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Best Free VPN for Torrenting

By Simon Migliano | Updated August 28, 2019

Illustration of a laptop streaming via VPN

Torrenting without a secure VPN service puts your privacy at significant risk.

Without a VPN, your ISP will see everything you do online and can throttle your speeds if you try to download large files.

Some ISPs even block many torrenting websites outright – it’s estimated that over 4,000 file sharing sites are blocked around the world.

Using a good VPN service will hide your real IP address and encrypt your internet connection, meaning you can torrent anonymously without any worries.

Problem is, the best VPNs can be pricey. That doesn’t mean you should just use the first free VPN you see, either.

Torrenting with an insecure free VPN could potentially do more harm than good, putting your personal information at risk and exposing your true IP address.

What’s the safest free VPN for torrenting then?

After testing hundreds of free VPNs, we found three that work well for torrenting.

They protect your online activity with strong encryption and privacy-friendly logging policies without compromising on speed (although data caps are in place).

What We Look for in a Top Free VPN for Torrenting

  1. Torrenting & P2P permitted on all (or most) servers
  2. Reliable, fast download speeds
  3. Watertight logging policies & no IP/DNS leaks
  4. VPN kill switch & DNS leak protection
  5. No throttling of P2P traffic
  6. Generous monthly data cap

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

Best Free VPNs for Torrenting & P2P

1. Windscribe Free

Ranked #1 for Free Torrenting VPNs

  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. Doesn't work for streaming
  • 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

Windscribe is without a doubt the best free VPN service we’ve tested – it’s also our top pick for free VPN for torrenting due to the superior security it provides.

Torrenting is permitted on almost all of Windscribe’s free VPN servers, and its fast, reliable upload speeds make it ideal for P2P activity.

Windscribe’s 10GB monthly data cap is one of the more generous we’ve seen from a free VPN, but heavy torrenters may still find it restrictive.

All of Windscribe’s free VPN apps are encrypted with top cipher AES-256 and use the most secure VPN connection protocol, OpenVPN, to keep you safe while torrenting.

Unfortunately, we struggled to get Windscribe Free to work with popular streaming sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer, so if this is important to you, you may want to avoid this VPN.

Heavy torrenters, however, should absolutely consider the free version of Windscribe Free due to its strong suite of privacy features and excellent performance.

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

2. Hide.me Free

Ranked #2 for Free Torrenting VPNs

  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. 2GB monthly data cap
  2. Only five VPN server locations
  • Top Speedi

    81Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    4 countries, ? servers

  • Compatible with

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

The Bottom Line

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 2GB data cap will be a big hindrance for frequent torrenters, however, and if you’re not located near one of the three P2P-friendly servers speeds will suffer.

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

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

3. TunnelBear Free

Ranked #3 for Free Torrenting VPNs

  1. No torrenting restrictions
  2. Fast, reliable download speeds
  3. VPN kill switch & DNS leak protection
  4. Minimal logging policy
  5. Generous free server network
  6. No payment info necessary
  1. 500MB monthly data cap
  • Top Speedi

    52Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    22 countries

  • Compatible with

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

The Bottom Line

TunnelBear is a beginner-friendly free VPN service for torrenting that doesn’t compromise on security.

TunnelBear’s minimal logging policy and a VPN kill switch will protect you while you torrent, and you’re protected against DNS leaks, too.

All of TunnelBear’s custom VPN apps used our preferred connection protocol, OpenVPN, and even better, they’re encrypted with the ‘gold standard’ of ciphers, AES-256.

Like Hide.me, TunnelBear’s data cap is an issue, and it’s even more restrictive at 500MB per month. That won’t get you very far when it comes to large files – you’re better off with our top pick, Windscribe Free, if that’s something that affects you.

Torrenting is permitted on all 22 of TunnelBear’s VPN servers, though – it’s rare to see a VPN server network this large from a free VPN service.

We’d suggest testing out TunnelBear’s free VPN for torrenting before you buy a paid plan, which comes with unlimited data.

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

Popular Questions

What is the Best Free VPN for Torrenting?

Our preferred free VPN for torrenting is Windscribe, as it offers the best all-round experience without too many major compromises.

The only main downside is Windscribe’s 10GB monthly data cap, but this is one of the most generous allowances we’ve seen from a free VPN that allows torrenting, and shouldn’t be too much of an issue for the majority of users.

If you’re expecting to get more than that from VPNs elsewhere, then take our word for it – you won’t.

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 our top pick would be the free version of TunnelBear, thanks to its presence in 22 countries worldwide.

A warning, though – TunnelBear only permits its free VPN users to transfer 500MB data per month, which isn’t much at all, let alone for torrenting.

For the best all-round torrenting experience it’s definitely worth paying for a premium VPN service.

A premium VPN service will allow you to connect to a wider range of VPN servers and won’t limit your bandwidth usage, so you can torrent as much as you want. Our current top VPN services for torrenting are:

For more information, take a look at our overall Best VPN Services for Torrenting here.

Do I Really Need a VPN for Torrenting?

You absolutely need a VPN for torrenting, as torrenting without a secure VPN service leaves you exposed to all sorts of privacy risks.

Firstly, if you don’t use a VPN while torrenting, your IP address, along with that of everyone taking part in that file transfer, is exposed. This means that your ISP, as well as any other potential snoopers or hackers, is able to see exactly what you’re doing online.

Some ISPs have also been known to 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 VPN service to the device that you intend to use for torrenting – our recommendations above are a good place to start.

How a VPN Protects Your Privacy While Torrenting

A VPN protects your privacy while you torrent in a few 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 for Torrenting

Using a free VPN for torrenting is incredibly easy.

  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.

Is Torrenting Safe With a VPN?

You’re using a VPN to keep you safe online, and that’s no different when you’re torrenting.

Using a secure VPN service is perhaps the most effective way to protect yourself while torrenting, as not only does it mask your true IP address, it also encrypts all of your online traffic.

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

  1. Strong encryption (preferably AES-256)
  2. Secure VPN connection protocol (OpenVPN is our favorite)
  3. Minimal (or preferably zero-logs) logging policy

Taking these steps will ensure you’re kept as safe as possible while using a VPN to torrent.

Using a 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:

  1. China
  2. Russia
  3. Turkey
  4. Iran
  5. Oman
  6. UAE (United Arab Emirates)

Using an unauthorised 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:

  1. Belarus
  2. Iraq
  3. Turkmenistan
  4. 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 – it’s copyright restrictions that you have to be careful with.

If you download content that is in breach of any copyright rules, you are breaking the law, regardless of how you do it. The act of torrenting, however, isn’t illegal at all.

You can torrent legally in the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, India – any country you like.

Will a VPN Hide My Torrenting?

Yes, a secure VPN service will hide your torrenting.

As long as your chosen VPN doesn’t collect any personally-identifiable logs, nobody (including your ISP) will be able to tell what you’re doing while connected – this includes torrenting.

Screenshot from Windscribe's website explaining its minimal logging policy

If, however, you use a less secure free VPN that collects more detailed logs (not one of our recommendations listed above), there’s a very high possibility that your VPN provider and ISP will be able to tell that you’re torrenting.

To be sure you choose a VPN that hides your torrenting, be sure to stick with one of our top picks.

Which Free VPN is Best?

Our overall best free VPN service is Windscribe, as it comes with the most generous data cap and provides the best all-round free VPN experience.

Watch out, though, as not all free VPNs will protect you online – we recently conducted an independent investigation that discovered some free VPN services actually do more harm than good.

You can check out the overall top free VPN services for 2019 here.

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.

About the Author

  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and internet freedom research. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio