The torrent can cause all kinds of headaches depending on the content you download, from your Internet service provider cutting your plan into long legal battles that could result in a fine or jail time. By simply logging into a virtual private network (VPN), you can avoid all of these risks, and then some, but not all, of the services support file sharing.
To make it easier for you, VPNOnlineFree has described the best VPNs for the torrent, prioritizing speed and security above all.
Why do I need a torrent VPN?
Of course, the torrent is not illegal in itself. It's just a protocol, and a protocol used for perfectly legitimate reasons, like downloading Linux distributions. But anyone who reads this article knows what the torrent is for, and copyright owners don't like it at all.
Using a VPN protects you during the torrent in two key ways:
- You connect to a server that is between you and the Internet. This means that everyone on the Internet, including other BitTorrent peers, sees the Internet address (IP) of the server instead of your real IP address.
- The connection between your device and the server is encrypted. This prevents your Internet Service Provider (ISP) from seeing what you are downloading.
In addition to these protections, they are also very useful for torrenters because:
- They unblock torrent sites. It is common in many parts of the world for ISPs to block access to torrent websites. But just as VPN technology prevents anyone on the Internet from seeing your real IP address, it also works the other way around and prevents your ISP from seeing what you get on the Internet.
And what your ISP can't see, it can't block. It is therefore as easy to access blocked torrent sites as to connect to a server located somewhere that does not block them.
This is only a very brief overview of VPN technology – for a more detailed overview, see our what is a VPN? Beginner non-technical guide.
What is important in a torrent VPN?
When choosing the service to use during the torrent, you need to ask yourself a few questions before committing.
Does VPN allow file sharing?
The most important thing is that a supplier actually authorizes the torrent! Most do so today, but not all.
A VPN that allows the torrent to try to protect you when it receives DMCA letters, but if you torrent on a service that does not allow P2P, you cannot expect such protection. You should also make sure that you subscribe to a good VPN without logs, as this makes it impossible for a provider to transmit information that it simply does not have.
Does the VPN offer a kill switch?
The most important feature to have during the torrent is a kill switch. This ensures that you cannot torrent without the VPN connected. Make sure the provider's apps have a kill switch for the platform you're torrenting on (though Android 7+ itself has one built in).
Another thing to consider is port forwarding. This is a controversial feature because it improves P2P download speeds but can pose security risks.
Top 5 VPNs for Torrenting
Unlike many companies based in the United States, Private Internet Access (PIA) fully enables the torrent on all of its 3295 servers in 29 countries. And the torrent can take heart in the fact that PIA is almost unique among VPN providers to have its claims without proven logs in court!
Linux users will be surprised to note that PIA offers a full Linux GUI client offering all the functionality that users on other platforms benefit from – including a kill switch. Indeed, the fact that PIA offers kill kill in all its custom VPN applications (Windows, Mac, Android, Linux and iOS) is dandy for torrenters, as is its support for port forwarding via its NAT firewall, which can improve download times.
Torrenters might also appreciate the SOCKS5 proxy offered by PIA which can provide “double protection” for your BitTorrent downloads, or can be used to protect only the BitTorrent application (similar to split tunneling).
Customer support is not as 24/7 as advertised, but PIA offers a solid 7-day warranty.
CyberGhost authorizes the torrent on most of its servers, but not in the United States or Canada due to very hostile copyright environments in both. However, North Americans can still download P2P using European servers. In addition, it runs special P2P-optimized servers in 90 countries around the world.
One feature that can be particularly interesting for torrenting is “Application Protection”, which allows you to specify that only certain applications are protected by the VPN. Like your BitTorrent app! This is also known as split-tunneling.
Torrenters will also appreciate the built-in (and enabled by default) delete switches in CyberGhost's Windows and macOS applications. CyberGhost offers live chat support 24/7 if you need it, in addition to a very generous 45 day money back guarantee. You can even try the service for free for 24 hours before having to provide payment details, which is more than enough to download test torrents!
The last thing torrenters should note is that this Romanian company does not keep any newspapers that can be delivered to rights holders, regardless of the pressure they apply.
ExpressVPN is one of the most respected names in the VPN industry. It allows the torrent on all of its 160 server locations in 94 countries around the world, although it prefers (quite understandably) to remain discreet about it.
