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Best Free VPN for Torrenting

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

You should always use a VPN to protect your IP address when torrenting, but you don’t necessarily need to spend money on one. There are a few good free VPNs that work well for torrenting.

Free VPNs are always a trade-off. You won’t get a VPN with fast speeds, unlimited data, and unrestricted P2P traffic for free, but there are still good options if you don’t mind slower download speeds and a data cap.

We’ve tested all of these VPNs with our torrenting benchmark test, which shows how well they actually perform at P2P file sharing.

The best 100% free VPNs for torrenting and P2P are:

  1. Windscribe Free: The overall best free VPN for torrenting. Read summary
  2. Hide.me Free: A free P2P VPN with a 10GB monthly data cap. Read summary
  3. Avira Phantom Free: Avira Phantom Free: The fastest free VPN for torrenting. Read summary
  4. TunnelBear Free: A beginner-friendly free VPN that allows torrenting. Read summary
  5. Hotspot Shield Free: A free VPN for torrenting with 500MB of data per day. Read summary

Alternatively, you can jump to our free VPN for torrenting comparison table.

When you torrent your IP address is exposed publicly, meaning your ISP, copyright trolls and malicious third parties can see your identity. Every VPN recommended on this page will stop this from happening.

None of the VPNs we recommend ask for payment details, either, so you know you’ll never be charged for the service. If you’re looking for the absolute best speeds and security, you should check out our list of the best overall VPNs for torrenting.

Make sure your VPN isn’t leaking before you torrent

Our torrenting VPN leaks tool checks for any VPN leaks that could compromise your anonymity while torrenting, including leaks from your torrent client. It’s also the only free torrenting leaks tool which works with IPv6.

The 3 Best Free VPNs for Torrenting & P2P in 2021

  1. 1. Windscribe: Best Free Torrent VPN

    Kill switch, DNS leak protection and 10GB monthly data allowance.

    Ranked #1 Free Torrenting VPN
    Windscribe mobile screenshots
     100% 
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit Windscribe
    1. Torrenting allowed on most servers
    2. No speed throttling
    3. Reliable P2P 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

    Windscribe is the best free VPN for torrenting on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Its free VPN apps are all fully encrypted, use OpenVPN, AES-256 encryption, and have a VPN kill switch to hide your IP if you lose connection. Altogether, this makes it the best free VPN for uTorrent, BitTorrent, and other popular P2P clients.

    Technically you can run it on as many devices as you want, but you’ll end up stretching the data allowance pretty thin if you do.

    Average P2P Bitrate6.4MiB/s
    Data Cap10GB
    JurisdictionCanada (Five-Eyes Member)
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. iosiOS
    3. macosMacOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux
    Data LeaksNo
    TorrentingPermitted
    Countries10

    Lots of trustworthy P2P servers

    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.

    It has a strong logging policy, too: it only keeps logs which cannot be used to identify you or your activity. It’s Canada jurisdiction isn’t ideal, though.
    Port forwarding isn’t offered on the free service. Generally speaking, this means you won’t be able to seed torrents, only download them.

    Good speeds and data allowance

    Windscribe offers 10GB of free data a month which isn’t a huge amount, but it’s more than most free VPNs give you (only beaten by Hotspot Shield on this list). It should be enough to download a few movies, a season of a TV show, or quite a lot of .PDFs or music.

    It’s pretty fast, too. We got an average bitrate of 6.4MiB/s in our torrenting benchmark test. This was compared to 10.1MiB/s without a VPN (a drop of 36.6%).

    Paid VPN services will generally reach much faster download speeds, but this is the second best result we’ve seen from a free VPN (second only to Avira Phantom Free).

    Automated support and online resources

    Windscribe Free has poor human live chat support – it’s 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. There are decent online resources available, though.

  2. 2. Hide.me: Best Free Alternative

    DNS & IPv6 leak protection and 10GB data usage per month.

    Hide.me mobile screenshots
     100% 
    (1 user reviews)
    Visit Hide.me
    1. P2P allowed on three of five free servers
    2. DNS & IPv6 leak protection
    3. Minimal logging
    4. No payment details required on signup
    1. 10GB monthly data cap
    2. Only five VPN server locations
    3. Kill switch can be unreliable
    4. Slow P2P speeds

    The free version of Hide.me is a reliable VPN service for torrenting with the same amount of data as Windscribe, but which doesn’t perform as well.

    Average P2P Bitrate4.5MiB/s
    Data Cap10GB
    JurisdictionMalaysia (Privacy Haven)
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. iosiOS
    3. macosMacOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux
    Data LeaksNo
    TorrentingPermitted
    Countries4

    Safe and private apps

    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 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.

