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Best VPNs for torrenting safely in 2021

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Torrenting can help you download just about anything – from completely legal open-source, and public domain content, to less legal copyrighted TV series, movies, and albums. But no matter which side of the fence you're on, one thing is clear – torrenting has some issues.

While you download torrents, your IP address and its P2P activity can be easily tracked. Online criminals and other interested parties can use this to their advantage, targeting you, and your data. Your Internet service provider may even slow down your connection or prohibit you from using P2P sharing altogether. Luckily, all of this can be solved with a VPN service, that masks your IP address.

We do not condone online piracy – but we support online privacy and security. To help you out with that, here we cover some of the top VPNs for torrenting. Fast, secure, and easy to use, they're all perfect companions for your P2P downloads.

Best VPNs for torrenting:

  1. NordVPN – best VPN for torrenting, overall
  2. Surfshark – great low-cost VPN for torrenting
  3. Atlas VPN - cheap VPN for torrenting
  4. PrivateVPN - a VPN for fast torrenting
  5. Private Internet Access – a highly-customizable torrenting VPN

Why should I use a VPN when downloading torrents?

Torrenting without a VPN is associated with many dangers. Here are a couple of examples, which might make you reconsider whether you should use torrent clients without a VPN.

  • The connection itself. When you’re downloading files via a torrent client, you’re downloading from another user’s computer. Everyone who checks seeders list can find your real IP address. Which is almost like disclosing your home address in public.
  • Copyrighted materials. It may not be your intention to steal, but files in torrent websites won’t always be adequately named. Most likely, copyright holders and your ISP won’t care about the circumstances and treat you as just another pirate.
  • Social engineering attacks. Scammers can be impersonating copyright holders to make a profit for themselves. Since your P2P connection reveals quite a lot of data, this could be a starting point to gather intel on you for an attack.

Best torrenting VPNs - our detailed list

All VPNs claim to hide your identity, but not all will work with P2P networks. This makes finding a good VPN for torrenting a head-scratcher. Then, there's the balancing of speeds, safety, and server selection – only all of them combined will get you a good level of user experience and online privacy.

We've hand-picked the VPN providers that make the best match with torrenting clients, offering all the top features and unlimited bandwidth for your files. With them, you can be sure to download torrents quickly and safely, no matter your platform of choice.


Editor's disclosure: We are aware of and concerned about the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) recently released by the US Department of Justice. It names Express VPN’s CIO Daniel Gericke among the persons who received monetary penalties and agreed to “full cooperation with the relevant Department and FBI components” due to their past misuse of covert surveillance tools, targeting US citizens, as well as journalists and political parties.

At the moment, there are no direct connections established between the misuse of such tools and ExpressVPN. However, in order to offer our readers only the most reliable and safest VPN solutions available, we are temporarily removing ExpressVPN from our lists until further privacy, data security, and ethical evaluations are completed. You can read our full story about the agreement here.


1. NordVPN – best VPN for safe torrent downloads

Nordvpn thumbnail
Based in:Panama
SOCKS5 proxy:Yes
Split tunneling:Yes (Windows, Android)
Current deal:Now 72% OFF + 3 Months FREE!

NordVPN has P2P support on their specialized servers. They are optimized for bandwidth-intensive downloads, so you'll get the best ratio for performance and safety. It's a perfect torrenting VPN.

Speaking of which, all their clients have a kill switch that will shut down your Internet connection to prevent unwanted IP leaks. One such mistake could reveal your identity and put you on your ISP's blacklist.

With more than 5000+ servers in 59 countries, you'll have plenty of countries to choose from. Whichever is your home country, you're bound to find a fast server nearby to connect to.

If you need a VPN for torrenting-only, there's no need to encrypt your full connection. Add your torrenting client to a split tunneling list, and only your P2P traffic will be encrypted. There's also a SOCKS5 proxy for those who don't care about the encryption and favor better speeds.

