ExpressVPN

5 Best VPNs for Torrenting, P2P, Filesharing

In this look at the five best Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for torrenting, I will discuss why it is vital to use a VPN while file-sharing using the popular peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol.

The Best VPNs for Torrenting, P2P, Filesharing

  1. Buffered
  2. IPVanish
  3. ExpressVPN
  4. NordVPN
  5. VPNArea

There is nothing illegal about torrenting, per se. The BitTorrent protocol is just a highly efficient means of sharing and “downloading” files. However… torrenting is most closely associated with copyright piracy – and with good reason.

Despite torrenting’s popularity with copyright pirates, torrent downloaders are uniquely vulnerable to being tracked by copyright holders. Without the protection of a VPN, it is very easy for someone to track your real Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

Best VPN for Torrenting: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

Buffered LogoBuffered
Read Review10/10
$8.25 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish LogoIPVanish
Read Review8.8/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

3

ExpressVPN LogoExpressVPN
Read Review8.2/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

4

NordVPN LogoNordVPN
Read Review7.8/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

5

VPNArea LogoVPNArea
Read Review7.2/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

*All prices shown in US dollars

* Advertiser Disclosure
Editor's Choice Award

Winner

Buffered

5/5

Best VPN List

  • ProsPROS
  • No usage logs
  • Based in Gibraltar
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Servers in 35 countries
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Slightly pricey
  • Some connection logs

Buffered is now based in Gibraltar, which makes an ideal location for a torrent VPN service. It keeps no usage logs, uses shared IPs, and employs strong encryption. It is also fast, which is a must for serious torrenters! Six simultaneous connections is very generous, and with servers in 35 countries you will always be able to find one nearby. Also generous is a 30-day money-back guarantee, but do read the terms of service, as important conditions apply.

Buffered offers a unique “port discovery” feature. This allows you to bypass login requirements when using WiFi at airports, hotels, and so forth, by searching for open ports in the local area network (LAN) neighborhood.

Try the best VPN for P2Pnow!!

Visit Buffered »

30-day money back guarantee

2nd place

IPVanish

4.4/5

IPVanish

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs
  • Shared IPs
  • Servers in 61 countries
  • P2P: yes
  • Accepts bitcoins
  • ConsCONS
  • Based in US
  • So-so support

IPVanish is a great VPN for file-sharing. Despite National Security Agency (NSA) mass surveillance programs, the United States does not have any mandatory data retention laws. IPVanish takes full advantage of this to offer a fast and effective no logs (at all) VPN service, which is also torrent-friendly. With servers in over 60 countries, you will always find one nearby. Those of you who value privacy will also appreciate the fact that IPVanish accepts payment using bitcoins.

Additional features: two simultaneous connections, Android app.

Visit IPVanish »


3rd place

ExpressVPN

4.1/5

ExpressVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No usage logs
  • Servers in 78 countries
  • Three simultaneous connections
  • Great customer service
  • ConsCONS
  • Connection logs
  • A bit pricey

Although ExpressVPN does keep some very minimal connection logs (but no usage logs), it is based in the British Virgin Islands. This means it can happily protect its P2P-using customers, with little fear of legal retribution. As a more general VPN service, ExpressVPN is also excellent, with a strong focus on great customer relations. Its 30-day, genuinely no-quibble, money-back guarantee is an industry leader in this regard, as is its 24/7 customer support.

ExpressVPN offers powerful but easy-to-use apps for Windows, OS X, iOS and Android, and operates stealth servers in Hong Kong that can help defeat not just the Great Firewall of China, but internet censorship everywhere.

Additional feature: free Smart Domain Name System (DNS).

Visit ExpressVPN »


4th place

NordVPN

3.9/5

NordVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • Up to six devices at once
  • Fantastic value for money
  • Servers in 47 countries worldwide
  • Excellent technology
  • ConsCONS
  • Speeds can be slow

Arguably the best thing about this privacy-focused VPN provider is that it is based in Panama. Not only does this place it firmly outside NSA and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) areas of direct influence, but it should make it pretty darn resistant to legal action by copyright holders. Not that this really matters, as NordVPN keeps no logs at all.

NordVPN also uses great encryption, accepts payment in bitcoins, and offers “double-hop” VPN for those who want it. Unfortunately, many of NordVPN’s servers are rather slow, but with a little trial and error, fast ones are available.

