If you want to torrent movies, TV shows, music, or software, you're going to need a VPN to do it safely. In this guide, we show you the best VPNs to use when torrenting and why.
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The best VPNs for torrenting at a glance
If you're short on time, we have listed our top 5 torrenting VPN recommendations below. If you want to know more about any of the providers listed, or would like to see some alternatives, click here.
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Torrenting can cause all kinds of headaches, depending on the content you’re downloading, from your internet service provider cutting off your plan to lengthy legal battles that can result in a fine or even jail time. By simply using a virtual private network (VPN) when torrenting, you can avoid all of these risks and get peace of mind.
If you're going to be using your VPN whilst torrenting, it's vitally important that you select the right one. Not all VPNs support P2P file sharing, in fact, and there are some that do, but won't stand up for their users when copyright holders come calling. All in all, it can feel like navigating a minefield.
But don't despair – we've put together a list of the very best VPNs for torrenting. All of these services will help protect your privacy when downloading torrents and will greatly reduce the risk of you being caught.
Before we recommend a VPN as being safe to use for torrenting, we first check that it has:
- Strong, well-implemented encryption
- No leaks
- Key privacy features, like a kill-switch
- Fast VPN speeds
Only VPNs that can offer all of the above are considered for our best VPN for torrenting list. So, now that you know what we're looking for, let's take a closer look at our recommendations.
The best VPNs for torrenting (P2P downloading) | In-depth analysis
In the list below, we take an in-depth look at our top VPN picks for torrenting. They all allow P2P on their networks, but they can differ in terms of speeds and feature sets, so check out the summaries to see which provider will work best for your particular needs.
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Which is the Fastest VPN for Torrenting?
We run three speed tests a day in order to help you understand which of our torrenting VPNs is the fastest. The most up-to-date results are displayed in the table below – so take a look!
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Will a VPN improve my download speeds?
No, but this is a pretty common misconception about VPNs. You'll actually be more likely to experience a slight loss of speed when connected to a VPN, as it encrypts your connection and routes your data through a remote server. This discrepancy in speed should only ever be marginal when using the fast VPN servers provided by one of the best VPNs for torrenting, though.
The one circumstance where a VPN might improve your speeds is if your ISP is actively throttling P2P traffic on your network. If you believe this is happening to you – and slowing your download speeds as a result – then a VPN might be the answer. Since a VPN encrypts your online traffic, it will be completely concealed from your ISP – and because it won't know what you're up to, it won't be able to throttle your connection.
Fortunately, all the VPNs we've highlighted offer VPN free trials and generous money-back guarantees, letting you put the service through its paces without taking risks. If you're not happy with how a VPN is performing or the features on offer, getting your money back is quick, quibble-free, and easy.
Why are these the best VPNs for downloading torrents?
Privacy and security should always be your number one priority when choosing a VPN if you intend to use it for torrenting. However, to avoid frustratingly long download times, speed comes in at a close second.
Below, we've outlined some key criteria to keep in mind when deciding which VPN to use for torrenting. This should give you some insight into why we picked these VPNs over the hundreds of others available on the market today.
- The VPN must allow P2P filer sharing (torrenting). This seems obvious, but there are a surprising number of VPNs that don't allow users to torrent on their networks.
- A proven track record of privacy and security. Privacy policies and past behavior are very telling when it comes to knowing if you can rely on your VPN for privacy.
- A no-logging policy. If your VPN keeps no logs about you, it can't be forced to hand anything over if asked to do so by the authorities.
- Fast and stable servers. We know how frustrating long download times can be when torrenting – these VPNs won't noticeably slow down your connection.
- A kill-switch and other useful privacy features. A kill-switch is crucial for anyone torrenting through a VPN since it will prevent your data from being revealed if your connection drops out for any reason.
- No leaks. A VPN that leaks is completely useless, but it can become outright dangerous when you're torrenting, so we use our VPN leak test tool to make sure all of our picks are watertight.
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Why do I need a VPN for torrenting?
Nearly all internet users can benefit from using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), but if you're a frequent torrenter, then you should consider them absolutely essential.
There is, of course, nothing illegal about torrenting, per se. It’s just a protocol, and one used for perfectly legitimate reasons, such as downloading Linux distros. But anyone reading this article knows exactly what torrenting is typically used for, and copyright holders don’t like it one bit.
