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The Best VPNs 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

The best P2P VPNs mask your torrent IP address and encrypt your web traffic, hiding the files you download from your internet service provider (ISP).

Sadly, not every VPN supports torrenting traffic, and many popular VPNs are simply not private or secure enough for safe torrenting.

We tested 68 VPNs to find the very best VPNs for torrenting. We rated each VPN based on security, logging policy, torrenting speed, P2P servers, and additional features.

Based on speed, security, and privacy, the five best VPNs for torrenting in 2021 are:

  1. IPVanish: The overall best VPN for torrenting and P2P traffic.
    Read Summary.
  2. ExpressVPN: Best for torrenting internationally.
    Read Summary.
  3. AirVPN: A highly-configurable VPN with advanced P2P features.
    Read Summary.
  4. PrivateVPN: The cheapest choice for safe torrenting.
    Read Summary.
  5. NordVPN: A very secure, no-logs VPN with P2P-friendly apps.
    Read Summary.

The five VPNs above are all equipped with AES-256 encryption, IP and DNS leak protection, and a VPN kill switch. They allow you to share files privately without recording your activity.

Additionally, these P2P VPNs deliver fast upload and download speeds using popular torrent clients like uTorrent, Deluge, Bittorrent, and Vuze.

The VPNs we recommend on this page are paid-for. If you want a free P2P VPN, see our list of the best free VPNs for torrenting.

Expert Tip
The most safe and secure torrent client in 2021 is qBittorrent. Not only is it ad-free and open-source, but it also has extra security features like IP binding.

The Top VPNs for Torrenting: Performance Ratings

Here’s a table summarizing how the best torrenting VPNs perform in each key testing category:

To understand how we review VPNs for torrenting, read our P2P-specific testing methodology.

5 Best VPNs for Anonymous Torrenting

  1. 1. IPVanish: Best Choice for Torrenting

    The top VPN for secure torrenting and P2P file-sharing, especially on Firestick or Kodi.

    Ranked #1 out of 68 VPNs for Torrenting
    IPVanish VPN
     96% 
    (175 user reviews)
    Visit IPVanish

    Pros

    1. P2P permitted on all servers
    2. Strict zero-logs policy
    3. Fast speeds and low latency
    4. Self-owned VPN server network
    5. Over 40,000 IP addresses
    6. Working VPN kill switch
    Cons
    1. No port forwarding
    2. Past logging controversy

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 8.9/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology.

    • 9.7
    • 9.6
    • 9.9
    • 8.4
    • 6.2

    Based on our P2P test results, the best VPN for torrenting is IPVanish. It has all the usability of mainstream VPN services combined with the torrenting-specific features of more advanced competitors.

    The VPN service provides AES-256 encryption, 40,000 IP addresses, and an average bitrate of 15.6Mib/s with low latency.

    Cheapest Price$3.75/mo for 12 months See all plans
    Average Bitrate15.6Mib/s
    TorrentingUnlimited
    JurisdictionUS (Five-Eyes Member)
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    Data LeaksNo
    Data CapUnlimited
    Torrenting FeaturesKill switch
    IP Addresses40,000+
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMacOS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. routerRouter
    6. iosiOS

    DNS leak protection and no user logs whatsoever

    Testing IPVanish for torrenting, we measured an average bitrate of 15.6MiB/s, which is exceptionally good. This works out as a speed loss of less than 7% – one of the best results we’ve seen.

    It’s a true zero-logs VPN service with security features such as AES-256 encryption, traffic obfuscation, DNS leak protection and the ability to manually configure your DNS settings.

    Sadly, IPVanish does not support port forwarding, so choose a different service like PrivateVPN if you want to seed files.

    40,000 IP addresses and a SOCKS5 proxy

    IPVanish operates over 40,000 individual IP addresses, all of which allow torrenting. You shouldn’t have any performance issues due to congestion, and no trouble remaining anonymous.

    IPVanish full server list

    IPVanish has torrenting servers in six continents.

    You can also use IPVanish on all popular devices, including routers.

    Therefore, you can download media from your desktop, smartphone, tablet or even TV. IPVanish is also the top-rated VPN for Kodi, Fire TV Stick, and several other platforms.

    IPVanish’s native VPN apps may not look as nice as ExpressVPN’s or NordVPN’s, but they are easy to use nonetheless.

    If you don’t want to use the full VPN software, there’s also a SOCKS5 proxy you can torrent with.

    Affordable monthly price and a 30-day money-back guarantee

    IPVanish is not the cheapest VPN service, but it’s very reasonably priced given the security and privacy features on offer.

    The best price comes with the annual subscription plan, which costs only $3.75 per month.

    There’s no free trial (other than on iOS), but you can try IPVanish free for 30-days by taking advantage of its money-back guarantee.

  2. 2. ExpressVPN: Best for International Torrenting

    A highly secure VPN with unlimited torrenting and P2P file-sharing capabilities.

