Peer-to-peer sharing is a fantastic tool that countless denizens of the internet use to transfer large files without expensive hosting and massive bandwidth – but a torrenting VPN is a safety essential for anyone engaging in P2P activity.
Since P2P sharing opens you up to unknown and unknowable files from an often-faceless source, it's always best to use a safety net, and a dedicated torrenting VPN provides the security and anonymity necessary to protect your data and identity.
While of course we don't condone illegal torrenting, we understand this can be a grey area where protection is absolutely recommended.
The best torrenting VPNs at a glance:
A torrenting VPN – or virtual private network – protects the P2P sharer by both hiding their IP address and encrypting their traffic. This means that your ISP will be none the wiser to whatever it is you’re using your internet for.
While it’s a real risk, accidentally downloading incriminating pirated content isn’t the only danger of torrenting. When connected to a P2P network your online activity essentially becomes public knowledge, and anyone with the right tools can trace your activity to you. Having a quality torrenting VPN active on your machine is the best way of ensuring no activity can be traced or used to identify you.
What makes a great torrenting VPN?
The two most important things a torrenting VPN should provide are excellent security and good connection speeds. Features like a kill switch and split tunnelling are especially useful too.
A kill switch will cut your connection should your VPN fail. If your VPN hasn’t got that feature, you might find yourself suddenly unprotected while still sharing P2P – not a great situation to be in. Split tunnelling lets you choose what to route through your VPN, so you can encrypt your torrenting traffic while letting everything else run on your regular connection.
Great speeds are useful for any VPN application, but when downloading from a torrent they’re especially important. If your download or upload speeds are at a crawl, then one of the greatest benefits of sharing P2P is negated. However, while the very best torrenting VPN will provide the full package, we’d recommend that security take priority over ease of use or the absolute fastest speeds.
We rate ExpressVPN as the very best VPN for torrenting, but there are a number of other excellent options available. Read on to find out the five best torrenting VPNs on the market today.
The best torrenting VPNs you can get right now
Best all-round VPN for torrenting – and everything else
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 5
ExpressVPN, simply put, is the best VPN out there right now – the fact it's also perfectly suited to torrenting is just a great bonus. Or, to look at it another way, this is the ideal torrenting VPN that offers everything else you'd require from your VPN.
A quality VPN for torrenting should have plenty of security features to keep you safe, and Express has these in spades. Not only does it have full torrenting support on every server, but it provides WebRTC leak protection, private DNS servers and Perfect Forward Secrecy, which uses a unique key every time you connect and every 60 minutes afterwards.
Beyond excellent privacy, ExpressVPN also provides blazing connection speeds – essential for any torrenting VPN. Connections to servers in your home country will stay relatively unaffected, and the wide server choice means you'll be able to pick from a whole host of overseas connections to make sure you stay up to speed.
Express boasts both a kill switch and split tunnelling, and combined with a strict policy of no activity or connection logs, it offers the most complete torrenting VPN package we've had the pleasure of testing.
However, as with any VPN, users can run into issues, and Express has got you covered with its 24/7 live chat support. In the unlikely event you'll need it, the helpful team will get you torrenting in a matter of minutes rather than hours
While ExpressVPN costs marginally more than some of its rivals, it's not worth scrimping on a torrenting VPN as there's often be a lot at stake – and if it's not for you, then there's a 30-day money-back guarantee too.
Tom's Guide readers get 3 months free from ExpressVPN
Sign up for a full 12 months on ExpressVPN and you'll get 49% off the normal monthly price plus a free 3 months additional coverage. And don't forget, if you just want to give it a try with no obligation, there's a 30-day money back guarantee in place that you can rely upon without any quibbles.
Provides an excellent specialised torrenting experience
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of servers: 7,100 | Server locations: 110+ | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 7
CyberGhost is a fantastic VPN for torrenting, and while it's packed with features, it still remains nice and simple to use. From the get-go you'll be able to tell torrenting is a priority, as the VPN will automatically configure itself to deliver the best torrenting experience.
That mean you don't have to fuss around with protocols or testing servers randomly to try and find the best P2P performance – CyberGhost knows what you want to do, and it'll make it happen. It even has a great big 'Torrent Anonymously' button to make the whole process entirely idiot-proof. There's also a clear no logging policy, a reliable kill switch and split tunnelling available, as you'd expect.
A specialised feature we'd like to see in every torrenting VPN is CyberGhost's App Protection. Essentially, this means you can configure the VPN to automatically connect to a server of your choice when you launch a particular app. In practice, the app in question will be your torrent client, and once you've set that up you won't even need to open CyberGhost to get protected.
