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5 Best VPNs for Torrenting & P2P File Sharing – Stay Secure When Downloading in 2018

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

December 15, 2017

Protecting your identity online today is a must, from hackers, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and governments. Especially if you’re torrenting. Here are the five best Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to do just that.

Our experts reviewed a range of VPN services, rating them on speed, customer service and privacy. Based on those factors, here are their top five picks:

Which VPNs are best for torrenting (also known as P2P and file-sharing)?

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
Buffered Homepage
PROS:
  • Special offer right now: 49% off
  • No Usage Logs - Total Privacy!
  • High-Speed Servers
  • 256-bit Blowfish Encryption
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Five Simultaneous Connections
  • 24/7 Customer Support
CONS:
  • Not the cheapest but worth it

Buffered is the best VPN for torrenting. Located in Hungary, it keeps no usage logs and uses shared IPs, which makes it impossible for anyone to identify the user. It has amazing speeds, and so has earned the crown in this list.

In addition, our Buffered review found they offer a generous six 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 Hungary 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.

Buffered special offer right now: 49% off

Try the best P2P VPN now!

Visit Buffered »30-day money-back guarantee
IPVanish Homepage
PROS:
  • Protects your data - no logs at all
  • Makes you impossible to identify with shared IPs
  • Servers in 61 countries
  • Torrenting allowed
  • Accepts Bitcoin
CONS:
  • Based in USA – where the NSA could come knocking
  • So-so support

Despite the NSA’s mass-surveillance programs, the USA doesn’t have any mandatory data retention laws. IPVanish takes full advantage of this to offer a fast and effective no-logs VPN service that is also torrent-friendly. And with servers in over 60 countries, you’ll always find one nearby.

Those who value privacy will also appreciate that IPVanish accepts Bitcoin payments.

Additional features: two simultaneous connections, Android app.

Try it now with a seven-day money-back guarantee:

3. TorGuard

TorGuard Homepage
PROS:
  • Zero logs policy
  • P2P file-sharing supported and encouraged
  • Dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming
  • Servers in over 50 countries
  • Free copy of Viscosity VPN software
CONS:
  • Based in the US

As its name might suggest, TorGuard is a zero logs VPN that considers torrenting central to its core mission statement. Despite being a US company, TorGuard has a formable reputation for protecting the privacy of downloaders.

Key features for torrenters include dedicated torrent servers, SOCKS5 proxies optimised for torrent downloading and port forwarding. It also offers strong OpenVPN encryption for those who want it, and dedicated IPs (optional extra). This handy for those who prefer legal streaming as dedicated IPs are unlikely become blocked.

PrivateVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in 29 countries
  • Strong OpenVPN
  • Keeps no logs
  • Cheap pricing
CONS:
  • No built-in DNS leak protection

When it comes to VPNs for torrenting, PrivateVPN is one of the most budget-friendly options, ringing in at only $4.46 per month for an annual plan. It slow cost doesn't mean it sacrifices security: It boasts a strict no logs policy, strong encryption, and a built-in killswitch. It also has other attractive features such as servers in 29 countries, six simultaneous connections, and super fast connections.

The major downside to using PrivateVPN for torrenting is that it has no built-in DNS leak protection. However, after extensive testing we didn't detect any DNS leaks, so its software seems up to snuff.

NordVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Fantastic mobile and desktop apps
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Good customer care
  • Servers in 61+ countries
  • P2P: yes
CONS:
  • Medium speeds
  • Slightly above average pricing

NordVPN takes a hard line on privacy, which makes it great for torrenting users. This excellent VPN is based in Panama. It keeps users private and secure with 256-bit AES encryption. It permits bitcoin payments and has a strict zero logs policy. Their speeds are excellent which is probably the most important thing for torrenting.

Our review of NordVPN found servers in 47 countries, including lesser-represented areas such as South America and South East Asia. As well as its OS X and windows client, mobile users will love NordVPN’s dedicated iOS and Android App.

You can try Nord VPN for torrenting today – just click on the button below and make use of the risk-free, 30-day money-back guarantee.


Best VPNs for Torrents Compared Side-by-side


How We Picked the Top VPN for Torrenting 2018

Here at BestVPN.com we are fortunate to number some of the VPN industry’s foremost experts as staff members.

Based on our detailed VPN reviews and data collected as part of our BestVPN Awards process, we carefully considered a range of factors that go into making a good P2P VPN.

This includes things such as speed performance, encryption strength, privacy policy, legal jurisdiction, price, free trial, any money-back guarantee, and much more. These top VPN for torrenting picks are a consensus choice made after much careful deliberation by the BestVPN.com staff.

Privacy matters. Especially when you’re torrenting. If you aren’t already using a VPN, now’s the time.

And if you’re unsure about which to choose? Don’t forget that all five of our top picks have money-back guarantees or free trials. That means it’s as simple as choosing the one that sounds best to you and taking it for a test drive. If you don’t like it, you can grab a refund and try another option.


Torrent VPNs Guide for 2018

The guide below looks at all aspects of torrenting with a VPN. Simply click the links in the table of contents below to jump to a section relevant to you!


What Is a VPN?

A VPN is a way to securely connect your computer or mobile device to a “VPN server” run by a commercial VPN provider. Your device connects to the internet via this VPN server.

