Torrents are a great way of distributing just about any type of file, whether that’s a song, movie, game or even software. However, most of the content within torrents is copyrighted material, and piracy can land you in hot water if you don’t cover your digital tracks. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best VPNs for torrenting.
Illegally reproducing and sharing copyrighted material is a big no-no, but let’s face it, that’s what most of the content on torrent sites is. Copyright infringement is frowned upon in most countries, and by torrenting such material, you’re at risk of getting a hefty fine or prison sentence if you don’t protect yourself with a VPN.
We’re in no way condoning online piracy, but if you’re going to do it, you should know how to do it safely. If you don’t use a VPN — and a decent one at that — it’s basically like leaving your door open. Anyone can see your IP address. Plus, all your online activities can be traced back to you, which is never good when it comes to copyright infringement.
For our readers with a short attention span, you should go right ahead and install NordVPN. This VPN will keep you hidden and protect you from any nasty files within the download, and its custom P2P servers can deal with your torrenting antics. Keep reading for more VPN recommendations and other information related to torrenting.
The Best VPNs for Torrenting
- Private Internet Access
NordVPN is the best VPN for torrenting. It has all the qualities a VPN needs to protect you while you sail pirate-infested waters, but it comes with some handy extras, too.
Going past the fact that the VPN actually allows P2P traffic, NordVPN has custom P2P servers that are more capable of handling torrenting activity than its regular servers. You’ll get more protection with the P2P servers, too. However, if capacity isn’t a priority, NordVPN’s double-hop servers add a whole extra layer of protection.
That’s on top of the high encryption rate that NordVPN already employs, and it has a kill switch included to ensure you’re not caught out by a glitch in the service. The VPN also has a strict no-logs policy, so there won’t be a record of your online actions. However, if you’re particularly worried, you can sign up with a throwaway email and use bitcoin for payment.
NordVPN’s Performance and Price
It’s not the fastest VPN on the market, but it can keep up with most people’s needs, as you can read in our NordVPN review. You get unlimited data, so you won’t need to worry about hitting a limit and being thrown off the VPN’s network.
NordVPN offers good value for your money, and it’s a popular option for people wanting a great VPN service on a strict budget. Its monthly plan isn’t the worst we’ve seen, but you’ll save money by opting for one of its longer subscriptions. There’s a 30-day refund window, too, for extra peace of mind.
- Custom P2P servers
- Top-notch security
- Double-hop encryption
- Inconsistent speed across its network
ExpressVPN is the best all-round service in our VPN reviews, but although it’s packed with great features, none of them are dedicated to torrenting. However, that doesn’t mean the VPN is useless for the task. In fact, any of its 3,000-plus servers are suitable for torrenting, they’re just not designed particularly for it. You can read our guide to torrenting with ExpressVPN, though.
Other than its lack of dedicated P2P servers, ExpressVPN is similar to NordVPN, as you can read in our ExpressVPN vs NordVPN article. The VPN comes with excellent security, using 256-bit encryption straight out of the box, but you can higher that to 4096-bit, provided you are comfortable fiddling with the settings. A kill switch is also built in, which is enabled by default.
You’ll have no issue with speed because it comes with the fastest download speeds we’ve tested to date, and there are no bandwidth limits to stop you in your tracks, either.
Both of those factors earned it the top spot in our best VPN for streaming comparison. Additionally, the VPN is easy to use and a perfect pick for a beginner. If you’re a Mac user, ExpressVPN’s ease of use complements macOS, and that helped it take the crown in our best VPN for Mac piece. Read in our ExpressVPN review for more.
ExpressVPN’s Price Tag
Something that’s always kicked us where it hurts is ExpressVPN’s cost — it’s high. That said, you get a fantastic VPN service for your money. The monthly plan is the worst, but you can bring the cost down a little by opting for a longer subscription. ExpressVPN accepts bitcoin, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, in case you decide it’s not for you.
- Ultra fast
- Excellent security
- Based in the British Virgin Islands
- No custom P2P servers
The CyberGhost VPN is an excellent choice for torrenting. Though it doesn’t quite have the qualities of our first two picks, it’s not far off. It has a massive server network, and it has a dedicated profile tab showing all of its P2P-enabled servers. Plus, for each server, you can see how many members are currently using it, your distance from it and the server load.
