Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

April 4, 2018

If you download using the Vuze torrent client then you really should use a VPN for your own protection.

Vuze is a granddaddy of BitTorrent clients. It is no longer open source, and it creaks somewhat under the weight of its myriad features. But who said a shedload of features is necessarily a bad thing? Most torrenters will never use all the tools available, but there is really almost nothing Torrent-related that Vuze can’t do!

To find out more about Vuze, check out 5 Best BitTorrent Clients.

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As I discuss later, one of my favorite Vuze features is the ability to bind it to your VPN interface so that downloads stop if your VPN connection drops. But I am putting the cart before the horse! Let’s first check out our top VPN recommendations for Vuze users…

Best Vuze VPN Services: Summary

10.0/10.0

Editor's choice

Editor's choice

Buffered Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 49% off today!
  • Special offer right now: <strong>49% off</strong>
  • No Usage Logs - Total Privacy!
  • High-Speed Servers
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Five Simultaneous Connections
  • 24/7 Livechat Customer Support
CONS:
  • Bit exprensive but worth it

Buffered is the best VPN for torrenting. Located in Gibraltar, it keeps no usage logs and uses shared IPs, which makes it impossible for anyone to identify the user. It is consistently rated in the fastest VPNs that we test, so their speeds are great. In addition, our Buffered review found they offer a generous five simultaneous connections and compatibility with plenty of platforms. This means that you can use the VPN to torrent on just about any device you own. Other perks of the Gibraltar provider include servers in 46+ countries worldwide and a sweet port discovery feature for public WiFi, a techie feature that no other VPN has. Support is 24/7 live chat, so any problems you can reach them quickly, and a generous 30 day moneyback guarantee if you don’t like anything and want a refund.

Check out the best VPN for Vuze now!

Visit Buffered »30-day money-back guarantee

9.8/10.0

ExpressVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 49% off today!
  • Self-installing, easy-to-use app
  • Kill switch
  • No logs
  • Based in the British Virgin Islands
  • Strong security
CONS:
  • Only three simultaneous connections allowed

ExpressVPN is an incredibly easy-to-use app with strong security procedures. The company that runs this VPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which has no data retention laws and no specific piracy legislation. Along with the company's refusal to retain records of clients' activities, these factors make ExpressVPN an excellent choice for those who want to use Vuze.

The company operates servers in 94 countries. The network is fast and should help your downloads progress quickly. In order to protect your identity with ExpressVPN, you just need to install the app and turn it on. The VPN also comes as a browser extension. However, don't rely on that when you are using Vuze, because the extension only protects activity within the browser. A kill switch in the app prevents all applications on your computer from connecting to the internet if the VPN is not engaged.

9.4/10.0

CyberGhost Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 77% off 2-year plans!
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Fast network speeds
  • Optimized settings for torrenting
  • System-wide and per-app kill switch
  • Strong anonymity procedures
CONS:
  • Free version doesn't have torrent optimization

CyberGhost has a special setting for torrent downloading. When you open the app it presents you with a number of activity options - anonymous torrenting is one of these. If you select the torrenting option, the VPN adjusts its settings accordingly. Be careful about which server you choose to connect to because not all of them accept P2P connections. The servers that shouldn't be used for torrenting are marked in the server list by an exclamation mark ("!"). Another settings page in the app allows you to specify that Vuze opens automatically once the VPN is engaged.

You can install a free version of this VPN, but that doesn't include the torrent optimization feature. You also get slower speeds with the free version of CyberGhost.

The company operates a great system for account creation to keep your identity safe. Payments are collected by a separate company and within the CyberGhost system you're only identified by an account number. The company keeps no activity logs and is based in Romania, where the High Court has protected individual online privacy by throwing out data retention laws.

9.0/10.0

Mullvad Homepage
PROS:
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Three-hour free trial
  • Strong privacy procedures
  • Allowance of five simultaneous connections
  • Good for P2P downloading
CONS:
  • Can't get into Netflix

Mullvad is based in Sweden, where all data retention and state-access laws have just been invalidated by the European Courts of Justice. This company uses a similar account creation method to CyberGhost and uses a separate company for payment processing. This means that Mullvad doesn't hold any personal details about its customers. Added to this, Mullvad is run by internet freedom activists who make sure that the company keeps no logs of users' activities.

The company charges a flat rate of €5 per month and you can try out the VPN with a three-hour free trial before you subscribe. You get an allowance of five simultaneous connections with Mullvad, which mean that you can leave your laptop running a download through Vuze and make other connections on your mobile device while you are out.

8.8/10.0

NordVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 77% off today!
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in 61 countries
  • No logs
  • Up to six simultaneous connections allowed
  • SOCKS5 proxy option
CONS:
  • Customer support can be slow

NordVPN offers you the option of just turning on its service to protect you with Vuze or using its SOCKS5 proxy in a manual setup. NordVPN is fine about its customers using its network to download files with torrents and it has servers that are optimized for P2P downloading.

The company is based in Panama and keeps no logs, so you don't have to worry about the possibility of being pursued by copyright lawyers. The security features of the VPN include strong encryption and a kill switch to prevent your Vuze client connecting to peers without the VPN being turned on. You get an allowance of six simultaneous connections with this service and the company doesn't mind if you share an account with friends.

Vuze and VPNs

Why Do I Need a VPN with Vuze?

Vuze uses the BitTorrent protocol to “download” files. Instead of being stored on a centralized server from which you download, torrented files are shared among many other BitTorrent users. Popular files can easily be shared among hundreds of users in this way.

So when you “download” a torrent file, you are really sharing pieces of that file with anyone else also downloading or sharing the file. A potentially nasty side-effect of this is that all these “peers” can see your IP address (and you can see theirs).

VPN for torrents

Here in Vuze I can easily see the IP addresses of everyone else who is sharing the same file as me!

Thankfully, using a VPN will protect you from this.

Using a VPN with Vuze Will Protect Your Privacy

Using a VPN creates an encrypted connection between your computer and a VPN server run by a VPN provider. This VPN server then acts as a proxy, sitting between you and the internet.

For a full discussion on the benefits this provides, check out my VPNs for Beginners guide. With P2P, however, the key points are:

  • Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot see what you get up to on the internet, as all data that passes between your computer and the VPN server is encrypted. This means that your ISP cannot see that you are torrenting, or indeed, what you are torrenting.
  • Anyone watching from the internet (such as other torrenters) will see the IP address of the VPN server, not your real IP address. In other words, using a VPN hides your real IP address.

For further discussion on general issues relating to VPNs and torrenting, please check out 5 Best VPNs for Torrenting.

How to Use Vuze

Vuze costs nothing to download and the free version offers all the features you will likely ever need from a torrent client, although it does display some ads.

Use VPN with Vuze

A premium version is also available for USD $29.90 per year (at time of writing this is discounted to $9.90 per year). This removes the ads and provides built-in anti-virus scanning, a DVD burner, and “play now” support (similar to Popcorn Time). Which is, admittedly, pretty funky!

Note that when first installing Vuze you should take care to read the setup blurb because by default Vuze will install a number of browser add-ons and other stuff from its partners that you probably don’t want. As long as you pay attention, however, you can opt out all the crapware.

Although it offers a ridiculous number of features, at heart Vuze is a traditional BitTorrent client and will, therefore, be familiar to anyone who has ever torrented before. If you have never downloaded using the BitTorrent protocol, here is a quick rundown of how it works:

  1. Download and install Vuze.
  2. Ensure you have a VPN running (this is optional but strongly recommended).
  3. Visit a BitTorrent website. These websites host links to torrent files and magnet links. You can browse for content that interests you, or search for something specific. Many websites include user-reviews of torrents, which can help you pick good ones. If torrent sites are blocked by your ISP, a VPN is also handy for unblocking them.
  4. When you have found the content you want, simply click on its torrent link or magnet link. The torrent will open in your BitTorrent client and begin downloading.
  5. When the download is 100% completed, enjoy!

Unlike the desktop client, the excellent Android app is lightweight and ad-free. A pro version is now available via in-app purchase (about $4), but I have been unable to determine what features this adds (and am too skinflint to shell out the money to find out!).

Use VPN with Vuze

The mobile version of Vuze works in exactly the same way as the desktop versions.

Seeding

BitTorrent is a decentralized file-sharing platform. In order for it to work, users share files with other users. This happens while you download a file, but it is considered good form to leave your BitTorrent client open after you have finished downloading a file in order to benefit other users.

This is known as seeding, and it is considered good netiquette to seed to a ratio of at least 1:1 (that is, upload for other users the same amount of data as you download).

Vuze clearly displays the seed ratio of downloaded files. Note that BestVPN.com does not condone copyright infringement. The legal torrents shown above downloaded from Public Domain Torrents.

How to Set up Vuze With a VPN

To protect yourself with a VPN when using Vuze you just need to run the VPN software before and during your Vuze session.

There is always a danger, however, that the VPN will disconnect in the middle of a download session. This happens occasionally with even the best VPN services. If you have left your computer unattended while downloading, this can result in your real IP address being exposed for perhaps hours at a time.

Fortunately, there are a couple of solutions to this problem….

Use a VPN Kill Switch

More and more VPN providers now offer a VPN kill switch with their custom software. These either monitor your internet connection and shut it down when they detect a VPN dropout, or use firewall rules to prevent any internet traffic from leaving your computer outside of your VPN connection.

The second kind of kill switch is more secure and also doubles as DNS leak protection. But any kill switch is better than none.

I have not yet seen a custom mobile app that features a kill switch per se., but the OpenVPN for Android app can be set up to work as a kill switch.

For more information on all of the above, please see here.

Bind Vuze to Your VPN Interface (Windows, macOS and Linux)

One of the best features of Vuze is that you can you can bind it to your VPN interface. This prevents Vuze from downloading or uploading anything outside your VPN connection. This means that if your VPN connection drops (or you forget to turn it on), you will stay safe.

1. Make sure that your VPN connection is active, then in Vuze go to Tools -> Options -> Mode and select ‘Advanced’ under ‘User Proficiency.’

Install Vuze on Windows, mac and Linux

2. Then go to Connection -> Advanced Network Settings and look through the list for your VPN connection. In Windows these are:

  • PPTP, L2TP or IKEv2 – WAN Miniport
  • OpenVPN – TAP-Windows-Adapter V9

Connecting a VPN with Vuze

My OpenVPN connection in Windows is using the eth6 interface. Make a note of the interface name.

On Macs, the VPN interface name is always called utun1, while in Linux it is tun0.

Connecting Vuze to a VPN

3. Go to the top of the list and enter the interface name in the “Bind to local IP address or interface” dialog box.

how to connect a VPN to Vuze

4. Head down to the bottom of the list and check “Enforce IP bindings even when interfaces are not available…”

Install a VPN on Vuze

5. Click Save and exit Options.

A little routing icon at the bottom of the Vuze client should now show green to let you know everything is working correctly.

How to configure a VPN with Vuze

If you disconnect from your VPN the icon will turn red and all torrent downloads will come to a stop.

VPN Vuze: Conclusion

Although no longer the only BitTorrent client that can be bound to the VPN interface (qBitTorrent does this too), this feature means that Vuze is still one of the best BitTorrent clients for VPN users around. And as I have discussed, if you are a BitTorrent users but not a VPN user, you’re quite frankly mad!

