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Is Avast Secureline VPN Safe for Torrenting?

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.

Our Verdict

Avast SecureLine offers eight torrenting-optimized servers across Europe and the US. The VPN includes a kill switch and delivered reasonably fast local speeds in our testing, which are typically P2P-friendly attributes. However, it also logs timestamps of user connections and the amount of data transmitted, which raises concerns about user privacy. We do not recommend using Avast Secureline for torrenting, as there are simply better alternatives available.

Header image for why you shouldn't torrent with Avast Secureline VPN

Avast is one of the world’s biggest names in cybersecurity. It’s best known for its antivirus software, especially since its acquisition of AVG Technologies in 2016.

Avast SecureLine VPN is the company’s subscription-based VPN service. It claims to provide true online privacy, which is especially important if you’re torrenting. Torrenting without a VPN can leave your identity exposed and even put you at risk of legal action.

Although Avast VPN allows torrenting traffic and even has P2P-optimized servers, it’s not a safe VPN for torrenting. The VPN has an invasive logging policy that collects more data than necessary, and the company has a history of spying on its customers by reconstructing browsing behavior.

In this guide, we’ll explore why Avast SecureLine VPN is not a good VPN for torrenting, how to torrent safely if you do choose to use it, and which VPNs are better alternatives for safe P2P.

EXPERT TIP: Avast is not recommended for torrenting due to its intrusive logging policy and history of mistreating users’ privacy. If you want to encrypt your torrenting activity with a secure VPN, we recommend subscribing to ExpressVPN. Its zero-logs privacy policy combined with fast download speeds make this VPN ideal for torrenting.

Why You Should Avoid Avast SecureLine VPN For Torrenting

Avast SecureLine VPN is not safe to use for sensitive activities like torrenting, and it’s not a good VPN overall, either. It’s let down by several factors, including its privacy-unfriendly history and intrusive logging policy.

Here’s a summary of Avast SecureLine VPN’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to torrenting:

Pros Cons
P2P traffic support Intrusive logging policy
Kill switch supported on all applications Limited choice of locations for P2P-optimized servers
Fast torrenting speeds Subject to EU data retention laws
Uses industry-standard AES-256 encryption History of mistreating user privacy
Protects against IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks Kill switch is off by default
  No OpenVPN protocol on Mac or iOS

In this section, we’ll explain Avast Secureline’s torrenting performance in more detail:

Support for P2P Traffic, But Only 8 P2P-Optimized Servers

Many VPNs do not allow P2P traffic on their network as it can lead to the VPN provider being sued by film production companies. However, Avast SecureLine VPN does support P2P traffic.

Avast supports P2P traffic

Avast’s website explains the VPN supports P2P traffic.

Despite having a small network with servers in only 34 countries, Avast VPN provides servers optimized for P2P traffic in eight locations:

  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • London, UK
  • Paris, France
  • Miami, US
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • New York, US
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Seattle, US

These servers are mostly limited to countries in Western Europe and the US, which means users located in other parts of the world will likely experience poor download speeds due to their physical distance from the nearest P2P server.

Avast SecureLine VPN P2P server locations

Avast has servers in eight locations that are optimized for P2P traffic.

This server network is fairly limited compared to ExpressVPN, for example, which allows P2P traffic across its entire network spanning 94 countries.

Avast Secureline Logs User Connection Data

Our full review of Avast SecureLine found that the VPN offers very little in the way of privacy features. Most pressingly, it operates using an invasive logging policy that is not fit for safe torrenting.

According to its logging policy, Avast collects and stores more user data than we consider acceptable. This includes:

  • Your username, email, app version, internal identifier
  • Timestamps of connections
  • The amount of data transmitted
  • Connection attempts and errors

While the service doesn’t record your IP address or browsing history, it does log connection timestamps and the amount of data transferred for up to 35 days.

This connection information is stored on Avast’s servers for 35 days, or up to two years for your account details. There’s no real justification for this practice, especially for sensitive activities like P2P file sharing.

