ProPrivacy is reader supported and sometimes receives a commission when you make purchases using links on this site.

The Best Free VPNs for Torrenting in 2024

Using a free VPN to torrent is tempting. You want the privacy to torrent freely without having to pay. I get that. 

But here’s the problem: 99% of free VPNs aren’t just bad – many are dangerous. Free VPN providers have been caught selling user data, allowing malware on their networks, leaking your location and identity, and much more.

However, if you still want to use a free VPN, we’ve tested dozens and found the only three that are safe to use and don’t impose too many restrictions on you (like slow speeds and unreasonable bandwidth limits). 

If you’re on a tight budget, stick to one of these free VPNs. But, if you can spare $2-3 per month, we suggest investing in a cheap premium VPN for reasons that will become clear in this guide. 

The best free VPNs for torrenting:

  1. Hotspot Shield - 500 MB daily limit (but it can be increased), supports P2P, offers patented security, and it’s easy to use.
  2. Hide.me - Secure servers and highly customizable apps, and it works well with streaming sites.
  3. Windscribe - Unlimited devices, 10 GB of monthly data, a large free server network, and fast connections.

Best cheap VPNs for torrenting

If you’re already thinking 10 GB of data a month isn’t enough, but you still don’t want to spend a lot of money, check out these excellent, cheap VPNs:

  1. Surfshark - Industry-best privacy tools, airtight security, lightning-fast, and you can install it on unlimited devices at once.
  2. TIP

    In testing we found that the 'Surfshark Starter' plan (the cheapest) works perfectly for Netflix.

  3. CyberGhost VPN - Beginner-friendly VPN with 9,000+ servers in over 90 countries across the globe and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
  4. PrivateVPN - Fast, reliable, low-cost VPN that supports torrenting, streaming, and every other online activity.

The best free VPNs for torrenting: in-depth analysis

Zero-cost plans are the only criteria we used when choosing the three best free torrenting VPNs (and the only ones you should use). 

So, now, we’ll look at each one in greater detail and show you what they offer – and their limitations.

Our favorite free torrenting VPN. Hotspot Shield offers unlimited monthly downloads (with some conditions) and excellent security – but its 2 Mbps speed cap means torrenting will be sloooooooow.

  • Pricing

    • 36 months: $2.99/mth
      76% OFF
    • 12 months: $7.99/mth
      38% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.99/mth
    • Free: $0/mth
  • Pros

    • Increase your data by watching ads
    • Best security on a free torrenting VPN
    • Patented VPN protocol
  • Cons

    • US server only for free users
    • Speeds restricted to 2Mbps
    • Slow for torrenting
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

We really like Hotspot Shield for a few reasons. While your data is initially capped at 500 MB per day, you can increase this by watching ads every time it runs out. Need more data for downloads? Watch more ads. 


Hotspot Shield’s security is also notable. Free users get access to its proprietary Hydra Catapult, which (in theory) provides a combination of airtight security and lightning-fast speeds. However, since Hotspot Shield caps your connection at 2Mbps, you won’t get the benefit of Hydra Catapult’s fast connections. You do benefit from its security, though. 


That 2 Mbps speed restriction also means torrenting on Hotspot Shield’s free plan will require a lot of patience. Downloads are going to take a long time. AndHD streaming is basically out of the question. 


All that said, if you want a free torrenting VPN and don’t mind waiting a long time for your file sharing, Hotspot Shield is an excellent choice. 


UNLIMITED DATA: Hotspot Shield’s theoretically unlimited data and robust security are appealing, but the speed limit means torrenting will take a long time.