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Buffered review »
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10.0

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Special Offer: 49% off today!
2
ExpressVPN review »
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From
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9.8

Our Score
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ExpressVPN review »
3
CyberGhost review »
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$2.75
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9.4

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CyberGhost review »
4
Mullvad review »
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9.0

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Mullvad review »
5
NordVPN review »
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8.8

Our Score
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NordVPN review »
Douglas Crawford
April 5th, 2018

I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

8 responses to “5 Best Vuze VPNs 2018 – How To Run and Configure Vuze With A VPN

  1. Phil says:

    Hello Douglas. Thanks for such an informative article with great advice. I’ve downloaded films on Vuze but understand the risks, so I went with your suggestion and bought the ExpressVPN service (for a month for now to make sure I understand it and it works since I am so new to VPN’s.) Anyway, I downloaded ExpressVPN onto my laptop HP Computer with the help of one of their customer service reps. (That is the other thing I loved about ExpressVPN – he was so helpful and walked me through, step by step, how to get the app working correctly.) But, before we said our good-byes, I forgot to ask him about Vuze.

    From what I am reading from your article, once I use a service like ExpressVPN, sign in and establish a connection (say in Mexico for ex), that is all I have to do vis a vis Vuze, correct? In other words, when I go to my computer, open a browser like Google Chrome, etc, then go to a site like Piratebay, etc, to find a movie, I am protected, correct? There is nothing more I need to do in terms of setting up Vuze? So, when I click on a torrent on Piratebay for a movie and click on the corresponding link, this link will automatically open up in Vuze to download. Do I understand this correctly? Again, if I use a VPN service like Express, I don’t have to do the very confusing steps you outlined above regarding the Manual Proxy Setup’s 7 steps? Or, do I need to do both – get a VPN PLUS do the Manual Proxy Setup? Happy holidays.

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi Phil,

      That is correct. All you need is to have the VPN running when using Vuze. Do make sure, however, that you have the kill switch enabled so that you will not be exposed in the event a VPN dropout. In the ExpressVPN client go make sure Options -> Enable Network Lock is checked.

  2. Standroid says:

    I must be missing something! Neither of your top two services, NordVPN and ExpressVPN, support port forwarding. Without port forwarding, Seeding from Vuze grinds to a halt and Remote Pairing is not possible. What is the trick to using Vuze without port forwarding?

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi Standroid,

      Hmmm. I have Vuze running pretty much all the time, and it works just fine with every VPN I have tried without the need for port forwarding…

  3. tom says:

    What is your opinion on openvpn? Am I correct in assuming that this will work? Or should I be looking at a pay vpn service? I have been using vuze for many years and recently have been notified by my ISP that I downloaded copywrited material. I stopped using vuse until I can figure out how to do this privately. Noone should be able to see what we are downloading without a warrant in my opinion.

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi tom,

      OpenVPN is a VPN protocol, and is considered the best such protocol available. It creates an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a server, but you need a server to connect to. This is where a commercial VPN service comes in, and is what you need to protect you when downloading as…

      a) your ISP will not be able to see what you download because your internet connection is encrypted, and
      b) anyone tracking the torrent downloads from the web will only see the VPN provider’s IP address and not your real one.

      For a good P2P-friendly VPN provider check out 5 Best VPNs for torrents, P2P and filesharing.

  4. Kimbecca says:

    What is your opinion of hide.me vpn? Is it good, reliable, and in regards to Vuze, does it do what its supposed to? How would you rank it amongst the list already provided? Is it a close runner up, could it qualify as a tie? And lastly, I cant seem to figure out how to pair my hide.me vpn to vuze… I find the whole subject is all to confusing and any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi Kembecca,

      Although I have have not personally used hide.me, our reviewer Peter liked the service, and P2P is fine as long as you connect to servers that allow it (most of them – see /hideme-review/ for more details). To use Vuse with your VPN, you just have to run it while the VPN is connected. I have also written instructions on how to bind Vuse, so that it only downloads when a VPN connection is active (if the VPN connection is terminated for any reason then Vuse will stop downloading). This is available at https://bestvpncom.wpengine.com/blog/5142/5-ways-to-protect-yourself-when-your-vpn-connection-fails/.

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