The Best VPNs for Torrenting 2020 - Should you torrent a VPN?

Torrenting can cause all kinds of headaches, from your internet service provider cutting off your plan to lengthy legal battles that can result in a fine or jail time, depending on the content you’re downloading. By simply connecting to a virtual private network (VPN), you can avoid all these risks and then some, but not all VPNs support torrenting.

To make things easy for you, ProPrivacy has outlined the best VPNs for torrenting, prioritizing speed and security above all else. 



Why do I need a VPN for torrenting?

Nearly all internet users can benefit from using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), but torrent downloaders should consider a VPN absolutely essential. 

There is, of course, nothing illegal about torrenting, per se. It’s just a protocol, and one used for perfectly legitimate reasons, such as downloading Linux distros. But anyone reading this article knows what torrenting is usually used for, and copyright holders don’t like it one bit.

Using a VPN protects you when torrenting in two key ways:

In addition to these protections, a VPN is very useful for torrenters because:

And what it can’t see, it can’t block. So accessing blocked torrent sites is as easy as connecting to a VPN server located somewhere that doesn’t block them. 

How a torrent VPN works

This is just a very brief overview of VPN technology - for a more detailed look, check out our what is a VPN? Non-technical beginner's guide.

What is important in a VPN for torrenting?

When choosing a VPN to use when torrenting, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before commiting.

Does the VPN allow torrenting?

The most important thing is that a VPN provider actually allows torrenting! Most do these days but by no means all.

A VPN that allows torrenting endeavors to protect you when it receives DMCA letters, but if you torrent on a service that doesn’t allow P2P then you can expect no such protection. All you need to do is make sure that you are subscribing to a good no logs VPN, as this makes it impossible for a provider to hand over information it simply doesn’t have.

Does the VPN offer a kill switch?

The most important feature for a VPN to have is a kill switch. This ensures you can’t torrent without the VPN connected. Do make sure that the provider’s apps feature a kill switch for the platform you torrent on (although Android 7+ itself has one built-in).

One more thing to consider is Port forwarding. This is a controversial feature, as it improves P2P download speeds but can introduce security risks. 

How we test our VPNs for torrenting

Before recommending a VPN service for torrenting we always: 

  1. Ensure that the VPN service permits torrenting.

  2. Check that the VPN works correctly.

    Torrenters don’t really need to worry about WebRTC and DNS leaks as these are browser issues, but we check for them, anyway. We also check for IPv6 leaks, although to have one of these you would need both an IPv6 internet connection and to have manually enabled IPv6 in your BitTorrent client. Feel free to see if your VPN leaks, using our VPN leak test tool.

  3. Test any kill switches the VPN might offer to ensure they work as advertised. 

The 5 Best VPNs for Torrenting

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN allows torrenting on all its servers.

  • Pricing

    From $6.67 / month
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

ExpressVPN is one of the most respected names in the VPN industry. It allows torrenting on all its 160 server locations in 94 countries around the world, although it does prefer (quite understandably) to keep low-key about this.

expressvpn for torrenting

Torrenters will also appreciate the fact that ExpressVPN’s Windows and Mac apps have good kill switches.  And being based in the British Virgin Islands allows ExpressVPN to implement a robust no-logs policy, ensuring that it keeps no records to be handed over to copyright enforcers.

If you encounter any problems, then ExpresVPN’s 24/7 live chat support team is friendly and highly knowledgeable. A 30-day “no-quibbles” money-back guarantee also helps to ensure peace of mind.

Key P2P Features: P2P ALLOWED ON ALL 153 SERVERS IN 95 COUNTRIES | KILL SWITCHES FOR WINDOWS AND MAC | NO LOGS

2. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost is cheap and very torrent-friendly

  • Pricing

    From $2.75 / month
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

CyberGhost permits torrenting on most of its servers, although not in the United States or Canada due to very hostile copyright environments in both. North Americans can still download P2P using European servers, however. In addition to this, it runs special P2P-optimized servers in 90 countries throughout the world.    

cyberghost vpn for torrenting

A feature that may be of particular interest to torrenters is “App Protection,” which allows you to specify that only certain apps are protected by the VPN. Such as your BitTorrent app! This is also known as split-tunneling.

Torrenters will also appreciate kill switches baked into (and enabled by default) both CyberGhost’s Windows and macOS apps. CyberGhost offers 24/7 live chat support if you need it, plus it has a very generous 45-day money-back guarantee. You can even try the service out gratis for 24-hours before needing to supply any payment details, which is plenty of time to download some test torrents! 

The final thing for torrenters to note is that this Romanian company keeps no logs that can be handed over to rights holders, no matter how much pressure they apply.

Key P2P Features: P2P ALLOWED ON 4000+ SERVERS IN 88 COUNTRIES | P2P OPTIMIZED SERVERS IN 71 COUNTRIES | KILL SWITCHES FOR WINDOWS AND MAC | NO LOGS

3. NordVPN

NordVPN keeps no logs & has dedicated P2P servers, making it a great VPN for torrenting

  • Pricing

    From $3.49 / month
  • Available on

    • MacOS
    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

NordVPN allows torrenting on all its servers, although it also runs special torrent servers in 43 countries around the globe.

NordVPN for torrenting

Its Windows and Mac apps feature both a system kill switch and a per-app kill switch. This means you can have double-protection against VPN dropouts on your BitTorrent client (not that you should need it) or can opt to only protect your torrent client. It’s up to you!

One of NordVPN’s many strengths is that it is based in Panama. Not only does this allow it to keep no logs that might compromise your privacy, but Panama has a very loose attitude to copyright infringement anyway. 

NordVPN offers great 24/7 support and a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Key P2P Features: P2P ALLOWED ON ALL 5535 SERVERS IN 58 COUNTRIES | P2P OPTIMIZED SERVERS IN 45 COUNTRIES | PER APP AND SYSTEM SWITCHES FOR WINDOWS AND MAC  | NO LOGS

4. PrivateInternetAccess

PIA is the only service on this list to have proven its no logs claim in court

  • Pricing

    From $2.42 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

Unlike many US-based companies, Private Internet Access (PIA) fully allows torrenting on all its 3,295 servers in 29 countries. And torrenters can take heart in the fact that PIA is almost unique among VPN providers in having its no logs claims proven in court!

PIA Linux client

Linux users will be chuffed to note that PIA offers a full Linux GUI client offering all the functionality users on other platforms enjoy - including a kill switch. Indeed, the fact that PIA offers kill switches in all its custom VPN apps (Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, and iOS) is dandy for torrenters, as is its support for port forwarding through its NAT firewall, which can improve download times. 

Torrenters might also appreciate the SOCKS5 proxy offered by PIA which can provide “double-protection” for your BitTorrent downloads, or can be used to protect only BitTorrent app (similar to split tunneling). 

Customer support is not quite as 24/7 as advertised, but PIA does offer a robust 7-day money guarantee. 

Key P2P Features: P2P ALLOWED ON ALL 3,236 SERVERS IN 33 COUNTRIES | PORT FORWARDING | KILL SWITCHES FOR WINDOWS, MAC, LINUX, AND ANDROID, IOS | NO LOGS

5. Ivacy

Ivacy is a fast service with lots of torrent-friendly features

  • Pricing

    From $1.50 / month
  • Available on

    • iOS
    • Windows
    • Android
    • Linux
    • MacOS
  • Works with

    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

This no logs Singapore-based VPN service allows torrenting on all its 1000+ servers in 100+ locations in 50 countries around the world.

Ivacy VPN for torrenting

Unlike many VPN services, Ivacy does not use a NAT firewall by default, making port forwarding unnecessary for torrenters. Alternatively, it is possible to purchase NAT firewall protection as a bolt-on extra, which automatically comes with port forwarding included. 

So either way, torrents will download at full speed when using Ivacy. And given Ivacy’s low initial buy-in cost, we appreciate the flexibility this approach provides.

 Also of interest to Windows torrenters is Ivacy’s split tunneling feature that lets you choose which programs use the VPN tunnel (for example just your BitTorrent client), and to exclude the rest. 

Support is 24/7 in case you need help, and you can always take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Key P2P Features: P2P ALLOWED ON AL 1000+ SERVERS IN 50 COUNTRIES | NO NAT FIREWALL/ OR PORT FORWARDING | KILL SWITCH FOR WINDOWS  | NO LOGS

6. VyprVPN

VyprVPN is perfect for the privacy conscious. They have been fully audited for their no logs claims!

  • Pricing

    From $2.71 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
    • MacOS
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

VyprVPN allows P2P torrenting on all its server locations in over 50 countries. It is now based in Switzerland and has gone 100% no logs, a claim which has been verified by the most far-ranging third-party audit yet performed in the VPN industry. So, no handing over details it doesn't have to copyright owners!

VyprVPN client

Although torrenting is now technically illegal in Switzerland thanks to its uploading element, the country remains amongst the liberal in the world when it comes to copyright enforcement (the right to download movies and music for personal use is protected in law!).

VyprVPN offers 24/7 live chat support in case you have any problems and a refund up to 30-days after purchase.

Key P2P Features:  P2P ALLOWED ON ALL 73 SERVER LOCATION IN 50 COUNTRIES| KILL SWITCH FOR WINDOWS  | NO LOGS (AUDITED)

Other VPNs that allow torrenting

This short list does not cover all VPN services which allow torrenting. In fact, most (but certainly not all - see below) reputable paid-for VPN services allow torrenting these days. These include: 

VPNs to avoid if you want to torrent

The VPNs below are known to either not allow torrenting, or are not recommended to use when torrenting. Please note that this list is not in any way exhaustive.

