Best VPN for Torrenting in 2021
James Patterson | Last Updated:
Online Gaming & Internet Privacy Expert
Torrents have become a universally popular means of downloading movies / software/ music content – sometimes legal and sometimes not so legal content (of course, we do not support or condone acts of downloading copyrighted material on this website). Torrents are especially useful as they enable sharing small bits of information from other users of a larger file, enabling much faster speeds for download.
To download a video, movie, application or music from a torrent website, you are going to first need to download a torrent file from a torrent website such as The Pirate Bay, TorLock, Torrentz2 or 1337x. The torrent file contains all the information (download location, file size, etc) required by the torrent client to download the video / movie / music. The next thing you’ll need is a torrent client itself – UTorrent, BitTorrent, Vuze and qTorrent are the most well known and reliable torrent clients available during 2020.
The final step to get up and running, is a reliable vpn service specifically suited for torrenting and file sharing:
QUICK SUMMARY: check out our recommended VPNs for Torrenting
Here are the Best VPNs for Torrenting
While most VPNs function essentially the same way, some function better than others. For sharing torrents and downloading them, a fast connection with high-grade encryption is paramount to keep you safe and to keep your connection private. We’ve listed some of the most popular VPNs on the web and how they compare to all you renegade torrenters:
NordVPN is a stand-out performer when it comes to data encryption and keeping your data traffic away from prying eyes. They are one of the very few vpn companies to offer as standard encryption that uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256-bit keys. Put simply, NordVPN uses the most secure encryption protocols available that cannot be broken.
All leading encryption protocols are supported with NordVPN. IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN protocols are available for iOS and macOS users. While OpenVPN is available for Windows, Android and Linux users. The technical development team at NordVPN have continued with their focus on encryption and security with the release of their new NordLynx solution (currently available on Linux), which uses cutting edge Wireguard technology to provide high levels of encryption without sacrificing data speed.
The vast NordVPN server network also includes a huge range of speed optimised P2P servers. With more than 4,800 dedicated peer-to-peer servers around the globe, you can be sure that you are going to be torrenting at maximum speeds over your vpn connection.
And although you hope you’ll never need it, it’s good to know that NordVPN is located in Panama – far away from the prying-eyes of the Fourteen Eyes and does not require data storage. NordVPN operates a strict No Logs Policy on all their vpn subscriptions which states: “We do not store connection time stamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses or other data”.
All NordVPN plans include the following features:
- Simultaneous connections: 6
- Jurisdiction: Panama
- Countries: 63
- Servers in North America: 2310
- Servers in Europe: 2657
- Servers in Asia Pacific: 639
- Servers in Middle East / India: 119
- 30-day Money-Back Guarantee
- VPNCompass Speed Test: 63.25 Mb/second
Torrenting requires only the most secure and anonymous connection if you want to keep yourself out of trouble. ExpressVPN is one of the most robust and secure platforms on the market. Their vpn subscription includes 256-bit military-grade encryption that ensures that no-one (including your ISP, governments, or companies) can see what you are downloading.
A great feature offered by ExpressVPN for those that like to download torrents is Split Tunneling. This feature can be enabled on all ExpressVPN subscriptions and allows you to split your internet traffic. In this way you can direct your torrent data to flow through your VPN (and thus protect you!), while all other non-sensitive data such as your regular web browsing can flow outside of your vpn (which can must faster).
The company behind ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands. This is significant as this is a legal juristiction that lies outside of the Fourteen Eyes intelligence alliance.
In addition to this, ExpressVPN also have a strict Zero Logs Policy as stated on their website: “We ensure tha twe never log browsing history, traffi destination, data content, IP addresses or DNS queries”. The end result for users is that should any individual, company or government try to compel ExpressVPN to hand over information about persons using their service, they are unable to because that do not store that data.
All ExpressVPN plans include the following features:
- Simultaneous connections: 3
- Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
- 3,000+ Servers / 160 Locations / 94 Countries
- 30-day Money-Back Guarantee
- Unlimited Speeds (i.e. no speed throtling)
- VPNCompass Speed Test: 75.44 Mb/second
One of the main reasons why I recommend SurfShark for torrenting is because of their UNLIMITED simultaneous connections feature. This means that you can have torrenting sessions downloading on multiple devices, while friends and family use the same VPN service to download on as many other devices as your desire. This is total freedom when it comes to torrenting downloads!
A unique feature offering with SurfShark is Camouflage Mode. When enabled, this feature adds additional encryption and privacy methods to your vpn session to ensure that even your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will not be able to detect that you’re using a VPN. So if you live in a country where ISP’s like to keep a close eye on your internet traffic, this could be the perfect solution for you.
Like all modern and reputable vpn providers, SurfShark offers a strict no-logs policy: “We do not collet IP addresses, browsing history, sesssion information, used bandwith, connection time stamps, network traffic or other similar data”. The company is registered in the British Virgin Islands which has an unblemished record when it comes to internet privacy.
To cap off an impressive suite of security features, they also offer Split Tunneling and a built in Kill Switch (which protects your by immediately cutting your connection to the internet should your vpn connection drop out for any reason).
All SurfShark plans include the following features:
- Simultaneous connections: UNLIMITED !
- Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
- 800+ Servers / 160 locations / 49 Countries
- 30-day Money-Back Guarantee
- CleanWeb: blocks ads and malware
- VPNCompass Speed Test: 72.55 Mb/second
Is it legal to use torrents?
Yes, torrenting, per se, is completely legal. Having said that, downloading copyrighted content is not. So it mostly depends on the kind of content you are downloading rather than the act of torrenting itself.
Is it safe to torrent?
Again, that depends on what you are torrenting. If you are downloading copyrighted material, there will be a risk of authorities catching and punishing you. Then there are also chances of downloading files infected with viruses. There are methods you can implement to reduce the risks of torrenting and we will discuss them soon.
Should I take the risk?
That depends on your personal judgment. We don’t recommend downloading copyright material but statistics show that about 170 million people access the BitTorrent software every month, which means that many people believe that it is a risk worth taking.
With that cleared up, let’s dive into more detailed information about torrenting and the laws which surround it.
Torrent users are constantly being put under the radar and confronted by copyright trolls, the DMCA, and ISPs. Because of this, they have to pay heavy fines and are given copyright infringement notices.
Some users are also threatened with lawsuits for downloading media through torrents. Most recently, some of the most popular sites such as Torrentz, Kickass Torrents, and TorrentHound have all been shut down by the DMCA.
How do they catch people torrenting anyway?
ISPs have no trouble in tracing their users who download copyrighted material. This can happen if you do not take certain precautions. Australian IPs have been known to sent out caution letters to their customers, suspected of downloading copyright material.
One of the simplest ways of getting caught is by having your IP address listed through seeding or leeching. Any torrenting software can access this information and show it to those who are using its services.
All that ISPs and copyright holders need to do is to monitor all activity on popular files and they can be taken directly to the IP addresses of people who have downloaded the files or have seeded them. With this much information, copyright holders can head straight to the home of these users and immediately take legal action.
With the fame of torrenting, a new breed of trolls has come to rise, and they are known as copyright trolls who hold culprits of downloading copyrighted content into account. They may be the original creators of the content or companies that hold the content with them. They are also called the digital copyright industry’s “ambulance chasers.”
Copyright trolls can find people who download copyrighted material and either work as a group or independently. Some also have certain arrangements with copyright holders who help in securing settlements with those who have illegally downloaded their copyrighted content.
By using the “numbers game,” copyright trolls are able to scare off people who they think have been downloading copyrighted material. They send out intimidating letters to those people, who are usually culpable. While this may sound like an opportunistic method for these trolls to make an easy buck, they do operate on the right side of the legal grey area. Their methods work too since they make for a convincing case that those who are caught torrenting will be facing severe consequences.
What if I’m caught torrenting?
If you’re caught torrenting, your ISP will first send you a letter and as a consequence, may “throttle down” your connection speed. (Most ISPs will not admit to it, but throttling file-sharing traffic is done by default anyway).
There are places where punishments for torrenting can be more severe than just a slow internet connection. For example, In India, people who are caught visiting torrent sites can be given up to three years of prison sentences. In the UK, there was a case where a 12-month sentence was awarded to someone who shared the 2016 top 40 singles.
Having said that, the authorities do differentiate between the providers of the torrenting material (like the one who was caught in the UK) and people who actually download occasionally. The difference is much like a drug dealer and a customer who only purchases for their personal use. Despite that, some punishments can be truly life-changing and can involve hefty fines, some of which have been reported to be six-figure penalties.
How do I minimise the risk while Torrenting?
To minimise the risks of being caught while torrenting, a few precautionary measures should be considered:
- Keep away from the latest movies and music. These releases are what copyright trolls and other rights holders will want to protect the most since they will garner the most attention. You can expect them to catch people sharing the files illegally.
- Use a reliable VPN for torrenting. A virtual private network shields your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic so that your ISP will not be able to see what you’re doing.
- Not all VPNs are made equal. For torrenting, you will want a VPN that ensures the best privacy standards. You will need a provider who does not track your activity and works in a country that’s not obligated to submit information to the ISPs or the authorities. Don’t worry though, because our comprehensive list of the top 5 torrenting VPNs takes all of these features into account.
- Use Tor because it uses relay techniques and encryption to hide your online activity. One of the downsides to their service is that it offers slower performance and its “dark web” links can attract the government’s eye and put it under the radar due to its criminal associations. For more robust and secure anonymity, you might want to consider using both VPN and Tor simultaneously.
- ALWAYS use good antivirus software and check every download thoroughly. People do not just selflessly share files with others and some can come with a “bonus” such as a virus, or a Trojan or a keylogger.
How can I select the right VPN for torrenting?
It’s important to find a VPN that has a good balance of offering good download speeds as well as proper security and privacy. Not all VPNs support downloading, so you will need to be careful while picking the right kind of VPN client for this very purpose.
Finally, using a VPN with fast download speeds is important so that the required files are loaded into your system quickly. Ensure that your VPN does not throttle down the bandwidth of your internet.
VPNs To Avoid When Torrenting
Free VPNs – When you get a free VPN, you cannot expect premium service. Because torrents require huge bandwidth and secure operations, most Free VPNs are a bad choice since they ban all types of P2P torrenting.
- Hola – Hola was caught using personal and identifiable information for money, so we would not recommend using it for the sake of your privacy.
- Hidemyass – The service is subject to UK data retention laws of the user’s traffic. They have been sued before as well, and have turned over their data.
- Hide.me and TunnelBear Free Versions – Their data cap gets used in 10 minutes and after that, speeds are restricted, making it next to impossible to download anything at all.
- PureVPN – it keeps logs on data and will monitor your traffic and information.
- IronSocket – Puts heavy restrictions on P2P activity
Is your VPN protecting you?
Here’s how you can check the reliability of your VPN.
While you’re connected to VPN:
Open IPLeak.net. If it doesn’t display your real IP, it means you’re protected.
There’s nothing much else for you to do, but if you be one of those paranoid people, you can test to see if your BitTorrent software is leaking your IP address.
Here’s how to do this.
When you’re logged in with your VPN and are visiting IPLeak.net, go to the column “Torrent Address Detection.” Now add the given magnet link to the torrent client.
Now IPLeak.net will start monitoring the IP of anyone who is sharing the uniquely generated torrent file (that will be you). You’ll be able to view the results in a few minutes.
If it doesn’t display your IP there, you are safe. Ensure that your service always comes with its own kill switch. If it doesn’t, VPN dropouts mean that your IP is exposed. This can happen for many hours at a stretch if you leave unattended downloads!
There are some P2P VPNs that support port forwarding as well, which should make it convenient for file-sharing, overcoming problems with NAT firewalls. Many VPN providers offer NAT firewalls that shield you from incoming online traffic. If it also includes P2P traffic, there can be complications.
VPN NAT firewalls affect you by slowing down downloads, and it can also slow down P2P networks for all connected users. Port forwarding is the solution, as it lets you open a NAT firewall port to let through P2P traffic.
This will improve your download speeds and add efficiency to the P2P network. To get the best out of port forwarding, your VPN client will need to know the open ports so it can listen and check for incoming connections.
Some clients require this setup to be manually configured. And others support technologies come with built-in UPnP and NAT-PMP mapping. These should make your life much easier.
Final Thoughts …
Alright, let’s all be grownups now and accept the facts as they are. Torrents aren’t always banned or copyrighted material but they generally contain things that are illegal. If caught, there can be some serious implications for you. Law enforcement makes it pretty easy to spy on you as well, so if you are going to torrent, might as well invest in a secure and fast VPN. A VPN will hide your identity and keep you safe from the government. A good VPN might cost you a maximum of about $10 per month, but a prison sentence or fine can be much, much more than that. So choose wisely.