Additional features: P2P is permitted, DNS leak protection, per-app kill switch (desktop clients).

Visit NordVPN »


5th place

VPNArea

3.6/5

VPNArea

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • Five simultaneous devices
  • Accepts bitcoin
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Lacks wow factor

This small Bulgarian company features a seven-day free trial, fantastic connection speeds, and among the most friendly and helpful support I have come across. Its desktop client is a custom version of Viscosity, and offers DNS leak protection, disables Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), and provides a per-app kill switch. The auto IP feature changes your IP every five minutes, which is interesting. VPNArea runs servers in 60 countries, which are a mixture of bare-metal and Virtual Private Server (VPS) instances.

Additional features include great customer service and a seven-day money-back guarantee.

Visit VPNArea »


Best VPN for Torrenting: Considerations

A Sociable Protocol

BitTorrent is a sociable protocol. Popular alternative names for torrenting are peer-to-peer (P2P) and file-sharing, which give a good clue as to why torrenting is a popular way to obtain pirated material such as movies, TV shows, computer games, ebooks, and more, for free.

How Torrenting Works

Instead of being stored on a centralised server from which you download files, torrented files are shared among many other torrent users. Popular files can be shared among hundreds of users.

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.

The Problem

In many ways, this setup is perfect for those who are less concerned about copyright ownership. Content is shared among multiple home computers, rather than being stored on a centralised server that could be shut down (and its operator prosecuted).

The flip side of this is that 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.

VPN for torrents

We can see this point in action using the Vuze BitTorrent client.

Of course, if you can do this, so can copyright holders, who are keen on catching and punishing copyright pirates.

A VPN Will Protect You When Torrenting

If you are not familiar with what a VPN is, then you might like to check out my VPNs for Beginners guide. The short version, with regard to torrenting, is that a VPN will protect you in two ways:

  1. A VPN hides your real IP address. All that other downloaders (people sharing the same file as you) will see is the IP address of the VPN server. As long as you choose a VPN provider that permits P2P torrenting, you can trust it to protect your real identity.
  2. Your ISP cannot see what you are downloading because the connection between your computer and the VPN server is securely encrypted.

Another benefit of buying a VPN for torrenting is that it allows you to access websites that have been blocked on copyright grounds. This kind of censorship is increasingly common in Europe, and especially in the UK.

Using a VPN will allow you to access websites such The Pirate Bay simply by connecting to a server in a country were the website is not blocked.

Some ISPs throttle P2P traffic. When they detect that the BitTorrent protocol is being used, they reduce your bandwidth. Using a VPN will usually prevent this, because it hides the fact that you are using BitTorrent from your ISP.

Be Sure to Use a VPN that Permits P2P Torrenting!

Please be aware that, while many VPN services are happy for you to torrent away, not all are. A VPN that permits torrenting undertakes to protect you from copyright holders, and is confident of its ability to do so. A VPN that does not permit torrenting may, on receipt of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice (or similar) cancel your subscription. It could even hand over your details to the copyright holder (it happens!).

So please always check that your provider permits P2P. It is also worth carefully reading the small print. PureVPN, for example, says that it permits P2P, but if you read the small print in its privacy policy, this only applies if the content is legal.

The Vuze BitTorrent client sports a funky feature that prevents downloading when when your VPN connection is not active. See here for instructions.

Do I Really Need a VPN for Torrenting?

That depends somewhat on where you are. In most European and English speaking countries at least (plus many others), copyright holders are very keen on catching infringers. Additionally, powerful pro-copyright lobbies are increasingly pushing governments into imposing ever more draconian punishments on those who are caught.

In the UK, for example, new laws could (at least in theory) land copyright pirates 10 years in jail! In most countries, copyright piracy is a civil rather than a criminal offense. This means that although you won’t go to jail, you can be sued for a great deal of money!

In reality, successfully suing someone for copyright piracy is an expensive and drawn-out process that can easily fail. This has led to the practice of “speculative invoicing.” Copyright holders (or legal firms known as copyright trolls) target individuals accused of copyright offences. They threaten their victims with full legal action (and the associated court fees) if they do not pay a reduced cash settlement out of court.

If this happens to you, TorrentFreak’s Speculative Invoicing Handbook has the best advice available. It targets a UK audience, but the advice in it should be broadly applicable throughout Europe, Australasia, and North America.

