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The Best VPNs for Torrenting

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Podium Rankings for Best VPN
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN
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Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

The best VPNs for torrenting mask your torrent IP address and encrypt your web traffic. They hide the files you download or share from your internet service provider (ISP).

Sadly, not every VPN supports torrenting traffic, and many VPNs are simply not private or secure enough for safe peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing.

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

Following thousands of P2P-specific tests, the best VPNs for torrenting in 2021 are:

  1. ExpressVPN: The overall best VPN for secure torrenting worldwide.
    Read Summary or Visit ExpressVPN
  2. Astrill: The fastest VPN for torrenting and P2P file sharing.
    Read Summary or Visit Astrill
  3. AirVPN: VPN with advanced P2P configurations ideal for experienced users.
    Read Summary or Visit AirVPN
  4. TorGuard: The best VPN for seeding with port forwarding capability.
    Read Summary or Visit TorGuard

  5. IPVanish: The best VPN for privacy with over 40,000 anonymous IP addresses.
    Read Summary or Visit IPVanish

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

Additionally, these P2P VPNs delivered fast download and upload speeds in our tests using popular torrent clients like qBittorrent, uTorrent, Deluge, BitTorrent, and Vuze.

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

The Top 10 VPNs for Torrenting Compared

We put the top 10 VPN services for torrenting through our bespoke testing methodology and recorded our results in the table below.

Compare every torrenting VPN based on average speed, P2P support, P2P servers, and additional features. You can also see all the raw testing data we used to calculate our ratings.

The Best VPNs for Torrenting: Performance Ratings

Below is a table summarizing how the best torrenting VPNs perform in each key testing category:

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

EXPERT TIP: The most secure torrent client to use is qBittorrent. Not only is it ad-free and open-source, it also has extra security features like IP binding. By contrast, uTorrent presents some safety risks.

The 5 Best VPNs for Anonymous Torrenting

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: The Overall Best Torrenting VPN

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

    Ranked #1 out of 68 VPNs for Torrenting
    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
     96% 
    (1,774 user reviews)
    Visit ExpressVPN

    Pros

    1. No torrenting restrictions
    2. A benchmark for VPN speed
    3. P2P-friendly privacy policy
    4. Kill switch on most apps
    5. No IP or DNS address leaks
    6. Instant setup on all devices

    Cons

    1. No port forwarding (only on router)
    2. No kill switch on iOS app

    ExpressVPN offers secure VPN applications with consistently fast download speeds and low latency.

    We tested the VPN with torrent clients like uTorrent, qBitTorrent, and Vuze. It worked flawlessly without any additional setup, and is currently the absolute best VPN for torrenting.

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

    In our recent benchmark tests, the service recorded an average torrenting bitrate 9.4MiB/s. This is a drop of 6% compared to using no VPN.

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Average Bitrate13.2Mib/s
    TorrentingUnlimited
    JurisdictionBritish Virgin Islands (Privacy Haven)
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    Data LeaksNo
    Data CapUnlimited
    Torrenting FeaturesKill Switch
    IP Addresses3,000+
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMacOS
    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.

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

    We measured an average bitrate of 9.4 MiB/s. This puts ExpressVPN at the higher end of the VPN speed spectrum.

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

    Advanced security features and leak protection

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

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

    ExpressVPN running at the same time as qBittorrent

    ExpressVPN is fully compatible with BitTorrent clients.

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

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

    No-logs and based in a safe jurisdiction

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

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

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

    P2P-friendly servers in over 160 locations

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

    P2P traffic is allowed without restrictions on all servers. This means you shuld be able to get a fast P2P connection regardless of which country or city you are located in.

    Great usability, but port forwarding is missing

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

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

    Sadly, ExpressVPN doesn’t support port forwarding, so you might not be able to seed torrents for other users.

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

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

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

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

  2. 2. Astrill: The Fastest VPN for Torrenting

    A super-fast and secure torrenting VPN

    Astrill mobile screenshots
     0% 
    No user reviews
    Visit Astrill

    Pros

    1. Optimized for P2P traffic
    2. Supports torrenting over IPv4 and IPv6
    3. A trusted name in torrenting
    4. Includes a kill switch
    5. Port forwarding allows seeding

    Cons

    1. Not as user-friendly as other VPNs
    2. Complicated server list
    3. Seeding requires manual calibration

    Astrill is a slightly lesser-known torrenting and obfuscation focused VPN that excels in both these areas. It uses trusted protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2, and we’ve never seen it leak IP or DNS information.

    It’s also the fastest VPN we’ve tested for torrenting. In fact, we noticed almost zero difference between torrenting with and without Astrill – less than 1%.

    It’s not the cheapest service here, though. For a better price, see IPVanish or AirVPN.

