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Best Free VPN for Torrenting

Podium Rankings for Best VPN
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

Torrenting without a secure VPN, whether free or paid, puts your privacy at significant risk. A good VPN hides your torrent IP address, and encrypts your internet connection, making it an optimal privacy tool to torrent files anonymously.

However, P2P traffic can be very demanding on a server network, so very few free VPNs allow torrenting. Moreover, of the few free VPNs that do, many aren’t optimized for it, or aren’t trustworthy enough to use: many free VPNs keep logs of your P2P activity, and the worst ones fail to hide your IP address altogether.

Therefore, it won’t come as a surprise that, from the hundred-plus free VPNs we tested for P2P, only three are worth considering for fast and anonymous torrenting. They’re totally free and don’t require any credit card or payment details upfront.

The best completely free VPNs for torrenting and P2P are:

  1. Windscribe Free: The overall best free VPN for torrenting with a 10GB monthly data cap. Read summary
  2. Hide.me Free: The fastest free VPN for P2P traffic with a 10GB monthly data allowance. Read summary
  3. TunnelBear Free: A popular free VPN that allows torrenting in 23 free server locations. Read summary

The VPNs above will hide your torrent activity, and in our leak tests didn’t expose our real IP address. This means your Internet Service Provider (ISP) won’t see the files you download or seed, and won’t be able to throttle your speeds, either. You’ll also be able to access torrent websites blocked by ISPs around the world (an estimated 4,000 file sharing sites).

It’s important to know that free VPNs are nowhere near as good as the best paid VPNs for torrenting. However, the free VPNs we recommend will protect your privacy, without compromising too much on speed. Just beware of the limited data usage restrictions.

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

Best Free VPNs for Torrenting & P2P in 2021

1. Windscribe Free

The best free VPN for fast torrenting with a 10GB monthly data cap.

  1. Torrenting allowed on most servers
  2. No speed throttling
  3. Reliable same-country speeds
  4. VPN kill switch & DNS leak protection
  5. Minimal logging policy
  6. No payment info required on signup
  1. 10GB monthly data cap
  2. No human live chat
  • Top Speedi

    54Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    10 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Ranked #1 Free VPN for Torrenting

Windscribe is the best free VPN for torrenting. All its free VPN apps are encrypted with the secure AES-256 cipher, use OpenVPN (the most secure VPN connection protocol) and have a VPN kill switch to hide your IP location in the event of a connection loss.

Windscribe allows torrenting and P2P traffic on almost all of its free VPN servers. Moreover, it recorded great torrent speeds in our latest round of testing, making it ideal for P2P activity.

However, you can only use up to 10GB of data a month with the free version of Windscribe. Having said that, it’s one of the more generous data allowances from a free VPN that allows torrenting activity.

Sadly, Windscribe isn’t the best when it comes to human live chat support, which is virtually non-existent. All you can do is interact with a chat bot, which isn’t very helpful, or send an email to Windscribe’s support team.

Overall, Windscribe continues to prove it’s a standout VPN for most uses, including torrenting and P2P file-sharing.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Windscribe VPN review.

2. Hide.me Free

Very fast VPN for torrenting with 10GB monthly data allowance.

  1. P2P allowed on three of five free servers
  2. No torrenting speed restrictions
  3. Fast download speeds
  4. DNS & IPv6 leak protection
  5. Minimal logging
  6. No payment details required on signup
  1. 10GB monthly data cap
  2. Only five VPN server locations
  3. Kill switch can be unreliable
  4. Unexpected app crashes
  • Top Speedi

    72Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    4 countries, Not disclosed servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Ranked #2 Free VPN for Torrenting

The free version of Hide.me is a reliable VPN service for torrenting that’s just as private as Windscribe, if not more so.

Hide.me maintains a privacy-friendly logging policy and comes with security extras such as a VPN kill switch to keep you safe while torrenting.

All of Hide.me’s custom VPN apps are encrypted with the ‘unbreakable’ AES-256 and use the most secure VPN connection protocol, OpenVPN.

You can use Hide.me’s free apps on all popular platforms, such as Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android, and you can even install it on your router, which is rare for a free VPN service.

Hide.me’s 10GB data will likely be a hindrance for big torrenters, and if you’re not located near one of the three P2P-friendly servers speeds will suffer. But this is actually one of the most generous offerings from a safe VPN provider.

If you only need to transfer a small amount of traffic and are based near the Netherlands, Canada, or Singapore, Hide.me could be an excellent VPN service for torrenting.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Hide.me review.

3. TunnelBear Free

A beginner's free VPN with 23 P2P-friendly server locations.

