In order to find the best free VPN for torrenting, we assess every VPN by the same criteria.
We test every VPN using the qBittorrent client (the safest cleint we’ve tested) in order to ensure a fair comparison.
The ideal free torrenting VPN is:
- Free, and does not ask for payment information on sign-up.
- Protects your internet traffic with OpenVPN and AES-256 encryption.
- Hides your IP address and mask your real location.
- Protects against IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks.
- Includes a VPN kill switch.
- Provides fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth.
- Has a choice of nearby P2P servers.
Here’s a breakdown of how we calculate our free VPNs for torrenting scores:
1. P2P Speed: 30%
Minimum Requirement: An average bitrate over 5MiB/s
We Recommend: An average bitrate of 6.5MiB/s or better
Free VPNs can often be slow, especially for torrenting. A fast VPN can be the difference between waiting minutes or hours for a torrent to download.
We use a bespoke P2P benchmarking test to identify the fastest free VPNs for torrenting. We use this test to determine the average bitrate of each VPN when actually torrenting.
The P2P speed test is set up as follows:
- Set up a private torrent tracker for a 1GB data file
- Host a torrent client on a local server with a fixed connection speed to seed to torrent
- Configure the client not to use DHT or otherwise communicate with any other peers
- While running a VPN, torrent the file on a 100Mbps connection
- Measure the duration of the 1GB download in order to determine average bitrate
We’ve run this test on every free VPN covered here. If you want to see how every torrenting VPN performed, look at our paid VPN torrenting test results.
2. Data Cap: 25%
Minimum Requirement: 500MB per month
We Recommend: 10GB per month or more
Data has a massive effect on how feasible it is to torrent with a free VPN. Music files will often be over 250MB and video files can be over 1GB. This means many free VPNs will only be good for one or two downloads a month.
Some VPNs which would score well for their data caps in other contexts do less well here. This is the case when they have a daily cap on data.
Since torrent files often exceed their low daily caps, these VPNs are less useful than alternatives with monthly caps.
3. Encryption & Security: 10%
Minimum Requirement: P2P support, leak protection, and a VPN kill switch
We Recommend: AES-256 encryption, multiple available protocols, leak protection and a VPN kill switch using firewall rules
A securely encrypted VPN keeps you hidden from malicious third-parties when you torrent. It also stops your ISP from seeing that you are torrenting (and potentially throttling your connection).
A kill switch is a must-have for torrenting. Without one your true IP address could easily be exposed to other users and copyright trolls.
The gold standard for kill switches is to use firewall rules to ensure leaks cannot possibly occur.
4. Logging Policy: 20%
We Recommend: A strict zero-logs policy with absolutely no activity or connection logs.
Some VPN providers keep activity logs of their users’ activity. This fundamentally undermines the privacy of the service. In the case of torrenting, it’s especially important the VPN providers cannot forward DMCA requests to users.
Unfortunately, free VPNs are especially guilty of bad privacy practices.
We analyse the records and policies of free VPNs to make sure they are safe before we recommend them.
5. P2P Servers: 15%
Minimum Requirement: At least one P2P server in your region
We Recommend: P2P servers in your country
Some torrenting VPNs allow P2P traffic on their whole network, while others restrict it to special P2P servers.
This means you can end up on a very slow, long distance connection even if your VPN has a large network. Free VPNs are often guilty of this. Longer distance connections will be far too slow for comfortable torrenting and too few P2P servers will result in bottlenecks.
Ideally, you want multiple P2P server choices in your country, but as a bare minimum you need to connect to a server in your region.