This VPN provider also has a strict no-logs policy, so whatever you do with your VPN will stay with you. Although most services promise the same, most of NordVPN's servers don't have mechanical hard drives and are running on RAM-only. Plus, their privacy policy was audited twice by PwC (one of the largest accounting agencies). Hence, you don't have to trust the provider's word blindly. The results speak for themselves.

All of this makes NordVPN a superb choice for torrents. Not only will your identity be hidden with strong encryption, but you also won't be slashing performance, especially with additions like the next-gen NordLynx tunneling protocol. In our tests, it was one of the fastest.

2. Surfshark – the cheapest VPN for torrenting

surfshark thumbnail
Based in:British Virgin Islands
SOCKS5 proxy:No
Split tunneling:Yes (Windows, Android)
Current deal:Get Surfshark, now 81% OFF!

Surfshark allows torrenting on any of their servers, the ports won't be closed. They also have dedicated P2P servers, which are optimized specifically to use with a torrent client. So, if you find that your downloads are taking too long, this can be a solution offering excellent connection speeds.

With that said, this VPN service is one of the fastest we've tested, so the speeds shouldn't be an issue. Plus, they have added a WireGuard tunneling protocol, with which you'll barely even notice that you're using a VPN.

The provider doesn't overlook safety measures, either. Surfshark has a kill switch that turns off your connection as soon as the link between your device and VPN servers is disrupted. They even allow switching between AES-256-GCM and Chacha20Poly1305 encryption ciphers, unbreakable even with the most powerful modern hardware.

They also apply the same quality standards to their server fleet, so they're not using any hard drives. All of their servers run on RAM-only memory, which means that no logs can be saved to be retrieved later. There's also advanced DNS leak protection added on top. So, your identity is as safe as it can be.

You can choose from their fleet of 3000+ servers across 65 countries. This provides enough variety for different use cases.

If you need a VPN only for torrenting, there's a Whitelister feature. With it, you can use a VPN connection only for torrenting websites and apps. That way, the rest of your traffic gets untouched.

Finally, it's one of the most affordable options, with steep discounts for longer plans. With unlimited simultaneous connections, its value is unparalleled.

3. Atlas VPN - cheap VPN for torrenting

Atlas VPN
Based in:USA
SOCKS5 proxy:No
Split tunneling:No
Current deal:Get Atlas VPN, now 86% OFF!

Even though Atlas VPN doesn’t have specialized P2P servers, this doesn’t mean it's not suitable for torrenting. Quite the contrary.

The truth is, Atlas VPN allows torrenting on many of its servers. During our tests, the download speed was pretty good, but not extremely fast - 4-6MB/s. As a result, a 2.7 GB file took about seven minutes to download.

There’s one thing that sets Atlas VPN apart from all the other best VPNs for torrenting. It’s the fact that you can use its free version for P2P connections, which is pretty rare in the world of VPNs. Usually, only paid VPN versions support torrenting.

Atlas VPN offers 700 servers in 28 countries, which is a bit less than what you might expect from your usual VPN service. Despite this, the tool works with lots of streaming platforms, including Netflix, YouTube, and BBC iPlayer.

The VPN also has a lot of features like a malware blocker, a data breach checker, and a kill switch. On its Android and Windows apps, it even offers IP address rotation.

Now, the best thing about Atlas VPN is its price. With all the unlimited bandwidth and exciting features, can pay as little as $1.39 a month - but only if you invest in a three-year subscription, that is.

4. PrivateVPN - a VPN for fast torrenting

PrivateVPN
Based in:Sweden
SOCKS5 proxy:Yes
Split tunneling:No
Current deal:🔥 Get PrivateVPN, now 77% OFF! 12 Months + 12 Month extra! 🔥

PrivateVPN is truly one of the best VPNs you can choose if you use torrenting clients often. Thanks to its good speeds, you’ll be able to download files much faster.

For example, we reached 15MB/s download speed when testing the Windows application of PrivateVPN, which is really impressive. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pick a specialized P2P server if you want to use the VPN with a torrenting client.