Torrenters will also appreciate the fact that Windows and Mac applications in ExpressVPN have good shutdown switches. And being based in the British Virgin Islands allows ExpressVPN to implement a robust non-journaling policy, ensuring that it does not keep any records to pass on to copyright officials.
If you're having trouble, the ExpresVPN 24/7 live chat support team is friendly and knowledgeable. A problem-free 30-day money back guarantee also guarantees peace of mind.
Surfshark is a service based in the British Virgin Islands that allows Bittorrenting on a wide choice of servers. This provider has a network of Level 1 servers in more than 60 countries, which means you can get privacy and good download speeds no matter where you live. Confidentiality is guaranteed thanks to its zero log policy, you can use Surfshark to download to any Torrent client and thanks to its killswitch, you will never have to worry about the data leak to your ISP if the connection VPN fails for some reason.
This VPN will unblock restricted torrent sites like Pirate Bay, and it has software for all platforms to help you safely torrent on any device. In addition to the torrent, this VPN unblocks international flows and services such as Netflix US and Hulu. Given the price, this VPN is truly breathtaking, which is why it has such an exceptional reputation with consumers. Can be used on an unlimited number of devices simultaneously, and you can test it without risk thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee.
IPVanish is a US-based VPN that implements solid log-free policy and VPNOnlineFree encryption. This means that you can access any restricted torrent site and download securely inside the private VPN tunnel. With IPVanish, you get apps for all platforms and you can use the VPN on up to 10 devices simultaneously. This is very generous and means that you can use the VPN on multiple devices; even while uploading content to a torrent client.
IPVanish has a killswitch to make sure you don't accidentally disclose data to your ISP, which ensures you can torrent without a second thought. And IPVanish can also unblock wanted services such as Netflix US. Finally, IPVanish mainly works on a proprietary network, which means that it offers excellent torrenting or HD streaming speeds. It's worth comparing to other services with its 30-day money back guarantee.
Hide.me VPN is a service that always impresses during testing. VPN has software for all platforms, and these apps are both easy to use but also packed with premium features. With Hide.me you get a killswitch, DNS leak protection, a choice of encryption, obscured servers, port forwarding and split tunneling. This makes the VPN perfect for downloading via BitTorrent. In addition, hide.me has a zero log policy, which means that it never has any records of what its users do when they are connected.
Hide.me is a highly privacy-focused VPN, but it will easily allow you to unblock all blocked torrent repositories. And you can use this VPN while using any Torrent client or even apps like Popcorn Time or Flixtor. We like that you can use this VPN on simultaneous devices. And with average download speeds of just under 80 Mbps, you'll have no problem downloading content. Test it risk free, with its 30 day money back guarantee.
How we test our torrent VPNs
Before recommending a torrent service, we always:
Make sure the VPN authorizes the torrent.
Check that the VPN is working properly.
Torrentes don't really need to worry about WebRTC and DNS leaks as these are browser issues, but we check them anyway. We are also checking for IPv6 leaks, although to have one, you would need both an IPv6 Internet connection and having manually activated IPv6 in your BitTorrent client. Do not hesitate to see if your VPN is leaking using our leak test tool.
Test all kill switches and other features to make sure they work as advertised.
How to use a torrent VPN safely
During the torrent, your IP address may be exposed. This exposes you to hackers and copyright officials. Using a VPN will mask your IP address and improve your Internet security and privacy. We show you below how to use a torrent VPN.
- If you don't have a VPN subscription yet, you'll need to sign up for one. Before purchasing a subscription, make sure that the VPN you are considering allows torrenting on their servers, as not all VPNs do. All the services on our list allow it.
- Activate your kill switch. This will reduce your device's connection to the Internet if the VPN connection drops.
- Download and install a BitTorrent client.
- Visit a torrent site. Most ISPs block torrent sites, a VPN can help you access blocked torrent sites.
- Start downloading your torrent. Test your VPN for leaks to make sure your IP address is secure before doing so.
- It is a good netiquette to sow torrents once you have downloaded. If you look at the “peers” tab of your BitTorrent, it becomes obvious why it is so important to use a VPN because you can see the IP address of other torrent users.
- Configure port forwarding as this will improve your speeds when torrenting, however, this step is not essential.