  • Opera VPN - Despite its name, this is a proxy that only affects the Opera browser, not a VPN service. You can’t use it to protect your torrenting sessions.
  • Hola - This P2P VPN service uses other Hola users’ devices as VPN exit nodes. It is unclear if torrenting is actually banned on Hola, but doing so could get other users into deep trouble (and their torrenting could land you in hot water).
  • VPNGate - Whether torrenting is permissible on this volunteer-run VPN network seems something of a grey area. The system allows it, but tech-savvy node operators can block P2P using third party software. Torrenting using servers where P2P downloading is illegal could get the volunteers in trouble and, therefore, seems very rude.
  • TurboVPN - Torrenting is explicitly banned,  under threat of having your account blocked.
  • BitDefender VPN - Even though it leverages the Hotspot Shield VPN server network (HSS permits torrenting), BitDefender VPN prohibits torrenting on its service.
  • ProtonVPN Free - Paying customers can torrent to their heart's content on dedicated torrent servers, but the BitTorrent protocol is blocked on ProtonVPN’s free servers.

What about free VPNs for torrenting?

Running a VPN service is a major operation. And an expensive one. No-one, and we mean no-one, will do this for free. 

There are free services around, but the more reputable of these offer free plans that are severely limited in various ways - such as restricted speeds or strict download limits. They then hope these free plans will entice you into paying for a premium subscription.

These, at least, are transparent about how they monetize their free services. Less reputable providers have been known to spy on users’ data and sell it to the highest bidder or to steal and sell your bandwidth.

And almost no free VPN services permit P2P, anyway! Dealing with the hassle of DMCA notices and the like simply isn’t worth it for non-paying customers!

Can I torrent a VPN?

If you pirate everything else, you might be wondering whether you can torrent a VPN app? 

There is an increasing number of VPN apps appearing on torrent sites, complete with cracks, but downloading one is a terrible idea for several reasons:

  • All reputable VPN services work on a subscription model. Functionality is, therefore, tied to your account, not whether you are using “activated” software or suchlike. So “cracking” the software is pointless.
  • This means the so-called “cracks” bundled with VPN apps on torrent sites are invariably malware. Make sure to avoid, avoid, avoid.
  • It is also possible to torrent “free” VPN apps. Apart from the fact that these are readily available anyway, most of them are scams that monetize their service by stealing your browser history and/or bandwidth (see the section above).

FAQs

Written by: Douglas Crawford

Has worked for almost six years as senior staff writer and resident tech and VPN industry expert at ProPrivacy.com. Widely quoted on issues relating cybersecurity and digital privacy in the UK national press (The Independent & Daily Mail Online) and international technology publications such as Ars Technica.

14 Comments

Louis Coleman
on July 17, 2018
Reply
Hi thanks for sharing this. I think all that you said are correct. But just to add up, if you'd like to save money, we can also use some other free VPNs from playstore. I am using VPN FREE for several years now and i can say that it's great and safe.
Xiang replied to Louis Coleman
on February 12, 2019
Reply
Thanks for the article, I enjoyed reading it. I have a follow-up question. If I do use a VPN for torrenting, will my ISP see that I am using all their bandwidth resources and I am connected to a VPN server and all they see are encrypted codes? ISPs aren't stupid either. Over time, it will still draw suspicion on me. Is my concern valid?
douglas replied to Xiang
on April 5, 2019
Reply
Hi Xiang, Yes - your ISP can see how much data you are using, but in today's world of HD Netflix streaming there is nothing noteworthy about this.
Johnny replied to Louis Coleman
on December 8, 2018
Reply
A free VPN must be as safe as facebook privacy.
dude
on June 30, 2018
Reply
Just started using PIA... and in the first week got a little copyright infringement letter. wouldnt recommend them at all.
Douglas Crawford replied to dude
on July 2, 2018
Reply
Hi dude, Ouch! I must say that I'm surprised. PIA has a good reputation for protecting its customers.
Manny
on May 25, 2018
Reply
Any reviews on privateinternetaccess?
Douglas Crawford replied to Manny
on May 25, 2018
Reply
chris
on April 9, 2018
Reply
how come you have not reviewed Torrent Privacy in your list?
Douglas Crawford replied to chris
on April 16, 2018
Reply
Hi chris, We simply haven't got round to reviewing TorrentPrivacy yet (there are a lot of new VPN services out there!). I am therefore not familiar with its service, so have no idea whether it would qualify for this 5 best list - but it would be up against well established and highly professional competition.

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