  • Using a VPN is arguably the single most effective measure you can take to improve your online privacy and security.
  • All data passing between your computer and the VPN server is encrypted. This is sometimes referred to as an “encrypted tunnel.” It means that your data is hidden from your ISP, so that it can’t spy on what you do online.
  • VPN providers usually run servers in different locations around the world. This is great for avoiding censorship, as you can simply connect to a server located in a country where there is no such censorship.
  • When you connect to the internet via a VPN server, anyone on the internet will see the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the VPN server, not your real IP.

If you’re new to the world of VPNs and would like to know more about what they are and how they work, check out our beginner’s guide to VPNs for a full in depth look.

What Is BitTorrent?

BitTorrent is a popular peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing protocol. Instead of being stored on a centralised server from which you download files, torrented files are shared among many other BitTorrent users. Popular files can easily be shared among hundreds of users in this way.

When you “download” (which is something of a misnomer when it comes to torenting) a file using the BitTorrent protocol, what you are actually doing is sharing small pieces of it with everyone else who is downloading that same file.

A file is “downloaded” once you have all the pieces needed to reassemble that file. It is considered good form to “seed” (continue sharing) the file for a while after it has been downloaded, in order to help others reach 100% completion.

Why Do I Need a VPN When Torrenting?

BitTorrent content is shared among multiple home computers. This is not good for privacy because sharing files with a bunch of other random “downloaders” on the internet is hardly private. Using the right software (which includes many popular BitTorrent clients), it is very easy to see the IP addresses of every other person also sharing (“downloading”) the same file.

As demonstrated below, I can see the IP addresses of every other person who is downloading the same files as me.

VPN for torrents

Do I Need a VPN for Switzerland?

Switzerland is one of the few countries in the world where it is legal to download copyrighted content for personal use. As such, a VPN for Switzerland is not required if your only concern is copyright enforcement measures – provided that content is for personal use.

Do I Need a VPN for the Netherlands?

For many years, the Netherlands was a renowned hotbed of copyright piracy. This was thanks to the fact that downloading copyrighted material was legal. In theory there were strict limits to this freedom – only movies and music could be downloaded (not computer software), and only if you already owned it.

In practice, however, copyright laws were not enforced, resulting in something of piracy free-for-all.

In order to compensate copyright holders for their loss, from 2003 the Dutch government levied a “personal copy fee” tax on all blank storage media such as CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, and USB thumb drives.

This all changed in 2014, however, when the EU Court of Justice declared the local legislation unlawful. In practice, enforcement of the new laws has so far been unenthusiastic, but this is set to change. Dutch Filmworks (DFW), for example, has announced that it will begin issuing fines to Dutch movie pirates this fall. As such as VPN for Netherlands is now being recommended.

Do ALL VPNs Allow BitTorrenting?

Most VPNs allow legal torrenting, although some may block it on the assumption that you are engaging in copyright piracy.

If you download illegal content using a VPN that only permits legal torrenting, then you can expect to receive a warning or have your subscription cancelled if the VPN receives a legal complaint from a copyright holder.

It’s even possible that the VPN will hand over your details to the copyright holder for further legal action.

When a VPN says it permits P2P file-sharing, however, it usually means that it permits illegal downloads using its servers. VPNs that permit P2P in this way, such as the ones listed above, effectively undertake to protect their customers from action by copyright holders.

Torrenting Alternatives

BitTorrent-based apps such as Popcorn Time, and devices such as modified Kodi boxes, are often employed by users to watch pirated content. At BestVPN.com, however, we encourage readers to consider legal alternatives instead. Examples include:

  • Netflix – this streaming service is one of the main reasons for the decline of torrenting in recent years. After all, why bother illegally pirating content when you can legally watch heaps of content on demand for a very modest monthly fee? Paying Netflix members can often greatly expand the catalog available to them by unblocking regional versions, such as US Netflix.
  • Amazon Prime Video – a worthy rival to Netflix, you may already have it if you are member of the Amazon Prime next day delivery service. Amazon’s large range of high quality exclusive originals are available to all Prime members, and you can unblock additional Amazon Prime Video content using a VPN.
  • Plex – this funky media server software allows you to watch your own content on any device you own, anywhere in the world. Fined the best VPNs for Plex here.
  • BBC iPlayer and All4 – if you live in the UK you can legally watch world-class TV programming for free on these online portals. Viewers outside the UK can use a VPN to unblock these services with the VPNs found on our iPlayer VPN page or All4 VPN page.

How to Choose the best VPN for Torrenting

As already discussed, the most important consideration is choosing a VPN that permits downloading torrent files and will protect you if need be. Because of this angle, many prefer to use VPN services that keep no logs when downloading torrents, as this maximizes the privacy advantages of using a VPN. If in doubt, check out a VPN’s logging policy which can usually be found on their website.

Fast VPNs for Torrenting

A number of factors influence how fast P2P downloads are over a VPN:

The VPN Itself

Some VPN services are simply faster than others. The best use tier 1 servers, work with ISPs that have good peering arrangements, and maybe even run their own Content Distribution Networks (CDNs). Please see our Five Fastest VPNs and our new speed test results for more details.

VPN Protocols

As a rule of the thumb, the more secure a VPN connection is, the slower it will be. Encrypting and decrypting VPN data takes processing power, which slows everything down. We generally recommend the OpenVPN protocol to VPN users, because, if configured well, this is easily the most secure VPN protocol available.

It is, however, also the slowest. If you have a fast internet connection then it won’t make a big difference, but if you have a slow connection you might want to consider changing to a less secure VPN protocol such as L2TP or even PPTP.

PPTP in particular is very insecure. But it is probably sufficient just for torrenting.

Server Location


Also as a rule of the thumb, the closer a VPN server is to your location, the faster your internet connection will be. For maximum privacy, it’s a good idea to connect to VPN servers in countries where VPNs aren’t required to keep logs.

How to Choose a VPN Server for Downloading P2P Downloading

Torrenting from the United Kingdom

The Netherlands, Switzerland and Romania are popular server locations for UK torrenters, as these have no data retention laws that apply to VPN services.

Torrenting from the United States and Canada

Thanks to a very hostile copyright environment in both North American countries, many US and Canadian VPNs don’t permit torrenting (sometimes even legal torrenting). Even many services (international or US-based) that do permit torrenting don’t allow it on North American servers.

That said, many VPN services do allow torrenting on US or Canadian servers. Given how far away Europe and other popular VPN sever locations are from North America, it is probably best to just trust that these providers know what they are doing when it comes to protecting your privacy.

Torrenting from India

Over the last year or so, the Indian government has cracked down hard on copyright piracy. Simply visiting a torrent site can land you three years in jail and a fine of fine of Rs 3 lakh (approximately $4,600 USD)!

In addition to this, Indian ISPs are known to throttle BitTorrent traffic – including perfectly legal BitTorrent traffic. Note that this is mainly to reduce the load BitTorrent traffic puts on their servers, rather than from some moral imperative. Indeed, it seems some Indian ISPs have developed rather unorthodox alternative tactics to deal with this issue!

Whatever the reason, torrenters in India may prefer to connect to servers in Hong Kong or Europe.

Is Torrenting with a VPN Safe?

As already discussed, P2P filesharing with a VPN is safe as long as that VPN provider allows torrenting. Do please be careful to check this is the case before using a VPN service to torrent. This information is usually available in a provider’s online FAQ, or you can ask its support staff.

Is Torrenting with a VPN Legal?

There is nothing about the BitTorrent protocol itself that is illegal. It is simply a technology. Indeed, BitTorrent is a fast and resource-efficient way to distribute a wealth of legal content. Do please check out ten good places to find legal torrents for some great examples of this.

BitTorrent does, however, have something of a shady reputation. This is because its distributed nature, which requires no centralized servers, makes it an ideal platform for illegally sharing copyrighted material.

Let’s be clear. BestVPN.com in no way condones or endorses copyright piracy, and we encourage anyone tempted to to so to consider alternative ways to legally access content instead.

For more information on the legalities around torrenting, check out our Is Torrenting Legal? Guide.

How a VPN for Torrenting Protects You

A VPN protects you while downloading because:

  • A VPN will hide your IP address information from other downloaders.
  • A VPN encrypts all internet traffic between your computer and the VPN server.
  • This means your ISP can’t see what you download.

VPNs with robust logging policies will have nothing to hand over to the authorities, no matter what pressure they may come under. A VPN will also unblock websites if they are censored for any reason.

So as long as P2P is permitted, a VPN is very effective at protecting your privacy while downloading.

For a more in-depth look at how VPNs work, check out our Ultimate Online privacy Guide.

How to Use a VPN When Torrenting

P2P file-sharing with a VPN is very easy.

  1. Download and install a BitTorrent client.
  2. Sign-up for a VPN service such as the ones suggested above.
  3. Download and run its software.
  4. Ensure that the VPN is running before visiting a BitTorrent website or downloading a torrent. More on this later in the guide.
  5. Visit a BitTorrent website.  (As always, BestVPN.com encourages you to only visit torrent sites that feature legal content).
  6. When you have found the content you want, simply click on the torrent link or magnet link to begin downloading.
  7. When the download is 100% completed, enjoy! Some BitTorrent clients have media-players built-in. For those that don’t, VLC will play pretty much any media file you can throw at it.

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 etiquette to seed to a ratio of at least 1:1 (that is, upload for other users the same amount of data as you download). Most BitTorrent clients will display the seed ratio of downloaded files.

Use a Kill Switch

It is common for downloaders to leave their BitTorrent clients running unattended for long periods of time. This is in order to download large files and seed them for others. This puts torrenters at high risk, however, of their VPN connection dropping while they are away. This can lead to your real IP address being visible to other torrenters for hours or more at a time!

A kill switch solves this problem by preventing your computer from connecting to the internet when a VPN connection is not active.

Firewall-based kill switches block all internet traffic except that which goes through the VPN. Reactive kill switches detect that the VPN has disconnected, then shut down your internet connection (or sometimes individual apps that you specify).

Firewall-based solutions are more secure, but any kill switch is better than none!

Port Forwarding and NAT Firewalls

Some P2P VPNs support port forwarding. This is (at least in theory) great for file-sharers, as it can overcome problems related to the use of NAT firewalls. Many VPN providers use NAT firewalls to shield users from incoming traffic from the internet. However, when this incoming traffic includes P2P traffic, it can cause problems.

