If you’ve been on the Internet for any length of time, chances are that you’re familiar with torrenting. Torrenting is when a number of computer users share small pieces of a larger file in order to allow for faster download speeds and reduced bandwidth costs.
Because of its decentralized nature, torrenting is very popular among those who share pirated movies, music, and video games. Despite attempts by the government and corporations to crack down on file-sharing, torrenting remains common among the general public, who have turned to VPNs to provide them privacy when they’re sharing content online.
While we don’t condone breaking copyright laws (or any laws), we do advocate for online privacy. Whenever you’re torrenting a file, anyone else on the network can see your IP address. To protect yourself while torrenting, a VPN is necessary.
We researched a number of VPNs on the market and present the five best VPNs for torrenting below.
IPVanish is the best VPN for torrenting according to our research due to its strong privacy protections and fast speeds.
IPVanish stands out due to its extremely fast bandwidth speeds, comparable to non-VPN connections, making it an ideal choice for P2P users due to the large sizes of the files they download. IPVanish also offers unlimited P2P traffic and doesn’t limit how much you can download in a given period. In addition to this, it has strong cross-platform support as well as extensive worldwide coverage through a large server network.
On the privacy front, IPVanish also has a lot to offer, with a no logs policy, support for OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP encryption, and an automatic kill switch. You can assured that when you connect to an IPVanish VPN, you will be as secure as you can be when torrenting. (1)
IPVanish’s price point may be daunting to more budget-conscious consumers, and the service also lacks a free trial, though it also offers a seven-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied.
The bottom line: if you’re looking for a fast, secure VPN and aren’t too concerned with cost, IPVanish is the best VPN for torrenting currently on the market.
ExpressVPN is a close second when it comes to our picks for the best VPN for torrenting.
Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN delivers for torrent users with extremely fast download speeds over an extensive global network. Security-wise, ExpressVPN also has a no-logs policy and support for a number of different encryption protocols, allowing you to keep your data safe while surfing.
Unique to ExpressVPN—and of importance to torrent users—is its split tunneling feature. ExpressVPN allows users to limit their VPN connectivity to certain apps or programs, which, for example, lets you connect only your torrent program to the VPN while leaving all of your other traffic unaffected. This makes it especially useful for those who want to hide their torrent activity without throttling all of their Internet usage.
ExpressVPN is at the midway point of VPN pricing: not too expensive, but not too cheap, either. While it doesn’t offer a free trial, it does provide a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Overall, while not as secure as IPVanish, ExpressVPN’s combination of pricing, speed, and security—as well as its split tunneling functionality—make it a strong option for torrenting, particularly for users who are more money-conscious.
Hide.me stands out when it comes to torrenting-friendly VPNs due to its extremely fast bandwidth speeds. Billing itself as “the world’s fastest VPN,” tests show that not only is Hide.me one of the fastest VPNs on the market, it actually improves download speeds slightly. For torrent users, this is a great thing due to their need to download and seed large files.
Hide.me is also no slouch when it comes to security, offering a strict no-logs policy as well as support for OpenVPN, PPTP, SoftEther, and a number of other encryption protocols.
Uniquely among the VPNs we tested, Hide.me has a generous free trial, offering a free plan that allows up to 2 GB of bandwidth per month. Given the VPN’s costliness, this is a very good thing and allows users to get a feel for the service before they commit. (2)
While dinged by its high price point, Hide.me is one of the best choices for torrent users with a large budget and a need for speed. The service’s free plan means that you can test it out with no financial risk to yourself.
NordVPN is one of the absolute best VPN services for security-conscious users due to its suite of features. In addition to a no-logs policy and support for numerous different encryption protocols, NordVPN boasts a “double VPN” feature where your data is passed through two separate VPNs, adding a layer of security (albeit at the cost of slightly slower bandwidth speeds). NordVPN also boasts an effective kill-switch feature.
In addition to these security options, NordVPN has extremely fast bandwidth speeds and extensive worldwide coverage, as well as a strong client with extensive cross-platform support.
NordVPN is on the expensive side when it comes to VPNs, but it also boasts a three-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee, making it one of the strongest options consumer-wise.
For privacy-focused users, NordVPN is an extremely strong choice for torrenting, though more budget-conscious may be turned off by its pricing scheme.
5. Buffered VPN
Buffered VPN is a VPN specifically targeted at desktop VPN users, due to its lack of mobile support. However, Buffered VPN is notable for its fast download speeds, which rival the other VPNs we tested and make it worth looking at for torrent users.
In addition to this, Buffered VPN offers strong privacy protection, with support for various encryption protocols and a no-logs policy. (3)
Finally, Buffered VPN has one of the most generous money-back guarantees in the VPN industry. If you aren’t satisfied with your service, you can get a refund after up to ten hours of usage, ten GB of bandwidth, or 100 sessions, whichever comes first.