Hide.me is the most customizable free torrenting VPN with the best security. Has a standard 10 GB monthly limit and a host of tools to keep you hidden.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $3.84/mth
      62% OFF
    • 12 months: $6.66/mth
      34% OFF
    • 1 month: $9.95/mth
    • Free: $0/mth
  • Pros

    • Lots of customization
    • Excellent security tools for a free VPN
    • Fast, reliable connections
    • Works with some streaming sites
  • Cons

    • You have to renew every 30 days
    • Difficult to use
    • Only one device
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

We’re really impressed by Hide.me’s security credentials. Its free plan boasts unrivaled security, including 8196-bit RSA keys – a ridiculous level of encryption for a free VPN. You can also choose between numerous VPN protocols (although less than premium VPNs). Hide.me’s encryption and security tools created an interpretable wall throughout our tests, as we threw all kinds of threats and tricks at it. 


While we appreciate Hide.me’s security and support for torrenting, there are some issues. You have to renew your free plan every 30 days, a minor but unnecessary annoyance. Also, you can only install it on one device, and the apps aren’t as user-friendly as other VPNs on this list. 


Also – the 10 GB monthly data cap. However, as we’ve established, that’s actually generous by free VPN standards. 


MOST SECURE: Hide.me offers unrivaled security and customization amongst free torrenting VPNs. Still, it's difficult to use and incredibly limited compared to cheap, premium VPNs.

3. Windscribe

Windscribe has the most free torrent-friendly servers on this list, allows unlimited simultaneous device connections, and doesn’t cap your download speeds.

  • Pricing

    • 12 months: $4.08/mth
    • 1 month: $9/mth
    • Free: $0/mth
  • Pros

    • Unlimited device connections
    • Up to 10 GB of monthly data
    • Large free server network
    • Relatively fast servers
  • Cons

    • Missing advanced security features
    • Based in Canada
    • Some features are difficult to use
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix

Free Windscribe users get access to 11 servers dotted around the world. While this is a tiny fraction of the server networks on premium VPNs (usually at least 3,000), it's more than any other free, safe torrenting VPN we tested. Our team connected to every server, and found each one fast, reliable, and secure. 


You’ll also benefit from Windscribe's excellent security and privacy features. These include 256-bit AES encryption (the same standard used by governments, banks, and militaries). 4096-RSA keys, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, and RAM-only servers that are automatically wiped every three minutes.


If you’re using Windscribe to torrent, you might be concerned about its headquarters in Canada. However, alongside the RAM-only servers, it follows a strict “no-logs” policy, so it can never be forced to share your data. Windscribe also undergoes regular independent audits – like all trustworthy VPNs. 


However, there are some limitations. Most notably, Windscribe caps your data at 10 GB per month. If you plan to stream and browse alongside your torrenting, you’ll hit the limit almost immediately – in which case, you might want to upgrade to a premium VPN like Surfshark. 


BEST FREE TORRENTING VPN: Windscribe doesn’t restrict your speed, and you can install it on unlimited devices. But the 10 GB monthly limit means only occasional torrenting.

The best cheap VPNs for torrenting

Now, let’s quickly review just three cheap premium VPNs so you can make a side-by-side comparison with the free providers listed above. 

We chose these VPNs for their combination of low-cost plans, industry-best security, fast connections, and huge server networks.

1. Surfshark
Editor's Choice | May 2024

Surfshark makes torrenting easy, fast, and completely private thanks to a large network of secure servers, unique privacy tools, and much more.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $2.3/mth
      83% OFF
    • 12 months: $3.99/mth
      70% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Unlimited device connections
    • Low-cost long-term plans
    • 3,000+ servers in 100+ countries
    • Packed with extra privacy tools
    • Based in the British Virgin Islands
    • Works with streaming sites
  • Cons

    • Downloads can be slow
    • Mac VPN app less impressive than other devices
    • Monthly plans are expensive
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

Surfshark packs tremendous value into a low-cost package starting at just $2.39 per month. You can install it on unlimited simultaneous devices, and it has apps for just about everything: Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux, consoles, TVs, routers, and more. 


You also get access to a vast array of privacy tools you won’t find on any free torrenting VPN, including tools like its CleanWeb ad and malware blocker, Camouflage Mode (hides the fact you’re using a VPN), an IP address rotator, and much more.  


