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The Best Free & Premium VPNs for Torrenting

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Podium Rankings for Best VPN
Simon Migliano
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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.

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

The best free and premium VPNs for torrenting hide your torrent IP address to ensure anonymous P2P file-sharing.

You should always use a VPN to mask your IP address when torrenting, but you don’t have to necessarily spend money on one.

We’ve put 56 VPNs through our torrenting benchmark tests to verify how well they perform at P2P file-sharing.

Based on our P2P tests, the best 100% free VPNs for torrenting are:

  1. Windscribe – Overall Best Free VPN for Torrenting
  2. Hide.me – Fastest Free VPN for Torrenting
  3. PrivadoVPN – Most Free (and Secure) P2P Servers

The free P2P VPNs are completely free and don’t ask for payment details to use them. The trade-off is that you won’t experience fast P2P speeds and unlimited data usage.

The best premium torrent VPNs deliver faster unlimited P2P speeds across thousands of servers, and have advanced features like a VPN kill switch and VPN port forwarding.

The overall best VPNs for torrenting in December 2022:

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

We tested all 56 VPNs using several torrent clients including qBittorrent, uTorrent, Deluge, BitTorrent, and Vuze.

When you torrent without a VPN or proxy, your IP address is publicly visible, meaning your ISP and copyright trolls can determine your identity. Every P2P VPN we recommend stops this from happening.

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

Top Free & Premium Torrenting VPNs Compared

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

Free & Premium 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:

Later in this guide, we’ll expand on why you need a VPN for torrenting as well as how to use a VPN for torrenting.

Why Trust Top10VPN.com?

Unlike many review websites, 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 P2P VPN testing statistics:

Free P2P VPNs Tested150+
VPN Services Reviewed70
Total Hours of Testing30,000+
IP & DNS Leak Tests Performed9,500+
Weekly Speed Tests3,000+
Acceptable Download Bitrate5.0MiB/s or higher

The Best Free VPNs for Torrenting & P2P in 2022

  1. 1. Windscribe: Best Free VPN for Torrenting

    The absolute best free torrent VPN with a kill switch, IP leak protection and unlimited device policy.

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

    • Torrenting allowed on most servers
    • No payment info required on signup
    • Reliable P2P file-sharing speeds
    • VPN kill switch & no recorded IP leaks
    • Privacy-friendly logging policy
    • Unlimited simultaneous connections

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

    VPN for Torrenting Rating: 8.0/10

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

    • 6.36.3/10
    • 8.98.9/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 7.17.1/10
    • 77.0/10

    Windscribe is our top-rated 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 if you lose connection. There is no kill switch on iOS or Android, though.

    Altogether, this makes Windscribe the best free VPN for uTorrent, BitTorrent, and other popular P2P clients.

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

    Data Cap10GB
    Average Bitrate6.3MiB/s
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch
    Free P2P Servers11
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage 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 13 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.

    Good 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 are relatively fast for a free VPN. We recorded an average download bitrate of 6.3MiB/s in our tests, compared to 10.0MiB/s without the VPN running.

    While premium VPNs like PIA VPN reach much faster download speeds, both Windscribe and Hide.me delivered respectable torrent speeds during testing.

    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. Hide.me: Fastest Free P2P VPN

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

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

    • The quickest download bitrate among free VPNs
    • 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
    • Can be slow to establish connections

    VPN for Torrenting Rating: 7.7/10

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

    • 6.56.5/10
    • 8.58.5/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 6.56.5/10
    • 7.57.5/10

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

    P2P performance was very similar to Windscribe, too. Torrent speeds connecting to nearby servers were slightly faster, with no IP leaks or sudden slowdowns.

    Data Cap10GB
    Average Bitrate6.5MiB/s
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch, SOCKS5
    Free P2P Servers3
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage 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 benefit for a free VPN service.

    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.

  3. 3. PrivadoVPN: Most Free VPN P2P Servers

    Free VPN with the most free and secure P2P servers, and an effective kill switch.

    PrivadoVPN
     Rated 0 out of 5 
    No user reviews
    Visit PrivadoVPN

    • No restrictions on P2P traffic
    • 13 VPN P2P servers in 9 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
    • No servers in Africa, Asia, or Oceania

    VPN for Torrenting Rating: 7.0/10

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

    • 5.75.7/10
    • 6.96.9/10
    • 99.0/10
    • 7.27.2/10
    • 66.0/10

    PrivadoVPN is a newer free service, but in our testing it has proven to be a solid choice for free and private torrenting.