    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
     96% 
    (1,768 user reviews)
    Visit ExpressVPN

    Pros

    1. No torrenting restrictions
    2. A benchmark for VPN speed
    3. P2P-friendly privacy policy
    4. No IP or DNS address leaks
    5. Instant setup on all devices
    6. Kill switch on most apps
    Cons
    1. No port forwarding (only on router)
    2. No kill switch on iOS app

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 8.7/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology.

    • 8.7
    • 9.7
    • 9.6
    • 9.5
    • 6.5

    ExpressVPN offers secure VPN applications with consistently fast download speeds and low latency. We tested the VPN with torrent clients like uTorrent, qBitTorrent, and Vuze. It worked flawlessly without any additional setup.

    The VPN protects P2P traffic with no IP leaks, making it an excellent choice for torrenting.

    In our recent benchmark tests, the service recorded an average torrenting bitrate 13.2MiB/s. This is a drop of 21% compared to using no VPN.

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Average Bitrate13.2Mib/s
    TorrentingUnlimited
    JurisdictionBritish Virgin Islands (Privacy Haven)
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    Data LeaksNo
    Data CapNone
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch
    IP Addresses3,000+
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMacOS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. routerRouter
    6. iosiOS
    7. amazon_firetvFire TV
    8. androidtvAndroid TV
    9. playstationPlayStation
    10. xboxXbox
    11. chromeChrome
    12. firefoxFirefox
    13. edgeEdge

    A fast average bitrate of 13.2MiB/s

    Our most recent P2P speed tests show ExpressVPN is among the fastest VPNs for torrenting.

    Its speed performance is remarkably consistent, whether you connect to a server in your home country or in a distant location.

    We measured an average bitrate of 13.2MiB/s, and an average download speed loss of just 8%. This puts ExpressVPN at the higher end of the VPN speed spectrum.

    The VPN’s speeds are especially quick on long-distance connections. ExpressVPN is therefore ideal if you want to torrent privately using a foreign IP address.

    Advanced security features and leak protection

    ExpressVPN also stands out thanks its security features. These include AES-256 encryption, perfect forward secrecy and secure VPN protocols.

    These security attributes guarantee that your file-sharing remains completely secure.

    ExpressVPN running at the same time as qBittorrent

    ExpressVPN is fully compatible with BitTorrent clients.

    Built-in IP leak protection and an effective kill switch called ‘Network Lock,’ also keep you anonymous at all times while the VPN runs. This is critical for safe torrenting.

    Windows and Mac users also benefit from IPv6 address leak protection, and split-tunneling. The latter lets you assign which clients (e.g. your torrent client) should use the VPN connection, and which ones shouldn’t.

    No-logs and based in a safe jurisdiction

    ExpressVPN doesn’t keep any activity or connection logs on its servers.

    Also, the VPN company is based in the British Virgin Islands, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction far from the influence of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance.

    In other words, ExpressVPN doesn’t have to hand over any user web data – that it hasn’t got – to copyright agencies.

    P2P-friendly servers in over 160 locations

    ExpressVPN has a large network of 3,000 VPN servers in over 160 global locations.

    P2P traffic is allowed without restrictions on all servers.

    Great usability, but port forwarding is missing

    ExpressVPN works on the vast majority of devices, and there are detailed setup instructions for most of them. You can even set the VPN on your home router.

    This gives you the flexibility to download torrents from different devices. If you encounter problems, 24/7 customer support available via live chat or email.

    Sadly, ExpressVPN doesn’t support port forwarding, so you can’t seed torrents for other users.

    There is also no kill switch on the iOS app, either. Torrenting on an iPhone or iPad is fairly unusual, though, given there are no BitTorrent apps on the iOS App Store.

    While ExpressVPN is more expensive than other VPN services, it represents great value for speed and security.

    There is no free trial on Windows or Mac, but you can try ExpressVPN risk-free by making the most of its 30-day refund guarantee.

    To dig deeper on why ExpressVPN is a good choice for P2P file-sharing, read our guide to torrenting with ExpressVPN.

  3. 3. AirVPN: Best For Advanced Users

    A highly-configurable VPN perfect for advanced torrenters.

    AirVPN mobile screenshots
     20% 
    (1 user reviews)
    Visit AirVPN

    Pros

    1. Optimized for P2P traffic
    2. Supports torrenting over IPv4 and IPv6
    3. A trusted name in torrenting
    4. Includes a kill switch
    5. Port forwarding allows seeding
    Cons
    1. Not as user-friendly as other VPNs
    2. Complicated server list
    3. Seeding requires manual calibration

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 8.7/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology.

    • 8.1
    • 9.5
    • 9.8
    • 7.5
    • 9

    AirVPN’s network of servers is fantastic for torrenting, but it isn’t very easy to use.

    The VPN includes a kill switch, port forwarding and a strong privacy policy – everything you need for anonymous seeding and torrenting. However, because it can be complicated to use, we only recommend AirVPN if you’re an advanced user who knows what they’re doing.

    Cheapest Price$3.69/mo over 24 Months See all plans
    Average Bitrate12.9Mib/s
    TorrentingUnlimited
    JurisdictionItaly (14-Eyes Member)
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    Data LeaksNo
    Data CapUnlimited
    Torrenting FeaturesKill switch, Port forwarding
    IP Addresses-1
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMacOS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. routerRouter
    6. iosiOS
    7. amazon_firetvFire TV
    8. playstationPlayStation
    9. xboxXbox

    Totally optimized and unrestricted torrenting

    AirVPN has a data neutrality policy that torrenters will find encouraging:

    “P2P is allowed, as well as any other protocol. Currently P2P is a set of the most efficient protocols to share and access information on the Internet. We do not discriminate against any protocol.”

    This means AirVPN doesn’t restrict P2P activity on any of its servers and users can pick between any of its 22 country locations.

    Screenshot of AirVPN's desktop app showing the percentage load of each VPN server location

    AirVPN’s server select menu is relatively complicated.

    Very fast torrenting speeds & port forwarding

    Our latest torrenting speed test results recorded a bitrate of 12.9MiB/s using AirVPN – a drop of just 23% compared to no VPN. This puts AirVPN in front of industry leaders like NordVPN for fast torrenting.

    The VPN client includes a kill switch called Network Lock, which AirVPN claims was the first of its kind. Network Lock goes beyond most kill switches and uses firewall rules to prevent data leaks.

    It operates while your internet connection is active and will work to protect you even if the software crashes. In short, this means there is no chance your true IP address will be revealed, even momentarily.

    AirVPN also features port forwarding, which allows you to get the best results while seeding and leeching. You don’t need to seed to download a torrent file, but some clients will punish your downloads speeds significantly if you don’t.

    A very difficult VPN to use – one for torrenting experts

    AirVPN requires some configuration to set up port forwarding for the best results. You can follow AirVPN’s advice step-by-step if you use Bittorrent or eMule, but if you use other clients such as Deluge or uTorrent you’ll have to do some of the work yourself.

    AirVPN’s long history works to its advantage. This VPN was being used to torrent privately before most other commercial VPNs even existed.

    It has managed to avoid any controversy around logging, forwarding DMCA requests, or security breaches in all of that time. This means you can be comfortable when trusting the company with your data.

    While secure and trustworthy, AirVPN isn’t the easiest VPN to use – in fact, it is one of the most unintuitive VPNs on the market.

    If you have the patience to adapt to the software it’s an ideal VPN for torrenting at a very reasonable price, but we don’t recommend it if you’re a beginner or aren’t experienced with VPNs and torrenting in general.

  4. 4. PrivateVPN: Most Affordable

    A fast, no-logs, and cheap VPN with P2P support.

    Image of PrivateVPN's app on mobile
     98% 
    (1,736 user reviews)
    Visit PrivateVPN

    Pros

    1. P2P allowed on all servers
    2. Fast upload & download speeds
    3. Strict zero-logs policy
    4. Allows port-forwarding
    5. Very affordable pricing
    Cons
    1. Smaller server network than top rivals
    2. Live support needs improving
    3. Small server network

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 8.4/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology.

    • 6.9
    • 9.1
    • 9.5
    • 8.5
    • 9

    PrivateVPN has an effective kill switch, a reassuring zero-logs policy, and very fast speeds. Its server network has unlimited P2P support and is designed to get the best torrenting results.

    Just like with ExpressVPN, you can torrent without restrictions on any PrivateVPN server. Based on our latest results, PrivateVPN is also the cheapest top VPN for torrenting.

    Cheapest Price$1.98/mo over 24 months See all plans
    Average Bitrate9.7MiB/s
    TorrentingUnlimited
    JurisdictionSweden (14-Eyes Member)
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    Data LeaksNo
    Data CapUnlimited
    Torrenting FeaturesKill switch, Port forwarding
    IP Addresses7,000+
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMacOS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. routerRouter
    6. iosiOS
    7. amazon_firetvFire TV
    8. androidtvAndroid TV
    9. playstationPlayStation
    10. xboxXbox

    Transparent, trustworthy, and under $2 per month

    PrivateVPN is also the most affordable P2P VPN available. The service costs just $1.98 per month on a two-year subscription plan, which is great value for money.

    There’s also a seven-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee, for you to try the VPN first.

    Unlike other VPN services, PrivateVPN is very transparent about its torrenting and logging policy. There’s no DMCA statement and the website clearly states that “[PrivateVPN] doesn’t collect or log any traffic or use of its service”.

    There are no examples of PrivateVPN users being forwarded DMCA requests, either.

    These are good assurances from the VPN company. However, we do want to see more wording around its no-logs commitments. Unlike ExpressVPN, PrivateVPN hasn’t carried out an external audit to confirm its no-logs policy.

    Good speeds, secure apps and private DNS servers

    All of PrivateVPN’s custom apps come with a VPN kill switch and AES-256 encryption. This means you don’t need to worry about your true IP address leaking if the VPN disconnects.

    The company also maintains its own DNS servers. There is no third-party responsible for resolving your DNS requests. This is ideal for privacy and anonymity.

    Not only is the VPN highly secure, it also provides excellent speeds and performance. Our most recent torrenting speed tests measured a bitrate of 9.7MiB/s, which is a drop of 42%.

    This isn’t awful for torrenting (where VPNs tend to have a larger than average effect on speeds) but it also isn’t as good as some of the more expensive alternatives.

    Port forwarding is supported on all 200 servers

    Unlike ExpressVPN and NordVPN, PrivateVPN allows port forwarding. Port forwarding isn’t absolutely necessary to download torrent files, but it is to seed torrents. You can read the benefits of port forwarding further down this article.

    Configuring PrivateVPN with port forwarding for optimal torrenting results can be complicated. The website offers a useful guide that covers the basics, and there’s also an option to set up a SOCKS5 proxy.

    We recommend you use the full VPN rather than the proxy, to fully encrypt your data and protect your privacy.

    Screenshot of PrivateVPN's beta server list

    You can torrent on any of PrivateVPN’s worldwide servers

    PrivateVPN’s server network consists of just 59 locations. It’s a much smaller network than its main rivals, but it has yet to suffer from server congestion. It’s still a larger and more reliable network than many small VPNs like AirVPN.

  5. 5. NordVPN: Best for P2P Servers

    Robust security, fast speeds, and thousands of P2P-optimized servers.

    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
     94% 
    (246 user reviews)
    Visit NordVPN

    Pros

    1. Torrenting permitted on many servers
    2. Fast same-country speeds
    3. Totally zero-logs policy
    4. Tons of security features
    5. User-friendly apps for all devices
    Cons
    1. Email support can be slow
    2. No port-forwarding

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 8.1/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology.

    • 7.2
    • 9.8
    • 9.5
    • 8.2
    • 6.2

    If you can’t afford ExpressVPN or IPVanish, NordVPN is a good option for torrenting. It isn’t as cheap as PrivateVPN though, but it’s one of the most popular VPNs available.

    The NordVPN applications are easy to use, very secure, and offer fast average speeds across a large server network. There’s no port forwarding though, meaning you can’t seed torrents with NordVPN.

    Cheapest Price$3.30/mo over 27 Months See all plans
    Average Bitrate10.8Mib/s
    TorrentingPermitted
    JurisdictionPanama (Privacy Haven)
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    Data LeaksNo
    Data CapUnlimited
    Torrenting FeaturesKill switch
    IP Addresses5,343+
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMacOS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. routerRouter
    6. iosiOS
    7. amazon_firetvFire TV
    8. playstationPlayStation
    9. xboxXbox
    10. chromeChrome
    11. firefoxFirefox

    Good speeds on P2P-optimized servers

    We measured an average torrenting bitrate of 10.8 MiB/s in our most recent benchmarking tests, a drop of 35%. NordVPN is in general one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested, but it isn’t quite as fast for torrenting.

    Most locations in NordVPN’s network offer P2P-optimized servers designed for fast and secure torrenting. Just make sure you’ve selected a P2P server, rather than a normal VPN server. Otherwise, your torrent client won’t work.

    Screenshot of NordVPN speciality servers, including P2P

    NordVPN lets you filter servers by P2P compatibility

    There are P2P servers spread across the world, but we don’t recommend connecting to countries with known copyright trolls. Therefore, avoid torrenting from US, UK or Australian servers. Instead, connect to more torrenting-friendly countries like Switzerland, Spain, or Romania.

    High-end security, kill switch, and double-VPN

    NordVPN is completely zero-logs, and it uses the top AES-256 cipher for strong encryption. It also hashes your web traffic thanks to a 2048-bit DH key, SHA2-384 authentication. The VPN service also implements perfect forward secrecy to encrypt and protect your data transfers.

    There are custom VPN apps for a wide range of devices. All of these apps use OpenVPN and IKEv2, the most secure connection protocols available. NordVPN also comes with NordLynx, its own very fast version of the WireGuard protocol.

    All of the VPN clients are easy to use and come with an automatic kill switch and split tunneling. NordVPN is also one of the services to offer ‘double VPN.’ This features routes your traffic through two separate VPN servers for extra security.

    If you want to automatically get the best P2P servers with NordVPN you’ll need to change your settings: navigate to Recommended Server > Advanced Options, and then select P2P.

    Great value for money, but no port forwarding

    NordVPN is priced very reasonable at $3.30 per month, on a two-year subscription. All of NordVPN’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Overall, this is excellent value for money given the quality of NordVPN’s service.

    Be aware that you can’t seed torrents with NordVPN’s VPN apps because they don’t support port forwarding. You can seed with NordVPN’s SOCKS5 proxy, but a proxy isn’t as secure as a full VPN.

    NordVPN was subject to a server breach in March 2018, affecting one of its Finnish servers. No user data was compromised, and the company has since doubled down on its commitment to data security. However, we feel it’s still worth you knowing about it.

The Top 10 VPNs for Torrenting Compared

We put the top 10 VPNs for torrenting through our unique testing methodology and recorded our results.

Using the table below, compare every torrenting VPN based on average speed, P2P support, P2P servers, and additional features.

You can also see all the raw testing data we used to calculate our ratings.

What’s the Fastest VPN for Torrenting?

We tested the most popular torrenting VPNs to find out which one is the fastest.

Use the table below to compare the 15 best torrenting VPNs based on their average download bitrate.

VPN Service Average Bitrate
No VPN 16.8MiB/s
ExpressVPN 13.2MiB/s
PrivateVPN 9.7MiB/s
NordVPN 10.8MiB/s
IPVanish 15.6MiB/s
AirVPN 12.9MiB/s
Astrill 16.7MiB/s
CyberGhost 6.5MiB/s
Hotspot Shield 0.7MiB/s
Private Internet Access 1.4MiB/s
ProtonVPN 16MiB/s
Surfshark 14.4MiB/s
Windscribe 11.9MiB/s

Why You Need a VPN for Torrenting

You can torrent files without using a VPN, but we strongly recommend you don’t.

A good VPN encrypts your P2P traffic, disguises your IP address, and protects your identity while torrenting.

Using a VPN prevents your internet service provider (ISP), government, and other third parties from spying on your web activity. It also lets you access geo-restricted content.

BitTorrent is a P2P or ‘peer-to-peer’ protocol. Every other user downloading the same file is connected in a group called a ‘swarm’.

Many BitTorrent clients let you view a list of devices you’re connected to when leeching or seeding files on the network.

Without a running VPN, your IP address and identity is visible to everyone in the torrenting swarm. This includes other users, content owners, and copyright trolls.

Moreover, your ISP can monitor your traffic and work with authorities to issue legal notices for copyright infringement.

If you’re caught downloading copyrighted material you could face financial penalties or even imprisonment.

Torrenting DMCA

DMCA notices will normally come directly from your ISP

Many countries are ramping up copyright violation laws and enforcement actions, especially in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. This trend is happening throughout Europe as well, in countries like Germany, Denmark, and Austria.

The US is home to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which can penalize repeat copyright violations with fines of up to $1,000,000. The UK has similar legislation called the Digital Economy Act, which raised the maximum sentence for copyright infringement to up to 10 years.

Large media companies also monitor torrent traffic and collect IP addresses from torrent swarms. Copyright holders often outsource their litigation to law companies called ‘copyright trolls’.

Copyright trolls monitor popular torrents looking for the IP addresses of users uploading or downloading files. They then contact the ISP that assigned those IP addresses, and instruct it to send the user a copyright violation notice. In more serious cases, ISPs can also send requests for settlement.

While we do not condone copyright violations, we do want to make sure that users stay safe.

It’s clear that masking your IP address is vital for bittorrent users. No matter where you’re located, using a safe VPN for torrenting and P2P file-sharing is key.

To summarize, a VPN will protect you against the following threats:

1. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP)

ISPs use Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to analyze your internet traffic. If you don’t encrypt your traffic, your ISP will see and record all the files you torrent.

An ISP can use this information to block or throttle your P2P traffic. It can also prevent you from accessing file-sharing websites.

If you’ve downloaded copyrighted material, your ISP could send you a DMCA notice. It can even pass your information to third-parties, like content owners and copyright enforcement agencies.

2. Other Peers in the Torrent Swarm

All devices downloading a torrent file are known as peers, while those uploading are called seeders. Together, all of these devices make up the ‘torrent swarm’.

In every torrent swarm, the IP addresses of all participants are visible. Everybody can see this personal identifier. Someone could link your real IP address to your true identity and use this information for scams or harassment.

3. Third-Parties Monitoring Downloads

Copyright enforcement organizations infiltrate and monitor torrent swarms to catch torrenters out.

Research by the University of Birmingham discovered extensive monitoring of the most popular content available on torrent sites.

Copyright trolls have been known to harass even users who haven’t breached copyright laws with DMCA requests. That’s because they profit from damages or litigation. It’s best to mask your IP address in public torrents to avoid these.

In addition, we’re seeing websites publish records of P2P activity and related IP addresses. These databases of torrenting activity are available for anyone to see. This makes it easier than ever for attorneys and media companies to target users.

If you’re torrenting without a VPN, and you don’t believe third parties can see what you download, this tool gives you a snapshot of the latest torrents matched to your public IP address.

How We Test VPNs for Torrenting

Our experts rate every VPN based on its performance in a number of key categories. When combined, these ratings allow us to calculate an overall torrenting rating based on our research.

This process makes sure our recommendations are always backed up by raw data, and allows you to compare each VPN based on the performance factors that are important to you.

Here’s a summary of our exact testing process when reviewing the top torrenting VPNs.

For torrenting specifically, we test for:

  • Average torrenting speeds and bitrate on a local server.
  • OpenVPN functionality and AES-256 encryption.
  • IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection.
  • A strict no-logs privacy policy.
  • Fast P2P servers located in privacy-friendly jurisdictions.
  • Additional features including port-forwarding, customer support, and compatibility.

Here’s a more detailed list of all the factors we assess when looking for the best torrenting VPN, along with how much of our overall rating they make up:

1. P2P Speed: 20%

Minimum Requirement: An average bitrate of less than 9.0MiB/s.
We Recommend: An average bitrate of 15.0MiB/s or faster.

We’ve developed a simple test to measure the average download bitrate of every VPN and rank each one by P2P speed.