Its security is great and you get a kill switch included, although it is permanently enabled. This is good because it’s really a must if you’re torrenting, but it’s also annoying because you can’t turn it off. Read our CyberGhost review for more information.
CyberGhost’s Other Features
CyberGhost is a fast service, but like NordVPN, it can suffer when connecting to faraway servers. You get unlimited bandwidth, and it allows seven simultaneous connections, in case you want to captain a whole pirate crew. Its interface may seem a little weird at first, but it’s fine once you get used to it.
It’s an inexpensive service, though you shouldn’t opt for the monthly rate if you want to keep costs down. A seven-day free trial is available for Android and iOS users, but desktop users only get one day. For anonymity, you can check out with BitPay. There’s also a money-back guarantee, which is 14 days on the monthly plan and 45 days on longer ones.
- Dedicated P2P profile
- Permanently enabled kill switch
- No kill switch controls
- Can be slow
VyprVPN is a solid VPN service for torrenting because all of its servers support P2P traffic. There’s no special list or any hoops for users to jump through. You just pick a server and away you go.
Security is one of VyprVPN’s strongest points. You can choose from many different protocols, and there’s the option of its very own Chameleon protocol, which you can read more about in our VyprVPN review.
Its speeds are lackluster on paper, but in our testing, we found them to be consistent and not all that bad. However, if you’re torrenting a large file, you might want to pop the kettle on or maybe take a nap. You do get unlimited bandwidth, though, so you can download as much as you like. Its interface could be improved, but it’s still simple to use.
VyprVPN’s price depends on which tier you choose. The Standard plan is its cheapest and gives you three simultaneous connections, while the Premium plan ups the connections limit to five and gives you the use of its Chameleon protocol. The annual plan is more cost effective, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind.
- Several security options
- Proprietary Chameleon protocol
- All servers support torrenting
- Can be slow
- No cryptocurrency payment option
Our next selection, ProtonVPN, doesn’t get mentioned very often in our roundup articles. That’s not to say it’s a bad service, just that others beat it in certain areas. For torrenting, though, ProtonVPN brings some nice features to the table.
ProtonVPN’s servers are torrent-friendly already, but it has special P2P servers to ensure you’re properly protected. Plus, it allows you to set profiles for specific activities so that you don’t have to keep setting it up manually every time you want to use it. For example, you can set up and name a torrenting profile with your desired protocol and a specific server.
ProtonVPN’s Other Features
There are no bandwidth limits, and although its speeds aren’t slow, they’re not the fastest either, as you can read in our ProtonVPN review. Setup can be a pain, but once it’s done, the interface is simple to use.
ProtonVPN’s price is based around multiple packages. Its cheapest plans are the free one and Basic, but we don’t recommend either for torrenting. That’s because although you get unlimited bandwidth with both, the free plan restricts speed and neither has access to the P2P servers.
The Plus plan is the best option. With that, you get access to the P2P servers and five simultaneous connections, plus it’s not ProtonVPN’s most expensive plan.
The Visionary plan is the most costly, and although you do get an extra five connections and the use of its encrypted email service, it’s just not worth the extra bucks. A 30-day refund window is in place.
- Special P2P servers
- Personalized profiles
- Top-notch security
- P2P servers aren’t available on cheaper plans
- Can be slow
- Can be a pain to setup
Next up is Private Internet Access, which is a great VPN service with a few little niggles you’ll need to iron out for torrenting. The VPN offers torrent-friendly servers, and some locations support port forwarding, which allows for a better and faster torrenting experience. You can read more about that in our PIA review.
PIA’s security is good, but you’ll need to increase the encryption level before you do anything extralegal. When you install it, the default setting is 128-bit encryption, which is not secure enough for complete anonymity. The VPN comes with a kill switch and doesn’t keep any logs whatsoever. You can also pay for the service using cryptocurrency.
It’s capable of fast speeds, even after a little dip once the encryption level is higher, though it can be inconsistent. There are no bandwidth limits, and the VPN allows 10 simultaneous connections. It’s also easy to use, especially after its last interface update.
PIA is cheap. Even after it increased its prices not too long ago, the provider remained one of the cheaper VPN service options. A seven-day refund period is in place, in case you find it’s not for you.
- Customizable security
- Keeps no logs
- Inconsistent speeds
- Default encryption rate low
Windscribe is also a suitable VPN for torrenting and even has a uTorrent setup guide at the ready. Its network isn’t huge, but it’s clear which locations don’t support torrenting, as they have a P2P icon with a strikethrough. There are plenty to choose from, though, depending on the plan you select.