    Private jurisdiction and logging policy

    Hide.me has a really strong jurisdiction: Malaysia. We consider Malaysia to be a privacy haven, and one of the safest places in the world to use a VPN.

    It does keep temporary logs of your email address and amount of data used, but these are deleted every few hours. Your IP address and activity are not monitored or logged.

    Generous data allowence but poor performance

    Hide.me’s 10GB of data is generous for a free VPN. If you want to transfer small amounts of data and are based near it’s P2P servers in the Netherlands, Canada, or Singapore, Hide.me is a good choice for torrenting.

    It’s performance isn’t very strong, though. We found a speed drop of 55.5% in our torrenting benchmark test – the slowest result we’ve seen. (We do carry our tests out from London, though, not especially near to any P2P servers).

    You can’t port forward, either, so won’t be able to seed torrents.

  3. 3. Avira Free VPN: Best for Speed

    The fastest free VPN for P2P activity with 1GB monthly data usage.

    Avira Phantom VPN Free mobile screenshots
     0% 
    No user reviews
    Visit Avira VPN
    1. P2P allowed on all servers
    2. Very fast for torrenting
    3. Minimal logging policy
    4. No payment info required on signup
    1. Low 1GB monthly data cap
    2. No kill switch

    Avira Phantom Free is a very fast free option for torrenting, especially if you’ve used up the data allowance of other VPNs on this list. There isn’t very much data on offer, though.

    It offers apps for iOS, Android, Windows and MacOS, all of which use industry standard OpenVPN and AES-256 encryption.

    Average P2P Bitrate9.6MiB/s
    Data Cap1GB
    JurisdictionGermany (14-Eyes Member)
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. iosiOS
    3. macosMacOS
    4. androidAndroid
    Data LeaksNo
    TorrentingRestricted
    Countries1

    Strong logging policy

    Avira’s minimal no-logs policy is one of the best we’ve seen from a company that doesn’t specialise in VPNs (beating similar offerings from McAfee, AVG and Norton). We’ve also never seen it leaking IP or DNS information, and consider it a trustworthy VPN for torrenting.

    It’s German jurisdiction is less positive, though. Germany is part of the Five Eyes data sharing alliance, and one of the most privacy hostile countries in Europe.

    The fastest free torrenting VPN we’ve tested

    We were surprised to find that, despite Avira Phantom having some poor speed results generally, it was by far the fastest free VPN for torrenting. We found an average bitrate of 9.6MiB/s, which is less than a 5% difference to torrenting without a VPN.

    This is an amazing result full stop, not just for a free VPN. it puts Avira Free among the fastest VPNs we’ve tested – you can see it compared directly to premium VPNs on our full torrenting round-up.

    It's possible to get more than 1GB

    You don’t get much data with Avira Phantom Free – only 1GB. The only VPN on this list which offers less is TunnelBear. You might be able to download one or two medium-sized files a month with this, but it’s not enough for a heavy user.

    We have, however, found that the app gives you 300 seconds after passing this limit before it cuts off. On a normal connection (we used 100Mbps) you might get away with doubling your data in this time (depending on the health of the torrent). On a super fast connection this could be exploited to download some very large files.

    No kill switch

    The apps don’t have a kill switch or port forwarding, both important features for a torrenting VPN. A kill switch in particular makes sure your IP address is never exposed, even if the VPN fails.

    Without port forwarding, it also won’t be possible to seed torrents. Lacking these features holds Avira Phantom Free back somewhat.

  4. 4. TunnelBear: Very Beginner Friendly

    Easy to use free P2P VPN with 500MB monthly data limit.

    TunnelBear VPN
     100% 
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit TunnelBear
    1. VPN kill switch
    2. IP & DNS leak protection
    3. Generous free server network
    4. No activity logs
    5. No payment info necessary
    1. 500MB monthly data cap
    2. P2P servers are hard to find

    TunnelBear is a beginner-friendly VPN which works well for torrenting. It’s safe and secure with AES-256 encryption, but the tiny 500MB data cap of this free version holds it back.

    Unlike other free VPNs, the only difference between this and the paid service is the data cap. So you’ll be getting a premium service for free, with the same speeds, server network and features.

    Average P2P Bitrate5.1MiB/s
    Data Cap500MB
    JurisdictionCanada (Five-Eyes Member)
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. iosiOS
    3. macosMacOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux
    Data LeaksNo
    TorrentingPermitted
    Countries26

    Minimal logs and a kill switch

    TunnelBear 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.

    It’s Canada jurisdiction isn’t at all good for privacy (it’s the same as Windscribe) but is probably preferable to the US.

