Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

Jul 18, 2018

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Most internet users could benefit from using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), but for torrent downloaders in particular, a VPN should be considered an absolute essential. Many torrenters simply don’t realise just how exposed they are using P2P. The BitTorrent protocol is great for sharing all kinds of files with other users, but one thing it is not, is private.

When it comes to protecting internet privacy, BestVPN.com leads the debate. While we do not condone copyright infringement, we firmly believe that the internet should be a free and open place and that users should be allowed to use this wonderful resource without fear of prosecution or persecution. To that end, our dedicated team of leading privacy experts have spent the past five years testing VPNs, day in, day out, with one goal in mind – keeping you safe.

There is no other comparison site in the industry that has been doing this longer. Our collection of market-leading tools, such as the BestVPN.com Speed Test, allow us to take a data-led approach and we rigorously stress test each and every feature to make sure it meets our standards. Put plainly, no other review site can match BestVPN.com’s knowledge, technology and insight when it comes to VPNs.

We’ve got two options for you. For those wanting to dive into the detail about each of the providers and why a VPN is important when torrenting, check out our in-depth list below. But, if you’re eager to start safely torrenting straight away, we’ve summarized our findings in a handy table at the end of the list.

So let’s get started, here’s our official list of Best VPNs for torrenting in 2018:

The best VPNs for Torrenting

When it comes to finding the perfect VPN for torrenting, there are a number of things you need to look out for. First and foremost – privacy is essential. The level of encryption that is offered and how well it’s implemented is an obvious consideration, but so is the provider’s privacy policy. A VPN can offer the strongest encryption on the market, but if it’s privacy policy doesn’t offer you watertight protection, it’s worthless.

Second, torrenting requires fast download speeds. A second-rate VPN with an overloaded network just won’t cut the mustard. You need a premium service with a high-performance network. It’s also worth bearing in mind that most providers only offer a finite number of P2P servers and if this server is on the other side of the world to you, your download speeds will suffer. All our providers have P2P-enabled servers in multiple regions.

So with all these considerations in mind, let’s take a look at who made it into five best VPNs for torrenting:

10.0/10.0

Fast speeds & strong encryption - A great VPN for torrenting

Fast speeds & strong encryption - A great VPN for torrenting

NordVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 77% off today!
  • No logs
  • P2P: Yes
  • Based in Panama (great for privacy!)
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Great customer service
  • Servers in 62 countries
CONS:
  • No port forwarding
  • Two Mac clients is confusing and the new one lacks features
  • No Linux client

Key information
Server locations: 62+ | Server number: 4500+ | Simultaneous connections: 6 |
IP addresses: 3500+ | Jurisdiction: Panama | Average speed: 56.48 Mbit/s

Tools for torrents
Kill switch: Yes | Port forwarding: No | SOCKS: Yes

P2P Server Locations
North America: Yes | Australia: Yes | East Asia: Yes

Works with
BBC iPlayer: Yes | Netflix: Yes | Hulu: Yes | Amazon Video: Yes | Torrenting: Yes

Available for
Windows: Yes | Mac: Yes | Linux: No | Android: Yes | iOS: Yes

Our thoughts
NordVPN is a great all-rounder for all your torrent needs. With fast servers in 62 countries, a strong focus on privacy and a willingness to keep innovating in the VPN space, NordVPN easily snaps up the top spot in our Top for Torrents table!

NordVPN offers an industry-leading six simultaneous connections which means that everyone in the family can use the VPN without interrupting your downloads.

With clients available for all major platforms, the software looks great and works well. A three-day free trial is a nice bonus if you are looking to take it for a test drive, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee gives you plenty of time if you change your mind.

As well as permitting torrenting, NordVPN works with all major streaming services and has robust privacy policies in place to ensure you remain anonymous.

Subscription options
2 year plan - $3.29 per month (billed $79.00 every 2 years)
1 year plan - $5.75 per month (billed $69.00 every year)
1 month plan - $11.95 per month (billed $11.95 every month)


Information updated: 16 July 2018

Try the best Torrenting VPN now!

Visit NordVPN »30-day money-back guarantee

9.2/10.0

Includes a P2P download profile for easy setup

Includes a P2P download profile for easy setup

CyberGhost Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 77% off 1-year plan!
  • P2P: Yes
  • 5 simultaneous devices
  • No logs
  • Based in Romania, which has no government surveillance
  • Cheap
CONS:
  • No port forwading
  • Owned by Crossrider

Key information
Server locations: 61 | Server number: 2000+ | Simultaneous connections: 5 |
IP addresses: 3500+ | Jurisdiction: Romania | Average speed: 65.96 Mbit/s

Tools for torrents
Kill switch: Yes | Port forwarding: No | SOCKS: Yes

P2P Server Locations
North America: Yes | Australia: Yes | East Asia: Yes

Works with
BBC iPlayer: Yes | Netflix: Yes | Hulu: Yes | Amazon Video: Yes | Torrenting: Yes

Available for
Windows: Yes | Mac: Yes | Linux: No | Android: Yes | iOS: Yes

Our thoughts
CyberGhost offers real big bang for your buck. While it has a very low price point, the list of features are up there with the best of them. No bandwidth limits (which is a must for torrenters), 5 simultaneous connections, strong encryption and a watertight logging policy all add up to a robust VPN package.

CyberGhost has more than 2000 servers and good global coverage with decent local (burst) speeds. The team is a major supporter and promoter of civil rights, a free society and an uncensored internet culture. Our kind of folks!

Subscription options
1 year plan - $2.75 per month (billed $33.00 first year then $66.00 every year)
6 month plan - $4.99 per month (billed $29.94 first 6 months then $59.95 every 6 months)
1 month plan - $11.99 per month (billed $11.99 every month)


Information updated: 16 July 2018

9.0/10.0

A torrent VPN with some of the fastest speeds around

A torrent VPN with some of the fastest speeds around

ExpressVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 49% off today!
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No logs
  • P2P: Yes
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Stealth” servers
CONS:
  • No port forwarding
  • A bit pricey - but worth it!

Key information
Server locations: 148 | Server number: 2000+ | Simultaneous connections: 3 |
IP addresses: 30000+ | Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands | Average speed: 57.42 Mbit/s

Tools for torrents
Kill switch: Yes | Port forwarding: No | SOCKS: No

P2P Server Locations
North America: Yes | Australia: Yes | East Asia: Yes

Works with
BBC iPlayer: Yes | Netflix: Yes | Hulu: Yes | Amazon Video: Yes | Torrenting: Yes

Available for
Windows: Yes | Mac: Yes | Linux: Yes | Android: Yes | iOS: Yes

Our thoughts
ExpressVPN takes a spot on our best VPN for torrent list thanks to its blazing fast speeds and strong privacy focus.

ExpressVPN consistently ranks as one of the fastest VPN providers in our official BestVPN Speed Test. This makes it a fantastic option for those looking to max out those torrent speeds. Robust encryption keeps your data safe and no usage logs means the company can’t share your personal browsing data.

Subscription options
12 month plan (3 months free) - $6.67 per month (billed $99.95 every year)
6 month plan - $9.99 per month (billed $59.95 every 6 months)
1 month plan - $12.95 per month (billed $12.95 every month)


Information updated: 16 July 2018

8.7/10.0

A great P2P VPN at an even better price

A great P2P VPN at an even better price

PrivateVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • P2P: Yes
  • Port forwarding
  • Helpful customer service
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Comprehensive IP leak protection
  • 6 simultaneous connections
CONS:
  • Still new
  • No stealth technology for torrenting out of China

Key information
Server locations: 50+ | Server number: 100+ | Simultaneous connections: 6 |
IP addresses: 7000 | Jurisdiction: Sweden | Average speed:52.09 Mbit/s

Tools for torrents
Kill switch: Yes | Port forwarding: Yes | SOCKS: No

P2P Server Locations
North America: Yes | Australia: Yes | East Asia: Yes

Works with
BBC iPlayer: Yes | Netflix: Yes | Hulu: Yes | Amazon Video: Yes | Torrenting: Yes

Available for
Windows: Yes | Mac: Yes | Linux: Yes | Android: Yes | iOS: Yes

Our thoughts
PrivateVPN is a zero-logs Swedish provider with 80+ servers in 52 countries. It features a firewall-based system Kill Switch and application-level kill switch, which is great for those that leave torrents downloading for days and weeks at a time. Full IPv4 and IPv6 DNS leak protection is also built-in to its client.