  1. No torrenting restrictions
  2. Fast, reliable download speeds
  3. VPN kill switch & DNS leak protection
  4. No collection of user web logs
  5. Generous free server network
  6. No payment info necessary
  1. 500MB monthly data cap
  2. Some VPN connection drops
  3. No live chat feature
  4. Slow email support
  • Top Speedi

    52Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    23 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid

The Bottom Line

Ranked #3 Free VPN for Torrenting

TunnelBear is a beginner-friendly free VPN for torrenting that doesn’t compromise on security. All of TunnelBear’s native VPN apps use OpenVPN, and all connections are secured with the ‘gold standard’ of encryption ciphers, AES-256.

It also has a VPN kill switch to keep your IP location hidden at all times. While it isn’t a no-logs VPN, it only collects anonymous server usage data, so it won’t collect your web activity logs.

Like Hide.me, TunnelBear enforces a data usage cap, and it’s even more restrictive at only 500MB per month. That won’t get you very far when it comes to torrenting large files. In fact, you’re better off going with our top recommendation, Windscribe, if 500MB is not enough for you.

On a positive note, TunnelBear allows torrenting on all 23 free VPN servers. These days it’s rare to see a free VPN service give access to a server network of this size.

Unfortunately, we did experience some unexpected connection drops during our tests. We did contact TunnelBear customer support about this via email, but there response time was rather slow.

All in all, TunnelBear is a good free VPN to get you started, but it still has work to do before it can compete with Windscribe and Hide.me.

For a more in-depth look, read our full TunnelBear VPN review.

Do I Need a Free VPN for Torrenting?

You absolutely need a VPN for torrenting. Torrenting without a secure VPN service leaves you exposed to all sorts of privacy risks. The most effective torrenting VPNs are paid, but there are some good free options, too.

If you don’t use a VPN while torrenting, your IP address, along with everyone else’s in the torrent “swarm”, is exposed. This means that your ISP, as well as any other potential snoopers or hackers, can see exactly who you are and what you’re downloading.
Image of a user torrenting without a VPN, they are exposed
Some ISPs have will even detect users taking part in high-bandwidth activities (such as throttling) and intentionally reduce their connection speeds to even out bandwidth usage across the rest of the network. This could bring your torrenting to a halt.

The only way to prevent this from happening is to install a trusted free VPN – our recommendations above are a good place to start. Alternatively you can check out our overall best free VPN recommendations.
Image of a user torrenting with a VPN, they are safe and anonymous
Generally, though, you will get a better torrenting experience with a paid VPN that guarantees your privacy, has no data cap and is well optimized for P2P traffic.

How a Free VPN Protects Your Privacy While Torrenting

Diagram showing how users connect to the internet using a VPN

How you connect to the internet using a VPN.

A trusted free VPN protects your privacy while you torrent in three different ways:

  1. Hides your torrenting activity from your ISP

    Using a VPN means that your ISP is unable to see what you’re doing online, whether that be torrenting or anything else.

    This will prevent them from monitoring or throttling your internet traffic, meaning your speeds won’t suffer as a result of what you’ve chosen to do online.

  2. Prevents other torrenters from seeing your IP address

    If you use a site like BitTorrent, everyone using the same torrent file is connected in a ‘swarm’, meaning each user can see the IP addresses of all the other devices that are also connected.

    Your IP address can be used to determine your ISP and approximate physical location, which is often how torrenters end up receiving copyright violation letters from online trolls.

    Using a VPN will mask your IP address so that the other users in the swarm can only see the IP address of the P2P server. If your VPN uses shared IP addresses, as most do, it would be virtually impossible to trace torrenting activity back to a single user.

  3. Protects you from any potential hackers

    The fact that a VPN hides your true IP address will also protect you from any hackers that could otherwise use it as a backdoor into your system to find out your confidential personal information.

    Because all of your traffic is routed through the VPN’s servers, rather than those owned by your ISP, all of your data is encrypted to a high standard and impossible for anyone else to view.

How to Use a Free VPN When Torrenting

Using a free VPN to torrent privately is incredibly easy – just follow the simple steps below:

  1. Choose a free VPN service that allows torrenting

    Simply choose the VPN service you’re going to use, install it onto the device that you’re going to torrent on and enter your login information.
    Screenshot of our live chat conversation with Hide.me discussing torrenting

  2. Check the privacy settings and kill switch

    Before you connect, check that the VPN kill switch and any leak protection is enabled on your VPN. This will keep your personal information out of the wrong hands should the VPN connection fail for any reason.

  3. Choose a VPN server location

    Now connect to the closest VPN server to your physical location for the best speeds, and begin torrenting securely. Keep an eye on the data cap, if applicable, to ensure you don’t run out unexpectedly.