Avast’s privacy policy also makes it abundantly clear it will hand over your data to government agencies. This is a serious cause for concern, especially in countries where torrenting certain material is illegal.

Avast SecureLine VPN and NortonLifeLock merged in September 2022. The merger did not have an effect on Avast VPN’s privacy policy.

Avast Secureline and NortonLifeLock Merger

Details of the Avast Secureline and NortonLifeLock merger.

European Jurisdiction & Historical Privacy Abuses

Avast is headquartered in Prague, which means the VPN is subject to the EU’s data retention laws, as well as intelligence agreements with other non-privacy-friendly jurisdictions, such as the US.

Avast also has a questionable track record when it comes to privacy. The company ran into trouble in 2019 when the Avast-owned AVG Online Security was removed from the Firefox store for breaching its privacy laws.

Avast SecureLine's logging policy

Avast’s website explains what data is collected from users.

Despite some positive attributes in other testing categories, these facts alone disqualify Avast Secureline from recommendation.

The intrusive logging policy, combined with its jurisdiction and track record of mistreating user privacy, means you should avoid using Avast SecureLine VPN for torrenting.

Average Connection Speeds and No Port Forwarding

If you plan on torrenting regularly, you’ll want the fastest possible download speeds. If you want to seed content, you’ll also need fast upload speeds.

We tested our torrenting speeds before and after connecting to Avast Secureline. Our tests found that its local download speeds were reasonable, but the VPN performed poorly over long distances and international connections.

Here’s how Avast SecureLine’s torrenting speeds compare to leading torrenting VPNs:

VPN Provider Avg. MiB/s no VPN MiB/s w/ VPN Average Speed Loss
Avast SecureLine 11.2 9.286 17%
ExpressVPN 10.5 9.429 10%
PrivateVPN 10.5 9.619 8%
Astrill 10.6 10.00 6%

Our 11.2MiB/s connection was reduced to a download speed of 9.3MiB/s when we connected to a nearby VPN server – a speed loss of 17%. This is around average for a normal VPN, but your torrenting download speeds will depend on many other factors, such as the size of the torrent swarm.

However, we experienced poor and inconsistent performance when connecting to servers in Europe and overseas. On a long-distance connection between the UK and the US, we experienced speed losses as high as 50%.

Given Avast’s small network size, you can expect even slower performance in regions like Asia or Oceania, as you might not be near a P2P server at all. If it’s speed you’re looking for, Hotspot Shield is a good choice for torrenting. In our weekly tests, we experienced a speed loss as little as 0.41%.

Avast SecureLine doesn’t support port forwarding, either. While this shouldn’t concern you if you’re primarily interested in downloading torrents, it does mean uploading or ‘seeding’ files will be extremely slow.

EXPERT TIP: If you’re looking to seed torrents, we recommend using a VPN that supports port forwarding, such as Private Internet Access or AirVPN.

Industry-Standard Encryption, But No Advanced Security Features

Despite its poor privacy protections, Avast offers a standard level of security that’s suitable for basic tasks such as usage on unsecured public WiFi networks.

The VPN uses the industry-standard AES-256 cipher to encrypt your data and prevent your ISP from monitoring your activity. It also includes a kill switch across all applications, which will protect your traffic in the event of a connection loss.

The kill switch is turned off by default on all Avast VPN apps, so it’s crucial that you remember to turn it on before browsing or torrenting.

Our testing for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks found that Avast does not accidentally expose your data either, which means you can safely use it for basic online security.

However, Avast SecureLine VPN does not support the OpenVPN protocol on macOS or iOS. Instead, users get to choose between IPsec and Avast Mimic, a proprietary protocol developed by Avast. Although neither option is dangerous, they are not as reliable as OpenVPN.

Avast SecureLine macOS protocols

Avast does not support OpenVPN on macOS.

Limited Compatibility with the Most Popular Operating Systems

Avast SecureLine VPN offers native applications for the following operating systems:

  • Windows
  • iOS
  • macOS
  • Android

This is a limited portfolio compared to the best VPN services, most of which also support Linux, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and even some specific router models.