We have been particularly impressed by PrivateVPN’s high level of customer service. A cracking 6 simultaneous devices, port forwarding, HTTPS and SOCKS5 proxies all lend themselves to the P2P cause, making PrivateVPN a very enticing option for serious torrenters.

Subscription options
19 month plan (7 months free) - $2.73 per month (billed $51.84 every year)
3 month plan - $4.50 per month (billed $13.50 every 3 months)
1 month plan - $7.12 per month (billed $7.12 every month)


Information updated: 16 July 2018

8.0/10.0

Great for downloading torrents on multiple devices

Great for downloading torrents on multiple devices

PrivateInternetAccess Homepage
PROS:
  • No logs – proved in court!
  • Cheap
  • P2P: Yes
  • Port forwarding
  • Client features kill switch and DNS leak protection
CONS:
  • US-based company
  • Apple users not so impressed by software

Key information
Server locations: 28 | Server number: 3236 | Simultaneous connections: 5 |
IP addresses: N/A | Jurisdiction: USA | Average speed: 49.06 Mbit/s

Tools for torrents
Kill switch: Yes | Port forwarding: Yes | SOCKS: Yes

P2P Server Locations
North America: Yes | Australia: Yes | East Asia: Yes

Works with
BBC iPlayer: Yes | Netflix: Yes | Hulu: Yes | Amazon Video: Yes | Torrenting: Yes

Available for
Windows: Yes | Mac: Yes | Linux: No | Android: Yes | iOS: Yes

Our thoughts
PIA is based in the US, so is not a provider for the more NSA-phobic out there. However, it keeps no logs, which is a claim that it has been tested in a court or law! And although optional, its security can be first rate. Its desktop software supports multiple security options, a VPN kill switch, DNS leak protection, and port forwarding.

Up to 5 simultaneous connections are permitted and the VPN boasts great connection speeds. P2P is permited on all servers located across 29 countries and, unlike many VPNs, PIA allows torrenting on its US servers!

Subscription options
2 year plan - $2.91 per month (billed $69.95 every 2 years)
1 year plan - $3.33 per month (billed $39.95 every year)
1 month plan - $6.95 per month (billed $6.95 every month)


Information updated: 16 July 2018

The best VPNs for torrents: Quick View

If you’re not one for detail, or you just want a summary of our top providers, the table below has you covered:

VPN Torrenting | FAQs

Below we dive into the common questions and misconceptions that we often encounter about using a VPN when torrenting.

Here we discuss the basics of what a torrenting VPN is and how it works, but if you’d prefer a broader overview of VPNs, please check out our guide – VPNs for Beginners – What You Need to Know.

Why use a VPN to torrent?

A VPN is an online privacy service that allows you to hide what you get up to on the internet from others, get around blocks and other forms of censorship, and appear to be in another country in order to access services such as US Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

It will also protect you from hackers when using public WiFi networks, and, crucially for this article, protect you when P2P filesharing.

Now… just for a moment consider the last two synonyms for torrenting: P2P (peer-to-peer) and filesharing. Downloading via the BitTorrent protocol is, by its very nature, a sociable exercise – you share files on your device with others, and they share files on theirs with you.

In order for this to work, your device connects to every other BitTorrent user who is sharing the same files as you (whether “downloading” or seeding).

qBitTorrent peers

Here in qBitTorrent we can see the IP addresses of every peer who is sharing the same files as me. And if I can see this, then so can copyright holders who monitor downloads of their intellectual property!  If you enjoy giving yourself a scare, try visiting iknowwhatyoudownload.com!

