Today’s article is about how to choose the best VPN for torrenting, and if you’re wondering why you would need such a service, well, keep reading. Torrenting, also known as P2P (peer to peer) file sharing, is one of the main reasons for which the internet has become so popular in its early days, and I am talking about the paleo-internet era of the late 90’s-early 2000’s, i.e. prior to the introduction of live-streaming services, such as YouTube, Netflix and the like (video on demand that is). And, even if we’re (still) living in the golden-age of information, with broadband/lightning-fast internet becoming increasingly cheaper, better and readily available almost everywhere in the world, there are some serious issues to be addressed with regard to P2P sharing.
The main problem with torrenting in legalese is that you are not allowed to share copyrighted digital media with others, even if you paid for the respective stuff initially. Basically, if you want to share a movie you bought on DVD with your friend in South Africa using a P2P client, that’s called copyright infringement, and lately, Big Brother and their corporate friends (read political donors) have started to hit hard on internet felons, even if the entertainment industry is booming, as their profits are getting bigger and bigger year over year, internet piracy be damned.
The point being, if you don’t want to receive an unpleasant notice from your internet service provider (they may throttle your bandwidth as punishment), or even worse, to be served with a subpoena for copyright infringement (a serious offense in the US or the UK), first, it would be a good idea not to engage in illegal activities in the first place, as our website does not encourage readers to break copyright law in any way, shape or form. However, if you don’t want to share your internet activity with your ISP or with the “Feral Gummint” (they’re the same thing basically), it would be a good idea to consider using a high-quality VPN service while surfing the interwebz.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Torrenting
There’s an old saying about the best things in life and free stuff. Unfortunately, that old philosophy does not apply to this particular case. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent free VPN services out there, but they all come with caveats in regard to speed and privacy. Even if you’re using the best torrent clients, a free VPN service used for torrenting will dramatically diminish your download speed, and you can take that to the bank. The same principle stands true if you’re looking for a VPN for gaming: the free ones will certainly disappoint you when it comes to lag/ping and things of that nature. So, here are the basics when it comes to choosing the best VPN for torrenting:
First, there’s the aforementioned speed issue. Depending on your monthly usage, some VPN providers may throttle your bandwidth, so look for services that explicitly mention there’s no speed/bandwidth cap in their terms of service.
P2P optimized servers
Second, look for a VPN service provider that offers P2P optimized servers, preferably located in “foreign” countries (as in other than your own). The point being, it is extremely difficult to monitor one’s internet activity by following the respective individual through different jurisdictions. Consider that an extra layer of security, on top of the VPN’s encryption.
Moreover, not all countries are torrent friendly, as in some are constantly spying on their citizens (especially the US and the UK), while others like Mexico, Spain, Hong Kong, Switzerland or the Netherlands, are more privacy oriented. The idea is, choose a VPN service with servers all over the world, and pay extra attention to their security protocols; for example, the L2TP/IPsec tunneling protocol with 256-bit encryption is one of the best out there, offering bank-grade encryption. Also, be extra careful when it comes to their data logging policy. The best policy is a no-log policy.
With all these things considered, here are our top picks in regards to the best VPNs for torrenting out there, to suit anyone’s needs and budget, in no particular order:
Best VPNs for Torrenting
The Best VPN for Torrenting Overall
Express VPN is a relatively expensive service, but it’s arguably one of the best in the industry. As usual, quality comes at a price. In this particular case, ExpressVPN is a great choice for torrenting, as it offers more than 2000 servers all over the world, in 148 countries.
On top of that, you’ll get unlimited bandwidth and, very important privacy-wise, offshore jurisdiction, as ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands. As far as internet privacy goes, the Virgin Islands are completely safe, as in off the radar of “big brother governments”.
ExpressVPN also offers top-notch encryption, as it supports AES-256 via the OpenVPN protocol, which is more or less the golden standard in the industry today.
Another cool thing about this VPN service provider is that it offers a split tunneling feature, i.e. with your “shield on”, ExpressVPN will only hide your P2P traffic, while other activities like web-browsing or gaming will remain unaffected. Bottom line, ExpressVPN is excellent for torrenting, provided you can afford their services.
- excellent P2P support, top-notch download/upload speeds
- offers optimized servers for torrenting
- unlimited bandwidth
- unlimited server switches
- decent no-log policy with no IP address logs
- easy to use
- supports OpenVPN, L2TP, IPSec, SSTP, PPTP encryption protocols
- works on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS
- amazing download speeds
- rather pricey compared to its direct competitors
- keeps metadata logs
The Real Deal
NordVPN is a Panama-based world-class VPN provider, and arguably the gold standard in the industry. With over 5200 servers in 62 countries, NordVPN is an excellent tool if you want to stay anonymous when using P2P software, the likes of uTorrent or BitTorrent.
Just like ExpressVPN, NordVPN offers optimized servers for torrenting in various locations all around the globe, so you can enjoy a secure and lightning-fast torrenting experience regardless of your actual location. By secure, I mean military-grade encryption, with no bandwidth limits and a strict no logs (as in zero) policy.
NordVPN also allows multiple connections, i.e. you can use the same account to protect up to 6 devices at once. And yes, it’s Netflix compatible, don’t worry.
- excellent for torrenting
- Socks5 + VPN service
- custom VPN software
- Panama is the Switzerland of privacy for paranoid types
- features dedicated IP, ToR Over VPN, anti DDOS, double encryption, blazing fast streaming, DNS leak protection, Kill Switch
- stay away from pricey monthly plans and save massively on yearly deals
Private Internet Access
The Best Cheap VPN For Torrenting
Private Internet Access is one of the most popular VPN service providers in the world, despite the fact that it’s registered in the United States, and operated by London Trust Media (major red flags there).