    The VPN’s average download bitrate of 5.7MiB/s can’t quite match Windscribe and Hide.me, but PrivadoVPN is still one of the fastest free torrent VPNs we’ve tested.

    PrivadoVPN offers a VPN SOCKS5 proxy, a Kill Switch, 13 P2P-enabled servers in 9 countries, and 10GB of free data transfers each month.

    Data Cap10GB
    Average Bitrate5.7MiB/s
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch
    Free P2P Servers13
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    JurisdictionSwitzerland (Privacy Haven)
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMac OS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. 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 nine 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.

    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 file-sharing activity.

    Occasional connection failures and slower torrent speeds

    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.

    Moreover, our testing found that PrivadoVPN’s P2P download speeds weren’t as fast as Windscribe and Hide.me.

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

    This 43% torrent speed loss, from the 10MiB/s we recorded with no VPN running, is worse than the loss we experienced using Windscribe and Hide.me

    At that speed, it will take you just under half an hour to torrent a 10GB file.

The Overall Best VPNs for Torrenting

  1. 1. PIA VPN: Best VPN for Torrenting

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

    Ranked #1 out of 56 VPNs for Torrenting
    Private Internet Access
     Rated 4.3 out of 5 
    (29 user 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 Rating: 9.6/10

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

    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.39.3/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 1010/10
    • 9.89.8/10

    Private Internet Access (PIA) is the best VPN for torrenting according to our P2P testing.

    The VPN is almost flawless for torrenters, whether you use Windows, Linux, macOS, or Android. The apps are easy to use and produce an excellent 9.6MiB/s average download bitrate.

    Moreover, the VPN service enforces a verified no-logs privacy policy to keep you anonymous when 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.

    Cheapest Price$2.03/mo over 28 months See all plans
    Average Bitrate9.6MiB/s
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch, Port Forwarding, SOCKS5
    Servers17,087
    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 file-sharing 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. 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 
    (1,813 user 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

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 9.5/10

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

    • 9.49.4/10
    • 9.79.7/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 88.0/10

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

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Average Bitrate9.4MiB/s
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch, Port Forwarding
    Servers3,000
    Data LeaksNo
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage 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 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.

  3. 3. 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: 9.4/10

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

    • 1010/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 8.88.8/10
    • 1010/10

    Astrill is better known for bypassing web censorship than for private torrenting, however its 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
    Servers107
    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 55 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.

Other P2P VPNs We Considered

From the 56 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.

IPVanish

Overall Torrenting Rating: 9.2/109.2

Security & Encryption: 9.6/109.6

P2P Speed: 8.5/108.5

Logging Policy: 9.9/109.9

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.

NordVPN

Overall Torrenting Rating: 9.0/109.0

Security & Encryption: 9.7/109.7

P2P Speed: 8.0/108.0

Logging Policy: 9.5/109.5

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.

Surfshark

Overall Torrenting Rating: 8.9/108.9

Security & Encryption: 9.8/109.8

P2P Speed: 7.5/107.5

Logging Policy: 9.7/109.7

P2P Servers: 8.8/108.8

Additional Features: 8.0/108.0

What we don’t like: Surfshark’s 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.

PrivateVPN

Overall Torrenting Rating: 8.0/108.0

Security & Encryption: 9.1/109.1

P2P Speed: 6.9/106.9

Logging Policy: 9.5/109.5

P2P Servers: 9.0/109.0

Additional Features: 5.0/105.0

What we don’t like: What holds PrivateVPN back from being a great P2P VPN is its slow torrenting speeds across only 200 servers, and the lack of additional features like a SOCKS5 proxy and split tunneling.

Free Torrent VPNs to Avoid

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

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

Thunder VPN

Overall Rating: 2.4/102.4

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: 1.9/101.9

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: 1.5/101.5

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.

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 fair comparison. Competing clients like uTorrent can present some safety risks.

For torrenting specifically, we test for:

  • Average torrenting speeds and bitrate on a local server.
  • 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 including a kill switch, port forwarding, and SOCKS5 proxy.

Here’s a breakdown of how we calculate our ratings for torrenting VPNs:

1. Encryption & Security: 30%

Minimum Requirement: P2P support, leak protection, and a VPN kill switch.
We Recommend: AES-256 encryption, multiple available protocols, leak protection and a VPN kill switch using firewall rules.

