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The Best Free & Premium VPNs for Torrenting

Podium Rankings for Best VPN
Simon Migliano

Simon Migliano 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 and more.

Fact-checked by JP JonesAdditional Testing by Harry Ferrigno

EXPERT ADVICE: Even the best free torrent VPNs have serious usage limitations. Premium torrent VPNs like PIA VPN are fast and private with no P2P file sharing restrictions. Try PIA VPN risk-free for 30 days.

Torrenting without a VPN or proxy reveals your IP address to internet service providers (ISPs), media companies, and copyright trolls who can easily determine your identity and fine you.

Only the best free and premium torrenting VPNs stop this from happening, hiding your IP address and fully anonymizing your peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing activity.

What Is the Best Free VPN for Torrenting in 2023?

Our P2P tests reveal that the best 100% free VPNs for torrenting are:

  1. Windscribe Free: Best Free VPN for Torrenting
  2. PrivadoVPN Free: Best Free VPN for P2P Servers
  3. Hide.me Free: Most Private Free VPN for Torrenting

The best free VPN for torrenting is Windscribe Free. The VPN uses secure protocols and AES-256 encryption for fast and secure P2P file sharing on all its free servers. The VPN has never leaked our real IP address, thanks to its built-in IP leak protection and reliable kill switch.

These free P2P VPNs don’t require payment details to use them, but the trade-off is you won’t experience the quickest speeds and unlimited data usage.

Only the best premium torrent VPNs deliver the fastest unlimited speeds across thousands of servers, and advanced settings like VPN port forwarding.

What Is the Overall Best VPN for Torrenting?

After extensive testing, the overall best VPNs for torrenting are:

  1. Private Internet Access: Overall Best VPN for Torrenting
  2. Astrill: Fastest VPN for Torrenting
  3. ExpressVPN: Best Torrent VPN for Beginners

The overall best VPN for torrenting in 2023 is Private Internet Access. It scored a rating of 9.7/10 in our latest P2P tests. The service outshines its rivals thanks to its verified no-logs policy, fast torrent speeds, and many P2P-specific settings.

In order to recommend these private and secure VPNs, we tested over 150 VPN apps using torrent clients like qBittorrent, uTorrent, Deluge, BitTorrent, and Vuze.

Using our bespoke torrent IP leak test tool, we also verified none of the VPNs we recommend leaked our IPv4 and IPv6 address.

The Best VPNs for Torrenting Compared

The table below compares the best free and premium torrenting VPNs based on their average download bitrate, logging policy, and other torrent-specific features:

Best Torrent VPNs: Summary Test Ratings

The table below summarizes how the best free and premium VPNs for torrenting performed in our P2P-specific testing categories:

Why Trust Top10VPN.com?

We’re completely independent and focused on VPN software. We’ve spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing torrenting VPNs using our P2P VPN testing process to recommend the best ones.

Here is an overview of our key torrenting VPN testing statistics:

VPNs Tested for P2P150
Total Hours of Testing30,000+
IP & DNS Leak Tests Performed9,500+
Weekly Speed Tests3,000+
Acceptable Download Bitrate5.0MiB/s or higher
Torrent Clients Tested5

Best Free VPNs for Torrenting & P2P Analyzed

  1. 1. Windscribe Free: Best Free VPN for Torrenting

    The best free VPN for torrenting with IP leak protection and an unlimited device policy.

    Ranked #1 Free VPN for Torrenting
    Windscribe mobile screenshots
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    3 reviews
    Visit Windscribe

    • Torrenting allowed on most servers
    • Fastest torrenting speeds for a free VPN
    • No payment info required on signup
    • VPN kill switch & no recorded IP leaks
    • Privacy-friendly logging policy
    • Unlimited simultaneous connections

    • 10GB monthly data cap
    • No SOCKS5 & no port forwarding
    • No human live chat
    • No independent no-logs audit
    • Based in Canada (Five Eyes member)

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 6.1/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our torrenting VPN testing methodology.

    • 7.27.2/10
    • 8.18.1/10
    • 8.98.9/10
    • 88.0/10
    • 55.0/10

    Windscribe is an excellent free VPN and the best free VPN for torrenting on PC and Mac.

    Its free VPN apps are fully encrypted, use OpenVPN, AES-256 encryption, and have a VPN kill switch to hide your IP address if the VPN connection drops. There is no kill switch on iOS or Android, though.

    Technically you can run it on as many devices as you want, but you’ll quickly run through the 10GB monthly data allowance if you do.

    Data Cap10GB
    Average Bitrate (Free VPN)6.3MiB/s
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch
    Free P2P Servers11
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyNo Identifying Data
    JurisdictionCanada (Five Eyes Member)
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMac OS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. iosiOS

    Secure P2P servers and a good logging policy

    Windscribe allows torrenting and P2P file sharing traffic on all 11 free VPN servers.

    We didn’t experience any IP address leaks, or sudden connection drops during our tests using qBittorrent.

    Torrenting using Windscribe Free

    Torrenting with Windscribe was smooth and without issues.

    The service has a very good logging policy, too. The VPN only keeps performance logs that can’t be used to identify you or your activity.

    Having said that, the company is headquartered in privacy-unfriendly Canada. Also, the logging policy hasn’t been externally audited, yet.

    Sadly, port forwarding and a SOCKS5 proxy are unavailable with Windscribe.

    Fast torrent speeds and 10GB monthly 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.

    10GB should be enough to download a few movies, a season of a TV show, many .PDFs or music files.

    The VPN’s P2P speeds have recently improved, overtaking both PrivadoVPN Free and Hide.me Free.

    We recorded an average download bitrate of 6.3MiB/s in our tests, compared to 10.0MiB/s without the VPN running.

    Useful online resources but poor automated support

    One of the main issues we have with Windscribe is that it doesn’t offer human live chat support.

    To get help, you either have to interact with an unhelpful chat bot, or email customer support.

    At least the VPN company provides useful online resources on its website.

  2. 2. PrivadoVPN Free: Best Free VPN for P2P Servers

    A secure torrenting VPN with the most free P2P servers and SOCKS5 support.

     Rated 0 out of 5 
    No user reviews
    Visit PrivadoVPN

    • No restrictions on torrenting traffic
    • 13 VPN P2P servers in 11 countries
    • Privacy-focused logging policy
    • Working kill switch & strong encryption
    • No payment details required on signup
    • SOCKS5 proxy included

    • 10GB per month data cap
    • P2P speeds slower than its rivals
    • Occasional connection issues
    • No port forwarding

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 4.9/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our torrenting VPN testing methodology.

    • 5.75.7/10
    • 6.96.9/10
    • 6.46.4/10
    • 6.56.5/10
    • 55.0/10

    PrivadoVPN is a newer free service, but in our latest set of tests it outperformed the vast majority of free torrenting VPNs.

    The VPN offers a VPN SOCKS5 proxy, a Kill Switch, 13 P2P-enabled servers in 11 countries, and 10GB of free data transfers each month.

    PrivadoVPN’s performance is very consistent across torrent clients like uTorrent, BitTorrent, and qBittorrent. Its average download bitrate of 5.7MiB/s is serviceable, particularly for a free service.

    Data Cap10GB
    Average Bitrate (Free VPN)5.7MiB/s
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch
    Free P2P Servers13
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyNo Identifying Data
    JurisdictionSwitzerland (Privacy Haven)
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMac OS
    3. androidAndroid
    4. iosiOS

    Torrenting allowed on all 13 free servers

    PrivadoVPN takes a positive stance towards torrenting, even for its free users.

    The only restriction is the monthly data cap of 10GB, which puts it level with rivals Windscribe and Hide.me.

    Better than both free VPNs above, PrivadoVPN allows P2P traffic on all its 13 servers located in 11 countries.

    These free servers are spread out well across the globe, including four US servers covering the East and West Coast.

    PrivadoVPN free's server selections

    PrivadoVPN’s offers 13 P2P-friendly servers in 9 locations.

    Adequate P2P download speeds

    Our testing also found that PrivadoVPN’s P2P download speeds are quicker than Hide.me and most free services.

    Using our P2P speed testing methodology, we measured an average bitrate of 5.7MiB/s downloading a torrenting test file with qBitTorrent.

    This isn’t the best speed and falls short of Windscribe Free, but it’s still fast enough for torrenting smaller files.

    Excellent Swiss jurisdiction & minimal logging policy

    You shouldn’t worry about your internet data history staying private if you torrent using PrivadoVPN.

    The company is based in Switzerland, which adheres to robust data privacy laws. It also doesn’t participate in data-sharing with other governments when it comes to torrent activity.

    Furthermore, PrivadoVPN records almost nothing about your internet activity when you use its service. Total bandwidth used is the only data point logged.

    In the event of one of their servers being seized, there would be no way to link you to any P2P file sharing activity.

    Occasional connection failures

    The free version of PrivadoVPN includes a kill switch and a SOCKS5 proxy, which worked well in our tests.

    Surprisingly, PrivadoVPN’s clients occasionally failed to establish a VPN connection. We didn’t experience this with PrivadoVPN’s main rivals.

    Error establishing connection with PrivadoVPN

    We couldn’t connect to PrivadoVPN’s free servers occasionally.

  3. 3. Hide.me Free: Most Private Free VPN for Torrenting

    The most private free P2P VPN with DNS & IPv6 leak protection.

    Hide.me mobile screenshots
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    1 reviews
    Visit Hide.me

    • P2P allowed on three of five free servers
    • DNS & IPv6 leak protection
    • Minimal anonymous data logs
    • SOCKS5 proxy available
    • First-party DNS servers

    • 10GB monthly data cap
    • Only five VPN server locations
    • Kill switch can be unreliable
    • No port forwarding
    • Poor torrent speeds

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 4.8/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our torrenting VPN testing methodology.

    • 4.54.5/10
    • 8.58.5/10
    • 8.98.9/10
    • 3.53.5/10
    • 55.0/10

    The free version of Hide.me is a reliable VPN service for torrenting with the same monthly data limits as PrivadoVPN Free.

    While Hide.me is more private and secure than PrivadoVPN, its speed performance isn’t as good. Torrent speeds were considerably slower, although we didn’t experience any IP leaks or sudden slowdowns.

    Data Cap10GB
    Average Bitrate (Free VPN)4.5MiB/s
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch, SOCKS5
    Free P2P Servers3
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyNo Identifying Data
    JurisdictionMalaysia (Privacy Haven)
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMac OS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. iosiOS

    Highly secure applications

    Hide.me maintains a privacy-friendly logging policy and comes with important security features such as a VPN kill switch.

    All the VPN’s native apps are encrypted with the ‘unbreakable’ AES-256 and use the most secure VPN connection protocol, OpenVPN.

    Hide.me’s free apps allow torrent traffic on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. For other platforms, you can install Hide.me on your router, which is rare among free VPNs.

    Testing Hide.me with qBittorrent

    We tested Hide.me with qBittorrent.

    Safe jurisdiction and private logging policy

    Hide.me is based in an optimal jurisdiction for a VPN company: Malaysia.

    We classify Malaysia as a privacy haven, and currently one of the safest places in the world to use a VPN.

    live chat conversation with Hide.me about torrenting

    A Hide.me support agent confirmed its free servers allow torrent traffic.

    The VPN does keep temporary logs of your email address and amount of data used, but these are deleted every few hours.

    Crucially, the VPN doesn’t monitor or log your true IP address and internet activity.

    10GB data allowance but limited free P2P servers

    Hide.me’s 10GB of data is the same as Windscribe’s, and therefore generous for a free VPN service.

    The VPN works well if you want to transfer small files and you’re based near its free P2P servers in the Netherlands, Canada, or Singapore.

    However, if you’re located far away from these countries, then your file transfer speeds will suffer. Windscribe is better suited if this is the case.

    Similarly to Windscribe, you can’t port forward with Hide.me, making seeding torrents more challenging.

    In fairness, port forwarding is extremely rare among free VPNs. If it’s important to you, we recommend looking at a premium torrenting VPN such as PIA.

In-depth Look at the Overall Best Torrenting VPNs

  1. 1. PIA VPN: Best VPN for Torrenting

    The best torrent VPN with advanced security settings and fast torrent speeds.

    Ranked #1 out of 55 VPNs for Torrenting
    Private Internet Access
     Rated 4.3 out of 5 
    29 reviews
    Visit PIA VPN

    • Extremely secure with verified no-logs policy
    • Very fast download bitrates
    • 17,087 P2P-friendly servers
    • Effective kill switch & IPv4/IPv6 leak protection
    • SOCKS5 proxy available
    • Port forwarding on all platforms

    • No port forwarding allowed on US servers
    • macOS client has usability issues
    • Headquartered in USA (Five Eyes jurisdiction)

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 9.7/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our torrenting VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.39.3/10
    • 9.79.7/10
    • 1010/10
    • 1010/10

    Private Internet Access (PIA) is the best VPN for torrenting on Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android. The apps are easy to use and produce an excellent 9.6MiB/s average download bitrate.

    The VPN service has a kill switch and enforces a verified no-logs privacy policy to keep you anonymous when P2P file sharing.

    It’s hard to find fault with PIA for torrenting. The only issues are its US jurisdiction and the inability to port forward on US servers.

    The video below shows you how easy it is to torrent safely using Private Internet Access.

    How to torrent safely with Private Internet Access.

    Cheapest Price$2.19/mo over 26 months See all plans
    Average Bitrate9.6MiB/s
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch, Port Forwarding, SOCKS5
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    JurisdictionUS (Five Eyes Member)
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMac OS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. iosiOS

    Extremely fast torrent download speeds

    PIA VPN registered an average download bitrate of 9.6MiB/s when downloading our dedicated test torrent file.

    For context, we were only able to download the test file at 10.0MiB/s with no VPN running. In other words, that’s a slowdown of just 4%.

    If you use PIA while torrenting at home, we’re confident you won’t notice a difference in how long it takes files to download.

    While Astrill was ever so slightly quicker in our tests, PIA remains one of the fastest VPNs for torrenting.

    Flawless kill switch plus port forwarding availability

    When we reviewed PIA VPN we praised it for its excellent suite of security features.

    You’ll in fact benefit from fast and secure connections with either the OpenVPN or WireGuard protocols, combined with either AES-256 or ChaCha20 encryption.

    The greatest advantage comes from two settings: the VPN kill switch and port forwarding.

    We’ve thoroughly tested the VPN kill switch and it worked to instantly hide our real IP address if the VPN connection suddenly dropped.

    This means everyone else sharing the torrent files you’re downloading won’t be able to see your true IP address.

    Using Private Internet Access to download a torrent file

    Your IP address is anonymized when torrenting with PIA.

    As for port forwarding, it increases torrenting bitrates as well as helping with seeding. It’s available through the PIA app with a single click or tap, unlike other VPNs that often complicate the process.

    The only downside is that PIA’s port forwarding is not permitted on US servers. Still, in testing we found torrent speeds to be fast enough without it.

    Torrenting allowed on all 17,087 servers

    Torrenting with PIA is entirely unlimited. There are no data caps and all servers on its global network allow private and encrypted torrenting.

    Private Internet Access’ range of servers is the largest and most diverse of any VPN we’ve reviewed.

    17,087 P2P servers is way more than ExpressVPN’s 3,000 and Astrill’s 107.

    You will almost always find a nearby server to connect to, which will result in faster P2P file sharing speeds.

    Users in America can also torrent on all of PIA’s US servers, which are located in 50 different states. No other VPN offers such extensive US server coverage.

    PIA's US server locations

    PIA’s server locations in USA.

    If you’re located in America, this means you can connect to a nearby VPN server and download torrents at the fastest speeds.

    A perfect logging policy in a bad jurisdiction

    Private Internet Access’ logging policy is one of the most private we’ve seen.

    The policy clearly states the VPN won’t log any data whatsoever. This has been verified through regular audits and real-world court cases.

    Whatever you choose to torrent, PIA won’t know what files you download or share, nor will it store any information relating to them.

    This makes us significantly less worried about the company’s US jurisdiction.

    The US has hostile and intrusive data surveillance laws, making it a bad place to base a VPN company. However, PIA’s proven no-logs policy nullifies the risk.

  2. 2. Astrill: Fastest VPN for Torrenting

    An exceptionally fast VPN for torrenting with no device limits.

    Astrill mobile screenshots
     Rated 0 out of 5 
    No user reviews
    Visit Astrill

    • Recorded the fastest download bitrate
    • Supports torrenting over IPv4 & IPv6
    • Enhanced 'App Guard' kill switch
    • Port forwarding allows seeding
    • Includes a SOCKS5 proxy
    • Unlimited device policy

    • The most expensive VPN we're reviewed
    • Collects some logs (session-only)
    • Not as user-friendly as other VPNs
    • Complicated server list
    • Seeding requires manual calibration
    • No refund policy

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 9.5/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our torrenting VPN testing methodology.

    • 1010/10
    • 9.49.4/10
    • 8.98.9/10
    • 99.0/10
    • 1010/10

    Astrill is better known for bypassing web censorship than for private torrenting, however its P2P file sharing performance is remarkable.

    It’s currently the fastest VPN we’ve tested for torrenting. We recorded zero difference between torrenting with and without Astrill.

    The Seychelles-based VPN service uses trusted protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2, and a very advanced kill switch.

    Its main downsides are the limited number of servers, and its very expensive pricing.

    Cheapest Price$12.50/mo over two years See all plans
    Average Bitrate10.0MiB/s
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch, Port Forwarding, SOCKS5
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicySome User Logs
    JurisdictionSeychelles (Privacy Haven)
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMac OS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. iosiOS

    Zero slowdown in P2P traffic speeds

    Astrill is remarkably fast when it comes to torrenting and other P2P activity. In our tests, Astrill was the only VPN with no impact on bitrates.

    We measured a bitrate of 10.0MiB/s both with and without the VPN. In other words, the VPN slowdown by was even smaller than the background variation in our test connection.

    Because we found these results too good to be true, we repeated the test multiple times. We got the same exact result time and time again.

    We can therefore confidently state that Astrill is the fastest VPN we’ve used for torrenting.

    Torrenting with Astrill using qBittorrent

    We ran multiple torrent tests with Astrill using qBittorrent.

    Excellent 'App Guard' kill switch and port forwarding

    Astrill comes with what it calls an “enhanced” version of a kill switch, called App Guard.

    App Guard sits somewhere between split tunneling and a standard kill switch. It lets you block certain apps you don’t want to connect without a VPN.

    Astrill being used to block firefox and qbittorrent if disconnected

    Astrill’s ‘App Guard’ feature lets you protect specific apps.

    The VPN also allows port-forwarding on all its servers, and offers a SOCKS5 proxy, too.

    Good logging policy and excellent jurisdiction

    Astrill’s logging policy isn’t the most privacy-focused we’ve seen, but we’re not overly concerned at this stage.

    For the duration of your VPN session, Astrill’s servers log:

    • Connection time
    • IP address
    • Bandwidth used
    • Device type
    • Application version

    While these logs are deleted as soon as you disconnect, ideally they wouldn’t be kept at all.

    The company’s Seychelles jurisdiction makes up for this. The Seychelles are a privacy haven that won’t compel Astrill to give up user information to external parties.

    Small server network but presence in five continents

    One of Astrill’s biggest limitations is its small-sized VPN server network.

    With only 107 servers in 56 countries, the service is far behind the likes of PIA VPN and ExpressVPN.

    At least, you can torrent on the entire network, and there are even special P2P-optimized servers, marked with a star on the server select menu.

    Positively, P2P server location options are well spread out, including Argentina (for South America), Australia, North America, Europe and Asia.

    There are even VPN servers optimized for China and P2P traffic, to torrent from a highly-censored region.

  3. 3. ExpressVPN: Best Torrent VPN for Beginners

    A highly secure VPN for torrenting with user-friendly applications.

    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
     Rated 4.8 out of 5 
    1,849 reviews
    Visit ExpressVPN

    • No torrenting restrictions on 3,000 servers
    • RAM-based (diskless) servers never record data locally
    • Kill switch on all apps (built-in on iOS & Android)
    • Audited & verified P2P-friendly logging policy
    • No IPv4, IPv6 or DNS address leaks
    • Instant setup on all devices

    • No SOCKS5 proxy
    • More expensive than Private Internet Access
    • No port forwarding
    • Slower P2P speeds than PIA VPN & Astrill
    • No split tunneling on Mac

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 9.3/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our torrenting VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.49.4/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.29.2/10
    • 1010/10
    • 7.57.5/10

    We tested ExpressVPN with torrent clients including uTorrent, qBitTorrent, and Vuze. We found that its VPN applications worked flawlessly for P2P without requiring any additional setup.

    ExpressVPN’s secure and user-friendly apps consistently deliver fast P2P speeds. The VPN never exposed our real IP address, with the VPN kill switch working impeccably in our security tests.

    In the video below we demonstrate how to torrent with ExpressVPN (using the qBittorrent client):

    How to use ExpressVPN to torrent files safely.

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Average Bitrate9.4MiB/s
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyNo Identifying Data
    JurisdictionBritish Virgin Islands (Privacy Haven)
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMac OS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. iosiOS

    A fast average bitrate of 9.4MiB/s

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

    In our recent benchmark tests, ExpressVPN recorded an average torrenting bitrate 9.4MiB/s. This is a drop of 6%, versus using no VPN at all.

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

    While the VPN’s torrent speeds are slightly slower than PIA’s and Astrill’s, ExpressVPN is still at the higher end of the P2P speed spectrum.

    With 3,000 servers in over 160 global locations, ExpressVPN is ideal to torrent privately using a foreign IP address.

    ExpressVPN is fully compatible with BitTorrent clients.

    Advanced security features and leak protection

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

    These security attributes guarantee that your P2P file sharing remains completely secure.

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

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

    Virtually no-logs VPN based in a safe jurisdiction

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

    More than that, the VPN service uses diskless servers across its entire network that never store data locally.

    The VPN company is also based in the British Virgin Islands, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction far from the influence of the Five or Fourteen Eyes Alliances.

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

    Great usability, but some P2P features are missing

    ExpressVPN works on the vast majority of devices, with detailed setup instructions for each.

    You can even set up the VPN on your home router easily, using its native router application. This is a rarity among VPN services.

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

    Sadly, ExpressVPN doesn’t support port forwarding. There is also no SOCKS5 proxy available.

    ExpressVPN is more expensive than PIA VPN, but it still represents great value. You can also try ExpressVPN risk-free by using its 30-day refund guarantee.

Other Torrenting VPNs We Considered

From the 150 VPNs we tested for torrenting, some came very close to being included in our rankings while others didn’t merit inclusion.

Below are some of the more renowned VPNs that failed to meet our inclusion thresholds.


Overall Torrenting Rating: 9.2/109.2

Security & Encryption: 9.6/109.6

P2P Speed: 8.5/108.5

Logging Policy: 8.8/108.8

P2P Servers: 9.0/109.0

Additional Features: 8.5/108.5

What we don’t like: IPVanish remains a highly-rated torrent VPN, however P2P speeds have slowed down recently. Also, the VPN kill switch isn’t enabled by default, which is far from ideal.


Overall Torrenting Rating: 9.0/109.0

Security & Encryption: 9.9/109.9

P2P Speed: 8.0/108.0

Logging Policy: 8.8/108.8

P2P Servers: 8.8/108.8

Additional Features: 8.5/108.5

What we don’t like: NordVPN continues to prove it’s a good torrent VPN, however its download bitrates have regressed over the last 12 months. Moreover, not all NordVPN servers support P2P traffic.


Overall Torrenting Rating: 8.6/108.6

Security & Encryption: 9.7/109.7

P2P Speed: 7.5/107.5

Logging Policy: 8.7/108.7

P2P Servers: 8.8/108.8

Additional Features: 8.0/108.0

What we don’t like: Surfshark’s P2P file sharing speeds aren’t quite as fast as the current highest-rated torrent VPNs. The VPN also lacks useful extra tools like a SOCKS5 proxy.


Overall Torrenting Rating: 9.1/109.1

Security & Encryption: 9.1/109.1

P2P Speed: 6.9/106.9

Logging Policy: 9.3/109.3

P2P Servers: 9.0/109.0

Additional Features: 5.0/105.0

What we don’t like: PrivateVPN is held back back by its slow torrenting speeds across only 200 servers, as well as the lack of additional features like a SOCKS5 proxy and split tunneling.

Torrent VPN Test Results & Findings

The table below captures a sample of the results from our VPN torrenting tests and findings:

Torrent VPNs to Avoid

Sadly, not all VPNs are going to work well for torrenting. Worse than that, some VPNs pose real risks to torrenters, and should be avoided.

For instance, there are numerous free VPNs that are risky to use, especially when downloading torrent files.

Below are three free VPNs you must not use, particularly for torrenting and P2P file sharing.

Thunder VPN

Overall Rating: 2.0/102.0

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

The VPN service is Android-only, uses an insecure connection protocol, and lacks any security features whatsoever.

While Thunder VPN claims to be no-logs, in reality it collects way too much data, such as your IP address, ISP, server location, and more.

VPN Proxy Master

Overall Rating: 2.1/102.1

VPN Proxy Master is a highly unsafe free VPN for torrenting. The company has a sketchy history of sending confidential user information over to China.

Moreover, the VPN collects and stores your IP address for an indefinite amount of time. There’s also no way of telling how VPN Proxy Master’s connections are encrypted.

The apps are full of pop-up ads, too. In short, VPN Proxy Master is a free VPN to avoid.

Hola Free VPN

Overall Rating: 4.1/104.1

Hola Free VPN claims to be a ‘VPN service,’ but it’s in fact an insecure peer-to-peer proxy network that doesn’t provide any encryption whatsoever.

Hola is no good for torrenting, since it monitors everything you do online. It has even been known to sell user bandwidth without user consent.

Sadly, it’s one of the most popular free VPN services out there, but we advise you to avoid Hola at all costs.

VPNs That Don’t Allow Torrenting

There are a number of VPN services that don’t allow torrenting on a number of servers, especially in the United States.

As a result of lawsuits from media companies, VPNs like TorGuard, KeepSolid’s VPN Unlimited, VeePN, and VPN.ht no longer allow torrenting on their US servers.

Proton VPN’s free app version, despite being an excellent free VPN, actively blocks all torrent traffic on its free servers.

How a Torrenting VPN Works

Torrenting without a VPN is dangerous. You risk exposing your activity and identity to your ISP, content owners, law firms, copyright trolls, and other third-parties.

Millions of internet users download torrents each day, including over 750,000 in the USA and over 300,000 in the UK. Many don’t use a VPN, though.

When you torrent you connect directly to other users (peers) on the Bittorrent network, rather than to a central server. This means they can see your public IP address.

But if you connect to a VPN server before connecting to a torrenting network, only the VPN server’s IP address will be visible to the other peers.

As a result, your torrenting activity will no longer be associated with your home IP address, and therefore you’ll be able to share torrent files anonymously.

Moreover, your ISP can no longer see your web activity, but only that you’re connected to a VPN server. Using a VPN can thus prevent ISPs throttling your P2P traffic, and blocking access to torrent websites.

How a VPN works

VPNs create an encrypted tunnel between your device and a remote server.

How to Use a VPN for Torrenting

Torrenting safely is very important, and it’s easy to do with one of the VPNs we recommend.

Crucially, make sure you start your VPN before opening any torrents, and fully exit your torrent client before disconnecting from the VPN.

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.

Here are eight simple steps on how to use a VPN for torrenting:

  1. Download and install one of the trustworthy VPNs we recommend.
  2. Once your VPN software is running, connect to a nearby VPN server for the fastest speeds.
  3. Once you’re connected to a server, run a torrent IP leak test to verify your VPN is masking your IP address.
  4. Make sure your VPN kill switch is switched on to avoid your real IP address leaking if your VPN disconnects.
  5. Download a safe torrent client like qBittorent.
  6. Open a magnet or torrent file with your torrent client.
  7. Once you’ve finished torrenting files, exit your torrent client before disconnecting from the VPN.
  8. Once the torrent client is completely closed, safely disconnect from the VPN.

You also need to trust the file you’re downloading. A VPN won’t stop you from downloading malicious content.

Only download torrents from trusted sources with many active peers. You should also scan new files with antivirus software like Malwarebytes.

Video Tutorial: How to Use a VPN for Torrenting

The video below demonstrates how to easily use a VPN to torrent securely. In this demo, we’re using Proton VPN.

Video tutorial on how to torrent safely using Proton VPN.

The Risks of Torrenting without a VPN

Below are the main risks you run in if you don’t use a VPN for torrenting.

1. Your Torrenting Activity Is Exposed to ISPs

ISPs like AT&T, Verizon, and Xfinity use Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to analyze your internet traffic.

If you don’t hide your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic, your ISP can see and record all the files you torrent.

You can use www.iknowwhatyoudownload.com to see what your IP address reveals about your torrent downloads.

Your ISP can use this information to block or throttle your P2P traffic. It can also block access to file sharing websites.

More worryingly, if you’ve shared copyrighted material your ISP could send you a DMCA notice and you could face paying a fine.