Using a VPN protects you when torrenting in two key ways:
- You connect to a server that sits between you and the internet. This means anyone on the internet, including other BitTorrent peers, see the internet (IP) address of the VPN server you're connected to instead of your real IP address.
- The connection between your device and the server is encrypted. This prevents your internet provider (ISP) from seeing what you download.
How do I access blocked torrent sites?
VPNs offer more benefits than those listed above, however. Their unlocking power – and ability to access torrenting sites – make them invaluable to anyone taking part in P2P activity.
ISPs around the world frequently block torrenting websites. It's a common practice, but just as a VPN prevents anyone else on the internet from seeing your real IP address, it also works the other way around. With a VPN, your ISP won't be able to see what you're getting up to online.
And your ISP can't block what it can't see! All it takes to access blocked torrent sites is a few clicks – join a VPN server located somewhere where the sites aren't blocked, and browse them freely, without restrictions.
This is just a very brief overview of VPN technology – for a more detailed look, check out our what is a VPN? Non-technical beginner's guide.
How to use a VPN for torrenting
Setting up and using a VPN for torrenting is much like setting up a VPN for anything else. However, depending on what you intend to torrent, there are a few tests that we recommend you perform on your VPN before you begin downloading torrents – just to be on the safe side.
To set up, just follow these steps:
- Select a VPN service from the list above & subscribe to it using the links provided
- Download the VPN software and install it using the installation wizard
- Open the VPN app and go into the settings to ensure you have your kill-switch turned on.
- Pick a server and connect to it
- Test to see if your VPN is working.
- Start downloading from your favorite torrent sites.
Following these steps will get you up and running in just a few minutes with your VPN. But, setting up a VPN so that it works optimally when you're torrenting is far more nuanced than a six-step process. If you would like to take the setup of your VPN further, check out our step-by-step guide to setting up and using a VPN for torrenting.
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How to test your VPN is working
As stated at the top of this guide, your number one concern when deciding which VPN to use when torrenting should be privacy and security. That's why before using a VPN to torrent with, you should always check to make sure that it is working properly.
To do this simply:
- Confirm your VPN isn't leaking any information about you. to do this, visit our leak test tool and follow the steps.
- Test that your kill-switch is working properly. For this you will need to enable your kill-switch, connect to a server, visit a website, disconnect from the VPN. If your internet connection stops, your kill-switch is working.
If you would like to know more about improving your privacy when torrenting, check out our guide on how to torrent safely for more tips.
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Other VPNs that allow file sharing
We've put together a short list, but it doesn't cover all the VPNs out there that allow torrenting. In fact, most (but certainly not all – see below) reputable paid-for services allow torrenting these days. These include:
Feel free to take any of these providers for a trial run. The majority will offer a money-back guarantee, letting you test drive the service before committing to a subscription.
VPNs to avoid if you want to file-share (P2P)
These providers, listed below, are known to either not allow torrenting or are simply not recommended to use while torrenting. Again, please note that this list is not at all exhaustive.
- Opera VPN – Despite its name, this is a proxy that only affects the Opera browser, not a service. You can’t use it to protect your torrenting sessions.
- Hola – This P2P service uses other Hola users’ devices as VPN exit nodes. It is unclear if torrenting is actually banned on Hola, but doing so could get other users into deep trouble (and their torrenting could land you in hot water).
- VPNGate – Whether torrenting is permissible on this volunteer-run network seems something of a gray area. The system allows it, but tech-savvy node operators can block P2P using third-party software. Torrenting using servers where P2P downloading is illegal could get the volunteers in trouble and, therefore, seems very rude.
- TurboVPN – Torrenting is explicitly banned, under threat of having your account blocked.
- BitDefender – Even though it leverages the Hotspot Shield VPN server network (HSS permits torrenting), BitDefender prohibits torrenting on its service.
- ProtonVPN Free – Paying customers can torrent to their heart's content on dedicated torrent servers, but the BitTorrent protocol is blocked on ProtonVPN’s free servers.
What about free VPNs for torrenting?
Running a VPN service is a huge operation – and it's a costly one, too. Nobody, and we really mean absolutely nobody, will do this for "free".
Free VPNs do exist, though, and the more reputable of these offer free plans that come with various limitations. Expect bandwidth restrictions and stingy monthly download limits. Basically, the VPN is hoping the free plan will convince you to upgrade to a premium subscription.