Windows and macOS applications are most important for torrenting, but users looking to extend their use of the VPN will be restricted by the devices they own.

If you’re on Avast’s multi-platform pricing plan, you can use Avast SecureLine VPN on up to 10 devices at the same time, which is above the industry standard of five.

How to Torrent Safely with Avast SecureLine VPN

Based on our test results, we do not recommend torrenting with Avast Secureline VPN. Regardless of the measures you take to secure your activity, the VPN’s logging policy is simply not private enough to justify using it for sensitive downloads or P2P file sharing.

However, if you have access to the VPN and you’re determined to use it, there are a few essential steps you can take to improve the safety of your torrenting with Avast.

Here’s a video demonstrating how to turn on the kill switch and connect to one of Avast’s P2P-friendly servers:

How to activate the kill switch and connect to an Avast SecureLine P2P server.

How to use Avast VPN for torrenting and P2P file-sharing:

  1. Sign up for an Avast SecureLine VPN subscription plan. Avast offers a seven-day free trial or a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Download and install the Avast SecureLine VPN application. Follow these installation instructions for Windows, macOS, Android, and iPhone devices.
  3. Log into your account and turn the VPN on.
  4. Activate the VPN kill switch. This will protect your identity from being exposed. You can activate it in the Settings > VPN mode on Windows and Preferences > VPN mode on macOS.
  5. Select a VPN server. Avast SecureLine has servers that are optimized for P2P traffic in 8 locations. We recommend you choose a nearby server for the fastest speeds.
  6. Check your connection for leaks. Use our Torrent IP leak test to see if your VPN is working properly.
  7. Run a secure torrenting client. Generally speaking, qBittorrent is considered safe, while alternatives like uTorrent pose some safety risks.

Alternatives to Avast Secureline VPN for Torrenting

We’ve tested 55 free and paid VPN services, and we recommend only a handful of them for safe and fast torrenting.

We only recommend VPNs that offer complete privacy, as well as other important advantages like high download speeds, cross-platform support, and advanced features like obfuscation or port forwarding.

A good VPN for torrenting should also have certain privacy and security features including:

  • OpenVPN and AES-256 encryption
  • Protection against IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Kill switch
  • P2P servers in privacy-friendly jurisdictions
  • No-logs privacy policy

Of all the VPNs we’ve tested, we recommend ExpressVPN as the second-best VPN for torrenting and P2P traffic in general. It’s also our favorite VPN overall, thanks to its comprehensive feature set, large server network, and excellent support for streaming.

The ExpressVPN Windows application

Connecting to ExpressVPN servers on Windows is very easy.

When it comes to torrenting, ExpressVPN is much better than Avast SecureLine VPN. Here’s why:

  • Support for P2P traffic: ExpressVPN supports P2P traffic across its entire network of 94 countires compared to Avast’s six.
  • Security features: Both VPN services provide robust security, but ExpressVPN is one of the most secure services available. It has the edge due to its use of OpenVPN protocols on all devices.
  • Privacy protection: ExpressVPN doesn’t have an intrusive logging policy, and it’s based in the British Virgin Islands, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction. The VPN also uses proprietary TrustedServer technology to ensure no data is ever stored locally.
  • Speed and reliability: Both services offer decent speeds across local connections, but ExpressVPN performs faster and more consistently so across longer distances.
  • Platform compatibility: Unlike ExpressVPN, Avast SecureLine VPN doesn’t support Linux, and it doesn’t have any router-installed apps either.
  • Other features: ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive services, more so than Avast’s solution, but it’s well worth the price.

ExpressVPN has only one significant drawback for torrenting. Like Avast SecureLine VPN, it doesn’t allow port forwarding through its apps. Although this is actually better for privacy and security, it does mean seeding files can be slow. There is one way to set up port forwarding with ExpressVPN, but it’s only via its router app.

If you’re interested in uploading files over the torrent protocol, we recommend Astrill VPN as it supports port forwarding within its apps and has incredibly fast download speeds.