Here’s how we test every VPN for torrenting speed:

  1. We have a private tracker for a 1GB torrent file.
  2. We host a torrent client on a local server with a fixed connection speed to seed that torrent.
  3. We configure the torrent client not to use DHT or communicate with other peers.
  4. From a test computer, we run a VPN and torrent the file on a fixed 150Mbps connection.
  5. We measure the file transfer duration to find the average bitrate.

Every VPN included in this list has been tested and rated using this standardized process.

VPN speeds are especially important when it comes to torrenting large files. P2P traffic also requires specific network optimization, which means that even the fastest VPNs don’t always perform well for torrenting traffic.

The torrenting VPNs we recommend all measure an average bitrate of at least 9.0MiB/s. This means they’ll provide fast upload and download speeds so you can torrent large files smoothly.

2. Encryption & Security: 30%

Minimum Requirement: AES-256 cipher, OpenVPN support, leak protection, and a VPN kill switch.
We Recommend: AES-256 cipher, multiple protocols, leak protection, and a VPN kill switch using firewall rules.

Strong AES-256 encryption and DNS leak protection are essential for any good torrenting VPN. A single leaked data packet can be enough for your ISP to identify you.

A kill switch is also an absolutely necessary feature if you plan to torrent with your VPN.

This blocks your internet connection and protects your IP address from being exposed if your VPN cuts out.

We use packet-inspection technology to test every VPN for AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN functionality, and leak protection.

We reward the VPNs that reliably protect your P2P traffic, hide your IP address, and mask your real location so you can stay safe while torrenting.

3. Zero-Logs Privacy Policy: 20%

Minimum Requirement: A clear privacy policy with only anonymized connection logs.
We Recommend: A strict zero-logs policy with absolutely no activity or connection logs.

Some VPN services keep user activity logs, which can be used to trace your downloads back to you.

A good P2P VPN service will not record your IP address or internet activity. This means that if copyright holders approach the VPN service, it will have no information to hand over about your activity.

We analyse every VPN’s privacy policy in detail to find out what data it collects and for how long it is stored.

The services that record the least amount data are rewarded, while the services that log your activity or connection data are rated lower.

4. P2P Servers and Support: 15%

Minimum Requirement: Servers that support torrenting traffic.
We Recommend: P2P-optimized servers in a wide range of privacy-friendly jurisdictions.

Some popular VPNs ban P2P traffic outright, and others are more vague about their torrenting policy.

We only recommend VPNs that openly allow torrenting on the majority of their servers.

We also look for a copyright and DMCA policy in every VPN provider’s terms of service, and reward the VPNs that offer P2P-optimized servers.

Our experts also test for servers in countries without legal penalties for P2P activity, like Romania, Spain, and Switzerland.

A large network of P2P-friendly worldwide servers will reduce server congestion and improve download speeds, so we factor this into our rating.

5. Additional Features: 15%

Minimum Requirement: The ability to customise security settings in-app.
We Recommend: Multiple additional features including port forwarding, split tunnelling, customer support, and SOCKS5.

Every VPN comes with its own selection of tools and advanced features. Some of these features are useful for torrenting, and some are absolutely necessary.

We test every VPN for extra configuration options and additional features, and reward the services that provide the best tools for torrenters.

For example, a good P2P VPN needs unlimited bandwidth, so you can torrent without worrying about data caps.

We also recommend VPNs that use shared IP addresses, which means you’ll share an IP address with dozens or even hundreds of other people. This adds a significant layer of anonymity.

Port forwarding is another feature we reward when testing the best VPNs for torrenting. This allows you to set your VPN connection to flow through a specific port on your router, bypassing the NAT firewall.

You’ll need port forwarding if you want to seed torrents, because P2P activity is sometimes blocked by the NAT firewall.

How to Torrent Safely With a VPN

Using a VPN to torrent files is very easy. However, you need to be 100% sure that your VPN is running before you open your torrent client. If you don’t, you risk exposing your true IP address. This is because torrent clients continue to seed files for other users even after you’ve fully downloaded them.

For this reason, always have your VPN on when torrenting. And make sure you completely stop your torrent client before turning the VPN off. This ensures your IP address does not become public.

You also need to trust the file you’re downloading. A VPN won’t stop you from downloading malicious content. To ensure you receive safe files, only download torrents from trusted sources with many active peers and seeders. It’s also good practice to scan new files with antivirus software like Malwarebytes.

If you’re concerned about your privacy and security while torrenting, read full guide explaining how to torrent safely.

Is Torrenting Legal?

Torrenting itself is totally legal and doesn’t pose any inherent risk.

However, torrenting copyrighted material is illegal almost everywhere. Your ISP and copyright trolls are constantly monitoring P2P networks, like Bittorrent and uTorrent, to identify who is downloading and sharing copyrighted files.

Every country has different laws when it comes to privacy, torrenting, and copyright infringement. For this reason, the country in which your VPN is based, and the location of the VPN server you’re using, is incredibly important. We call this country the VPN jurisdiction.

Some jurisdictions have aggressive copyright laws and data retention laws. Some just block torrent and file-sharing websites. And others take a much more relaxed approach.