The Worst Free VPNs for Torrenting

Not all free VPN services are safe for torrenting. Here’s our top three free VPNs to avoid, although this is by no means an exhaustive list.

  1. Hola Free VPN

    Hola Free VPN claims to be a ‘VPN service,’ but it is in fact an insecure peer-to-peer proxy network that doesn’t provide any encryption whatsoever.

    Hola is no good for torrenting as it monitors absolutely everything you do online, including all the websites you visit, and has even been known to sell user bandwidth without consent.

    Sadly, it’s one of the most popular free VPN services out there, but we’d advise you to avoid Hola at all costs.

  2. VPN Proxy Master

    VPN Proxy Master is an incredibly unsafe free VPN for torrenting as the company has a sketchy history of sending confidential user information across to China.

    Not only this, but your IP address is collected and stored for an indefinite amount of time, plus there’s no way of telling how VPN Proxy Master is encrypted.

    The apps are full of pop-up ads, too – VPN Proxy Master is definitely a free VPN to stay away from.

  3. Thunder VPN

    No question about it, Thunder VPN is one of the worst free VPN services you could possible use for torrenting.

    Not to mention it’s only available on Android, Thunder VPN uses an insecure connection protocol, lacks any security features whatsoever, and ignored our questions about encryption.

    ThunderVPN also claims to be no-logs but actually collects a ton of information, such as your IP address, ISP, server location, and loads more.

Free Torrent VPN FAQs

What’s the Best Free VPN for Torrenting?

Currently, the best free VPN for torrenting is Windscribe. It provides the best all-round P2P experience without many major compromises. It’s fast, secure, and will hide your torrent IP address.

The main downside of Windscribe is that it has a 10GB monthly data cap. This is the most generous allowance we’ve seen from a free VPN that allows torrenting, though. You won’t get more than that from a safe free VPN.

Screenshot of the torrenting advice in the support section of Windscribe's website

If you don’t need to torrent large files, but need a diverse server network, then a good alternative is TunnelBear VPN. It has in fact P2P-enabled servers in 23 countries.

However, TunnelBear limits data transfers to 500MB per month, which isn’t much at all, let alone for torrenting.

On the whole, it’s definitely worth paying for a top torrent VPN to experience fast and unrestricted torrenting. The best paid VPNs for torrenting have a wider range of P2P-friendly servers with no data usage restrictions whatsoever.

As of January 2021, our current top five paid VPNs for torrenting are:

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. PrivateVPN
  3. NordVPN
  4. IPVanish
  5. AirVPN

Are Free VPNs Safe for Torrenting?

You’re using a VPN to keep you safe and private online, and that’s no different when you’re torrenting. Using a secure VPN is perhaps the most effective way to protect yourself while torrenting: it masks your true IP address and it encrypts all your web traffic.

To keep yourself as safe as possible while torrenting, make sure to choose a free VPN with:

  1. Strong encryption cipher (preferably AES-256)
  2. Secure VPN connection protocol (OpenVPN is our favorite)
  3. No-logs (or minimal) logging policy
  4. VPN kill switch

You also need to make sure your free VPN allows P2P traffic, as several popular free VPNs will block this kind of traffic.

Are Free VPNs Legal?

Using a free VPN service to protect your privacy is 100% legal in almost every country around the world. There is a small number, however, where unauthorized VPN use is restricted or banned. These are:

  • China
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Iran
  • Oman
  • UAE (United Arab Emirates)

Using an unauthorized VPN service in any of these countries could result in a heavy fine, or in some cases, even a prison sentence.

There’s also a handful of countries where all VPN services are completely banned:

  • Belarus
  • Iraq
  • Turkmenistan
  • North Korea

Being caught using a VPN service in any of these locations could lead to an unspecified fine and land you in some serious trouble.

Take a look at our guide Are VPNs Legal? for more information on countries with VPN restrictions and advice on using a VPN service safely.

You can also check out our best VPNs for China (and other high-censorship countries) here.

Is Torrenting Illegal?

Torrenting itself is completely legal, but it’s copyright restrictions that you have to be careful with. The act of torrenting, however, is in itself legal. In fact, you can torrent legally in countries like the US, UK, Australia, Canada and India.

But, if you download content that is in breach of any copyright rules, you are breaking the law, regardless of how you do it. For example, downloading or sharing copyrighted content is illegal in Australia, Canada, the US, and the UK.

If you’re concerned about the legality of torrenting certain files, familiarize yourself with the copyright laws in your country.

About the Author

  • Simon Migliano

    Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio