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:
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
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.
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.
Limited Compatibility with the Most Popular Operating Systems
Avast SecureLine VPN offers native applications for the following operating systems:
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.