VPN NAT firewalls can make your downloads slower. They can also slow down the entire P2P network for all users. The solution to this problem is port forwarding. This allows you to open a port in the NAT firewall in order to allow P2P traffic through.

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. These aim to make life easier by automating the process.

The qBitTorrent client

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

Please Note: We have decided that port forwarding is not a major consideration when it comes to choosing a good VPN for torrenting. Not only is port forwarding only useful when a provider uses an NAT firewall, but its practical benefits aren’t clear enough to prioritise it over factors such as speed, customer support, strong privacy policy, and suchlike. I am aware that not everyone agrees with this decision, which is why I make a point of mentioning port forwarding in the summaries above.

Best VPN Protocols for Torrenting

As previously discussed, the stronger the VPN encryption used, the slower your connection will be. I am a big fan of strong encryption, but for torrenting a very secure VPN is not, strictly-speaking, essential.

PPTP

We generally recommend that you avoid this highly insecure VPN protocol like the plague. If you really do need a little extra speed, however, PPTP is probably sufficient for torrenting. Your ISP is unlikely to bother spending time and resources decrypting even this weak protocol just for some P2P traffic.

L2TP/IPsec

Unless you’re worried about the NSA (not a major concern for most torrenters!), L2TP/IPsec should be more than secure enough to protect your VPN traffic. It may therefore make a good compromise for those not willing to trust PPTP for anything.

OpenVPN

The most secure protocol available when well configured, OpenVPN is also the slowest. Even so, unless you suffer from very poor internet speeds, I recommend using this protocol. OpenVPN with AES-256 is often touted as the mark of a secure VPN, but the devil is in the detail.

IKEv2

This is also secure (although it has not been tested to the extent that OpenVPN has). It’s a good choice for those who torrent using Andoird and iOS mobile devices and who regularly switch between home WiFi and mobile connections, or who regularly move between WiFi hotspots.

Please see VPN Encryption: The Complete Guide for a full discussion on VPN protocols.

Remember: Whichever VPN protocol you use, your real IP address will be hidden from other downloaders by the VPN server.

How to Test Your VPN is Working Before You Torrent

While connected to your VPN service:

  1. Visit IPLeak.net. If you can’t see your real IP address or one belonging to your ISP, then you’re protected. If your internet connection supports IPv6, pay particular attention to IPv6 leaks. Some VPNs have yet to patch this issue. Torrent clients are not affected by the Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) leak issue.

You don’t really need to do anything else, but if you’re a paranoid android, then you can specifically test whether your BitTorrent client is leaking your real IP address. To do this:

  1. While still on the IPLeak.net webpage with your VPN connected, scroll down to “Torrent Address detection,” and add the magnet link to your torrent client.

IPleak.net will monitor the IP address of anyone else sharing its uniquely generated test torrent file (i.e. you). After a few minutes, the IPleak.net webpage will start to display the results.

torrent address detection

Again, as long as none of the IPs displayed belongs to either you or your ISP, then you’re fine.

Will a Proxy Protect Me When Torrenting?

Strictly speaking, a VPN server is just a specialised form of proxy server. When most people talk about proxy servers, however, they are referring to HTTP proxies and Socket Secure (SOCKS) proxies. Of these two, only SOCKS proxies can handle BitTorrent traffic.

  • Any SOCKS proxy will hide your IP address from other BitTorrent users, but only an encrypted proxy will also give you privacy from your ISP.
  • Open (free) proxies tend to be slow and unstable. They are also dangerous to use.
  • Encrypted SOCKS proxies from commercial proxy services provide a similar a level of privacy to using a VPN.

There is a reason, however, why these are not as popular as VPN services. For a similar price per month, VPN services are easier to configure, protect your entire internet connection, and usually use stronger encryption. Many (but by no means all) have also established strong reputations as reliable companies that will protect your privacy.

A proxy can protect you while torrenting, but VPNs are simply a better option. For more details please see our Proxy Server guide.

Will a Free VPN Protect Me When Torrenting?

Very few free VPNs permit torrenting in the first place. Dealing with irate legal demands from copyright holders is simply far too much hassle when users aren’t even paying for the service!

Even if you do find a free VPN that allows P2P downloading, please consider how it can afford to run a costly service for free. There is a good chance that it is mining your data to sell to advertisers, stealing your bandwidth, or introducing malware to your system.

I mean… do you really think it’s a good idea to trust a free service to protect your privacy when torrenting?


Best Torrenting VPN: Conclusion

Simply put, using a VPN that permits P2P downloading is a must if you value privacy while torrenting.

Best P2P VPNs: Side-by-Side Summary

Douglas Crawford

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.

71 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Torrenting & P2P File Sharing – Stay Secure When Downloading in 2018

    1. Hi vu,

      Buffered tells us that it is developing a new client that does indeed include a kill switch. It is due for release in around 2 weeks (“hopefully”).

  1. How come you don’t take into consideration that some of the top 5 don’t offer port forwarding (e.g., nordvpn and expressvpn). Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t port forwarding sometimes important for being connectable and maintaining good torrenting speeds? I find on some private trackers I can’t download torrents that have many seeders, which I assume is because I’m not connectable.