If you would like more information, we take a deeper look into using VPNs with specific Bitorrent clients, just click the links below:

How a torrent VPN protects you

A  P2P VPN protects your privacy when torrenting in the flowing ways:

  • Disguise your activity from ISPs. Your 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 what you are torrenting, or indeed, that you are torrenting.
  • Prevent others seeing your real IP address. Anyone watching from the internet (e.g. copyright holders who monitor the IP addresses of torrent users who download their content) 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.

Some ISPs try to discourage torrenting by throttling BitTorrent traffic (or even the entire internet connection of customers’ they detect torrenting!). These kind of heavy-handed tactics are indiscriminate and usually also affect people who only download legal torrents (which is, of course, something we encourage all our readers to do).

VPN encryption prevents this because what an ISP cannot see, it cannot throttle (or block entirely). Why not check out our 5 Most Secure VPNs list to see which services are at the top of their game when it comes to encryption. If you would like to know more about protecting yourself online, we recommend a visit to our Ultimate Online Privacy Guide for a real in-depth look at staying secure online.

So what makes a “torrent VPN” different?

A “torrent VPN” is a VPN service that allows torrenting! This may sound obvious, but many downloaders assume all VPNs allow torrenting. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Indeed, some of the highest-profile providers in the VPN market do not permit torrenting (or only allow legal torrenting).

If one of these services receives a DMCA complaint or similar, then you may find your subscription terminated. Some providers even go so far as to hand over customers’ details to copyright holders!

Fortunately, there are also many reputable VPN companies that make good businesses out of protecting their P2P-using customers. Just be sure that you pick one of these! All the providers listed above, of course, fall into this category.

Any VPN service that permits torrent downloads undertakes to protect its customers from action by copyright holders. Having said this, I strongly recommend using a no log VPN, anyway. After all, if a VPN service has no logs to hand over in the first place, then even if coerced in some way, it still has no logs to hand over! See our no log VPN guide for more information about VPN logs.

For more choice, why not take a look at our Best VPN Services of 2018? These services all have water tight privacy policies, just be sure that they also allow torrenting!

Is torrenting legal?

It is 100% percent legal to torrent content that is not copyrighted. But, if we’re honest, most people torrent in order to obtain copyrighted content.

In most countries downloading copyrighted content is a civil rather than a criminal offense. This means that downloading content for personal use is not a crime, but being caught may result in punitive measures being imposed by your government or your ISP.

Copyright holders can also take you to court and demand damages for the loss of income your piracy has caused them. A particularly nasty offshoot of this, which is becoming increasingly common, is the tactic known as “speculative invoicing.”

This is typically performed by legal firms known as “copyright trolls.” They specialize in monetizing the prosecution of piracy by sending victims letters demanding a cash settlement in return for avoiding legal prosecution for copyright offences.

If this happens to you, then consult the UK government’s official guidance. Both these both documents relate specifically to the UK, but the advice in them is also broadly useful if you live anywhere in Europe or North America.

I think we all will agree, however, that it is be far better not to get into this situation in the first place! This is why using a VPN for torrenting is so important.

The nuances around the legalities when it comes to torrenting are covered in-depth in our Is Torrenting Illegal guide.

A word on NAT firewalls and port forwarding

Many VPNs use NAT firewalls. This is often presented as a feature that protects users, although it is debatable whether they are really necessary.

If present, then a NAT firewall can block incoming connections from torrent peers. This is unlikely to completely prevent you from torrenting, but it can make downloading much slower.

The solution is port forwarding, which allows you to route incoming peer connections through the NAT firewall. This should improve your personal download speeds and help make the entire P2P network more efficient. In order to gain maximum benefit from port forwarding, your torrent client needs to know which port is open. It can then listen for incoming connections.

On some clients this needs to be configured manually. Others support technologies such as NAT Port Mapping Protocol (NAT-PMP) and UPnP port mapping, aim to make life easier by automating the process.

qBitTorrent uPnP

qBittorrent, above, is a lightweight open source BitTorrent client that supports UPnP / NAT-PMP port forwarding.

Conclusion

Unless you live in Switzerland or somewhere that simply doesn’t care about copyright piracy, you would be bonkers to download torrents without the protection of a top VPN service!