Surfshark’s industry-best security includes 256-bit AES encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and numerous VPN protocols. 


BEST CHEAP TORRENTING VPN: Surfshark offers unlimited data on unlimited devices. You also get lightning-fast speeds and the security of a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

CyberGhost’s 9,000+ servers are fast, secure, and optimized for privacy. You can use a regular server or choose between one of its many P2P-dedicated servers worldwide.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 3 months FREE: $2.11/mth
      83% OFF
    • 6 months: $6.99/mth
      42% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Easy-to-use apps
    • Dedicated P2P servers
    • 45-day money-back guarantee
    • 9,000+ servers in 90+ countries
    • Fast downloads
  • Cons

    • Lacks advanced features
    • Doesn’t work in China
    • Long-distance server connections are slightly slow
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

You can install CyberGhost on up to seven devices simultaneously. Whether you’re using it on Android or iOS, Linux or Windows, the apps are simple to set up and navigate. Even if you’ve never used a VPN, you’ll be ready to torrent in complete secrecy within minutes. 


CyberGhost’s dedication to privacy includes a strict no-logs policy and RAM-only servers that are automatically wiped regularly – so it never has your data stored anywhere. CyberGhost undergoes frequent independent audits to verify you can trust its sales as authentic. 


You can contact CyberGhost’s 24/7 live chat support any time you have an issue, and it offers a generous 45-day money-back guarantee on all new plans.


BEGINNER-FRIENDLY: CyberGhost’s VPN apps are easy to use, and the 9,000+ global servers guarantee a fast, private connection anywhere in the world. 45-day money-back guarantee included.

PrivateVPN is one of the smaller premium VPNs on the market, with just 100+ servers. But that’s still 100x the servers you’ll get on most free VPNs.

  • Pricing

    • 36 months: $2/mth
      84% OFF
    • 3 months: $6/mth
      50% OFF
    • 1 month: $9.99/mth
      17% OFF
  • Pros

    • testing
    • Fast connections
    • Up to 10 simultaneous devices
    • Works in China
    • Beginner-friendly
    • Supports torrenting
  • Cons

    • Smaller server network (100+)
    • Limited support
    • Fewer devices supported
  • Available on

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

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

Despite its relatively small server network, PrivateVPN is still much faster than any free torrenting VPN we tested. I downloaded a 5 GB file using a server located halfway around the world, and it only took about 15 minutes. With a free VPN, that would have wiped out most of my monthly data. With PrivateVPN, I continued my tests and streamed half a season of You on Netflix. 


That’s the beauty of unlimited data and large server networks!


PrivateVPN’s security is also top-notch. You’ll be protected from the standard suite of military-grade encryption, leak protections, automatic kill-switches, and much more. PrivateVPN keeps up with the latest threats, so you can rest assured all its software is updated regularly. 


SMALL BUT POWERFUL: PrivateVPN is a small but reliable VPN that supports P2P, works with streaming sites, and performs surprisingly well for its size. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.

8 reasons to upgrade to a cheap VPN

How do we compare the experience using a cheap premium VPN like Surfshark vs. even the best free VPN?

There is no comparison. 

Even a good free VPN like Windscribe cannot stack up against the features and experience offered by the best cheap VPNs. 

To give you an idea, here’s what to expect when you invest a couple of dollars into a premium VPN:

  • Unlimited data: Even the cheapest premium VPNs don’t cap your data in any way. You can download, share, stream, game, and video conference 24/7, never worrying about your data limit. 
  • Faster connections: Premium VPNs invest millions of dollars to ensure you get the fastest connections anywhere in the world. 
  • Thousands of servers: While free VPNs restrict you to (at best) 10 servers, premium providers give you access to thousands located across the globe. 
  • Better privacy: Premium providers include a host of state-of-the-art privacy tools that add multiple layers of privacy to your internet connection. 
  • Industry-best security: Premium VPNs also lead the way in encryption standards, VPN protocols, leak protection, anti-malware, and much more. 
  • More content: The top premium VPNs work with every streaming site you can think of: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and even your local streamers. 
  • More devices: You can download the best premium VPNs on every device you use: phones, tablets, computers, consoles, smart TVs, Fire Stick, routers, and more. 
  • Premium support: Once you upgrade, you can access 24/7 live support with real human beings who have answered every question imaginable. 

If you still need convincing, read our guide to the best premium VPNs for streaming to see the difference.

2 free VPNs to avoid at all costs

While we generally advise avoiding any free VPN not on this list, two, in particular, stand out for being genuinely nefarious in their shady attempts to profit from users and shocking dishonesty. 

No matter what you read in their sales pitches or (probably compromised) reviews elsewhere, DO NOT install the following VPNs on any of your devices. 

Hola!

Hola! is a free privacy software that claims to be a VPN – but it’s actually something else entirely. 

Hola! is more like the Tor browser (also known as The Onion Browser), a volunteer-run web browser from the early ‘00s that encrypts your data through a series of random "nodes” located across the globe. The Tor browser itself is a great tool when used with a VPN. But the problem is that Hola! is a private company that randomly mixes users’ IP addresses. 

This method of ‘privacy’ is dangerous because if someone engages in criminal activity while using your IP address, it could be traced back to you. The risks if this happens are obvious, and authorities will probably be unsympathetic to your claims of innocence.

Betternet

Betternet is a popular VPN owned by the same company as Hotspot Shield, AnchorFree, which generally has a positive reputation. 

However, in 2016, a study by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) found 14 separate tracking apps and 13 instances of malware on Betternet’s VPN app. Worse, Betternet’s Terms of Service allow it to grant third-parties companies access to your data and absolve Betternet of any responsibility for their actions once they have access. 

If you’re worried about accidentally using a dishonest, dangerous VPN, read our guide to the worst VPNs available. 

Methodology: how to choose the best free torrenting VPN for you

We’ve only recommended free torrenting VPNs that passed a series of rigorous tests by our international team – and only three made the final list! 

You can use our criteria to guide you if you want to conduct your own research. Here’s a sample of the features we looked for: 

  • Free plans forever: We only include VPN plans that are 100% free with no time limits or usage caps. 
  • Fast enough for P2P: The best free VPNs for torrenting won’t keep you waiting days for a single file to download. 
  • Reasonable bandwidth: We’ve only recommended free VPNs that give you enough bandwidth to download a couple of large files each month. 
  • Work with streamers: Aside from P2P, we also tested each VPN with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other popular streaming sites to ensure they’re compatible. 
  • Excellent security: The VPNs we’ve recommended use industry-best encryption, leak protections, and additional tools to keep you hidden online. 
  • Transparent policies: No VPN with vague or dishonest policies made our list. We read the small print on every provider and tested their claims independently. 
  • Good on every device: You can use the best torrenting VPNs on mobile, laptops, PCs, tablets, smart TVs, and more. 
  • Good customer service: These VPNs won’t keep you waiting weeks for a reply when you submit a question. 
  • Privacy-friendly location: Look for a VPN based outside the Five Eyes surveillance alliance for ultimate privacy – places like Panama and the British Virgin Islands. 

To get the complete list of criteria and understand precisely how we screen every VPN, read our complete VPN review process.

Free VPNs for torrenting FAQs 

Are free VPNs safe for torrenting?

Sadly, most free VPNs are unsafe for torrenting – or anything else. We’ve tested, researched, and reviewed hundreds of VPNs. We consistently found free providers offering inferior products and engaging in borderline criminal activities. 

Free VPNs need to generate revenue. But, because they don’t charge a subscription, they use much shadier tactics to profit from you. We’ve seen free VPNs:

  • Secretly harvest and sell your data
  • Insert ads into your browser
  • Host malware on their network that can infect your devices.

Also, free VPNs have limited budgets. So, even the honest ones can’t keep up with the latest cyber threats and technological shifts. They’re constantly common VPN scams. 

And if you still don’t want to spend money on a VPN, stick to Windscribe, Hide.me, or Hotspot Shield for your torrenting. 

Is using a VPN for torrenting legal?

Using a VPN for torrenting is legal in most countries. However, torrenting copyrighted material without permission is illegal in most countries. 

If you use a VPN to hide your identity while torrenting copyrighted content, you may still be engaging in illegal activity, and using a VPN will not exempt you from potential consequences. 

You need to understand the laws and regulations related to torrenting in your country, and always respect intellectual property rights. At ProPrivacy, we do not endorse or encourage illegal activities, including using free VPNs to download or share copyrighted content through torrenting.

Which free torrenting VPN has the most servers?

Windscribe has the most servers of any free torrenting VPN. You can choose between 11 P2P-friendly servers around the world.

While this is more than most free VPNs, it’s a tiny fraction of the servers you get from top premium VPNs. Surfshark, one of the cheapest VPNs in the world, has over 3,000 servers in 100+ countries. That’s over 270 times more than Windscribe. 

Can I use a free VPN for streaming?

Due to consumers using VPNs to bypass region locks, most streaming services are aware of this and have made significant efforts to block them. As a result, only a few premium VPNs work to successfully access popular streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Player. Unfortunately, staying ahead of VPN blocks is time-consuming, expensive, and technical.

However, some market-leading VPNs continue to provide access to streams and have incorporated it as a core feature of their service. They understand that this adds value to their service and helps to maintain the VPN's popularity.

In contrast, free VPNs are unable to provide this level of service due to limited servers and IP addresses, making them easy to detect and block. Additionally, free VPNs often have slow speeds, making them unsuitable for watching TV due to constant buffering and poor video playback.

Do free VPNs have limitations?

Yes. Compared to premium VPNs, reliable free VPNs are highly limited. They impose download limits, speed limits, and have a limited choice of servers. They also prevent users from accessing popular streaming platforms. They do this to limit how useful the free plan is, and to encourage users to upgrade to a paid plan. 

Despite these limitations, free VPNs can come in extremely useful for people living in countries suffering from blocks. These limited free plans allow netizens to bypass blocks, read unbiased news, and communicate with family and friends using social media during internet blackouts caused by overreaching governments.

Conclusion

The three free torrenting VPNs we’ve recommended offer the best combination of safety, trustworthiness, and performance. They’re fast, support P2P, and don’t impose too many restrictions. 

But… they’re still incredibly limited compared to the best cheap premium VPNs. 

There’s no risk in trying one out – they’re free, after all – but if you really want to torrent with peace of mind and minimal stress, use the generous 30-day money-back guarantees offered by premium providers like Surfshark and PrivateVPN (CyberGhost offers 45 days) to see the difference.

Written by: Conor Walsh

Conor is a tech writer with professional paranoia. He's passionate about privacy, and when not writing about it, can be found trying to get far away from his phone and any other technology, enjoying some live music, outdoorsy stuff, or a good (physical) book.

1 Comment

Zachariah Lloyd
on March 1, 2024
I tried Windscribe Free, but after downloading, installing, and signing up, they only gave me 1GBm and then said I needed to put in a 'Ticket' to figure out why. So I tried Hotspot's so-called 'Free', only to find that it was not free at all, but was a trial membership that you had to pay for, with a 'Money Back Guarantee'. The only one on this list that is truly 'Free' is the Hide.me one, which is also a trial. This is depressing!!

Write Your Own Comment

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

  Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

We recommend you check out one of these alternatives:

The fastest VPN we test, unblocks everything, with amazing service all round

A large brand offering great value at a cheap price

One of the largest VPNs, voted best VPN by Reddit

One of the cheapest VPNs out there, but an incredibly good service