizens’ activities is a big plus.

Price

The price of NordVPN plans

Like most VPN providers, the longer you subscribe, the cheaper it gets. The biggest advantage is for first-time subscribers. For example, the 2-year plan costs a total of $95.76. After that, if you want to renew, it will cost $99.48 per year.

If the service doesn’t work out for you, there’s always the possibility of requesting a refund. They have a 30-day money-back guarantee policy, with no questions asked.

NordVPN Advantages and Disadvantages

Most users will find NordVPN to be an excellent option. However, it does have a few things to watch out for. The pros and cons of NordVPN will help you decide whether it is suitable for you.

Pros

  • Unbreakable AES-256 encryption cipher and safe protocols available.
  • They were audited by one of the biggest auditing firms to show that they do not save logs. We liked the fact that they requested this audit to prove they have nothing to hide.
  • Their own NordLynx protocol provides some of the fastest speeds we have seen in a VPN.
  • There are many high-speed P2P dedicated servers, which guarantee fast torrent downloads.
  • The software has essential features that make torrenting safer, such as a kill switch and DNS leak prevention.

Cons

  • Sometimes, establishing a connection to a server takes a bit longer than it should. It’s not a significant drawback, but it can take a few extra seconds compared to other VPNs.
  • There are few torrent optimized servers in locations like Africa and the Middle East. For example, there is only one option for the entire African continent. Users from that continent can still connect to servers around the world. The problem is that speed would suffer a lot because of the distance.

Conclusion

NordVPN did a great job hiding our torrenting activity and keeping it private. It passed every security test we performed without a single leak.

The creators are clearly passionate about their work. They’ve gone out of their way to demonstrate that they are, indeed, legitimate VPN providers that fully support P2P downloads.

When it comes to ease of use, torrenting with the protection of NordVPN was a breeze. Their P2P optimized servers are easy to identify, and when combined with the NordLynx protocol, they are reliable and very fast.

For the ones concerned about their privacy and looking for a reliable torrenting experience, NordVPN is one of the best options out there.

NordVPN download button

NordVPN for Torrenting FAQs

Sometimes a torrent may download slower than average after turning NordVPN on. The solution is often changing to a better server. Select a torrent optimized server in a country close to you. Changing protocols may also help to increase speed.

Torrenting should work with NordVPN, even with the default settings. If it’s not working, make sure you selected a torrent that has seeders. You should also verify if you are connected to a proper server, tagged with P2P.

NordVPN does not allow port forwarding. The reason for that is the fact that port forwarding may result in serious security risks.