Other VPNs that allow file sharing
This short list does not cover all VPNs that allow the torrent. In fact, most (but certainly not all – see below) of reputable paid services allow the torrent these days. These include:
VPN to avoid if you want to share files (P2P)
The providers below are known to either not allow the torrent, or are not recommended for use during the torrent. Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive.
- Opera VPN – Despite its name, it is a proxy that only affects the Opera browser, not a service. You cannot use it to protect your torrent sessions.
- Hola – This P2P service uses the devices of other Hola users as VPN exit nodes. It's unclear if the torrent is actually banned on Hola, but do it could put other users in serious trouble (and their torrent could land you in hot water).
- VPNGate – The fact that the torrent is authorized on this network managed by volunteers seems to be a gray area. The system allows it, but experienced node operators can block P2P using third-party software. The torrent using servers where the P2P download is illegal could cause trouble for the volunteers and, therefore, seems very rude.
- TurboVPN – Torrenting is explicitly prohibited, under the threat of blocking your account.
- BitDefender – Even if it operates the Hotspot Shield VPN server network (HSS authorizes the torrent), BitDefender prohibits the torrent on its service.
- ProtonVPN Free – Paid customers can torrent the contents of their core on dedicated torrent servers, but the BitTorrent protocol is blocked on the free ProtonVPN servers.
What about free VPNs for the torrent?
Running a VPN service is a major operation. And expensive. No one, and we mean no one, will do it for free.
There are free services, but the most reputable ones offer free plans that are severely limited in various ways – such as limited speeds or strict download limits. They then hope that these free plans will make you pay for a premium subscription.
Almost no free VPN allows torrenting
These, at least, are transparent about how they monetize their free services. Less reputable providers are known to spy on user information and sell it to the highest bidder or to steal and sell your bandwidth.
And almost no free VPN service allows P2P, anyway! Dealing with the hassle of DMCA and other opinions is simply not worth it for non-paying customers!
Can I download a cracked VPN from torrent sites?
If you hack everything else, you may be wondering if you can torrent a VPN?
There are an increasing number of VPN apps appearing on torrent sites, with cracks, but downloading one is a terrible idea for several reasons:
- All reputable services operate on a subscription model. The functionality is therefore linked to your account, not if you use “activated” software or similar. So “breaking” the software is useless.
- This means that the so-called “cracks” bundled with applications on torrent sites are invariably malware. Make sure to avoid, avoid, avoid.
- It is also possible to torrent “free” VPN applications. Aside from the fact that they are available anyway, many of them are scams that monetize their service by stealing your browser history and / or bandwidth (see the section above).
There is nothing inherently illegal in the BitTorrent protocol itself, but copyright infringement is considered “illegal” almost everywhere. To what extent, however, it can vary enormously from country to country. Please look Is the torrent illegal? for a detailed discussion on this complex subject.
Short answer: connect to a VPN server and make sure that the kill switch of your VPN application is activated before starting a torrent session. Please consult our step-by-step guides for torrenting with a VPN on your desktop computer (Windows, Mac and Linux), Android device, Chromebook, and even on your iPhone or iPad.
The VPN server acts as an additional step in the journey that the data has to go through, and both encryption and decryption require processor cycles. So, in theory, a VPN slows down any VPN connection to some extent. Regarding the torrent, however, aside from the NAT firewall / port forwarding issues, we cannot say that the difference has ever been noticeable to us. Many ISPs, especially in the United States, discriminate against torrential traffic. Called “traffic management” or “traffic shaping” by ISPs, it is more commonly called “limitation”. ISPs do this because they view torrent traffic as a nuisance, a bandwidth hog and / or they believe in defending the rights of copyright holders. If your ISP does, using a VPN will actually speed up your torrent, as VPN encryption prevents your ISP from seeing that your data includes P2P traffic.
You can safely torrent on any internet connected device for which there are BitTorrent and VPN apps. Which basically means any Windows, Mac and Linux desktop, Android device or Chromebook (using Android or Linux apps). Torrenting on your iPhone or iPad is a little trickier because Apple prohibits BitTorrent apps from its App Store, but it is nevertheless possible to use a cloud torrent service (for which the use of a VPN is always recommended) .