    Cheapest Price$10.00/mo over 12 Months See all plans
    TorrentingUnlimited
    JurisdictionSeychelles (Privacy Haven)
    Logging PolicySome User Logs
    Data LeaksNo
    Data CapUnlimited
    IP Addresses110+
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMacOS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. iosiOS

    Good logging policy and excellent jurisdiction

    It isn’t the best we’ve seen, but Astrill has a sound logging policy. For the duration of your session, Astrill logs:

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

    These are deleted as soon as you disconnect, though. Of course ideally they wouldn’t be kept at all.

    It’s excellent Seychelles jurisdiction makes up for this. The Seychelles are a privacy haven, which means Astrill cannot be compelled to give up user information to authorities in the country.

    Almost zero slowdown compared to no VPN

    Astrill is remarkably fast when it comes to torrenting and other P2P activity. In our torrenting benchmark test, we found Astrill barely had any effect on bitrate.

    We got a bitrate of 10MiB/s both with and without the VPN. This doesn’t actually mean the download wasn’t slowed down at all by the VPN, only that the amount it was slowed down by was even smaller than the background variation in our test connection.

    We found these results a bit too good to be true, so repeated the test multiple times. We got the same result again, meaning we can confidently say Astrill is the fastest VPN we’ve used for torrenting.

    Includes a kill switch and port forwarding

    Astrill comes with what it calls an “enhanced” version of a kill switch. This sits somewhere between split tunneling and a standard kill switch, and allows you to block certain apps that you don’t want to connect without a VPN.

    Astrill being used to block firefox and qbittorrent if disconnected

    Astrill’s ‘App Guard’ feature allows you to protect specific apps

    It also allows port-forwarding, which can be vital for keeping torrenting as efficient as possible, especially if you want to seed torrents as well as leech.

    P2P servers on five continents

    Astrill has special P2P optimised servers, marked with a star on the server select menu. Unfortunately, the coverage isn’t quite as good as for the VPN in general, but it still covers a huge number of locations.

    P2P server location options include Argentina for South America, Australia, as well as plenty of choices across North America, Europe and Asia.

    There are also some servers optimised for both China and P2P, in case you want to torrent while in the censored region.

  3. 3. AirVPN: Best for Advanced P2P Configuration

    A highly-configurable VPN perfect for advanced torrenters.

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

    Pros

    1. Optimized for P2P traffic
    2. Supports torrenting over IPv4 and IPv6
    3. A trusted name in torrenting
    4. Includes a kill switch
    5. Port forwarding allows seeding

    Cons

    1. Not as user-friendly as other VPNs
    2. Complicated server list
    3. Seeding requires manual calibration

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 9.3/10

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

    • 9.79.7/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 8.68.6/10
    • 8.98.9/10
    • 1010.0/10

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

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

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

    Totally optimized and unrestricted torrenting

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

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

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

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

    AirVPN’s server select menu is relatively complicated.

    Very fast torrenting speeds & port forwarding

    Our latest torrenting speed test results recorded a bitrate of 9.7 MiB/s using AirVPN – a drop of just 3% compared to no VPN. This puts AirVPN in front of industry leaders like NordVPN for fast torrenting.

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

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

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

    A very difficult VPN to use – one for torrenting experts

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

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

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

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

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

  4. 4. TorGuard: Best VPN for Seeding

    Torrenting focused VPN and SOCKS5 proxy service, ideal for seeders

    TorGuard
     70% 
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit TorGuard

    Pros

    1. Optimized for P2P traffic
    2. Supports torrenting over IPv4 and IPv6
    3. A trusted name in torrenting
    4. Includes a kill switch
    5. Port forwarding allows seeding

    Cons

    1. Not as user-friendly as other VPNs
    2. Complicated server list
    3. Seeding requires manual calibration

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 9.2/10

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

    • 9.39.3/10
    • 9.29.2/10
    • 99.0/10
    • 9.29.2/10
    • 1010.0/10

    TorGuard is a P2P-optimised VPN that includes a strong no logs policy, AES-256 encryption and a kill switch. We’ve never seen it leak an IP address, which means you can stay anonymous when torrenting.

    TorGuard enables port forwarding and also offers a SOCKS5 proxy. Both of these make it very flexible and enable you to seed torrents efficiently.

    Cheapest Price$4.16/mo over 24 Months See all plans
    TorrentingUnlimited
    JurisdictionUS (Five-Eyes Member)
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    Data LeaksNo
    Data CapUnlimited
    IP Addresses3,000+
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMacOS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. iosiOS

    US jurisdiction, but no-logs policy makes up for it

    One drawback of TorGuard is that it is run from, and registered in, the US – one of the most privacy hostile countries on earth, and home to very aggressive copyright laws. This isn’t great news for torrenters.

    On the other hand, TorGuard operates a true no logs policy, which means even if the government or a copyright troll were to come after your activity, TorGuard wouldn’t have anything to give to them.

