Torrenting is one of the great appeals of the Internet. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder to do so and less secure with every passing year thanks to stricter laws and ISP crackdowns. A VPN is thus strongly recommended in order to protect your privacy while torrenting. We’ve summarized the best 3 VPNs for torrenting in 2017 below.
Why You Need a VPN for Torrenting
Whenever you torrent through a software such as Vuze, uTorrent, BitTorrent, or any other P2P application, your IP address is visible to every person downloading that file. As a result, copyright infringement agencies can easily monitor torrent swarms to obtain the IP addresses of torrenters. ISPs also often monitor torrent activity of their users and can issue DMCA complaints or even shut down internet access. This is becoming more and more common due to Mandatory Data Retention laws that countries are passing.
The way to protect yourself from this is by using a torrent-friendly VPN. This way your true IP address is hidden and you can torrent without fear of the consequences.
Beware of using just any VPN though. Some are required to keep logs of user activity and can thus hand over your information to a third party if requested. VPN companies can also receive DMCA complaints from their hosting companies and thus must comply.
What Makes a VPN Good for Torrenting?
When deciding which VPN provider is best for torrenting, you want to look for VPNs that meet the following requirements:
No restrictions on torrent traffic
Some VPNs limit or block how much traffic can go through their servers, so you definitely want to ensure your provider has no restrictions on torrent traffic. These providers do this because torrenting can be expensive due to the heavy bandwidth usage, and also to prevent any type of copyright/DMCA infringement.
Accepts anonymous payments and sign-ups
In order to remain as anonymous as possible when torrenting, you want to ensure the VPN provider accepts Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency payments. Make sure they don’t need to verify your identity or ask for your physical address, etc.
Unlimited bandwidth and high speeds
As mentioned above, torrenting involves heavy bandwidth usage so you want to make sure your VPN provides unlimited bandwidth. Speed is of course always a factor when torrenting, so look for fast download and upload speeds. It’s usually a plus if the VPN has servers close to your location, but do note that number of servers doesn’t always equate to faster speeds. Quality over quantity.
There are a number of VPN software features that make torrenting much better:
- Kill-Switches: This disables your internet connection if the VPN drops so you don’t accidentally leak your true IP.
- Port Forwarding. This helps increase your upload speeds.
- Automatic Reconnection. This automatically reconnects you and hides your true IP in the process.
- Parameter Flexibility. The ability to change protocols, ports, and encryption strength can be a helpful tool while torrenting.
- SOCKS5 Support. This way only the torrent application uses the VPN if you want.
What Makes a VPN Bad for Torrenting?
Basically any company that keeps logs and isn’t P2P-friendly (i.e. violates one of the criteria above). Some VPNs will actually issue you DMCA complaints, meaning they acquiesced to a third party and handed over your information when asked to. These services should be avoided at all costs if possible.
Best VPNs for Torrenting
The 3 best VPNs for torrenting in 2017 we’ve found are: NordVPN, IPVanish, and VPN.ac. All three meet the requirements listed above, and are top-tier in terms of security, privacy, speed, and price.
NordVPN is one of the most secure VPN providers out there. They’re based in Panama, meaning they’re not governed by any mandatory data retention laws and do not store any user logs whatsoever. They also take a number of measures to ensure user data is extra encrypted and inaccessible:
- Double VPN servers, ensuring your traffic is encrypted not once but twice and securely tunneled between two servers.
- Different Certificate Authority (CA) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) authority key for each server. Most VPNs only have a CA and use the same one for all servers.
- Any log info goes to /dev/null, which is essentially a drive that doesn’t exist. So everything that the server is supposed to log is actually never written to disk.
- 2048 bit SSL encryption for OpenVPN.
- They offer TOR over VPN if you want some additional privacy conveniently. I’d still recommend connecting through a VPN and then running TOR though, so your TOR traffic is tunneled through the VPN first.
Of course, if you run double VPN servers and/or TOR over VPN your download speeds will suffer, so that’s a trade-off you’ll have to consider.
Now, let’s run through the checklist above when we discussed what makes a good torrenting VPN to see if NordVPN meets the requirements:
No restrictions on torrent traffic. Check. NordVPN runs no risk of government surveillance or ISP restrictions as they’re based in Panama. They also have a number of servers dedicated just for P2P filesharing / torrenting.