Let’s begin with the goodies: PIA really shines when it comes to torrenting, as it explicitly allows P2P file sharing on all of its servers. And speaking of servers, PIA has over 3200 of them in 24 countries, and it allows up to 5 devices to be connected on a single account.
Another good thing for torrent-freaks is that you’ll get unlimited bandwidth and, check this out: a strict no log policy, which is great.
The encryption protocols supported include OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPSec, which are the best and most important for a torrenting-centric VPN service. On top of that, PIA is capable of blocking malware and nasty ads.
- full cross-platform support (Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Linux, etc)
- strict no log policy
- unlimited bandwidth
- servers in all major European countries, Israel, Singapore, Hong Kong, US and South America
- good value for money
- provides video tutorials for new customers
- no dedicated IP feature
- no live chat support
AirVPN is a very special VPN service, operated by so-called hacktivists (white-hat hackers mostly) and activists (probably Linux geeks). Joke aside, if you’re looking for a capable and compact VPN for torrenting, AirVPN would make for an interesting choice, to say the least, as it boasts a very strict no-log policy, and, most importantly, it’s an open-source project.
The software is relatively easy to use and to set-up, which is great for beginners, and the company offers 219 servers in 20 countries. We know, this is not a lot, but it’s more than enough for torrenting.
Encryption wise, AirVPN offers 4096 bit RSA keys size, AES-256-CBC Data Channel and HMAC SHA1 Control Channel.
There’s no maximum speed limit, though you should not expect miracles in this regard (medium download speed is somewhere around 4 MB/s according to user reviews), and you can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously. If privacy and anonymity ranks high on your shopping list, AirVPN are the “good guys” you were looking for all your life.
- top-notch security
- open source, transparent and strict no-log policy
- exclusively enforces unbreakable OpenVPN protocol over Tor, SSL or SSH
- decent download speed, pretty good for torrenting
- the 2-year plan makes it dirt-cheap
- no limits on torrent use
- relatively dated user-interface
Perfect Privacy VPN
Based in Switzerland, Perfect Privacy VPN is running with the best when it comes to encryption and anonymity, offering best in class encryption options and protocols, including OpenVPN, IPSec, SSH, along with SOCKS5 and PPTP proxies.
The default encryption is AES256, which is rock-solid bank-grade encryption, while the company boasts a log free policy. As in, no logs. Never.
It’s worth mentioning that Switzerland has zero regulations with regard to mandatory data collection by companies, hence, as long as the company doesn’t keep logs, you can rest assured: they’ll never come to get you!
Perfect Privacy has only 55 servers in 23 countries, which is kind of lame compared to NordVPN or ExpressVPN, and even PIA. And that translates into relatively slow download speeds, compared to their direct competitors.
- almost perfect privacy/zero logs policy
- supports all major protocols, including OpenVPN (256-bit), IPSec (IKev2-encryption), SSH2 Tunnel (256-bit), Squid- and Socks5-Proxy, PPTP (MPPE-128-bit)
- unlimited download
- versatile payment options, including Bitcoin and cash
- software is tricky to configure if you’re not a Windows or Linux user
- few servers, slow download speeds compared to others
Best Bang for the Buck
CyberGhost is a Romanian based VPN service. Romania, you know, that EU country where all the hackers come from. Basically, CyberGhost is a VPN made by hackers for “civilians”, and most of their subscribers are probably using their services to hide from the FBI. Joke aside, CyberGhost is relatively cheap (especially on their long-term plans), reliable, offers unlimited bandwidth and a no-logs policy.
Romania doesn’t have data retention laws, and the ToS is very clear in this regard: CyberGhost doesn’t save logs, which means your data will never be given to the government, even if big brother asks for it. Because there’s nothing there to incriminate you.
Encryption wise, CyberGhost uses 256 bit AES, which is considered unbreakable by many, and another great feature for torrenting is that they use shared IP’s, which makes you totally untraceable, as you’re one of the many using the same IP address in the same time, hence you can’t identify a single user by an IP address.
- zero logs policy
- torrent friendly
- 2700 servers in 60 countries, optimized for torrenting
- excellent download speeds, no bandwidth restrictions
- allows up to 7 devices to be connected simultaneously on a single account
- cross-platform compatibility (Mac, Windows, Android, Linux, iOS etc)
- long-term subscriptions are dirt cheap compared to other providers
- shared IP’s, fast servers, 30 days money back guarantee
- easy to use, tons of features
- not enough P2P servers for Africa and Asia
- they’ve been recently acquired by an Israeli company with a shady past
IPVanish is a US-based company, and as far as VPNs for torrenting go, this one is running with the top dogs in the industry in regard to downloading speeds and stability. Besides offering blazing-fast download speeds (some say it’s the fastest in the world), IPVanish currently boasts a zero-logs policy, which makes it highly anonymous, at least in theory.
With regard to P2P sharing, IPVanish specifically allows torrenting in their ToS, and, according to user reports, you can download with speeds between 50-100mbps.
- great for torrenting due to Tier-1 data network speeds
- allows P2P sharing on all servers
- military grade 256-bit encryption
- no logs policy
- 1 click connection via custom VPN software for Windows/Mac/iPhone
- unlimited bandwidth
- comes with firewall included and SOCKS proxy for torrents
- support for major protocols, including PPTP, IPSEC/L2TP, and OpenVPN
- shared IP addresses
- over 1100 servers in 60 countries
- allows anonymous payment methods, such as Bitcoin
- good value for money
- US-based (read this before you buy)
- no live chat support