    Super fast P2P speeds across 50 countries

    Torrenting is enabled in every one of TorGuards 64 server locations, including locations in 50 countries. This means you should always be able to get a fairly local connection, regardless of your location.

    Torguard server select screen

    TorGuard offers 64 city level P2P server options

    This is great news, because TorGuard’s local P2P speeds are really strong. Our torrenting benchmark test found a bitrate of 9.3MiB/s compared to 10MiB/s without a VPN. A speed drop of only 7%.

    Port forwarding and SOCKS5 proxy

    Port forwarding is enabled on this service. It allows you to choose which port your traffic travels through, and can be used to make torrenting more efficient. This is especially true for seeding, which sometimes isn’t possible without port forwarding.

    TorGuard also offers a SOCKS5 proxy, which comes as standard. SOCKS5 proxies are a popular alternative to VPNs for torrenting, accessed from within a torrent client. While they aren’t encrypted like a VPN, they do hide IP addresses.

    The SOCKS proxy has its own massive global network, separate from the main VPN network.

  5. 5. IPVanish: Largest P2P Optimised Server Network

    IPVanish is a fast torrenting VPN with a massive P2P network, perfect for Firestick or Kodi.

    IPVanish VPN
     96% 
    (175 user reviews)
    Visit IPVanish

    Pros

    1. P2P permitted on all servers
    2. Strict zero-logs policy
    3. Fast speeds and low latency
    4. Self-owned VPN server network
    5. Over 40,000 IP addresses
    6. Working VPN kill switch

    Cons

    1. No port forwarding
    2. Past logging controversy

    Overall Torrenting Rating: 9.1/10

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

    • 9.99.9/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 8.58.5/10
    • 1010.0/10
    • 55.0/10

    IPVanish is a good general VPN, which also excels at torrenting. It has all the usability of mainstream service combined with the torrenting-specific features of more advanced competitors.

    The VPN service provides AES-256 encryption, a massive network of 40,000 IP addresses, and an average bitrate of 9.9MiB/s. It’s the second fastest torrenting VPN we’ve used.

    It’s missing port forwarding, though, which could make seeding difficult.

    Cheapest Price$2.92/mo for 24 months See all plans
    Average Bitrate15.6Mib/s
    TorrentingUnlimited
    JurisdictionUS (Five-Eyes Member)
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    Data LeaksNo
    Data CapUnlimited
    Torrenting FeaturesKill switch
    IP Addresses40,000+
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMacOS
    3. linuxLinux
    4. androidAndroid
    5. iosiOS

    DNS leak protection and no user logs whatsoever

    Testing IPVanish for torrenting, we measured an average bitrate of 9.9MiB/s, which is exceptionally good. This works out as a speed loss of just 1% – the second best we’ve seen after Astrill.

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

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

    40,000 IP addresses and a SOCKS5 proxy

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

    IPVanish full server list

    IPVanish has torrenting servers in six continents.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The best price comes with the annual subscription plan, which costs only $2.92 per month.

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

What's the Fastest VPN for Torrenting?

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

We used bitrate as our chosen measurement metric since it’s the most accurate way to measure the speed of file transfers.

The table below compares the 15 best torrenting VPNs, based on their average download bitrate.

VPN Service Average Download Bitrate
No VPN 10MiB/s
Astrill 10MiB/s
IPVanish 9.9MiB/s
AirVPN 9.7MiB/s
ProtonVPN 9.7MiB/s
PrivateVPN 9.6MiB/s
ExpressVPN 9.4MiB/s
TorGuard 9.3MiB/s
Surfshark 8.7MiB/s
Windscribe 8.7MiB/s
NordVPN 6.5MiB/s
Private Internet Access 6.4MiB/s
CyberGhost 3.9MiB/s
Hotspot Shield 0.4MiB/s

As you can see from above, Astrill recorded the highest download bitrate, closely followed by IPVanish.

Surprisingly, popular VPNs like NordVPN, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and Hotspot Shield registered much slower download speeds.

Why You Need a VPN for Torrenting

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

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

Using a VPN prevents your internet service provider (ISP) and other third parties from spying on your P2P activity. It also lets you access blocked torrent websites.

Below are five key reasons why you need a VPN for 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.

Example of a torrenting DMCA

DMCA notices will normally come directly from your ISP

An ISP can even pass your information to third-parties, like content owners and copyright enforcement agencies.

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

2. Protection from Other Peers in the Torrent Swarm

BitTorrent is a P2P or ‘peer-to-peer’ protocol, and every other user downloading the same file (peers) is connected in a group called a ‘swarm’.

Devices downloading a torrent file are known as peers (or leechers), while those uploading are called seeders. Together, all these devices make up the ‘torrent 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.

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

Copyright trolls monitor popular torrents 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.