    1. Hi Mark,

      The BestVPN team’s group decision on Port Forwarding was that its practical benefits are not clear enough to be considered a major factor when choosing a torrenting VPN, and that other factors, such as speed, customer support, strong privacy policies, etc., are more important.

    2. That’s not correct. I you’re a member of a private tracker website where seeding (sharing) is a necessary thing to keep your ratio up, not having port forwarding means the chances of being able to seed are minimal. I’ve just experienced this by using ExpressVPN for a couple of weeks now. And I’m thinking of switching to AirVPN, because they do offer port forwarding.

      1. Hi Johan,

        Hmm. I always seed everything to at least a 1:1 ratio and have never needed to use port forwarding to do this…

  2. Hey.

    I remember about a year back that ExpressVPN was ranked number 1 on this list for torrenting, and now it’s number 3. Did something happen that ExpressVPN is not as good as it was? Or did the other VPNs just become better?

    1. Hi Yoel,

      ExpressVPN is as good as it ever was. We do reassess our rankings on a regular basis, however, in order to take account of improvements in other services (Buffered in particular has improved its service) and to recognize that there are a lot of good services out there (so its only fair to shuffle things round a bit now and again in order to give good services the recognition they deserve!).

  3. I cannot find in AirVPN’s website information about in which country it is registered and in which country its website data and emails are hosted physically. AirVPN only states that it is based in the European Union.

    I find this a bit strange because the above are basic information which everyone looking for an VPN provider will want to know and in other VPN providers’ websites such information is readily available and can be easily found. You have any idea why AirVPN is so secret about such information?

    Do you know where AirVPN is registered and where its website data and emails are hosted physically?

    1. Hi Norman,

      AirVPN is based in Italy. According to its ToS:

      “13) GOVERNING LAW AND JURISDICTION. This Agreement will be governed by and construed in accordance with the Regulation 593/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union and under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and the courts in Italy. You hereby consent and submit to the personal and exclusive jurisdiction of such courts for the purposes of litigating any action. ”

      As I note in my AirVPN Review:

      “Another potential issue is that AirVPN is based in Italy, a member of the Fourteen Eyes spying alliance that cooperates with the NSA and GCHQ. This is defiantly not ideal, and Italy is also not very friendly when it comes to copyright piracy.

      On the other hand, though, even before the EU Data Retention Directive was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice on human rights grounds, Italian VPN providers were not required to keep any logs. AirVPN says if any such demands were ever made of it by any EU country it operates in, it would bring the case in front of the ECJ.”

  4. Hi Doug,

    I’m considering to use VPNArea as recommended by you.

    In your reply to Jo Jo dated October 19, 2016, you said “…..VPNArea relies quite heavily on VPS instances in order to offer the number of server locations it does. Whether this is a problem is your call ….. “.

    What does this mean? What is VPS? What is the problem of VPNArea relying quite heavily on VPS instances?

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Eddie,

      A VPS is Virtual Private Sever – space rented on a cloud server. Almost all VPN providers use servers rented from third party cloud providers in order to offer IP addresses around the world. Using bare metal servers, however, is considered much secure than using VPSs. This means that the entir servers is rented from the cloud provider, and is maintained entirely by the VPN provider. Full disk encryption is standard practice for bare metal servers. When it comes to VPNArea, this comment was made on the basis of something VPNArea told me quite some time ago. I must admit that that I am no longer sure it is true (or if it ever was, is now). VPNArea is a good service, and will protect you when torrenting.

  5. Hello, I would like to find out if you have a review on VPN unlimited. They offer lifetime subscription as well as Pure VPN. I like streaming videos and file sharing.

  6. This is a great site to know a good list of VPN’s, I use AstrillVPN for torrenting and it is
    also reliable like express that I use before but my subscription is over so I try different VPN. I’ve been using AstrillVPN for about 2 weeks and so far I don’t have any issue’s while downloading, playing online games and surfing the internet.

  7. Thanks for all the great VPN info. I’ve heard the Torguard is supposed to be a good VPN for torrenting (fast, secure, anonymous), but I didn’t see any mention of it here. What’s your opinion?

    1. Hi Bob,

      We have a TorGuard Review, but IMO reviewer Dmitri (who is not longer with us) is somewhat off the mark. I think that TorGuard offers a good service overall. It is a little on the pricey side, strong encryption is only available on a very limited number of servers (and could be better even there, although this might have changed since I last looked), and the software is very basic (even the Viscosity license adds only moderate improvements for most users). But it balances these flaws with a great attitude to privacy (despite it being fundamentally a US company and therefore subject to NSA tampering), and very good performance (although this can drop badly at peak times).

  8. Hi Douglas,

    I really appreciate all the info you have provided on your site. Excellent read and excellent recommendations especially for VPN providers who allow P2P/torrenting. For the last 5 months I have been using VPNSecure as my VPN provider and I must say they are pretty good in general but also for P2P/torrenting. But I am considering a change because they are based in Australia and especially because data retention law has gone active Down Under. VPN.Asia is my next pick. Could you provide your thought about that provider? Your review from 2015 was really positive about them.

    Thanks a lot.

    1. Hi Lux,

      I am not personally familiar with VPN.Asia, I’m afarid, but as you say, our review of the service is very positive (and Charles is an excellent reviewer, so his word should be trusted). Indeed, a quick glance at the highlights of VPN.Asia looks great- based in Belize, no logs at all, great OpenVPN encryption, and decent speed test results. So looks like a winner!