Though we don’t recommend using free VPNs for torrenting — we’ll talk more about why later — Windscribe’s free plan is a decent pick that has even helped it win the top spot in our best free VPN services comparison. It doesn’t skimp on security, but it limits you in other ways, like only giving access to a handful of its VPN servers.
Those servers can be used for P2P traffic, but there are other factors that stop it from being the best free VPN for torrenting. For one, its speeds aren’t bad, but other VPNs are faster. The main factor, though, is the fact that, although you get unlimited simultaneous connections with either plan, you’re only going to get unlimited bandwidth if you pay.
With Windscribe’s Pro plan, you get unlimited data, as well as the use of all of its servers, including its Windflix streaming servers, which you can read about in our Windscribe review. However, you can get unlimited bandwidth cheaper by building your own plan. Adding a specific server and unrestricted bandwidth will set you back just $2 per month.
Windscribe’s Other Features
Its interface is as simple as they get, which is great for first-time users. If you’re a bit more tech-minded, you’ll like the ability to tinker with it also.
If you go all out and opt for the paid plan, you’re better off signing up for a longer period. Doing so will save you money in the long run. If you find you don’t like the VPN, you can ask for a refund within three days of purchase, but it might be a good idea to take the free plan for a spin first.
- Cheap “build-a-plan” option
- Unlimited connections
- Good security
- Speeds aren’t great
Our last pick is GooseVPN. It’s a torrent-friendly VPN with the majority of its servers marked as suitable for torrenting. However, there are a few reasons why it’s last on our list for the best VPNs for torrenting.
The VPN has high security with several protocol options to choose from, as well as the needed kill switch. That said, it doesn’t come like that out of the box, so you’re going to need to know what you’re doing in order to set it up correctly and stay protected while torrenting. The interface is simple to use, though.
We did point out in our GooseVPN review, though, that there have been some improvements to the service, such as the fact that when we first reviewed it, there were DNS leaks left, right and center. Thankfully, the VPN was fine during our latest tests. It doesn’t keep logs, but you can’t pay via cryptocurrency.
GooseVPN’s speeds aren’t great, but you do get unlimited bandwidth, as well as unlimited simultaneous connections.
The monthly plan is quite high, but its longer plans are pretty inexpensive. You can try GooseVPN free for 30 days, but you’ll need to enter payment information to do so. That also means you’ll need to remember to cancel if you no longer want it, otherwise you’ll automatically be billed at the end of the 30 days. Still, it’s a good excuse to give it a whirl.
- Excellent security
- First month free
- Doesn’t accept cryptocurrency
How We Chose the Best VPNs for Torrenting
Firstly, when trying to find which VPNs are best for torrenting, we can pretty much throw any provider that doesn’t allow P2P traffic straight off our “maybe” list.
Some services don’t allow torrenting at all. It uses a ton of bandwidth quickly, so it’s understandable why some providers steer clear from it. Plus, some just don’t like the fact that most P2P activity involves sharing copyrighted material.
If a provider doesn’t support P2P, it’s not going to protect you in the same way as those that do. Other than that, there are a few other criteria a VPN needs to have in order to be one of the best VPNs for torrenting.
Besides the VPN provider needing to allow torrent traffic, it’s extremely important that you choose a VPN with good security features. You need a strong encryption rate of AES-256 bit or higher, along with a kill switch.
Good VPN security will make sure you stay hidden, and by having a kill switch, you’re covered in case the VPN fails. If it does, it will completely sever your connection before any of your sensitive details can be exposed.
On top of that, the VPN needs to have passed DNS leak tests. A DNS leak is bad news and would mean that you can be tracked down. We’ve tested all our VPN picks, and they’ve passed.
The VPN you pick should also respect your privacy. A solid no-logs policy should be in place, which basically ensures that none of your online activities are recorded. It means that even if authorities were to ask for logs, there would be nothing to hand over.
If you’re after a completely anonymous experience, you could opt for a VPN that lets you sign up with a burner email and pay with cryptocurrency.
Speed is an important factor when it comes to torrenting. You’re going to have to wait a while for the file to download anyway, but by choosing a VPN that has fast speeds, you’re not going to wait any longer than you need to.