In addition to this, PrivateVPN allows port forwarding (not many VPNs do!), which can also be useful with P2P connections. By the way, the service includes HTTP and SOCKS5 proxies.

However, torrenting is not the only thing PrivateVPN is good at. It also unblocks lots of streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and DAZN.

The prices start from $2.50 a month (if you get the 2-year plan). In case you want a shorter subscription, you’ll pay either $6.00 a month (1-year plan) or $8.99 for a one-month subscription.

5. PIA – the most customizable VPN for torrenting

Private Internet Access
Based in:United States
SOCKS5 proxy:Yes
Split tunneling:Yes (Windows, Android)
Current deal:Get PIA, now 83% OFF + 2 Month FREE!

PIA is one of the biggest providers on the market, with 29,000+ VPN and Proxy servers. Once you become their subscriber, you can connect to any one of them, as they all support torrenting. Those are numbers that no service can match.

Be aware that some of their servers are located in some not very torrenting-friendly countries like the United States. So, although there are plenty of options to choose from, be smart about which country you're choosing for your torrenting traffic.

They added several safeguards to make sure that your experience goes smoothly and safely. If you're worried that your IP will be revealed if one of their servers goes down, there's a kill switch. It shuts down your Internet until the link to a VPN server is resolved.

There's quite a lot of other parameters that you can configure to suit your needs. You can modify connection types and configuration methods for your encryption. It's even possible to enable port forwarding to boost your seeding speeds as it allows more peers to connect. It's also a relevant feature for private trackers.

SOCKS5 and split tunneling are also there, so whether you want to use a simple proxy or the VPN for torrenting, it's simple to set up. Overall, PIA provides a lot of usability for P2P file sharing, for a much lower price than most competitors.

6. Mullvad VPN – best for anonymous torrenting

mullvad vpn thumbnail
Based in:Sweden
SOCKS5 proxy:Yes
Split tunneling:Yes (Android, Linux)

Mullvad VPN may not be as known as the other options on this list, but don't let that discourage you. It's a truly anonymous VPN service, which is exactly what torrenters are looking for.

Even when you're creating an account, their approach is a bit unconventional: you will be assigned a randomly generated 16-digit code. You don't even have to provide an email address, so there are no traces back to you. If you want, you can even pay in cash.

The service allows P2P traffic on all of their servers, so you can pick whichever is the closest to get the best speeds. We detected no speed throttling during our tests, so it will be fine even for larger downloads.

SOCKS5 is included in your subscription, so you can set it up directly on your torrent client. That way, you'll be trading privacy for speed, but if that's the route you want to take, you can. Your torrenting activity will still be hidden from the Internet provider, but not encrypted.

Mullvad also supports split tunneling on its Android and Linux applications. With it, it's possible to add an exclusion for your browser if you want to get the local version of websites when you're torrenting.

That said, their server selection is a bit on the lighter side. So, depending on where you live, it may be a bit harder to find a fast server nearby.

Mullvad's pricing doesn't offer any flexibility either, so whether you're subscribing for a lifetime or a month – it will always be €5 a month, which isn't that cheap. Seeing what privacy features you get for your money – this is a no-brainer.

How we selected and tested

When choosing the best VPN for torrenting, we prioritized specific features that are the most relevant for P2P downloads. So, if a VPN service is ranked higher, it's because the service excels in these key areas:

  • Stance on torrenting. P2P connections consume plenty of bandwidth by design, which can be pretty hard to maintain if you have a large pool of users. If every one of them decided to download something simultaneously, this could quickly bring the infrastructure to its knees. So, many providers don't allow torrenting traffic at all. I chose only services that don't restrict P2P traffic.
  • Security. When downloading torrents, you're making your IP address available for everyone to see. Which puts it out there for cybercriminals, tempted to test your home network's strength, or the government. The better security a service has, the better are your chances of remaining anonymous.
  • Performance. The whole premise of torrenting is the ability to exchange files rapidly. So, the faster your VPN is, the better download speeds you can expect. Better performing services get ranked higher.
  • Logging. All VPN service providers claim to be anonymous, but you have to take their word for it most times. If a service has been tested "in the wild" or went through a third-party audit, it's much easier to trust. It also means that your privacy will be respected no matter what.
  • Value. Most top-shelf VPNs offer a very comparable level of quality. If a service charges above the average price tag but isn't offering that much, it's a hard pass from me. Always look for a healthy balance between the price and the features you get.

VPNs we do not recommend for torrenting

Many services that we didn't include in this list can still be used for torrenting. However, that doesn't apply to those VPNs with severe loopholes. They can be both free and paid so you should be cautious.

Hola VPN – is one of the worst options you could pick. It uses P2P networks to establish a connection. Encryption is added only for premium users, and there are no countermeasures against IP leaks. To make matters worse, their privacy policy states that they're collecting user logs.

Betternet – another poor choice for torrenting. This VPN is priced quite steeply but lacks essential security features. You won't get a kill switch, meaning that your anonymity will depend on Betternet's server fleet always working without issues. Even then, their server network is too small to consider this option for consitently great download speeds.

SuperVPN – recently our editorial team discovered that users of this provider had their credentials leaked and sold on the dark web. However, on Google Play, the service has more than one hundred million installs. It seems that the service provider was logging data despite their privacy policy stating otherwise.

This shows that not all VPNs are made equal, and you should always do your research before committing to a long-term service.

Can I use a free VPN for torrenting?

Most free VPNs that would be safe enough for regular usage don't allow you to torrent. As I've said, P2P connections can use up a lot of bandwidth, making other user experience worse. For this reason, it's usually treated as a premium feature and reserved for paid users.

However, it's not unheard of to find a free VPN that works with torrenting connections. In such cases, you should tread carefully. Torrenting is a resource-intensive task, especially in cases when it's offered for free. So, it's possible that your data is being logged and sold. If some offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Always double-check whether the software that you're installing is safe.

Best VPN countries for torrenting and P2P traffic

Some countries have looser laws concerning Internet downloads. Naturally, those will be the countries that are great for torrenting.

Switzerland

In general, Switzerland is one of the most privacy-friendly locations. Your right to privacy is protected, limiting what your Internet Service Provider can monitor about you. Moreover, downloading copyrighted materials for personal use is legal as long as you don't intend to sell them. However, it is illegal to share content if you don't own copyright rights. So, as long as you're downloading, you're in the clear, but seeding is another thing.

Spain

Spain is a torrenter's safe heaven because their law emphasizes the intent to profit over breaching copyright laws. There, you can share any data that you want as long as you don't intend to make a profit. This means that torrenting for your own use is perfectly fine. Like in Switzerland, it's still illegal to share copyrighted materials, so if you're uploading, you're committing a crime.

Poland

In Poland, downloading copyrighted materials is neither legal nor illegal. Generally, without permission, you cannot use copyrighted works. However, there are some exceptions, like private use cases, which fall outside of copyright law. You can write this off as a loophole in their judicial system, but it doesn't make Poland a new Tortuga for digital pirates.

Yes, torrenting with a VPN is entirely legal. The issue is not the torrenting technology itself, but the content that you're downloading. Open-source software or a movie that's in the public domain is entirely fine. However, if you're sharing or downloading a video of the latest Ryan Gosling flick that you filmed on your phone, it's mostly likely against the law.

Also, some things seem legal fall in the grey area – and different government authorities or courts are bound to treat each case differently.

What other dangers are associated with torrenting?

A VPN is an excellent way to protect yourself from dangers associated with a non-private connection. Still, you must also make sure that every component of your setup is safe. This includes the torrent tracker your using and your torrent app.

For example, version 3.4.2 of uTorrent, one of the most popular torrent clients, drastically slowed down users' devices. It was later reported that this version installed Bitcoin mining software that was acting without consent. Even the current version of uTorrent prompts you to install quite a lot of adware.

If you want safer alternatives, there's Deluge and qBittorrent. Both are open-sourced and much safer options. Coupled with a reliable VPN, this leaves no gaps from the technical standpoint. Think before clicking on links, and you should be safe.

Bottom line

Whatever you're planning to download through torrents, don't forget to exercise caution. Although it may seem harmless, if you're not careful, you can end up in more trouble than you could have ever imagined. This ranges from legal attention to the files themselves, which are often a source of malware. Not to mention that your real IP address is exposed, so you're making yourself an easier target.

A VPN can minimize the number of potential risks to your online activity, but it should be a service you can trust. Otherwise, you're just going out of the frying pan into the fire. So do your research and pick a service that will protect you even when on P2P network.

FAQ


More VPN guides from CyberNews:

Best VPNs for Netflix: access Netflix content from anywhere
Best VPNs for Hulu: fastest streaming in 2021
Best VPNs for streaming movies: access to a large number of streaming sites

Comments
Riggs
Riggs
prefix 1 month ago
What my p2p connection could reveal about me? I didn’t know you could become a tarhet for hackers. I’m gonna invest in vpn since I torrent quite.a lot. I’m a bit concerned that if I log in to my account from different ip addresses it will be blocked soon.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 1 month ago
Your P2P connection reveals your IP address, which also reveals your location, and what you’re downloading. A hacker could gather the breadcrumbs and get a much more detailed profile to plan the attack using this information.
Aunt Rand
Aunt Rand
prefix 2 months ago
What’s the best VPN for torrenting on Mac? Not only in terms of speed but also would be great if it would allow split tunneling. Thanks.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 2 months ago
NordVPN would be the no-brainer. As not only it’s great for torrenting, but it also has split tunneling for macOS. You can read more about the best VPN for Mac here.
Theyou
Theyou
prefix 2 months ago
I need vpn for MAC torrent (utorrent) and I would like it to have split tunneling so the vpn would run only for one purpose. Which vpns have that?
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 2 months ago
VPNs that have split tunneling for macOS are NordVPN, ExpressVPN, PIA, and VyprVPN
Corona
Corona
prefix 3 months ago
Hmmm, thanks for the advice, tho on the list of the best country to connect vpn to when torrenting I would add Ukraine. They have so much sketchy traffic going on that a few torrents won’t seem weird at all.
karmelo beno
karmelo beno
prefix 4 months ago
hello. how do I create vpn tunnel for torrent only? I use utorrent on a mac
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 4 months ago
To create a separate VPN tunnel for uTorrent, you’ll have to pick a VPN that has a split tunneling feature. Then, you’ll have to add to uTorrent app to your split tunneling list, making sure that the VPN is used only with the specified apps. This will create an app-based separate tunnel for your torrent traffic.
Arres
Arres
prefix 4 months ago
So I see you didn’t mention any names for free torrenting vpn services. I’m specifically interested in those compatible with apple devices. Some context: I use torrents very rarely, therefore, I see no need to purchase a subscription, but I definitely do find myself in situations where I need to download something from time to time. I do understand that none of the free ones are amazing, but I’m sure you could drop some names of some of the best free vpn for mac torrenting. Kudos to you!
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 4 months ago
Well, as I’ve mentioned, most free VPN services lockout P2P traffic altogether. Torrenting is server resources-intensive, so almost no VPN services support it.
You could probably look into some free proxies. Still, this traffic won’t be encrypted and don’t provide the added privacy benefits.
jalyn
jalyn
prefix 5 months ago
does avast vpn allow torrenting? I heard they can restrict some servers
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 5 months ago
Yes, Avast SecureLine VPN supports torrenting – they have dedicated P2P servers on which you can download torrent files.
X
X
prefix 5 months ago
I tried few different ones but I would say that nord vpn so far is the best for security reasons because of their kill switch. if something happens with vpn while torrenting, your ip is not gonna be exposed. Seems like it should be a common feature but it’s not.
tripp
tripp
prefix 5 months ago
can i disconnect from my vpn torrent and stay safe after i download torrent but keep client on and continue seeding? it really affects my speed so if it’s not really needed i might skip. But i’m also concerned i can be tracked down or smh so just wanna be sure. thanks.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 5 months ago
If you’re downloading with a VPN but seeding with your real IP address, it still means that you’re exposing yourself. If you want to remain anonymous successfully, you need to both download and seed with a VPN.
Kacey Simeon
Kacey Simeon
prefix 5 months ago
Hey. Can i torrent in TOR with VPN on ? Both TOR and VPN are for privacy and anonymity and it seems like an ultra secure decision. Especially If I use something like NordVPN or ExpressVPN.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 5 months ago
Tor isn’t capable of supporting bandwidth-intensive applications. So, downloading the files over Tor isn’t really viable. However, getting magnet links and other meta-info files is possible.
marie gerald
marie gerald
prefix 6 months ago
I can see that torrenting with free vpn could be problematic but I’m keen to try. How do I check that VPN is safe if it’s free? What features should I look into to recognize if it’s good to use? To know if VPN provider is not selling data etc?TY!
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 5 months ago
You could read their privacy policy and how the free VPN will handle your data. Then, you should check if a service has any published transparency reports. Maybe there were any scandals? Look int those as well.
Though there were many documented examples when a service’s privacy policy page claimed no logs, and after it was hacked, it was revealed that they kept logs. So, don’t blindly trust any provider’s words – verify.
Adele
Adele
prefix 6 months ago
I don’t have a computer , so can you torrent on mobile with a vpn ? my phone has a built-in vpn, however I didn’t try it yet. I can’t find any programs for torrenting like utorrent in iOS app store.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 6 months ago
You can’t find them because Apple doesn’t allow torrent clients on their App Store. There are unofficial clients like iTransmission, but to actually install them, you’ll have to jailbreak your phone or find the app on alternative libraries.
Adam
Adam
prefix 6 months ago
It is surprising that Switzerland is the best country to connect VPN to when torrenting. I thought that the most secure and best option would be something out of Europe : Mexico, Panama and so on. Also didn’t know, that Poland is also in a friendly list. However, if you use a VPN , (secure one) does it matter which country you are connected to? ISP still wouldn’t manage to track you.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 6 months ago
It matters to some extent. First of all, those countries in which torrenting isn’t outlawed will most likely have VPN servers with all of the necessary ports opened. So, you can skip filtering through various lists and stick to those countries, saving time.
The second part of the argument, that it just makes more sense to connect to countries where torrenting is legal, as you’re far less likely to attract unwanted attention. Even though your ISP wouldn’t see what you’re doing online in either case, it’s just an extra measure to have ease of mind.
Mao
Mao
prefix 6 months ago
Does avast vpn allow torrenting? It is a very cheap (compared to many others) vpn, and I’m very interested in purchasing it. I will use it for torrenting mainly and have found that avast does restrict torrenting to specifically designated servers
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 6 months ago
Yes, they have P2P-compatible servers. Though we haven’t checked them in this regard, so I cannot comment on performance.
Davis Robinson
Davis Robinson
prefix 6 months ago
Is VPN enough for torrenting for example in Germany, where torrenting is forbidden in general. For example someone wants to download a movie for free, will your isp instantly notice the usage of a vpn and report police?
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 6 months ago
Your ISP will see that you’re using a VPN, but they have no idea what kind of traffic is exchanged. Using a VPN doesn’t necessarily mean “committing illegal acts”, so there’s not much to report.
However, in this particular case, you’d be circumventing the law, which still means that you’re committing a crime. It’s just that you’re less likely to get caught with a VPN than without it.
james
james
prefix 6 months ago
I want protection from people (ISP, movie publishers, RIAA, etc) seeing the things i download via torrents. I don’t have much of a use for needing a different location or even hiding my browser data in the least. What would be cheaper and more efficient vpn or proxy for torrenting?
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 6 months ago
When you’re using a proxy, your ISP can still see the contents of the data packets. It only helps to disguise your IP against other seeders.
A VPN encrypts the whole connection, so neither ISP nor other seeders see what you’re downloading.
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