Ideally, choose a VPN based in a country that doesn’t legally require collecting traffic logs. And connect to a server in a country that doesn’t have legal penalties for torrenting.

In the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, downloading or sharing copyrighted content is illegal and often aggressively penalized. In this section, we’ll go through the copyright laws of each of these countries in more detail.

United States

Downloading and sharing copyrighted material is illegal in the United States. There are two laws that affect torrenting and P2P activity in the US:

  • The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which is aimed at sites hosting illegal torrents and uploaders of copyrighted works.
  • The No Electronic Theft Act (NET Act), which targets users downloading protected content.

American Internet Service Providers (ISP) monitor and store user download data for months, if not years. For example, Comcast holds it for at least six months while AT&T stores it for at least a year.

If you’re torrenting illegally, your ISP will send you a warning letter and probably start throttling your connection speeds.

US ISPs apply a three-warning rule to anyone caught torrenting copyrighted content before content owners start any legal proceedings. After this, anyone found guilty can risk up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.

comcast dmca

A copyright notice sent to a Comcast customer

Copyright trolls are also prevalent in the United States. These are third-parties (law firms) that set out to catch copyright violators on behalf of content owners. They can lurk in torrent swarms, even seeding files themselves as bait.

United Kingdom

Torrenting copyrighted material is illegal in the United Kingdom. In 2010, the UK government passed the Digital Economy Act to help the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) curb illegal torrenting.

This law forces major UK ISPs to notify customers caught downloading torrents. The notification comes in the form of a cease and desist order. The legislation also gives UK ISPs the right to throttle speeds and even disconnect users from the internet altogether.

Over 2,000 domains are blocked by UK ISPs including many popular file-sharing sites like RARBG and YTS. You can find a comprehensive list of blocked domains here.

If you want to avoid downloading copyright-protected works, there are many sites with free and legal content available through the public domain or creative commons license.

Australia

Downloading and sharing copyrighted material in Australia is illegal. The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill of 2018 allows ISPs to block torrenting sites classified as ‘pirate’ sites as well as any related mirror and proxy sites.

Australian DMCA claim

An example of a DMCA claim sent to an Australian user.

Many popular BitTorrent websites like ThePirateBay, Torrentz, and TorrentHound are therefore blocked. Overall, almost 1,000 file-sharing domains are blocked by ISPs like Telstra.

Canada

Since January 2014, the Copyright Modernization Act has required Canadian ISPs like Bell to send notices to copyright violators using their services. Canadian ISPs are legally entitled to store download and upload data from violating subscribers for at least six months.

Copyright holders cannot sue copyright violators for more than CAD$5,000 (~$3,500) if copyrighted material is used for non-commercial purposes.

Canadian law also enables ISPs to throttle file-sharing speeds if a user is found to be torrenting.

VPNs to Avoid for Torrenting & P2P

Not all VPNs are suitable for safe and private torrenting. Some VPNs block P2P traffic, and others don’t fully protect your privacy. We reviewed 68 VPN services and the vast majority didn’t qualify.

Popular VPNs that are unsafe for torrenting include:

  • Hola VPN
  • PureVPN
  • Super VPN
  • Thunder VPN
  • Turbo VPN

Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid any VPN that doesn’t explicitly say it supports P2P traffic. Look for a clear torrenting policy in the terms of service, and strict no-logging rules in the privacy policy.

ipvanish dmca policy

As an example, here is IPVanish’s copyright policy.

Read independent VPN reviews to ensure a VPN service has no history of logging web activity or forwarding DMCA requests to users. These reviews will also inform you how secure a VPN is in terms of encryption and IP leak protection.

In short, avoid VPNs that:

  • Don’t allow torrenting or P2P activity of any kind.
  • Aren’t fast enough, resulting in slow downloads.
  • Leak your real IP address or lack a VPN kill switch.
  • Keep user logs, including your torrent history.
  • Have bandwidth and data usage restrictions.

Additional Research by Liam Mullally

Torrent VPN FAQs

What Is the Best VPN for Torrenting?

ExpressVPN is the best VPN we’ve tested for torrenting. It’s easy to use, reliable, and very fast on local and international P2P connections.

Even without port forwarding, ExpressVPN has consistently proved itself as the most secure and effective VPN for torrenting.

Most importantly, ExpressVPN has a proven record of strong security and it doesn’t collect any personal activity logs.

There’s also no evidence of mistakes or bad practice in its past. We believe you can 100% trust ExpressVPN.

What Is the Best Free VPN for Torrenting?

There are lots of free VPNs on the market, but most of them are insecure and dangerous to user privacy.

Often, free VPNs throttle speeds, cap data usage, and even collect your data to sell to third parties.

Because of this, we can’t recommend many free VPNs for torrenting. There are some trustworthy free VPNs that work for occasional torrenting, though.

Read our Windscribe VPN review or our Hide.me review, our preferred free torrent VPNs.

Which Countries Block Torrenting Websites?

A recent study by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) estimates that at least 42 countries block over 4,000 piracy sites (over 8,000 actual domains) altogether.

