Protecting your identity online is a necessity nowadays. This is especially true when it comes to P2P file sharing since you don’t always know what you’re downloading, nor who is watching.
There’s a lot to consider when selecting the best VPN for torrenting. You have to contend with hackers and government scrutiny in kind.
In Australia, more than 55 international pirate torrent websites have been blocked thanks to a court ruling in August of 2017. Even in an age of Creative Commons Licenses, users are being restricted from accessing content.
The good news is, there are some great VPNs out there that enable you to circumnavigate this blocking so that you can view and download all the movies, TV shows, and sports specials you want, whenever you want.
But selecting the right one is another story, one that can be a slippery slope if you don’t have any experience with VPNs. For that reason, I’ve compiled a list of the best VPNs for torrenting.
My list is based on thorough testing and research to ensure that you’ll only read about the most reputable ones available.
After testing more than 25 VPNs and downloading (or attempting to download) 250+ files everywhere from Melbourne to Canberra. With the best VPNs, I was able to use BitTorrent, download movies and stream every episode of Game of Thrones.
A mind may need books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep it edge, but my mind needs unlimited downloads and with the best VPNs on this list, I can download to my heart (and mind)’s content.
Things to Consider Before Signing Up with a VPN
When it comes to choosing the best VPN for torrenting, there’s a lot you need to know. Torrent and P2P file sharers need privacy, but they also need a fair ceiling when it comes to data caps. Slow speeds and bodgy bandwidth will pose a problem for those who are looking to download or upload a decent amount of content.
With that in mind, here are a few factors to consider before settling on the VPN for your torrenting needs:
The number one consideration when seeking out a VPN for torrenting is the cryptography behind the software. Proper encryption is what assures the user that no third parties will be able to spy on their activity or target them with ads or viruses.
The better VPNs on the market offer OpenVPN protocol, a security model for secure tunnel transport. This keeps the ISPs (Internet Service Providers), regardless of things like mandatory data retention. In this way, you stop them from collecting your personal data and the data of those you communicate with online.
Private companies have been using VPNs for this kind of invisible security for a long time, but now it’s been made available to the general public and there are a wealth of VPN solutions on the market, many of which offer security software with their own signature algorithms for concrete encryption.
A VPN’s logging policy is very important because this is what determines whether your online activity is truly private or just “kinda, sorta private.” Some VPNs will tell you that they have a no logs policy, meaning that they don’t save your user sessions, but in many cases this is a false claim.
Users on Reddit and other forums have called VPNs like HideMyAss out for collecting their data and sharing that information with others. Similar accusations have been leveled at Pure VPN, although these allegations are largely unsubstantiated.
Aside from selecting a VPN with a strict no logs policy, you’ll also want to look for one with plenty of bandwidth. Of course, the speed of your VPN is not solely the responsibility of the VPN you go with, it’s also your responsibility.
If you use a VPN that claims to have fast speeds and you find them to be slow, consider using a server that is closer to you. In most cases, the VPN has servers in your area. Always use the server that suits your purpose.
Another way to jack up your speed is to use a PPTP protocol. PPTP stands for Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol. It is one of the oldest and simplest protocols and computationally fastest. Bear in mind, however, that you won’t get maximum security with a PPTP protocol so it’s really a toss up between ultimate security and ultimate speed.
Speed testing is another consideration. ExpressVPN is my favourite VPN because of their transparency and commitment to their clients. They were the first VPN to introduce a Speed Test tool which shows you in real time exactly what kinds of speeds you are achieving with their server’s connection.
To truly optimize your speed, you should upgrade your own connection speed via your own ISP. Be sure to do this before using your VPN. Also don’t use a free VPN for torrenting or streaming.
So, which VPNs are best for torrenting in 2018? We took a close look at all the major VPNs on the market (and some of the minor ones that you’ll want to avoid at all costs) and rated them based on speed, features, encryption, price point, customer service and, most importantly, privacy.