While mobile users will want to steer clear of Buffered VPN due to its lack of mobile support, desktop torrent users should consider it as a strong choice for file-sharing. While not exceptional, Buffered VPN covers all the bases with a well-rounded product. Its money-back guarantee also means that your financial risk when trying it out is minimized.
Torrent VPN FAQ
- What is a VPN? A VPN, or virtual private network, is a server that allows you to connect to the Internet anonymously. Instead of exposing your IP address (and location) to websites you visit and services you use, VPNs allow you to surf the Web without your data being collected or gathered. With remote VPN servers, you can even obscure which country you are in.
- Why do I need a VPN for downloading torrents? For privacy reasons. Whenever you are connected to a file-sharing network, your IP address is visible to everyone else. This information can be used to expose your identity, so you’ll want to use a VPN to keep yourself from being traced while downloading torrents. Additionally, using a VPN can allow you to use torrents even when connected to networks that block them.
- Why do some networks block torrent programs? Because torrents are often used to illegally share music, movies, video games, and other pirated works. While torrenting is not illegal in and of itself, because it is commonly used for illegal activities, many network administrators do not allow access to torrents. This is particularly common when using public WiFi hotspots, such as those at Starbucks and other restaurants and cafes.
- Why is my IP address exposed when using a torrent program? Because torrents work through distributed computing. By hosting small bits and pieces of a larger file or collection of files on many different computers, bandwidth costs are lowered and speeds are considerably improved. This makes it easier to share large files across the Internet compared to hosting them on a central server or website. Because your computer is part of this process when downloading or seeding a torrent, exposing your IP address to the network is unavoidable. The only way to get around this is to use a VPN, keeping your personal IP address from becoming known to the network at large.
- What kind of VPN do I need in order to torrent? You need a VPN that allows torrenting—many don’t—with fast bandwidth speeds and strong security. The former is necessary in order to keep your download and upload speeds from being hobbled due to the large sizes of many torrent files. The latter is necessary in order to keep your information secure and private when you are connected to a torrent network. In addition to this, you should also seek out a VPN with a strong money-back guarantee as well as a free trial, though the latter is not strictly necessary. Some VPNs will also have free plans that allow you limited access to the service, allowing you to see how useful the VPN is before you upgrade.
- How can I find a VPN that can be used to torrent? Torrent-compatible VPNs will typically advertise this fact prominently and many also offer features specifically for torrenting. For example, ExpressVPN boasts a split tunneling feature, which enables torrent users to only route their torrent traffic through the VPN while leaving the rest of their web browsing unprotected.
- Why do many VPNs block their users from torrenting? As mentioned above, while torrenting is perfectly legal, many torrent users illegally share movies, music, video games, and other copyrighted works. Because they don’t want to gain a reputation for facilitating illegal activity—and the potential consequences that come with it—many VPNs will block torrent programs outright.
- Will using a VPN slow down my download/upload speed? Good-quality VPNs feature bandwidth speeds that are comparable to Internet connections that don’t use VPNs. Indeed, some of the VPNs we tested actually improve bandwidth speeds over unprotected connections. The best VPNs for torrenting do not cause any slowdowns in bandwidth speed, or if they do, the slowdown is negligible.
- What kinds of security features do I need in a torrent VPN? You need a VPN that at minimum has a no-logs policy, ensuring that your activities while online are not recorded or tracked. VPNs that are good for torrenting also feature strong encryption, support for different protocols, and a kill switch feature. Most torrent-ready VPNs will loudly advertise their privacy features because they know that this is one of the most important things that torrent users need.
- What happens if my VPN stops supporting torrents? Every day, more and more VPN services are pulling the plug on torrent support. There’s no way to get around this without switching to another VPN. This is why it’s important to seek out VPNs that offer free trials and money-back guarantees, in order to minimize your financial risk and keep you from getting locked into a subscription that is no longer useful to you. Free trials also allow you to test a VPN and see if it’s useful to you before you commit to a stronger plan.
Finding the best VPN for torrenting can be a daunting challenge. You need a VPN that is not only fast but protects your online privacy as much as possible, and finding a VPN that meets both of these bills can be challenge.
Not only that, because many VPNs block torrenting outright, a number of the best VPNs on the market are closed off to you.
However, there are still a number of torrenting-compatible VPNs that offer fast bandwidth speeds and strong privacy protection. If you do your homework before you buy, you can find a VPN that will allow you to torrent to your heart’s content while remaining anonymous online.
Whether you’re a casual torrenter or a power user, there’s a VPN out there that will meet your needs.