Some VPNs limit the amount of bandwidth you can use per month, and unless that limit is high or you’re not planning on doing much, you’ll hit it pretty quickly. Thankfully, the majority of VPN services provide unlimited bandwidth, so check for that feature.
Ease of Use
Your level of experience will depend on what kind of user experience you’re after. If you’re a beginner, you’ll most likely appreciate a simple interface that gets you connected quickly and easily. However, if you’re a techie, you might prefer a VPN you can tinker with. Either way, check if it’s compatible with your device, too.
Although the VPN’s price isn’t going to affect your ability to torrent, you should still pick a VPN that you can afford.
Why Do I Need a VPN When Torrenting
Not all torrents are illegal, some contain public domain or creative commons licensed material, and you don’t need to shroud your activity if that’s all you’re dealing with (though we still recommend using a VPN to stay hidden from government surveillance and other online dangers).
That said, as we mentioned before, most torrenting is in the name of piracy. If you download or share copyrighted material, you’re breaking the law and risk being caught.
Each country has a different view on copyright infringement, as well as different laws and punishments. Some countries stop you from accessing such material, but you can unblock torrent sites easily.
In the mid-1990s, online copyright prevention was seen as an important task, and in 1998, President Bill Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) into law. In any country with laws like this, you could find yourself facing a penalty such as a fine or imprisonment. For that reason, torrenting without a VPN is not a good idea.
A copyright holder can send a notice to an internet service provider (ISP) if they believe that a user has downloaded content without their permission. Because your ISP can see everything you do online (just take a look at our best VPN for Comcast piece), it’s easy to work out who’s the offender, and a notice of copyright infringement could be sent out.
That might not sound too alarming, but if the copyright holder wants to take it further, they can serve a subpoena on an ISP for information of the alleged offender in order to sue them.
Overall, torrenting is safe with a VPN.
Copyright trolls are not just mythical creatures — they exist and are money-driven. Law firms in some countries are known to monitor torrents and collect the IP addresses of those who infringe on copyright. They then subpoena ISPs to identify the culprits and send out settlement notices. Our best VPN for Germany article is a good example.
How Can a VPN Protect Me When Torrenting?
Torrenting without a VPN is a bad idea. Using a VPN when you torrent — and any other time — will ensure that your online activities are kept hidden from your ISP and any other prying eyes. It’ll hide your IP address and encrypt your connection.
You can read our full virtual private network guide for a more detailed understanding of what a VPN does, but it basically routes all your traffic through a secure tunnel from your device to the VPN server. The tunnel is encrypted so that no one can see what you’re up to, but a no-logs policy is needed to make sure the VPN itself can’t see or record your activities.
However, keep in mind, that although a VPN will protect you in many ways, it’s also a good idea to install a decent antivirus. Dangerous files can be included with your download, so you should ensure you’re armed and ready. Bitdefender is a good VPN pick because it will protect you in realtime. Read our Bitdefender antivirus review for more on the service.
Can I Use a Free VPN for Torrenting?
In short, the answer is no. We’re not saying that free VPNs are completely useless, we just don’t recommend using one for something like torrenting, although Windscribe and TunnelBear’s free plans are an exception.
There are various reasons why many of the “free” VPN apps you see on app stores should be avoided at all costs, as you can read in our worst free VPN providers guide, but here are a few examples.
For one, some providers advertise the service as having excellent encryption, but in practice it either uses a less favorable encryption rate or none at all. Some are riddled with malware just waiting for you to get suckered in and download it. Other providers actually snoop on your traffic so they can sell your data to other companies.
Now you know the real dangers of torrenting without a VPN, but you should also know how to choose a suitable one for the task. First, a VPN needs to allow P2P traffic, but it also needs to have a no-logs policy and excellent security with a kill switch. Plus, fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth are important so you don’t end up in a frustrated mess.
With all that in mind, NordVPN is the best VPN for torrenting. It has custom P2P servers for extra protection, as well as excellent security as standard. There’s also a kill switch and a strict no-logs policy.
NordVPN’s speeds are more than capable, and it doesn’t limit bandwidth. A 30-day refund window is in place, so you can be sure you like it, and you can pay with bitcoin, too.
Tell us in the comment section about your torrenting experience with a VPN, or if there’s anything we’ve missed. Take a look at our other VPN articles while you’re here, too. As always, thank you for reading.