    Tiny data allowence and slow torrenting

    Like Windscribe and Hide.me, TunnelBear enforces a data usage cap, but it’s even lower at only 500MB per month. That’s not a lot for torrenting at all. You might be able to download a decent number of PDFs, but if you want to download music or video files it won’t last long at all.

    Like most of the free VPNs here, TunnelBear will slow your torrents down quite a lot. We had a speed drop of 50% when torrenting with it. Both Windscribe Free and Avira Phantom Free performed much better than this.

    Confusing server selection

    TunnelBear goes out of its way to avoid mentioning torrenting. This would be fine if every server worked for P2P, but they don’t, and aren’t labeled. We had to try several different locations until we eventually found that Germany was the closest server location that allows torrenting.

    There are certainly a lot of servers on offer, with 23 country locations and good coverage over Europe especially, but you’ll have to look around to find one for torrenting.

    Beginner friendly apps for popular devices

    TunnelBear has user-friendly OpenVPN apps for Windows, iOS, MacOS and Android (IKEv2 is also available for iOS and Windows). They’re all nicely laid out and approachable, if a bit basic.

    As an entry level VPN it isn’t too surprising that TunnelBear doesn’t allow port forwarding, but this means you can’t seed with this service.

  5. 5. Hotspot Shield Free: 500MB per day

    Free VPN with a large data limit (up to 15GB per month)

    Hotspot Shield mobile screenshots
     88% 
    (5 user reviews)
    Visit Hotspot Shield
    1. Generous data allowence
    2. Secure & reliable apps
    3. No card details at sign-up
    4. Windows kill switch
    1. Daily data cap prevents large downloads
    2. Poor P2P speeds
    3. Unnecessary logging
    4. No kill switch on iOS, MacOS, or Android

    Hotspot Shield is a fast free VPN with a generous data allowance. Users should be aware of it’s dubious privacy policy, though.

    It uses reliable AES-256 encryption, but has opted for its proprietary Hydra VPN protocol instead of industry standards like OpenVPN or WireGuard. This isn’t necessarily an issue, but you should know it hasn’t been as widely tested.

    Average P2P Bitrate5.3MiB/s
    Data Cap500MB per day
    JurisdictionUS (Five-Eyes Member)
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. iosiOS
    3. macosMacOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux
    Data LeaksNo
    TorrentingNo
    Countries1

    Windows kill switch and no leaks

    We also didn’t find any IP or DNS leaks in our tests, which means you can be sure you’re torrenting anonymously.

    There’s a kill switch available on Windows, too, but not the other platforms – so we recommend avoiding torrenting with this VPN on iOS, Android, or MacOS. Port forwarding also isn’t enabled on any platform, which will prevent you from seeding.

    Logs more than is necessary

    Hotspot Shield has only recently started allowing P2P traffic on its free VPN, which means it’s not had long to prove itself trustworthy for torrenting.

    There are also some issues with it’s logging policy. It collects your IP address, your approximate location, connection timestamps, records of bandwidth, device information and an aggregated log of websites visited. Some of this information is just held for the duration of your connection, but it still goes beyond what we’re comfortable with, especially for torrenting.

    We don’t like that it’s based in the US, either. A country that has been found spying on its own citizens.

    Unusual but generous data policy

    Most free VPNs give you a monthly data cap, but Hotspot Shield uses a daily cap. This means you can get a maximum of around 60GB of data per month – which is huge – but you can’t download any files greater than 500MB in one go.

    Many torrent files, especially film and TV, are bigger than 500MB, but if you want to download small files throughout the month, Hotspot Shield offers more than enough data. This will work especially well for users who want to download PDFs or music.

    Disappointing speeds

    Since Hotspot Shield is the fastest VPN for normal traffic, we expected it to perform really well when downloading files. Clearly, however, it isn’t optimised for P2P.

    We found a download speed drop of 47.5% when torrenting with Hotspot Shield. This is right in the middle of the pack for free VPNs, less than we would expect from a provider that sells itself on speed.

Free VPN for Torrenting Comparison Table

Torrenting Speed Testing

Just because a VPN is fast in general doesn’t mean it will be fast for torrenting. P2P traffic requires specific optimization that won’t show up in a standard speed test.

We’ve developed a bespoke torrenting 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.

This is our benchmarking setup:

  1. Set up a private torrent tracker for a 1GB data file
  2. Host a torrent client on a local server with a fixed connection speed to seed to torrent
  3. Configure the client not to use DHT or otherwise communicate with any other peers
  4. While running a VPN, torrent the file on a 100Mbps connection
  5. Measure the duration of the 1GB download in order to determine average bitrate

We have run this test for every free VPN included on this page. If you want to see how every torrenting VPN performed, look at our paid VPN torrenting test results.