A securely encrypted VPN keeps you hidden from malicious third-parties when you torrent. It also stops your ISP from seeing that you are torrenting (and potentially throttling your connection).

A kill switch is a must-have for torrenting. Without one your true IP address could easily be exposed to other users and copyright trolls.

The gold standard for kill switches is to use firewall rules to ensure leaks cannot possibly occur.

2. P2P Speed: 20%

Minimum Requirement: An average bitrate over 5MiB/s
We Recommend: An average bitrate of 6.5MiB/s or better

VPNs can often be slow when it comes to torrenting – especially free ones. A fast VPN can be the difference between waiting minutes or hours for a torrent to download.

We use a bespoke P2P benchmarking test to identify the fastest VPNs for torrenting. We use this test to determine the average bitrate of each VPN while torrenting.

Testing the average bitrate is a far more accurate file-sharing measurement method, than simply relying on standard download speed tests.

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

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

We’ve run this test on every free and premium VPN service.

3. Logging 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 providers keep activity logs of their users’ activity. This fundamentally undermines the privacy of the service.

In the case of torrenting, it’s especially important the VPN services cannot forward DMCA requests to users.

Unfortunately, free VPNs are especially guilty of bad privacy practices.

We analyze the records and policies of free VPNs to make sure they are safe before we recommend them.

4. P2P Servers: 15%

Minimum Requirement: At least one P2P server in your region.
We Recommend: P2P servers in your country.

Some torrenting VPNs allow P2P traffic on their whole network, while others restrict it to special P2P servers.

This means you can end up on a very slow, long distance connection even if your VPN has a large network. Free VPNs are often guilty of this. Longer distance connections will be far too slow for comfortable torrenting and too few P2P servers will result in bottlenecks.

Ideally, you want multiple P2P server choices in your country, but as a bare minimum you need to connect to a server in your region.

5. Additional Features: 15%

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

Every VPN comes with a unique 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 Use a VPN for Torrenting

We show you how to torrent safely with ExpressVPN in less than 60 seconds.

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

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. Use one of the trustworthy free P2P VPNs we recommend.
  2. Run a torrent IP leak test to verify your VPN is masking your IP address.
  3. Make sure your VPN kill switch is switched on to ensure your IP address is not exposed if your VPN disconnects.
  4. Connect to a nearby VPN server for the fastest torrent speeds.
  5. Download a safe torrent client like qBittorent, Transmission, Deluge, etc.
  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 and seeders. You should also scan new files with antivirus software like Malwarebytes.

Why You Need a VPN for Torrenting

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

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

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

A secure VPN therefore lets you download and upload torrents anonymously, stopping your ISP from seeing your torrenting activity.

As a result, VPNs can prevent ISPs throttling your P2P traffic.

Diagram of a VPN stopping internet throttling

Using a VPN hides your traffic and online activity from your ISP.

Below are the five key reasons why we recommend using a VPN while torrenting:

1. Hiding Your Torrenting Activity from Your 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.

Comcast DMCA notice

A DMCA notice sent to a Comcast customer.

2. Protection from Other Peers in the Torrent Swarm

BitTorrent is a P2P or ‘peer-to-peer’ protocol. Every other user downloading the same file, who is known as a peer or leech, 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.

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. This includes other users, content owners, and copyright trolls.

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

3. Avoid Third-Parties Monitoring Downloads

Copyright enforcement organizations infiltrate and monitor torrent swarms to find torrenters of copyright-protected material.

This material can consist of TV series, movies, music, software, and more.

Copyright holders, like movie studios or video game publishers, often outsource their litigation to law companies called copyright trolls.

Copyright trolls monitor popular torrents scanning 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.

We strongly recommend hiding your IP address while torrenting to avoid being harassed by these copyright trolls.

4. Avoid Your IP Address Being Recorded in P2P Activity Databases

There are websites that publish records of P2P activity and the IP addresses related to it. These databases are available for anyone to see – including lawyers and media companies.

5. Accessing Blocked Torrent Websites Databases

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

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

The VPNs we recommend protect and anonymize your torrenting activity, and give you access to blocked file-sharing sites, too.

Torrent VPN FAQ

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) works to hide your IP address at all times. This prevents your Internet Service Provider, as well as snoopers 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 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.