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How to Safely Torrent with ExpressVPN

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.

Fact-checked by Callum Tennent

Our Verdict

ExpressVPN is a great VPN for anonymous torrenting thanks to its fast P2P speeds, robust encryption, and secure VPN protocols. ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs we've tested for file-sharing, although its lack of port forwarding may put off seeders.

torrenting with expressvpn

Torrenting without masking your IP address puts your internet 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. You could face financial or legal penalties if you are caught downloading copyrighted material.

However, not all VPNs are suitable for torrenting. Some throttle P2P traffic speeds or even block it altogether. Others lack the security and privacy features needed to download torrents anonymously.

After testing over 65 VPN services, we can confirm that ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for torrenting.

Quick Summary: How to Use ExpressVPN to Torrent

  1. Select a torrent client: We prefer qBittorrent, µTorrent, or BitTorrent.
  2. Download and set up ExpressVPN: With our 49% discount, the cheapest price is $6.67 per month.
  3. Turn on Network Lock & Leak Protection: You should also switch to the OpenVPN protocol.
  4. Connect to a VPN server: ExpressVPN’s Smart Location feature chooses the most suitable one.
  5. Confirm the VPN is working: Run a quick torrent IP leak test to make sure your identity is hidden.

ExpressVPN allows P2P traffic on all its servers, delivers excellent security and speed, and is easy to set up on all devices.

This guide covers all there is to know about torrenting safely with ExpressVPN.

Why Trust Us?

We’re fully independent and have been reviewing VPNs since 2016. Our advice is based on our own testing results and is unaffected by financial incentives. Learn who we are and how we test VPNs.

VPNs Tested65
Total Hours of Testing30,000+
Combined Years of Experience50+

How to Torrent With ExpressVPN

To quickly see how to torrent safely with ExpressVPN, view our tutorial video below. If you need more assistance, scroll down and see our step-by-step instructions.

Demonstration video showing how to use ExpressVPN for torrenting.

Torrenting with ExpressVPN is very easy and requires no special skills.

You can connect to any of the service’s 3,000 servers and start downloading torrents securely from a client of your choice.

The most important thing to do is make sure your VPN is running before you start torrenting.

1. Choose a Torrent Client

Your computer cannot use torrent files on its own. Before you can start torrenting, you need to choose a reliable client.

We recommend qBittorrent for security, 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 download websites could contain malware.

2. Open an ExpressVPN Account

It’s crucial that you don’t start torrenting until your VPN is up and running.

Visit, and click the ‘Get ExpressVPN’ button on the homepage.

Choose your preferred subscription plan, and enter a payment method. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive an activation code by email. You can also get ExpressVPN free for 30 days using its refund guarantee.

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 tick both check boxes.

Finally, in the ‘Advanced’ tab, make sure DNS and IPv6 leak protection are turned on. 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 its servers, but you still need to connect to a server before you start torrenting.

The app’s ‘Smart Location’ feature offers the easiest and most efficient way to connect. It selects the nearest fastest server based on your physical location and server load.

EXPERT ADVICE: If 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 are likely to be.

5. Verify Your IP Address

As a final precaution, verify you’re properly connected to the VPN by checking your IP address is hidden.

Use our free torrent IP leak test tool to ensure you’re not leaking any IP or DNS information that may expose your identity.

If there are no IP leaks, you’re ready to start downloading torrents safely and securely.

Is ExpressVPN Good for Torrenting?

ExpressVPN's app for Windows

With P2P file-sharing websites being monitored more closely than ever, we strongly recommend connecting to a dependable VPN service before you begin torrenting.

After reviewing ExpressVPN, we found that it’s one of the best VPNs for torrenting that we’ve tested. It’s safe, secure, and very P2P-friendly.

It doesn’t throttle download speeds and you can torrent using any server in the network. The only significant drawback we found was that it doesn’t allow port forwarding for faster P2P speeds.

As a result, uploading (or ‘seeding’) files is extremely slow unless the VPN is running at router level.

Pros Cons
P2P traffic supported on all servers No port forwarding
Excellent file-sharing speeds Expensive
Verified private logging policy No transparency reports
Effective kill switch & IPv4/IPv6 leak protection
Privacy-friendly jurisdiction
Simple setup & intuitive app design

Despite its lack of port forwarding, the VPN is otherwise very fast and has an impressive suite of security features including OpenVPN, AES-256 encryption, built-in IP leak protection, and a reliable kill switch.

ExpressVPN Torrenting on Windows

We tested ExpressVPN using qBittorrent, a popular torrenting client.

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. You can connect to any server and download torrents without restrictions.

Using ExpressVPN with the qBittorrent torrent client

ExpressVPN is fully compatible with BitTorrent clients.

The company’s website openly endorses P2P activity, however it recently took down a page giving users instructions on how to use a VPN with uTorrent.

We’ve seen no indication the company is moving away from supporting torrenting, but we’ll update this page accordingly if anything changes.

ExpressVPN doesn’t offer any P2P-optimized servers, like a number of competitors do. But, ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers in 106 countries, and server congestion has never been a problem for us.

EXPERT ADVICE: 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 its proprietary Lightway protocol and secure AES-256 encryption to protect your BitTorrent traffic.

To test this, we inspected our torrenting traffic using a packet analyzer while connected to ExpressVPN:

Analyzing ExpressVPN's browser extension encryption using packet-sniffing software

ExpressVPN’s browser extensions encrypted all our network traffic.

As shown above, ExpressVPN kept our torrenting traffic secure. For further reassurance, we tested our connection for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks and found that ExpressVPN kept our data secure in each instance.

What Additional Security Features Does ExpressVPN Offer?

As well as securely encrypting your data and hiding your IP address, ExpressVPN provides an impressive suite of additional security and privacy features.

Below is a selection of ExpressVPN’s most useful features 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.
  • 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.
ExpressVPN advanced security settings

You can control security options from ExpressVPN’s advanced settings menu.

One downside to using ExpressVPN for torrenting is that it doesn’t have a port forwarding feature. We discuss this in greater detail below.

Is ExpressVPN Fast Enough for Torrenting?

You need fast file-sharing speeds to quickly download large torrent files such as Full HD movies and video games.

Using our fixed 10MiB/s connection, we recorded an average bitrate of 9.4MiB/s using ExpressVPN.

This makes ExpressVPN one of the fastest torrenting VPNs on the market. To put this into context, we’ve compared how long it takes ExpressVPN to download a 20GB file to other top-rated VPNs below:

VPN Service Download Bitrate Time to Download 20GB Torrent File
No VPN 10MiB/s 32 minutes
ExpressVPN 9.4MiB/s 34 minutes
Private Internet Access 9.6MiB/s 33 minutes
Surfshark 8.7MiB/s 37 minutes
CyberGhost 3.9MiB/s 81 minutes

As the data shows, ExpressVPN is faster than the vast majority of paid torrenting VPNs.

Does ExpressVPN Support Port Forwarding?

The only major issue we found was that ExpressVPN does not support VPN port forwarding. That means uploading, or ‘seeding’, torrent files is extremely slow.

For a good-quality P2P VPN with the ability to port forward, read our PrivateVPN review or learn about using PIA for port forwarding.

How Privacy-Friendly Is ExpressVPN?

The main reason for torrenting with a VPN is to protect your anonymity and conceal your downloads from third parties such as ISPs and copyright trolls.

However, some VPN services monitor and log your activity which defeats the purpose of using a VPN in the first place.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN's Privacy Policy that claims it doesn't keep activity or connection logs.

ExpressVPN’s privacy policy clearly lists what information it doesn’t collect from a user.

Thankfully, ExpressVPN has a private logging policy. It does not log enough data to identify you and this has been confirmed by multiple independent audits.

Plus, it’s based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) which is a privacy haven due to its non-existent data laws. ExpressVPN also uses a diskless server network which makes it near-impossible for anyone to see your torrenting activity.

Why Do You Need a VPN for Torrenting?

It is much more secure and private to torrent with a VPN. It protects your personal identity and torrenting activity from potential onlookers.

With a VPN running, you can safely download music, movies, TV shows, software, and more from popular torrent sites.

We’ve detailed the reasons for torrenting with a VPN, in-depth, in the sections that follow:

1. A VPN Hides Your Identity While You Torrent

Torrenting without a VPN

You can see the IP addresses of other peers at all times while torrenting.

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.

To prevent this, a VPN hides your real IP address and replaces it with one belonging to the VPN server. It also encrypts your traffic to stop third-parties from monitoring your downloads.

2. A VPN Helps You Protect Yourself Against Legal Action

Torrenting DMCA

DMCA notices will normally come directly from your ISP.

Many countries enforce copyright laws which can result in legal repercussions if you fail to adhere to them. While we don’t condone copyright violations, it is easy to do this unintentionally.

Using a VPN makes it significantly harder for authorities to track you down should you make this mistake.

Torrenting itself is not illegal, as long as you download content available in the public domain such as classic novels, open-source software, and more. That said, we still recommend using a VPN to download this type of content as your real IP address is visible.

3. A VPN Avoids Connection Throttling & Site Blocks

Diagram of a VPN stopping internet throttling

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

Some ISPs may intentionally throttle your internet connection if they suspect you’re torrenting. This is to limit your bandwidth consumption and prevent any potential illegal downloads.

Your ISP may also block the domain of a torrent website, preventing you from accessing it.

You can use a VPN to encrypt your traffic so that ISPs are unable to see that you’re torrenting. This stops ISP throttling and allows you to access torrent sites that may have been restricted in your region.


Is Torrenting Legal?

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.

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.