Here are the full free VPN results:

VPN Bitrate
No VPN 10.1MiB/s
Avira Phantom Free 9.6MiB/s
Hide.me Free 4.5MiB/s
Hotspot Shield Free 5.3MiB/s
TunnelBear Free 5.1MiB/s
Windscribe Free 6.4MiB/s

What We Look for in a Free Torrenting VPN

In order to find the best free VPN for torrenting, we assess every VPN by the same criteria.

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 nearby P2P server.

All the free VPNs we review go through our standardized 10-step process.

Learn How We Test and Review VPNs

We use the same process for every VPN to ensure a fair comparison. We never take payment from providers to improve or change our reviews.

Why You Need a VPN for Torrenting

Torrenting without a VPN is really risky. You risk exposing your activity and identity to your ISP, copyright trolls, and other torrenters.

When you torrent you connect directly to other users, rather than to a central server. This means they can see your public IP address.

But if you connect using a VPN, the IP address that other users see will be one associated with the VPN server you are connecting to, not your home network.

Using a VPN also stops your ISP from seeing that you are torrenting. This is good because some ISP will throttle your torrenting traffic.

Check out our list of the absolute best VPNs for torrenting for more detail on exactly why you need a VPN for torrenting.

How to Use a Free VPN for Torrenting

Torrenting with a free VPN is really easy. You just need to start your VPN before opening any torrents and fully exit your torrent client before disconnecting.

Here is a step by step guide:

  1. Find a trustworthy free VPN which allows P2P traffic.
  2. Download a torrent client like qBittorent, uTorrent, Deluge, etc.
  3. Use a torrenting leak test to make sure you are anonymous.
  4. Make sure your VPN kill switch is on.
  5. Connect to a nearby VPN server.
  6. Open a magnet or torrent file with your torrent client.
  7. Once the torrent has finished – and you’re done seeding – exit your torrent client before disconnecting from your VPN.
  8. Disconnect from the VPN.

Free VPNs You Shouldn't Use for Torrenting

Not all free VPN services are safe for torrenting. Here are some examples of free VPNs you should avoid when torrenting, but there are many more, particularly on the Google Play and iOS App stores:

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 advise you to avoid Hola at all costs.

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.

Thunder VPN

Thunder VPN is another one of the worst free VPN services you could possibly use for torrenting.

Not to mention it’s only available on Android, Thunder VPN uses an insecure connection protocol, lacks any security features whatsoever. When we asked for extra information about its security and encryption, we were ignored.

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 VPNs Which Don’t Allow P2P

In addition to dangerous free VPNs, many free VPNs just don’t allow P2P on their networks. This is because P2P traffic can take up a lot of bandwidth, and be difficult to accommodate without slowing down other users. Examples of VPNs you can’t use for torrenting include:

  • ProtonVPN Free
  • ZoogVPN
  • X-VPN Free

FAQ

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 more generous than most free VPNs, though, especially those that allow torrenting. Only Hotspot Shield can get you more data over the month – and because Hotspot Shield has a daily cap, you won’t be able to use it for large files.

Are Free VPNs Safe for Torrenting?

You want a VPN (free or otherwise) to hide your IP while you torrent – there’s no point in using a VPN that can’t do this. And you also want to use a safe VPN which you can trust not to take advantage of privileged access to your device.

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

  1. A strong encryption cipher (preferably AES-256)
  2. Secure VPN connection protocols (OpenVPN is our favorite)
  3. A no-logs (or minimal) logging policy
  4. A working VPN kill switch
  5. No IP address or DNS leaks

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

Is Torrenting Legal?

Torrenting is completely legal, but torrenting certain files can breach copyright restrictions. As a general rule you can only legally torrent files if you own them, have permission from the copyright holder or if they are in the public domain.

You can torrent legally in countries like the US, UK, Australia, Canada and India, as long as you don’t break other laws while torrenting.

Are Free VPNs Legal?

Using a free VPN service to torrent is 100% legal in almost every country around the world. There is a small number, however, where VPNs are banned:

  • Belarus
  • Iraq
  • North Korea
  • Turkmenistan

There’s also a slightly longer list of countries where only authorised VPNs are allowed. In these countries unauthorised VPNs are blocked, and using them could land you with a fine or even more serious repercussions:

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

Our guide, ‘Are VPNs Legal?’, explains the legal situation in each of these countries in more detail.

Can I Get a Paid Torrenting VPN for Free?

A free VPN isn’t the only way to protect yourself while torrenting. By taking advantage of free trials and returns policies it is possible to get a premium torrenting VPN for free. Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN have 30-day, no-questions-asked return policies, for instance.

These tricks won’t get you access to the VPN forever, but they’re long enough to try the VPN out and download quite a few files. If this sounds appealing, we have a round-up of free VPN trials you might be interested in.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    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