ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN for torrenting. Its fast connection speeds, unrestricted P2P support, and industry-leading encryption strength let you safely and easily download torrents. We recommend ExpressVPN as the best VPN for P2P activity, although its lack of port forwarding may put off some users.
Torrenting without protection can put your privacy and security at risk. Unless you use a VPN, anyone on the peer-to-peer (P2P) network can see your IP address and track your activity. This could leave you open to financial or legal penalties if you are caught downloading copyrighted material.
However, not all VPNs are suitable for torrenting. Some VPN providers throttle speeds for P2P traffic or even prohibit it altogether. Others lack the security and privacy measures needed to download torrents safely and anonymously.
After exhaustively testing over 69 VPN services, we found that ExpressVPN is the best VPN for torrenting. It allows P2P traffic on all of its servers, delivers excellent security and speed, and is easy to set up on all devices.
Torrenting with ExpressVPN is very easy and requires no special skills. You can connect to any VPN server within the huge global network and start safely downloading torrents from a client of your choice.
The most important thing to do is make sure your VPN is running before you start torrenting.
QUICK OVERVIEW: How to Use ExpressVPN to Torrent
Select a torrent client: We prefer qBittorrent, µTorrent, or BitTorrent.
Your computer cannot use torrent files on its own. Before you can start torrenting, you need to choose a reliable client.
We recommend qBittorrent, but there are dozens to choose from. Other popular clients include µTorrent, BitTorrent, and Vuze. Be sure to download your chosen client from its official website, as other sites may contain adware.
2. Open an ExpressVPN account
Don’t start torrenting until your VPN is up and running. Visit ExpressVPN.com, and click the ‘Get ExpressVPN’ button on the homepage.
Choose your preferred subscription plan and enter a payment method. We recommend the 15-month plan because it works out the cheapest. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive an activation code by email.
EXPERT TIP:There’s a way to use ExpressVPN for free for up to a month. Read our ExpressVPN free trial guide to find out how.
3. Set up ExpressVPN correctly
Open the ExpressVPN app and enter your activation code. Before connecting to a server, click on the hamburger menu in the app and select ‘Preferences’.
In the ‘Protocol’ tab, select either TCP or UDP. Then look for the ‘Network Lock’ section in the ‘General’ tab and make sure both checkboxes are enabled.
Finally, in the ‘Advanced’ tab, make sure DNS and IPv6 leak protection are turned on. All these settings should be enabled by default, but it’s always a good idea to double-check.
4. Choose a server to connect to
ExpressVPN allows unrestricted torrenting on all of its servers, but you’ll still need to select a server before you start torrenting.
The ‘Smart Location’ feature offers the easiest and most efficient way to connect. It selects a suitable server for you based on physical location and load.
EXPERT TIP:Wherever possible, connect to a server in a privacy-friendly country for P2P activity. However, be aware that the further away the VPN server is from your physical location, the slower your connection speeds will be.
5. Verify your IP address
As a final precaution, you should verify that you’re properly connected to the VPN by checking that your IP address is being successfully masked.
If there are no leaks, you’re ready to start downloading torrents safely and securely.
Is ExpressVPN Good for Torrenting?
ExpressVPN is the best VPN we’ve tested when it comes to torrenting. It doesn’t throttle download speeds and you can torrent using any server in the network. It’s also extremely fast and has an impressive suite of security features, including OpenVPN and AES-256 encryption, effective leak protection, and a reliable kill switch.
The main issue we found when testing ExpressVPN for torrenting was that it doesn’t allow port forwarding. This means that uploading, or ‘seeding’, files is extremely slow, which might be a dealbreaker for you.
P2P traffic supported on all servers
Excellent connection speeds
Kill switch included on most devices
Simple setup & intuitive app design
No port forwarding
No kill switch on iOS
ExpressVPN is fully compatible with BitTorrent clients
Here’s an in-depth look at torrenting with ExpressVPN:
Does ExpressVPN allow torrenting?
ExpressVPN allows unrestricted torrenting and P2P file-sharing across all of its servers. That means you don’t need to choose a specific server – you can simply connect to any server and start downloading torrents without restrictions.
ExpressVPN doesn’t offer any P2P-optimized servers, though, like NordVPN or CyberGhost do. But this isn’t an issue given that ExpressVPN has over 3,000+ servers in 94 countries – server congestion has never been a problem for us.
EXPERT TIP:Connect to the VPN server nearest to your location to enjoy the fastest download speeds.
Are there data caps or bandwidth restrictions?
ExpressVPN doesn’t impose a monthly data limit or restrict your bandwidth in any way. In our tests, we enjoyed unlimited torrenting with no limits on speed.
Many VPN services, especially the free ones, restrict the amount of data you can use each month. This makes them unsuitable for torrenting since P2P traffic tends to require a lot of data usage.
Other VPNs will throttle their users’ speeds, particularly if they are engaging in bandwidth-heavy activity like P2P file-sharing. For the best torrenting experience, you need a VPN that offers unlimited bandwidth like ExpressVPN.
Be aware, though, that your ISP might start asking questions if you’re downloading hundreds of gigabytes per month.
How strong is ExpressVPN’s encryption?
ExpressVPN uses the leading VPN protocol OpenVPN, and the extremely secure AES-256 encryption cipher to protect your data. The US Department of Defense protects sensitive information with the same encryption technology, so you know you’re in safe hands. With 1077 possible combinations, it’s simply not feasible that this level of security can be broken.
Most torrent clients, such as BitTorrent and µTorrent, use their own encryption to protect user privacy and prevent throttling and blocking from ISPs. However, this doesn’t encrypt the actual files included in the torrent you’re downloading, which means a third party may be able to find out what you’re downloading.
That’s why ExpressVPN’s ultra-secure encryption is so great for torrenting. It will keep your activity completely hidden from onlookers so that you can torrent anonymously.
What additional security features does ExpressVPN offer?
As well as securely encrypting your data and effectively hiding your IP address, ExpressVPN provides an impressive suite of additional security features that help to keep you safe and private online. Here’s a few of the most useful for torrenting:
Kill Switch: ExpressVPN uses a kill switch, known as Network Lock, that automatically blocks all internet traffic if the VPN connection is lost. This is an essential tool for torrenting as it prevents your IP address from being leaked if there is an issue with the VPN. Unfortunately, Network Lock is not available on iOS.
VPN Split Tunneling: This feature lets you control which traffic you route through the VPN server and which you don’t. This is great for protecting your privacy when torrenting while still keeping access to local network devices open.
Leak Protection: If your VPN is leaking IP or DNS information, then it is useless for torrenting. ExpressVPN protects your privacy by keeping your DNS queries obscured even in situations where they might otherwise leak. This prevents eavesdroppers from seeing which websites you’re visiting.
You can control security options from ExpressVPN’s advanced settings menu
One downside to using ExpressVPN for torrenting is that it doesn’t offer port forwarding. We discuss this in greater detail below.
Is ExpressVPN fast enough for torrenting?
You need fast connection speeds to download torrents effectively and ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN services we’ve tested.
All VPNs reduce performance to some degree because data has a longer round-trip to complete when it’s being routed through a remote server. However, with the right VPN provider, the difference is mostly unnoticeable.
We found that ExpressVPN has an average speed reduction of only 11% when connecting to a local server. This means that if your standard internet connection speed is 100Mbps, you can expect a speed of 89Mbps when torrenting.
This makes ExpressVPN one of the fastest VPNs on the market. As you can see from our speed test tool, it’s consistently one of the best performing torrenting VPNs on local, same-country connections.
ExpressVPN provides servers in 94 countries and territories, so you should always be able to find a nearby server that will deliver a fast connection for torrenting.
Does ExpressVPN Support Port Forwarding?
The only major issue we found was that ExpressVPN does not support port forwarding. That means uploading, or ‘seeding’, torrent files is extremely slow.
Since P2P file-sharing depends on the participation of everyone on the network, this doesn’t make you much of a team player.
For a good-quality P2P VPN with the ability to port forward, check out our PrivateVPN review.
How privacy-friendly is ExpressVPN?