Here are our top picks:
ExpressVPN–#1 Choice, Fastest & Most Secure
You simply sign up, follow their basic instructions and, within minutes, you’re able to connect to any of their servers. From there, you can safely and securely download uTorrent and start using their app to start torrenting. Their Smart Location feature can even select the optimal location for your network.
They use the highest level of encryption (256-bit AES) and permit you to use any of the major protocols (OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP and SSTP).
With ExpressVPN, you get all of the features we mentioned earlier—24/7 live customer support, killer speeds, kill switch, unlimited bandwidth and more.
Fastest speeds, unbeatable customer service, advanced features, no logs, complete privacy
Not the cheapest VPN solution, occasionally slow startup speed, limited simultaneous connections
NordVPN—2nd Best, Excellent Balance of Privacy & Speed, Double Data Encryption
NordVPN has been around for quite some time and they’re very popular for obvious reasons. With NordVPN, you get unlimited P2P sharing, DNS leak blocker, a kill switch and a 30-day money back guarantee.
What’s more, they use military-grade encryption and provide their users with CyberSec which automatically blocks things like malware so that you won’t have to worry about cyber threats while torrenting or streaming blocked content.
CyberSec also protects against DdoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. A DDOS attack is a kind of attack where multiple compromised systems are used to target one system in particular. Your system. CyberSec shields you from such an attack.
Other advanced features include Double VPN which encrypts your internet traffic twice to create an additional layer of privacy. This process of chaining servers enables you to hide behind a number of servers to better protect your identity.
These are but a few of the features you can expect out of NordVPN. If you can’t afford ExpressVPN, this one’s a good alternative.
Extra protection, military-grade encryption, variety of pricing options, easy setup, variety of payment methods including Bitcoin, servers in 58 countries
Slower speeds than some of their competitors, server options are lacking in certain countries, no phone support, poor customer service reputation
Buffered VPN—3rd Choice
With solid international speed test scores and a dependable client, it’s clear why Buffered VPN has won awards and been featured in major tech publications like Wired Magazine. They are a reputable company that obviously cares about its customers.
Every year, this Budapest-based company awards $5,000 to 5 students to help cover their education at university. They offer affiliate support and dedicated customer support.
Unlike some of their competitors, they place absolutely no restrictions on users who want to share files. You’ll have total torrenting access with their software. Utilizing their technology, you’ll be able to bypass government interference and unblock any content you wish to view or download.
By masking your IP address and properly encrypting your online traffic, Buffered VPN gives you everything you’ll need to unblock torrenting sites and enjoy the content you’ve been itching to check out.
It’s also worth mentioning that some VPN sites look like they were slapped together by someone’s little brother over a long weekend. Buffered.com couldn’t look better. Boasting banners that play up the fact that they’ve been featured in Time, Success and the aforementioned Wired, the pages are easy on the eyes and easy to navigate. Their interface is also easy to navigate.
Special offers, no logs, high-speed servers, 256-bit Blowfish Encryption, unlimited bandwidth, 5 simultaneous connections, 24/7 customer support
Not the cheapest VPN solution, no ad-blocking, lacks advanced features
IPVanish—Another Strong Contender
IPVanish is great for beginners and seasoned users alike. Featuring a robust suite of security tools, IPVanish is a torrenter’s dream. As with ExpressVPN and NordVPN, IPVanish provides ideal encryption for file sharing and streaming.
This award-winning VPN maintains your privacy via Socks5, a proxy feature that permits you to remain private by concealing your real IP address when passing your P2P traffic through one of their 40,000+ IP addresses on one of their many servers.
They have two servers in Melbourne and a total of 950+ servers in 60+ countries, making them one of the most prevalent VPN solutions in the world. They also offer three affordable plans.
No logs, solid encryption, multiple servers, torrenting allowed, accepts Bitcoin
Based in the USA where the NSA could come knocking, less than exemplary customer support
Private VPN—Solid Runner Up
A budget-friendly option for the more frugal user who still wants torrenting capability, Private VPN uses concrete cryptography to keep you anonymous. Their service features a built-in kill switch and they maintain a firm no logs policy.