  9. Are there any documented legal actions that PIA, NordVPN, or ExpressVPN have been involved in? I think that these companies can claim whatever they want on their websites and in their EULAs, but it would take them being threatened with an actual legal action to test their claims.

    I would love to see a report showing that either the government or other corporations attempted to obtain access to the VPN providers data and were unsuccessful, either because the data really didn’t exist, or because the provider didn’t corporate.

    Does anyone remember the highly-praised and well reviewed hush mail (operating out of Canada). The business supposedly did not keep copies of the encryption keys for customer’s email accounts. They stated that if you lost or forgot your passphrase, then there was no possible way to recover the data. Yet, “Hushmail turned over cleartext copies of private email messages associated with several addresses at the request of law enforcement agencies under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the United States.;[12] e.g. in the case of U.S. v. Tyler Stumbo. In addition, the contents of emails between Hushmail addresses were analyzed, and 12 CDs were turned over to U.S. authorities. ” [wikipedia]. The legal case and the technicalities of it have been fairly well documented in other places.

    1. Hi Grim Echo,

      Yes, the Hushmail case was unsettling. PIA, at least, has proved its privacy chops. Last year it successfully resisted resisted an FBI subpoena demanding that it hand over details about a hoax bomb suspect on the grounds that it kept no logs, and therefore had nothing to give the FBI. From my soon-to-be-published 5 Best No Logs VPNs article:

      How Do We Know a VPN Can Be Trusted?

      A VPN company may say it keeps no logs, but how can we know this is true? The short answer is that we can’t. However, your ISP is definitely logging your data and has no reason whatsoever not to share it with whoever asks (or sell it!)

      Most VPN companies’ business model, on the other hand, relies on offering privacy. Failure to protect their customers’ privacy would be a commercial disaster. So it comes down to a matter of trust: do you trust your ISP (lol hysterically!) or a reputable VPN company that is in the business of providing privacy?

      Also, if that VPN company is based in another country, then it has very little incentive whatsoever to hand over the data it does have when asked. This should preferably be one with as few political and/or legal links to yours as possible.

      Self Interest

      Another point to consider is that the more logs a VPN company keeps, the weaker its position when it comes to handling legal demands. A no logs VPN provider can, on receipt of a National Security Letter, subpoena, or court order, honestly turn around and say, “sorry, we are happy to help in every way we can, but we have nothing to give you.”

      This will put it in a much stronger position than a company that keeps logs and whose staff then have to decide between betraying their customers (and therefore destroying the reputation of their business) and facing legal action. Just remember that no VPN company staff member will be willing to go to jail to protect your privacy!

      So keeping no logs is the safest thing (from a purely selfish standpoint) any company that is even half-way serious about privacy can do!

      Here at BestVPN.com we are investigating ways to independently audit the claims made by VPN companies. This is a fledgling project, and will require broad cooperation from across the VPN industry. We are hopeful that we can leverage our influential position in order to improve standards and bring about increased transparency in this burgeoning industry.”

  10. Have an iPhone and iPad as does my wife plus MacBook Pro. Want protection in free wifi space e.g. Airports, and to protect financial info., any health data on devices or emails I send to doctors, security for bank and investment bank web sites on devices, etc. some but limited tech ability. Loads to emails on aol, hotmail, etc. what service do you recommend? Thanks

  11. Hi R.E Prter,

    Your point being? This articles is about best VPN services for P2P, and all of these are are good for P2P (VPN Area limits P2P to some servers, but I don’t consider this to be a problem). Whether an service is based in a Fourteen Eyes country etc. is simply not relevant here. There is no such thing as “perfect” VPN service, but we do list most of the negatives you quote, either in the these summaries or in our reviews. It is also worth noting that your information is not all correct. ExpressVPN, for example, uses very strong encryption by default (OpenVPN with AES-256 cipher, RSA-4096 handshake, and SHA-512 HMAC hash authentication. Perfect Forward Secrecy is provided courtesy of ECDH key exchanges for data channel encryption).

  12. I am curious why Private Internet Access is not mentioned here?

    Is imho one of the cheapest, at least more cheaper then any of the above mentioned here, and works like a charm. The support is good too.

    1. Hi Amok,

      PIA is indeed a very good service. I personally only stopped using it because I became uneasy about it being a US company in the wake of Ed Snowden’s revelations. But we can only pick 5 services for these lists. I definitely think PIA deserves an honorable mention, however.

  13. HI Douglas,

    Need a faster VPN service for torrenting only , as in my country(India) torrent sites browsing & downloading has been banned recently.

    Can you please suggest me 1-2 good VPN service with decent price range.?
    (I’ve download speed of 3-4mbps at Utorrent(usually 1-2mbps average but with some local peers it reaches 3-4mbps))

    –Prakash

    1. Hi Prakesh,

      NordVPN can be rather slow, but other than that, the services listed above are all good recommendations and cover pretty much the full spectrum when it comes to pricing.

      1. Barring ExpressVPN , are the others in the list big names ? In other words , will they be around for one year ( assuming one takes annual membership) and not go down ?