In the United States, you can risk up to five years in jail and a $250,000 penalty for breaking copyright laws.

Comcast DMCA notice

A DMCA notice sent to a Comcast customer.

ISPs are increasingly sending DMCA notices to customers to avoid being sued from content owners themselves.

2. Third-Parties Can Monitor Your Torrenting Activity

ISPs are not the only companies monitoring and collecting your file sharing data.

Media companies are taking increasingly severe steps to catch illegal shares of copyrighted content, which consists of TV series, movies, music, software, and more.

Content owners often use monitoring nodes that join torrent networks to track and log IP addresses of users sharing copyright-protected material.

Copyright holders also engage copyright enforcement organizations, like law firms and so-called copyright trolls, to infiltrate and monitor torrent networks.

Copyright trolls aggressively collect IP addresses, and instruct the ISPs that own infringing IP addresses to send those customers copyright violation notices.

As evidence of how aggressive media companies have become, there have been several lawsuits against VPNs.

3. Your IP Address Can Be Logged in P2P Activity Databases

There are websites that publish records of P2P activity and the IP addresses related to it. The most popular of these websites is www.iknowwhatyoudownload.com.

These databases are available for anyone to see – including law firms, media companies, and copyright trolls.

4. You Can’t Access Blocked Torrent Websites

Many ISPs block popular torrent websites: it’s estimated that over 8,000 file sharing domains are blocked worldwide.

Some of the more prominent torrent sites being blocked around the world are 1337x, RARBG, The Pirate Bay, and YTS.

There’s no more effective measure for unblocking websites than using a VPN.

5. No Protection from Other Peers

BitTorrent is a P2P or ‘peer-to-peer’ protocol. Users, also known as peers, uploading (seeding) or downloading (leeching) the same file are connected in a group called a swarm.

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

In every torrent swarm, the IP addresses of all participants are visible. Everybody can see this personal identifier.

Without a running VPN, your IP address and identity is visible to everyone in the torrent swarm.

Therefore, someone could link your real IP address to your identity and use this information for scams or online harassment.

How We Test VPNs for Torrenting

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.
  • A strict no-logs privacy policy.
  • 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:

  1. Set up a private torrent tracker for a 1GB data file on a Windows virtual machine.
  2. Configure the client not to use DHT or otherwise communicate with any other peers.
  3. While connected to a nearby VPN server, torrent the 1GB file on a fixed 10MiB/s connection.
  4. 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%

Minimum Requirement: A clearly-written privacy policy with only anonymized connection logs.
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.

VPNs that have a verified no-logs privacy policy, whether through audits or real-world court cases, score the highest in this category.

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:

  1. Rating of 10: All servers permit P2P traffic.
  2. Rating of 7.5: P2P servers in almost every country.
  3. Rating of 5.0: There are only regional P2P servers, e.g. one or two servers for the entirety of Asia.
  4. 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:

  1. Rating of 10: VPN provides both a kill switch and port forwarding.
  2. Rating of 5: VPN offers one of the two features.
  3. 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

Torrenting VPN FAQs

Should I Always Use a VPN for Torrenting?

We strongly advise that you always use a secure VPN for torrenting.

A VPN (with an enabled and working kill switch) hides your IP address at all times. This prevents your Internet Service Provider, as well as other third-parties in the torrent swarm, from seeing your torrent activity.

If you torrent files without using a VPN, your download and upload activity will be publicly visible.

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.

Every country has different laws and punishments when it comes to torrenting, and copyright infringement.

If you’re caught downloading copyrighted material, you could face a small fine or up to 10 years imprisonment, depending on where you live.

Is a VPN Kill Switch Important?

A kill switch is a very important feature of a VPN application. It stops all internet traffic in the event of a VPN connection failure.

If working correctly, a VPN kill switch prevents your real public IP address from being suddenly visible to anyone monitoring your internet activity.

We expect all VPN software to have a functioning kill switch, preferably enabled by default.

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.

TorGuard’s port forwarding tool is one we highly recommend.

What Is a SOCKS5 Proxy?

SOCKS is a connection protocol that sends packets between a web server and your 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 version of the 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 let you integrate your SOCKS5 proxy directly into the client.

While SOCKS5 proxy connections are fast and good for unblocking websites, they’re poor for privacy as they do not encrypt your traffic.

You must also 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.