In more serious cases, ISPs can also send requests for financial settlement.

Copyright trolls have been known to harass even users who haven’t breached copyright laws with DMCA requests.

The reason for such harassment is that copyright trolls profit from the damages awarded by successful piracy-related lawsuits.

We recommend concealing your IP address in public torrents to avoid being harassed by these copyright trolls.

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

There are websites that have published records of P2P activity and related IP addresses, which is of concern.
These databases of torrenting activity by IP address are available for anyone to see. This makes it easier than ever for attorneys and media companies to target users.

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

5. Accessing Blocked Torrent Websites

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

Popular websites like The Pirate Bay, Kickass Torrents and RARBG are all blocked in many countries.

A VPN is software that very effectively unblocks websites.

In very simple terms, a VPN routes your internet connection via a VPN server before relaying it to a website. At this point, your ISP can no longer see the website you’re trying to access.

How We Test VPNs for Torrenting

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

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

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

For torrenting specifically, we test for:

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

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

1. P2P Speed: 20%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Encryption & Security: 30%

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Zero-Logs Privacy Policy: 20%

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

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

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

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

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

4. P2P Servers and Support: 15%

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Additional Features: 15%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Torrent Safely with a VPN

Using a VPN to torrent files is very easy. However, you need to be 100% sure that your VPN is running before you open your torrent client.

If you don’t, you risk exposing your true IP address. This is because torrent clients continue to seed files for other users even after you’ve fully downloaded them.

For this reason, always have your VPN on when torrenting. And make sure you completely stop your torrent client before turning the VPN off. This ensures your IP address is never visible publicly.

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

To ensure you receive safe files, only download torrents from trusted sources with many active peers and seeders. You should also scan new files with antivirus software like Malwarebytes.

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

Is Torrenting Legal?

Torrenting itself is legal and doesn’t pose any inherent risk. However, torrenting copyrighted material is illegal almost everywhere.

Your ISP and copyright trolls are constantly monitoring P2P networks, like Bittorrent and uTorrent, to identify who is downloading and sharing copyrighted files.

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

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

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

United States

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

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

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

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

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

comcast dmca

A copyright notice sent to a Comcast customer

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

United Kingdom

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

This law forces major UK ISPs to notify customers caught downloading torrents. The notification comes in the form of a cease and desist order.

The legislation also gives UK ISPs the right to throttle speeds and even disconnect users from the internet altogether.

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

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

Australia

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

Australian DMCA claim

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

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

Canada

Since January 2014, the Copyright Modernization Act has required Canadian ISPs like Bell to send notices to copyright violators using their services.

Canadian ISPs are legally entitled to store download and upload data from violating subscribers for at least six months.

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

Canadian law also enables ISPs to throttle file-sharing speeds of users who torrent files.

Safest VPN Locations to Torrent in

As mentioned above, countries are ramping up copyright violation laws and enforcement actions.

In addition to using a no-logs VPN for torrenting, we also advise connecting to VPN servers in countries with torrent-friendly copyright laws.

Here are three countries where torrenting laws are less strict:

Switzerland

Switzerland is a privacy-friendly nation and is the best country to torrent in.

Swiss copyright laws allow Swiss internet users to legally download music, TV shows, and movies, as long as it’s for personal use and not-for-profit.

Also, Swiss law states that the monitoring of peer-to-peer downloads by third parties, like ISPs and copyright trolls, is illegal.

Differently to many other countries, Swiss ISPs aren’t required to block access to pirate sites.

Spain

Copyright laws in Spain are a gray area, but Spanish authorities have repeatedly stated that torrenting files for personal use is legal.

Similarly to Swiss laws, as long as an internet user isn’t profiting from torrenting files, then they’re not breaking the law.

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

Romania

Romania is a very safe country for torrenting privately.

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

There is a precedent in Romanian law that defines sharing copyrighted material as a victimless crime. Legal action is rarely pursued if an individual torrents for personal use and not for profit.

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

Poland

Similarly to Spain, downloading copyright-protected works in Poland is not necessarily illegal.

Using copyrighted material for private use falls outside Polish copyright law, and therefore is considered legal.

VPNs to Avoid for Torrenting

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

Popular VPNs that are unsafe for torrenting include:

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

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

ipvanish dmca policy

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

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

In short, avoid VPNs that:

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

Additional Research by Liam Mullally

Torrent VPN FAQs

What Is the Best VPN for Torrenting?

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

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

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

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

Which Countries Block Torrenting Websites?

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

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

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

Some of the most popular pirate sites blocked are:

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

Is Port Forwarding Necessary for Torrenting?

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

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

Being able to seed is important for two reasons:

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

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

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

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

If you want a VPN that includes port forwarding, TorGuard is a very good option.

What Is a SOCKS5 Proxy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Torrenting the Same As Kodi?

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio