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

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

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 them 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 that reads 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, they are also very useful for torrenters because:

And what your ISP can’t see, it can’t block. So accessing blocked torrent sites is as easy as connecting to a 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 which service to use when torrenting, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before commiting.

Does the VPN allow file sharing?

The most important thing is that a 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. You also 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 to have when torrenting 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. 

The 5 Best VPNs for Torrenting

1. Private Internet Access

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

  • Pricing

    From $2.85 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • 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. 

2. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost is cheap and very torrent-friendly

  • Pricing

    From $2.75 - $12.99
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

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.

3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN allows torrenting on all its servers.

  • Pricing

    From $6.67 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

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.

4. Surfshark

A newer VPN that is proving itself excellent for torrenting

  • Pricing

    From $1.94 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

Surfshark is a service based in the British Virgin Islands that permits Bittorrenting on a huge choice of servers. This provider has a tier-1 network of servers in over 60 countries, which means you can get privacy and good speeds for downloading no matter where you live. With privacy assured thanks to its zero-logs policy, you can use Surfshark to download on any Torrent client and thanks to its killswitch you never have to worry about leaking data to your ISP should the VPN connection fail for some reason.


This VPN will unblock restricted torrent sites like the Pirate Bay, and it has software for all platforms to help you torrent safely on any device. In addition to torrenting, this VPN unblocks streams and international services such as Netflix US and Hulu. Considering the price this VPN is truly mind blowing, which is why it has such an exceptional reputation with consumers. Can be used on an unlimited number of devices simultaneously, and you can test it risk-free thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee. 

5. IPVanish

A no logs VPN with strong privacy features for torrenting in secrecy

  • Pricing

    From $3.70 - $10.00
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix

IPVanish is a US based VPN that implements a strong no logs policy and OpenVPN encryption. This means that you can access any restricted torrent site and perform downloading securely inside the private VPN tunnel. With IPVanish, you get apps for all platforms, and you can use the VPN on up to 10 devices simultaneously. This is very generous, and means that you can use the VPN on several devices; even while it is downloading content on a torrent client.


IPVanish has a killswitch to ensure you don’t accidentally leak data to your ISP, this ensures that you can torrent without a second thought. And IPVanish can also unblock sought after services such as Netflix US. Finally, IPVanish primarily runs on a proprietar network, which means that it provides excellent speeds for torrenting or streaming in HD. Worth comparing to other services using its 30-day money back guarantee.

6. Hide.me

An excellent Malaysian provider with a lot of high-end VPN features

  • Pricing

    From $2.43 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

Hide.me VPN is a service that always impresses during tests. The VPN has software for all platforms, and those apps are both easy to use but also jam-packed with premium features. With Hide.me you get a killswitch, DNS leak protection, a choice of encryption, obfuscated servers, port forwarding, and split tunneling. This makes the VPN perfect for downloading via BitTorrent. Plus hide.me has a zero-logs policy, which means it never has any records of what its users do while connected.


Hide.me is a VPN that is heavily weighted towards privacy, however, it will easily allow you to unblock any blocked torrent repositories. And you can use this VPN while using any Torrent client or even apps like Popcorn Time or Flixtor. We love that you can use this VPN on up to simultaneous devices. And with average download speeds of just under 80 Mbps, you will have no problems downloading content. Test it risk free, with its 30-day money back guarantee.

How we test our VPNs for torrenting

Before recommending a service for torrenting we always: 

  1. Ensure that the VPN 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 leak test tool.

  3. Test any kill switches and other features to ensure they work as advertised. 

How to use a VPN to torrent safely

When torrenting your IP address can be exposed. This put you at risk from hackers and copyright enforcers. Using a VPN will hide your IP address and improve your internet security and privacy. We show you how to use a VPN for torrenting below.

  1. If you don’t already have a VPN subscription, then you will need to sign up to one. Before purchasing a subscription, make sure that the VPN you are considering allows torrenting on their servers, as not all VPNs do. All the services on our list allow it.
  2. Enable your kill switch. This will cut your device’s connection to the internet if the VPN connection drops.
  3. Download and install a BitTorrent client.
  4. Visit a torrent site. Most ISPs block torrent sites, a VPN might be able to help you access blocked torrent sites.
  5. Start downloading your torrent. Test your VPN for leaks to ensure your IP address is safe before doing this.
  6. It is good netiquette to seed torrents once you have downloaded. If you look at the ‘peers tab’ of your BitTorrent, it becomes apparent why it is so important to use a VPN as you can see the IP address of other torrent users.
  7. Set up port forwarding as this will improve your speeds when torrenting, however, this step is not essential.

Other VPNs that allow file sharing

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

VPNs to avoid if you want to file-share (P2P)

The providers 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 service. You can’t use it to protect your torrenting sessions.
  • Hola - This P2P 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 network seems something of a gray 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 - Even though it leverages the Hotspot Shield VPN server network (HSS permits torrenting), BitDefender 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’ information  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 download a cracked VPN from torrent sites?

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

There are 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 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 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, many 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?
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
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.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
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?
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
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?
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
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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