How to Check that Your VPNs for Torrenting are Protecting You

While connected to your VPN service, visit IPLeak.net. If you cannot see your real IP address, or one belonging to your ISP, then you are protected.

You don’t really need to do anything else, but if you are a paranoid android, then you can specifically test whether your BitTorrent client is leaking your real IP address. To do this, while still on the IPLeak.net webpage and 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 (that is, 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 belong to either you or your ISP, then you are fine.

Use a Kill Switch

When torrenting, you should always use a kill switch. This will prevent your downloads from continuing, and thus exposing your real IP address if the VPN fails in some way. More and more VPN providers now offer a kill switch as standard.

You can also use third-party solutions such as VPNetMon, VPN Check, or VPN Watcher. The Viscosity OpenVPN client even supports per app kill switches (you can specify which individual apps can only access the internet using your VPN). Alternatively, you can build your own using firewall rules.

How to Torrent

If you have never torrented before, don’t worry – it’s easy!

  1. Download and install a torrent client (they are almost all free).
  2. Ensure you have a VPN running in order to protect yourself.
  3. Visit a torrent site and search for the content you want. Torrent sites with user comments are best. You should read through these comments before downloading a file in order to see if there are any problems with that torrent.
  4. Download the .torrent file and open it in your torrent client, or click on the magnet link. Note that some torrent sites place highly visible direct “Download” buttons. You should avoid these and look for a link that says something like “Torrent” or “Magnet.”
  5. Ta da! Your chosen file(s) will start downloading in your torrent client, and can be used once completion reaches 100%.

It is good form to seed downloaded files for other BitTorrent users by leaving the torrent client running. If your client displays the “Share ratio” for files, aim for a ratio of at least 1.0 (1:1). Higher is better/more generous.

Best Torrenting VPN: Conclusion

Unless you live somewhere where copyright infringement for personal use is legal (such as Switzerland), or somewhere where enforcement is weak, you really should use a VPN when torrenting.

Copyright enforcement is becoming increasingly aggressive, and you would be silly not to protect yourself in this way.

Best Torrenting VPN: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

Buffered LogoBuffered
Read Review10/10
$8.25 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish LogoIPVanish
Read Review8.8/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

3

ExpressVPN LogoExpressVPN
Read Review8.2/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

4

NordVPN LogoNordVPN
Read Review7.8/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

5

VPNArea LogoVPNArea
Read Review7.2/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

*All prices shown in US dollars

* Advertiser Disclosure

Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

Related Coverage


54 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Torrenting, P2P, Filesharing

  1. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. 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!

  4. 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.”

  5. 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

  6. Where did bestvpn get their info?
    This is more close to what is claimed/can be found on vpn websites
    check yourselves here:
    https://www.privacytools.io/#ukusa
    https://thatoneprivacysite.net/

    AirVPN
    # based in Italy (part of the ‘Fourteen Eyes’)
    # website: 3 persistent cookies, 0 external trackers

    Buffered
    # based in Hungary (not part of any ‘Eyes’, but is ‘Cooperative’)
    # timestamp logged on connection
    # bandwidth monitored/logged
    # IP address logged
    # website: 5 persistent cookies, 2 external trackers
    # no 1st party DNS servers

    ExpressVPN
    # based in Britisch Virgin Islands
    (not part of ‘Fourteen Eyes’ but part of the UK ‘Five Eyes’)
    # timestamp logged on connection
    # bandwidth monitored/logged
    # 128 bit unspecified protocol
    # falsely claims service is 100% effective
    # website: 13 persistent cookies, 5 external trackers
    # check if if 3 simultaneous really is that what it looks like
    # no bitcoin

    IPVanish
    # based in USA (part of the ‘Five Eyes’)
    # all USA based services = spy on own population and all others
    (based on that: Enemy of the internet (see Reporters without borders)
    # website: 9 persistent cookies, 7 external trackers
    # blocks some SMTP

    VPNArea
    # based in Bulgaria (not part of ‘Five’ ‘Nine’ or ‘Fourteen’)
    # falsely claims service is 100% effective
    # website: 5 persistent cookies, 1 external trackers
    # blocks some P2P
    # no 1st party DNS serevrs

    1. 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).

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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).

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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…

  20. 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).

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

  23. 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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