Of the 42 countries, 31 are members of the European Union (EU) including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal. It’s estimated over 5,300 file-sharing domains are blocked in the EU.

Outside of the EU, Australia, South Korea, Mexico, and Thailand are some of the countries blocking file-sharing websites.

Some of the most popular pirate sites blocked are:

  • 1337x (blocked in 8 countries)
  • LimeTorrents (blocked in 6 countries)
  • RARBG (blocked in 7 countries)
  • ThePirateBay (blocked in 19 countries)
  • Torrentz2 (blocked in 7 countries)
  • YTS (blocked in 8 countries)

What’s the Safest Location to Torrent in?

We always recommend you VPN into countries with explicit legal protections for P2P users. Or, choose a country with a relaxed approach to penalizing copyright infringement.

Sadly, most countries – most notably the US, UK and Australia – are very hostile to digital privacy and to P2P activity. You should avoid using VPN services or VPN servers based in these countries.

However, there are exceptions. Here are some of the safest countries to torrent in:

  1. Switzerland

    Swiss copyright law allows internet users to legally download all music and movies as long as it’s for personal use and not for profit. Monitoring of P2P downloads by third parties like your ISP is illegal, too.

    In the past, Swiss ISPs weren’t even required to block access to pirating sites. This has changed recently, but torrenting of copyrighted material remains legal.

    For this reason, Switzerland has long been seen as one of the best countries for torrenting.

  2. Spain

    Copyright laws in Spain are slightly vague. Piracy sites are routinely blocked, but Spanish authorities have stated that torrenting files for personal use is legal.

    As long as the user isn’t making a profit from this activity, they’re not breaking the law.

    Spanish judges have also stated that personal data linked to an IP address can only be disclosed as part of a criminal investigation, or for public safety reasons.

  3. Romania

    Romania is a very safe country for torrenting privately and a good choice to connect to with your VPN.

    Individuals and organisations running piracy sites have faced legal penalties in Romania, but individuals not making a profit are in a much stronger position.

    Romania is the only European country to have successfully rejected the EU’s data retention laws.

    There is also a precedent in Romanian law that defines sharing copyrighted material as a victimless crime. Legal action is rarely pursued if the individual is torrenting for personal use, rather than for profit.

Is Port Forwarding Necessary for Torrenting?

You don’t need port forwarding to download a torrent file, but you will need it if you want seed files to help maintain the swarm.

Certain torrent clients also use trackers to slow your download rate significantly if you don’t seed.

Being able to seed is important for two reasons:

  • Maintaining the torrent: a torrent swarm needs seeders to survive, and if no one seeds there simply won’t be torrents to download.
  • Getting the best speeds: to maintain the swarm some torrents will penalize peers who do not seed, so being a “leech” can negatively impact your experience.

All routers have a NAT firewall, which can sometimes block or slow down P2P activity for security reasons.

Port forwarding as a VPN feature involves setting your VPN connection to flow through a specific port on your router, bypassing the NAT firewall.

While not all routers block or slow P2P connections, port forwarding will likely improve download speeds as the connections bypass the firewall.

If you want a VPN that includes port forwarding, both PrivateVPN and AirVPN are good options.

What Is a SOCKS5 Proxy?

SOCKS is a connection protocol that sends packets between a web server and a device using a proxy server. The proxy server generates a random IP address before your traffic reaches its final destination. SOCKS5 is the most recent SOCKS protocol.

This type of proxy connection hides your IP address and uses a protocol designed to handle trackers and P2P connections, which makes it ideal for use while torrenting.

Many torrent clients including Bittorrent and uTorrent allow you to integrate your SOCKS5 proxy directly into the client.

While SOCKS5 proxy connections are fast and good for unblocking websites, they’re not ideal for privacy. They do not encrypt your traffic, meaning your ISP can still monitor your browsing and identify your torrenting activity.

In short, SOCKS5 proxies have been a popular choice among torrenters for a long time, but they don’t offer the same protection as a full VPN.

It’s also important to avoid using an HTTP proxy when torrenting, which is the most common type of free proxy. HTTP proxies can only carry insecure HTTP traffic and can’t handle peer-to-peer connections.

Most torrent clients ignore HTTP proxy settings when connecting to peers, which means they will be able to see your true IP address.

Is Torrenting the Same As Kodi?

On its own, Kodi is just an open-source multi-platform media hub that lets you play all your content in one place. But it is highly modifiable, and there are countless add-ons which enhance the software.

However, many Kodi add-ons work differently to BitTorrent technology. They use live-streams as opposed to downloading files. Streams don’t download or upload files onto your device (unless you actively opt in).

Streaming does not hold as many risks as torrenting does, as you are not actively sharing content or necessarily displaying your IP address publicly.

But not all Kodi add-ons work this way and without a VPN your ISP will still be able to monitor your activity.

Some Kodi add-ons rely on the BitTorrent protocol behind the scenes. This means they upload and download content to your device simultaneously – exposing your identity to all others in the swarm. You would absolutely need a VPN to use these add-ons anonymously.

If you’re looking to use Kodi streaming software, see our list of the best VPNs for Kodi.

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