        1. Hi Iceman,

          Short answer: yes. Longer answer: ExpressVPN, AirVPN and IPvanish are all well-established companies that have been around for years now. VPNArea area and Buffered are smaller and newer, but both have been going for around three years.

  14. im planning to buy private internet access but i wanna ask if its good for torrents and i live in middle east and all ports are closes thats why i consider pia over nord vpn since it has port forwarding feature what do u think is best for me pia or nord ? my isp throlls my speed much and it annoys me especially at torrenting thats why need an advice what to choose between both of them

    1. Hi mallahata,

      Yes. I would day that PIA us a good choice, for precisely the reason you mention. And NordVPN can be rather slow.

      1. thank u very much its just seen some reviews that says pia slow and stuff that why got confused between it and nord vpn but yet over all nord is much slower since it has double encryption and tor over vpn feature thats probably bad for downloaders like me since i have low internet speed i have like 400-900 kb download speed only since im in a poor country

        1. Hi mallahata,

          I’m afraid that NordVPN can be slow even when double encryption or tor over VPN are not used.

    2. Hey mallahata, I was a customer by PIA but i did found out that the Servers PIA is using are some dark net and fishy Servers used by other people too. This doesnt means that PIA is in any way connected to those matters, but I would hate to see that I connect my computer to a VPN, in order to hide my IP and protect my data from the goverment or from data companies and then join and be part in a server that is being used for DarkNet activities, such as pedophiles, drugs etc.

      When I contacted the customer support and gave them the IPs and Servers in Netherlands they wanted, they refunded and gave me my money back. It sucks to be a bitcoin farming machine. Cheap is not always good.

      Consider some extensive research before choosing imho.

      Cheers!

  15. For Torrenting and streaming i would say Ivacy Vpn is really good. I have been using it and til date its working great. This Black Friday they are offering 1 year free with 1 year subscription for $1.50/mo. I think that’s a pretty good deal with some really good features such as
    200+ Servers in 100+ Locations
    P2P Optimized Servers with Unlimited Bandwidth
    5 Multi-Logins
    Split Tunneling
    Internet Kill Switch
    Live Chat Support
    Unlimited Data Transfer and Server Switching
    And also supports different devices such as
    Windows
    Mac
    Android
    iPhone
    iPad
    Kodi
    Linux

  16. VPNArea does a perfect job with P2P. They have plenty of servers to choose from to torrent with. They have stated some servers don’t like torrenting and don’t allow VPNArea’s users to torrent with (Probably due to copyright strikes they keep getting). The servers are marked and still there are plenty of other servers that allow torrenting.

  17. Again, what a dishonest review, no offence. Or at least skewed.

    You put it as a con that VPNArea runs VPS instances (which also makes logging easy, despite the “no-logging” claims btw) and then you list AirVPNs con as “not enough locations”, EVEN THOUGH most of these services should be downgraded, as most of them use VPS instances! Air doesn’t, though. If you went to the trouble of checking all the services you review, with an eye towards VPS-use, most VPN services on your site would get the same con as VPNArea did.

  18. PIA VPN says it has a kill switch but when I tried to activate it I was advised not to use it as it reset my configuration, So why advertise it?

    1. Hi Lamptable,

      The problem with the PIA kill switch is that following a VPN disconnect, the VPN client does not attempt to reconnect the VPN or to reset your computer’s DNS settings back to their defaults. This is a bit of a pain in the butt, but it is not difficult to reset your DNS settings manually. I therefore do not consider the issue to be a fatal flaw.

  19. Anything kind free? I want to know what’s good for torrenting but I am on a limited income so I can’t afford one more than 4.99 a month. I currently have Unblock-Us but it doesn’t hide my IPS. I use it for Hulu as I am not based in America.

    1. Hi Quinn,

      Betternet is a free service that permits torrenting (in fact it is the only free one I know of to allow this). Far better, however, would be pay for an annual subscription with AirVPN or VPNArea – these come in at under $5 per month…

      1. Can it be that Betternet isnt “free”, maybe for the user, but they are selling the data to third parties? Or they are using your machine/IP for mining?

        1. Hi Nick,

          Please see my Betternet Review, in which its funding model concerned me enough to add a “How does Betternet make money?” section. This is not something I usually do. I concluded,

          Hmm. Perhaps I am being over-suspicious, but Betternet’s funding model worries me a little…

          A recent paper outlining how how insecure many free Android apps are, which I discuss in this article, singles Betternet out by name,

          “Since most VPN apps intend to provide online anonymity, the lower presence of tracking libraries is actually meaningful. However, we identified the presence of at least one tracking library in 75% of the free VPN apps claiming to protect users’ privacy. 8% of all VPN apps have more than five. In particular, two VPN apps (Flash Free VPN and Betternet), which combined have more than 6M installs, have the highest number of embedded tracking libraries: 11 and 14 respectively.

          So yes, I think what you are suggesting is entirely possible.

  20. I just installed and used VPNArea. I had several issues.
    1) I got disconnected approximately every twenty minutes and there is no automatic reconnect setting.
    2) When I disconnected from their VPN, their client was supposed to kill my internet connection. They provide two options to do this, neither of them worked.
    3) Their “safe” DNS setting connected me to my ISP’s (Comcast) DNS servers (which are not safe).
    4) Their app attempts to uninstall from the default location instead of the actual installation location, which implies a) you might have difficulties uninstalling their client, and b) their software engineers suck.