There are hardly any free VPNs that will permit torrenting
These, at least, are transparent about how they monetize their free services. Less reputable providers have been known to spy on users’s information and sell user data to the highest bidder, or to steal and sell your bandwidth.
And almost no decent free VPN services permit P2P, anyway! Dealing with the hassle of DMCA notices and the like simply isn’t worth it for non-paying customers!
Can I download a cracked VPN from torrent sites?
You might be wondering if you can torrent a VPN if you're pirating everything else. Short answer? You can, but you probably shouldn't.
More and more VPN apps are popping up on torrent sites, complete with cracks, but downloading one is a terrible idea for a number of reasons:
- All reputable services work on a subscription model. Functionality is, therefore, tied to your account, not whether you are using "activated" software or suchlike. So "cracking" the software is pointless.
- This means the so-called "cracks" bundled with apps on torrent sites are invariably malware. Make sure to avoid, avoid, avoid!
- It is also possible to torrent "free" VPN apps. Apart from the fact that these are readily available anyway, many of them are scams that monetize their service by stealing your browser history and/or bandwidth (see the section above).
Check out our best torrent sites article for a list of the best sites in 2021.
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Is torrenting without a VPN safe?" answer="No, torrenting copyrighted material without a VPN is categorically not safe. If you get caught doing so, you could land in some serious hot water with your ISP or even with law enforcement. Therefore, whenever you torrent copyrighted material, whatever it may be, it is vital that you use a VPN, such as the ones listed in this guide, to keep you safe and secure – so that you can torrent with peace of mind that you won't get into trouble." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Is using a VPN for torrenting safe?" answer="If you use a secure VPN like the ones we recommend in this guide, then yes, you can feel safe when torrenting. If, however, you opt for a substandard VPN provider that doesn't properly secure your connection and doesn't offer the privacy features necessary to protect your identity online, then that's a different story and can indeed be putting yourself at risk." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Which devices can I torrent on?" answer="You can torrent on any internet-connected device for which there are BitTorrent and VPN apps. Basically, this means that you can torrent on any Windows, Mac, Chromebook, or Linux desktop computer. You're also able to torrent on Android and iOS devices, too. <a href='/guides/torrent-iphone'>Bear in mind that torrenting on your iPhone</a> or iPad is a bit tricker, seeing as Apple bans BitTorrent apps from its App Store. However, using a VPN with any torrent client, like offcloud or bitport. We still recommend that you use a VPN on alongside a cloud torrent service." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Is torrenting illegal in my country?" answer="The BitTorrent protocol, by itself, is not inherently illegal. Copyright infringement is considered 'illegal' almost everywhere, however. The extent of this illegality can vary wildly from country to country, and we'd recommend seeing our page on the <a href='/vpn/guides/torrenting-illegal'>legalities of torrenting</a> for a detailed discussion on this complex subject." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Will a VPN slow down my download speeds?" answer="Slightly, as a VPN's encryption and decryption measures require processor cycles. Connecting to a VPN server also creates an extra leg to the journey since your VPN will route your traffic through a remote server. Because of this, any VPN you subscribe to will, unfortunately, slow your internet connection to some extent.
We can't say that the difference has ever been noticeable to us when it comes to torrenting (NAT firewall/port forwarding issues aside). Many ISPs, notably in the United States, discriminate against torrent traffic. They use 'traffic management' or 'traffic shaping' systems, which is more commonly referred to as 'throttling'. ISPs do this because they consider torrent traffic to be a nuisance, a bandwidth hog, and/or they believe in supporting the rights of copyright holders. If your ISP does this, then using a VPN will actually speed up your torrent downloads, as the VPN encryption prevents your ISP from seeing that your data includes P2P traffic." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Which torrent client should I use?" answer="Most torrent clients work in the same way, so for most torrenters, it won't actually matter too much. It is the list of arcane advanced features that differentiates torrent clients, and few users, even die-hard torrenters, actually use these. We prefer open source clients, especially since these do not inflict you with ads. Check out our list of <a href='/guides/bittorrent-clients'>Best BitTorrent clients</a> for a list of great torrent clients. One of our favorites is <a href='/guides/qbitorrent-review'>qBitTorrent</a> because it has a 'bind to VPN interface' feature (which <a href='/vpn/comparison/vuze-vpn'>Vuze</a> also has). " /]]
Now we have covered all the important aspects of torrenting with a VPN and how to do it safely, let's review our top picks:
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