Accepts anonymous payments. Check. NordVPN accepts Bitcoin payments and private sign-ups.
No bandwidth restrictions. Check. NordVPN imposes no bandwidth caps or speed limits. You can even use NordVPN no up to 6 different devices simultaneously.
Software features. Check. NordVPN offers an array of software features, including a Kill Switch, DNS Leak Protection, SOCK5 support, and more that improve the torrenting experience.
In terms of download and upload speed, NordVPN has improved on this front immensely recently.
Download and upload speed without using a VPN:
Download and upload speed with NordVPN:
Torrent speed without a VPN:
Torrent speed with NordVPN:
As you can see, download speeds were 90-95% of normal speeds through NordVPN which is excellent.
Combine all this with the 30-day money back guarantee (and sometimes even a free trial if you ask them for it) and low price of only $5.75/month (12-month package) and you have an ideal VPN for torrenting.
IPVanish is one of the fastest VPNs for torrenting (arguably the fastest?) that has been making a ton of improvements lately. They adopted a zero log policy in 2014 and have increased server security as well as speed. The software is also more user-friendly now and has a sleeker, cleaner design.
Let’s run through the criteria we’re looking for in a torrent-friendly VPN:
No restrictions on torrent traffic. Check. IPVanish’s parent company is HighWinds, which happens to be one of the original pioneers of UseNet technology, so file-sharing is near and dear to them.
Accepts anonymous payments. Check. IPVanish accepts Bitcoin payments and private sign-ups.
No bandwidth restrictions. Check. IPVanish has unlimited bandwidth and unlimited speed, with up to 5 simultaneous connections.
Software features. Check. As you can see in the image below, IPVanish’s software has plenty of software enhancements that are beneficial when torrenting, including a Kill Switch, Auto Reconnect, DNS Leak Protection, and IPv6 Leak Protection. They also have a SOCKS5 Proxy that works great for torrents.
In terms of speed, we mentioned that IPVanish is arguably one of the fastest. Take a look:
Download speed without using a VPN:
Download speed using IPVanish:
Torrent speed without using a VPN:
Torrent speed using IPVanish:
Barely a difference! As we mentioned before, IPVanish used to get some heat for their slow servers, but it looks like as of 2017 this is no longer an issue.
IPVanish has a 7-day money back guarantee and is $6.49/month under the 12-month plan which is a good price for what you get. Overall it’s safe to say that IPVanish is one of the best VPNs for torrenting.
ExpressVPN is known as being a solid overall VPN choice because it’s decent for everything, and torrenting is no exception. They have the most worldwide servers of any VPN currently, have unparalleled customer support, and have an industry leading 30-day money back guarantee.
Let’s take a look at the torrenting criteria:
No restrictions on torrent traffic. Check. ExpressVPN has unlimited bandwidth and downloads for its users.
Accepts anonymous payments. Check. ExpressVPN accepts Bitcoin payments.
No bandwidth restrictions. Check. ExpressVPN has no bandwidth restrictions. They recently upgraded the number of simultaneous connections from 2 to 3.
Software features. Check. ExpressVPN recently introduced the Kill Switch to its program after listening to customer feedback. They also have built-in speed tests for all their servers, so you can see your speed and ping before connecting to one.
In terms of speed, ExpressVPN download speeds were slightly slower than IPVanish’s and NordVPN’s, but still fast.
Download speed without using a VPN:
Download speed using ExpressVPN:
Torrent speed without using a VPN:
Torrent speed using ExpressVPN:
ExpressVPN is one of the more costly VPNs, coming in at $8.32/month with the 12-month package. The premium price provides you with more server options, ease of use, and instant customer support. Our recommendation if you’re solely looking for a torrent VPN would be to try NordVPN or IPVanish as they’re cheaper. However, there’s a reason why ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee: Most people who try them end up staying.
It’s more important than ever to ensure your privacy and security when torrenting. VPNs do so by tunneling your traffic through different IPs and have features such as Kill Switches and DNS Leak Protection to guarantee your data doesn’t compromised. You can’t use just any VPN for torrenting, though. You need to find one that doesn’t store logs, doesn’t block torrent traffic, and won’t slow your downloads down to a crawl. The 3 best torrent-friendly VPNs that meet these requirements are NordVPN, IPVanish, and ExpressVPN.