If you’re torrenting – or doing anything else online, really – you should be using the best VPN. The reasoning is simple: a torrenting VPN ensures better security while sharing files and protects your identity from prying eyes. Using a VPN for torrents is 100% legal, as long as the content you’re downloading is legal too.
But not all VPNs are built the same. A good VPN for torrenting needs to meet a certain number of criteria, which we explore below. We’ll also give you our top picks for which VPN to use while torrenting, and why.
Tom’s Guide in no way condones the use of torrents for illegal purposes.
Security and privacy
This is one of the main reasons you should be using a VPN when torrenting or doing anything else online. There are thousands of third parties interested in your identity and in gathering as much information as they can about you, for all kinds of unsavory purposes. Unscrupulous advertisers, foreign governments, hackers, and cybercriminals all need to be protected against.
Using a VPN while torrenting ensures that cybercriminals will have a much harder time piggy-backing on the connection and gaining access to your devices, including all the personal, financial, and professional information you have on them. It also helps keep your activity anonymous.
Look for: a VPN with a strict zero-logging policy, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. The zero-logging policy will ensure absolute privacy, even if your VPN provider is coerced into sharing its data. DNS leak protection offers an added layer of protection, while a kill switch will ensure your connection stops if something goes wrong with your VPN, avoiding potential exposure.
Torrents are popular because they’re one of the fastest ways to share large files. Using a VPN that slows down those speeds is thus counterproductive. The right VPN for torrenting needs to have a lightning-fast connection to keep up with the demands of incoming and outgoing connections.
Look for: a VPN provider with a large number of servers to avoid bottlenecking and, when possible, dedicated P2P servers. You’ll also want one which doesn’t throttle your connection, a common practice among many free VPNs.
Depending on the VPN, some or all of the servers may be ready to accept P2P and torrenting traffic. Some VPNs, however, avoid this practice to discourage sharing large files, as their limited infrastructure can’t keep up with the demands.
Look for: a VPN with plenty of P2P-friendly servers.
It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but having 24/7 live chat support is a real life-saver when you encounter a problem with your VPN and are counting on the connection.
Good user support will not only be able to help you troubleshoot any connection problems you’re having, they can also let you know which servers are best for torrenting, watching Netflix, and more.
Look for: 24/7 live chat and a comprehensive knowledgebase.
Which VPN should you use?
ExpressVPN is the best torrenting VPN on the market.
ExpressVPN simply ticks all the boxes. It keeps no identifiable logs and comes with DNS leak protection and a built-in kill switch. It also has more than 3,000 servers in 90+ countries, all of which are P2P-ready, and it's also well known for its great speeds. ExpressVPN never throttles your connection either, no matter how much bandwidth you’re using. Finally, it offers 24-hour live chat support.
Surfshark is another good alternative. While it has fewer servers than ExpressVPN (1,700+) and operates in fewer countries (60+), it works on an unlimited number of devices and costs a little bit less.