    So, even though all your site does is find “the best” VPN’s, you recommended a truly shitty one to me.

    What the fk?

    1. Hi Dan,

      Hmm. Definitely seems something is wrong. For Windows, VPNArea uses a custom version of the Viscosity OpenVPN client, which has always worked fine for me. Have you contacted VPNArea’s support about your problems? I have always found it to be very keen to assist…

    2. @Dan Lokemoen

      – There is automatic reconnection setting in “Settings”
      – Killswitch does work, tested by thousands of users.
      – Did you actually put different DNS servers in the “Anti DNS Leak” section? The “Anti-DNS Leak” section is tested by thousands of our users and it Works perfectly. It also has “Extra DNS Leak protection” setting that prevents the special DNS leak in Windows 10 Home.

      We asked you for more information regarding the issues you described so that we can guide you through fixing them but we received no reply.

  21. Nord VPN vs VPN Area which would you choose? Which is faster and best for torrenting? I like the idea of VPN Area’s Anti DNS, ipv6, and web rtc leaks. I also like the level of encryption on Nord. Thoughts?

    1. Hi JoJo,

      They are both good services. The main problem with NordVPN is that many of its servers can be slow. Fast ones do exist, but some trial and error is needed to find them. VPNArea relies quite heavily on VPS instances in order to offer the number of server locations it does. Whether this is a problem is your call (I’m pretty sure NordVPN also does this).

  22. You state that AirVPN doesn’t have many servers worldwide. From what I can tell they have a LOT of servers. PrivacyTools.io lists 162 servers. While not the most, it seems to be a large number. How many servers sis your higher-rated VPNs have?

    1. Hi David,

      I meant to say that AirVPN offers servers is an a fairly limited number of locations worldwide (15). Compare this to ExpressVPN which offers servers in 87 countries, and IPVanish which offers servers in 60+ counties. AirVPN does have much greater control over its own network than most providers, however, and is therefore more secure. It all depends on what you want out of a VPN service. I have modified the text to clarify that I refer to server locations rather than total number of servers per se.

  23. Doug – your link to TorrentFreak’s Speculative Invoicing Handbook does not work!
    TF claims there’s nothing there, even if you use TF’s own search function it also faikls to locate any such item (other similar download links from other sites for downloading this same resource also provide the same failure-result.)

    1. Hi xp,

      Hmm. That is certainly interesting – it is the link address provided by TorrentFreak itself in this article. Anyway, a copy of it can be found here (and I have updated the link in the article). Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  24. Than i wish them good luck taking me and de rest of the 500.000 people in this country to court! They will never do that…

  25. Hi Douglas,
    UK has stricter policy on piracy.
    In the Netherlands they will not so fast target downloaders.
    They also don’t like restrictions on internet like blocking certain sites….

    1. Hi MV,

      I know that :). Dutch law allows the copying of material for personal (non-profit) purposes, but this has been ruled illegal by the European Court of Justice. You are still relatively safe downloading stuff for personal use in the Netherlands, but this does not mean that you cannot be taken to court by copyright holders (or persecuted by copyright trolls).

  26. For only downloading torrents, i’m not scared to have no VPN!
    VPN gets important when you start uploading torrents and also when you are seeding
    files for really long periods!
    But maybe i’m naive to think that nothing’s wrong!
    In the Netherlands they recently began targeting the big time uploaders of copyright material.

    1. Hi MV,

      It’s up to you to assess the risk, but I think you are being over-complacent. Certainly here I the UK I would not feel comfortable downloading without a VPN!

    2. Hi
      In France is not true, I don’t upload files ou torrents but still my identity was caught by the french government because I have downloading some stuffs. So now I’m looking for a VPN. So be careful.

  27. Express VPN is mostly recommended nearly everywhere and why are they more highly recommended over Private Internet Access when it seams that PIA has more security features? More IPs to choose from doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. I’m looking for a good VPN but due to the fact that PIA is US based am not confident in them eventually ever tracking you. I heard people have been caught torrenting downloading using their service which doesn’t give me much confidence in them. I am also not confident with a non US based service either as I hear a lot of over seas services are not trustworthy, and that the US are not restricted to go after data. I have been doing a lot of reading and want the very best no logging VPN service. I am a little skeptic as to which is the best VPN to use for total privacy.

    1. Hi joseph,

      People use VPNs for various reasons. Our research shows that ExpressVPN ticks just the right boxes for a great many of our users. It is very easy to use, has excellent performance, has great customer service, and its 30-day genuinely no-quibble money back guarantee is a doozy. It is not the most secure or privacy-focused VPN service out there, but it is secure and private enough for most VPN users’ needs. Personally I would not use a US-based VPN service because I simply cannot believe they are not compromised by the NSA. This is one reason why I stopped using PIA.

  28. Great site…just a quick question…
    If ExpressVPN keeps some logs, how is it number one on the torrenting friendly list? Shouldn’t this list be similar to a no-log list? I’m in Canada by the way.

    1. Hi A,

      ExpressVPN will protect users from copyright holders (being based in the British Virgin Islands helps with this). If you are worried about the NSA or GCHQ, you should choose a genuinely no logs provider, however.

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