One of the few downsides is the slightly crude apps, but while it doesn't offer such a well-rounded experience as ExpressVPN, CyberGhost is a fantastic specialised torrenting VPN.
Sign up for CyberGhost today and get 2 months free
For those looking for a dedicated torrenting VPN, Cyberghost offers a specialised experience that keep keep you comprehensively covered. Tom's Guide readers who sign up for a 12-month plan will also receive two months free – and there's always that 45-day money-back guarantee if it doesn't work out.
3. Private Internet Access
Good balance of price and performance
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of servers: 3,300+ | Server locations: 65+ | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 10
Private Internet Access offers plenty of servers, all of which support P2P torrenting, and like any good torrenting VPN there are no bandwidth restrictions whatsoever on the severs – but PIA also offers a couple of features not seen in your garden-variety VPN.
Port forwarding allows the VPN to redirect connections around a NAT firewall, and this ensures you torrenting speeds stay as fast as possible. Alongside that you'll also get the requisite kill switch and split tunnelling to further optimise your P2P experience.
On the performance front, PIA delivers great connections speeds and in our testing we didn't experience any dropped connections or failures to connect. As well as that, when using servers further away from our location, speeds stayed stable and worked perfectly well.
Alongside a zero-log policy, PIA offers an industry-standard 30-day money-back guarantee and serviceable live-chat support. While it's not a slick as some others, PIA is a good-value torrenting VPN that runs on plenty of devices and will keep you safe.
Sign up on the Private Internet Access website now.
Security focused and great for torrenting
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of servers: 5,300+ | Server locations: 80+ | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 6
Known for its stringent security measures, NordVPN has made a name for itself as a great VPN for torrenting. Thanks to double encryption, a choice of protocols, two kill switches, DNS leak blocking and zero-logging, there's plenty here to keep you safe.
While not all servers are P2P supported, there are hundreds in the US, UK and plenty more across the globe that do support torrents. And, since the VPN will connect you to the best P2P server in your location when it detects torrenting traffic, the process is painless too.
Nord also offers a ton of extra features like payment via Bitcoin, traffic leak protection and Onion over VPN, and it's a great everyday VPN for Netflix and general security, and also offers a good selection of mobile apps.
However, although it does work well as a torrenting VPN, the fact that not every server supports P2P does mean that you might not be getting the very best speeds possible. However, as an all-rounder, you could do much worse.
Sign up on the NordVPN website now.
Speed, security and a bargain price tag
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Number of servers: 1,700+ | Server locations: 100+ | Zero-logging: Yes | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
Surfshark is a great torrenting VPN for those who want to stay protected but also don't want to break the bank. With a comprehensive feature-set that includes a kill switch, split tunnelling and protocol switching, there's a lot you can do to tailor your P2P experience.
It's one of the fastest VPNs available, and also incorporates Double Hop, zero-knowledge DNS servers and a no-logs policy. However, not every one of Surfshark's servers supports P2P traffic – while it functions similarly to Nord in this respect, Surfshark has far fewer servers, so your options will be even slimmer.
That's not to say that Surfshark won't do the job – it's a tempting option if you want to spend as little as possible – but for torrenting it's simply not as specialised as those further up the list.
Sign up on the Surfshark website now.
Best torrenting VPN FAQs
Is using a VPN for torrenting legal?
Torrenting itself isn't illegal – it's simply sharing information in small packets across different machines. This allows for fast and efficient transfers between computers, which is also known as P2P sharing.
The practice only becomes illegal when you use it to share content which is owned by someone else – for example, a movie that's owned by a media company which you're not paying for.
What features make a great VPN for torrenting?
To get the best possible personal security and ensure anonymity, you'll want to be sure that your VPN is one that operates a clear 'no logs' policy. This means that the VPN won't record any data that can identify you and, in the unlikely situation that the VPN is compelled to give evidence, it won't have any to give.
Another thing to take into consideration is connection speed, since you'll probably be sharing large files when using your torrenting VPN.
No leaking, as you'd imagine, is also vitally important. Many media companies are now running networks of monitoring nodes which can join torrent swarms and collect IP addresses. So if you're using a VPN that has leak protection, you won't have to worry about being on that list.
Can you use a free VPN for torrenting?
If we're honest, a free VPN isn't going to be a great solution for torrenting. Most free VPNs enact strict data caps – from a relatively generous 500Mb a day to a measly half-gig a month – and some also restrict download speed.
While free VPNs are great for casual use of public Wi-Fi or general browsing, bandwidth-intensive activities like torrenting and streaming will see you maxing out your allowance in no time.
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