With Private VPN, you can unblock region-specific content and blocked sites. Their high speed servers are some of the most reliable around and their 1-click setup takes the headache out of signing up and getting started.
Compatible across all devices, Private VPN is a service that’s well-regarded for its friendly customer service and fast connections.
Unfortunately, every rose has its thorn and this one’s is the lack of DNS leak protection. But for the casual user, this is a nice, cheap choice that will probably get the job done.
Strong OpenVPN, no log policy, affordable pricing, seven-day money back guarantee, servers in 29 countries
No built-in DNS leak coverage
CyberGhost–2nd Runner Up
This software is extremely easy to use and has all the bells and whistles of more expensive VPN solutions. Based in Romania, CyberGhost delivers exceptional speeds at nearby servers and retains absolutely no logs of user sessions.
It blocks the Torrent protocol on all servers, normalizing traffic and allowing the use of all P2P networks. The only questionable thing about CyberGhost is that you can download it absolutely free.
Free VPNs are something users have to be cautious about since most free VPNs aren’t truly free. They have a bad reputation for collecting your data and selling it to third parties in order to pay for their free service.
That being said, after running a test with CyberGhost, we found no evidence that this was the case and no DNS leaks were detected either. All things considered, CyberGhost seems like a viable option for the user who is on a tight budget.
Pros: Private, based in Romania (no government snooping), good looking and easy to use software, five simultaneous connections, 24/7 live chat, DNS leak protection, kill switch, P2P sharing allowed
Confusing pricing, poor reputation among former customers
Protect Yourself Now
Your privacy matters, particularly when it comes to P2P file sharing. Torrenting can be very dangerous. It can result in legal troubles, attacks by malicious content or malware. It can result in data leaks and theft of sensitive information.
VPNs can ward off all of these cyber threats and assist you in maintaining discretion.
If you’re still not sure about using one of these services, keep in mind that the VPNs on this list feature money back guarantees. You’re free to try their service and see if it’s right for you.
How Do VPNs for Torrenting Protect Me?
VPN encryption and unique IP addresses ensure that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) cannot see what you are doing on the internet since all of the data that is transmitted from your computer through the VPN server is hidden.
Since one of the main reasons torrenting is a big no-no is because of copyrighted content, VPN providers end up getting the flak from copyright holders instead of you. That’s because your real IP address is not exposed.
By connecting to VPN servers located in countries that don’t censor websites on grounds of copyright, you can effectively unblock torrent sites and see whatever you want.
Understanding the Law
Some countries (the United Kingdom and India among them) are cracking down when it comes to online copyright offenses, but most countries consider piracy to be a civil matter rather than a criminal one.
One of the most widespread repercussions of piracy is a warning letter from your ISP. If you’re using a properly secure VPN, you will not encounter this problem as your actual IP address will not be seen by anybody.
How to Make Sure Your VPN for Torrenting is Protecting You
If you want to know whether you’re genuinely secure and private, visit IPLeak.com. If you don’t see your real IP address or one from your ISP, you are being protected by the VPN.
For extra assurance, you can check to see if your BitTorrent client is leaking your real IP address by scrolling down to Torrent Address Detection and adding the magnet link to your BitTorrent client. This will monitor your torrenting activity and detect any leaks.
I think you’ll agree that there are many benefits to using a VPN.
Even if you just want to connect with friends or relatives, VPNs have got your back, protecting your passwords and personal conversations from the prying eyes of corporations, hackers and government institutions.
Now that you’ve seen our six top picks, perhaps you’re having some trouble settling on just one. If that’s the case, I recommend trying out one or two to get a feel for which one suits your needs.
If I had to pick my top three, I’d definitely go with ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Buffered VPN. Each of them feature good speeds, reliable support, rock solid encryption and special offers for those signing up for the first time.
VPNs are a vital resource and now you have the knowledge you need to start shopping around for a viable VPN solution. Happy streaming!