In order to find the best VPN for torrenting, we assess every VPN by the same criteria.
We test every VPN using qBittorrent, the safest torrent client, to ensure a consistent testing environment and a fair comparison. Competing clients like uTorrent can present some safety risks.
For torrenting specifically, we test for:
- Average torrenting speeds (bitrate).
- OpenVPN or WireGuard protocols and AES-256 encryption.
- IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection.
- Fast P2P servers located in privacy-friendly jurisdictions.
- P2P-specific features, especially a VPN kill switch.
In the sections below, we’ll detail exactly how we calculate a VPN’s rating for torrenting.
1. Torrenting Download Speed: 30%
Minimum Requirement: An average bitrate over 5MiB/s.
We Recommend: An average bitrate of 6.5MiB/s or better.
Larger files, such as movies or TV series, can be particularly slow to download if your VPN lacks the necessary torrenting speeds.
We use a bespoke P2P benchmarking test to determine the average bitrate of each VPN when torrenting:
- Set up a private torrent tracker for a 1GB data file on a Windows virtual machine.
- Configure the client not to use DHT or otherwise communicate with any other peers.
- While connected to a nearby VPN server, torrent the 1GB file on a fixed 10MiB/s connection.
- Measure the duration of the 1GB download in order to determine average bitrate.
This value is then multiplied by 0.3 to account for its 30% weighting in the overall torrenting methodology.
2. Security & Technical Features: 20%
Minimum Requirement: Open-sourced and secure protocols, and either ChaCha20 or AES-256 encryption.
We Recommend: All of the above, plus multiple available protocols, and in-built leak protection.
Strong VPN encryption is essential for hiding your torrenting activity from malicious third-parties. It also hides your torrenting activity from your ISP and safeguards against bandwidth throttling.
Connecting to a VPN server also conceals your real IP address from the torrent swarm. This prevents your IP address from being exposed to other users and copyright trolls.
Every shortlisted torrenting VPN uses secure tunneling protocols alongside robust encryption to conceal your activity when torrenting.
To calculate this rating, we take it directly from the Security & Technical Features section of the VPN review. We then divide it by 5 to reflect its 20% weighting.
3. Privacy & Logging Policy: 20%
We Recommend: A no-logs policy with real-world proof of its logging practices.
A VPN’s logging policy determines how much of your data is monitored and stored by the service. For torrenting, it’s essential to choose a VPN service that doesn’t log enough user activity to generate a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) request.
We also take into account the jurisdiction of the VPN’s ownership and any additional measures made by the service to protect your privacy, such as implementing diskless servers.
To calculate this rating, we take it from the Privacy & Logging Policy section of the VPN review. We then divide it by 5 to accommodate its 20% weighting.
4. P2P Servers: 20%
Minimum Requirement: At least one server allows P2P traffic in every region.
We Recommend: A large server network with every server allowing P2P traffic.
VPN services vary in their policy towards P2P traffic. VPNs can block all P2P connections, limit it to specific regions, or impose no restrictions whatsoever.
Too few P2P servers can result in slow torrenting speeds due to server congestion, lack of nearby servers, or both.
Ideally, a VPN will have multiple P2P servers in your country, but as a minimum you need to be able to connect to a server in your region.
To account for a range of torrenting policies, we assign a rating from 0.0 to 10:
- Rating of 10: All servers permit P2P traffic.
- Rating of 7.5: P2P servers in almost every country.
- Rating of 5.0: There are only regional P2P servers, e.g. one or two servers for the entirety of Asia.
- Rating below 2.5: Few P2P servers across the network, or an absence of servers in a particular region, e.g. Europe.
We then divide its rating by 5 to accommodate its 20% weighting.
5. Additional Torrenting Features: 10%
Minimum Requirement: A functioning VPN kill switch.
We Recommend: A kill switch and port forwarding support.
A kill switch blocks your internet in the event of a sudden VPN disconnection, preventing you from torrenting until your VPN connection resumes.
As a result, your real IP address remains concealed from other users in the torrent swarm, as well as those looking to file a DMCA request.
Port forwarding is another feature we look for when testing the best VPNs for torrenting. This feature allows you to direct inbound traffic to your torrenting client, thereby increasing your torrenting speed.
A VPN can score up to 10 points in this category depending on the availability of features:
- Rating of 10: VPN provides both a kill switch and port forwarding.
- Rating of 5: VPN offers one of the two features.
- Rating of 0: VPN lacks both a kill switch and port forwarding.
We then divide its rating by 10 to account for its 10% weighting.
Data Cap Penalty: Up to 50% Reduction
Nearly all free VPN services implement a data cap. As with most limitations on free VPNs, this is used to encourage you to upgrade to a paid subscription.
Data allowance for free torrenting VPNs is especially important, though, as torrenting consumes a lot of bandwidth.
If you use up your data cap, the rest of your torrenting activity will be outside of the VPN tunnel. Consequently, your ISP can monitor the content you torrent and which torrent sites you access.
We apply a penalty to the VPN’s final overall rating for torrenting based on its data cap:
- 10GB per month: -20% to the overall rating
- 500MB per day: -25% to the overall rating
- 5GB per month: -30% to the overall rating
- 1GB per month: -35% to the overall rating
- 200MB per day: -40% to the overall rating
- 500MB per month: -50% to the overall rating