The main reason for torrenting with a VPN is to protect your privacy and anonymity from third parties such as ISPs and copyright trolls. However, some VPN providers track and log your activity themselves, which negates the reason for using them in the first place.
ExpressVPN makes it perfectly clear what information it does and does not log
Fortunately, ExpressVPN has a strict no-logging policy. It doesn’t retain any records of which websites you visit or which torrents you download. It also keeps your DNS queries safe with leak protection. The only information ExpressVPN records is:
The date you connect to the VPN
The location of the server you connect to
The total amount of data that gets transferred in the session
None of this information is personally identifiable. It’s only collected to provide technical support and troubleshoot any issues across the network.
ExpressVPN’s zero-logs policy has even been independently verified by two separate third-party audits. In 2018 and 2019, both PwC and Cure53 tested the VPN service and confirmed that its logging claims were trustworthy.
ExpressVPN is also based in the British Virgin Islands, which is known globally for being a privacy haven. It is far away from international surveillance operations such as the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance and the country doesn’t enforce any data-retention laws. This means ExpressVPN isn’t legally required to retain an archive of its users’ information.
Why Do You Need a VPN for Torrenting?
Torrenting is better with a VPN. It protects your personal identity and online activity from onlookers so that you can download music, torrent movies and TV shows, and access free software safely and securely.
You can torrent without a VPN, but we don’t recommend it. Here’s why:
A VPN hides your identity while you torrent
Without a VPN, your IP address and online identity will be visible to everyone else in the torrent swarm. This may include your ISP, copyright trolls or the content owners themselves.
Connecting through a VPN hides your real IP address and replaces it with one belonging to the VPN server. It also encrypts your traffic so that snooping third-parties cannot see what you’re downloading.
A VPN helps you protect yourself against legal action
Many countries continue to ramp up their efforts to enforce copyright law. We don’t condone copyright violations, but it’s easy to slip up unintentionally, especially if you’re sharing your local network with family or roommates.
Using a VPN makes it much harder for authorities to track you down and take legal action against you should you make a mistake. Just be sure to use a good-quality service that uses strong encryption and won’t leak your information.
Using a VPN avoids connection throttling and site blocks
Some ISPs try to prevent torrenting entirely, despite it being a perfectly legal way to download and share files. They have been known to throttle connection speeds, block P2P websites, or work with copyright owners to issue DMCA notices.
Thankfully, ExpressVPN effectively encrypts your traffic so that ISPs are unable to see that you’re torrenting and so cannot take action. This also means you can access online streaming services and other sites which might normally be inaccessible or restricted in your country or region.
By encrypting your data and masking your IP address, a VPN hides your torrenting activity from ISPs, copyright trolls, and other torrenters in the swarm.
With P2P file-sharing websites being monitored more closely than ever, we strongly recommend connecting to a dependable VPN service before you begin torrenting.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for torrenting we’ve tested. It’s safe, secure, fast, and very P2P-friendly.
The only significant drawback we found was that it doesn’t allow port forwarding. Users hoping to seed files should consider using PrivateVPN instead.
Torrenting is not illegal. It’s a popular and legitimate way to share files, especially very large ones. However, downloading copyrighted material is illegal and penalties can be severe.
In most countries, governments and regulatory bodies collaborate with ISPs to catch people who distribute copyrighted content. That’s why many people choose to use a VPN to hide their torrenting activity and online identity.
What is the best free VPN for torrenting?
We don’t recommend using a free VPN for torrenting. They almost always lack sufficient privacy and security measures. They also tend to enforce data caps and/or bandwidth restrictions, making them entirely unsuitable for downloading large files.
Some even prevent P2P activities like torrenting altogether.
For occasional torrenting, we’ve found just three trustworthy free VPNs: Windscribe Free, Hide.me, and TunnelBear Free. You can read more about them in our guide to the best free VPNs for torrenting.
Which devices and operating systems support ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. It even has apps designed for use directly on the router, which can be used to protect your entire home network.
ExpressVPN also supports other devices, such as smart TVs and games consoles. Finally, there are browser extensions available for Chrome and Firefox, but we don’t recommend using these for P2P traffic unless you’re using a browser-based torrent client.