What is torrenting? And how does it work? This article briefly explains what torrenting is, the risks associated with it, and how to avoid such risks by using the best VPNs for torrenting.
So What’s Torrenting? And How It Works?
Torrenting is a type of P2P (peer-to-peer) file-sharing technology where several users link up and share their files instead of depending on a single source or website for downloading files.
Peer-to-peer file sharing is the process of distributing and sharing digital content such as movies, music, games, and books among users via a P2P software program.
Apart from downloading from the direct source, a user can also download files from other users of the same torrent. Sounds cool, right? But doesn’t that make torrenting illegal? Mmh, yes, but no. And here’s why.
As mentioned, torrenting is the act of sharing files among users, which by itself is legal. However, the legal aspect of torrenting is determined by the file which is being distributed. Which means, if a file shared isn’t copyrighted or restricted, then torrenting it is legal.
Keep in mind that some files available on the internet can be unsafe, so downloading them can damage your device. Worse of, share your IP address and personal information to other peers, which becomes easy for ISPs and copyright trolls to track you down. Should that mean you avoid torrenting altogether? No, not until VPNs stop working.
A VPN is the smoothest way to hide your actual IP address and protect your personal information. The best VPNs encrypt your internet traffic and shield your web activities. For these reasons, you can’t be tracked down by third parties, including ISP trolls and cybercriminals. What a private internet experience!
Best VPNs for Torrenting
There are piles of VPNs to pick from; besides, speed and reliability are on the rise. Which often make finding the right VPN for torrenting an overwhelming task. Moreover, not all VPN providers that promise you privacy and security keep their word.
What if your “best VPN” is exposing your information to third parties? We carefully researched and reviewed 70+ VPNs. And we filtered through all the noise using our series of tests to find out 5 best VPNs for secure and safe torrenting.
- ExpressVPN: Our top choice with all-round benefits, from fastest speeds of sharing P2P files to very secure restriction-free torrenting. ExpressVPN also doesn’t suffer from random bugs and odd issues, courtesy of its highly-rated security standards.
- NordVPN: NordVPN combines 2 servers into 1 connection—this, coupled with its VPN kill switch, make it one of the safest VPNs on the market. With over 4,500 servers optimized specially for P2P, NordVPN is just all over the place.
- CyberGhost: CyberGhost VPN performed exceptionally fast on every speed test. Moreover, it features a strict no-logging policy, meaning, your user data can’t be logged in. What’s more, CyberGhost spontaneously connects to a P2P optimized server.
- IPVanish: IPVanish takes the login policy to a whole new level. Apart from barring creation of logs, it also doesn’t allow the creation of connection logs used for troubleshooting. As if that’s not enough, this VPN is equipped with a built-in feature that enables users to switch IPs every so often, like every 60 seconds.
- PrivateVPN: This provider offers full-bodied security and blazing fast speeds with a relatively small network of servers that work exceptionally well for P2P file sharing. Aside from that, this comparatively young entrant supports more Netflix regions than any other provider in our list.
All our top 5 P2P VPNs allow torrenting on their servers; also, we used the below criteria to evaluate each one of them:
- Privacy and security. Leak protection is a must; both IP address, and DNS address shouldn’t leak. We as well carefully read through reviews to establish their track records.
- Speed tests and network reliability. A torrent VPN shouldn’t slow things down a single bit. A good VPN should offer fast and reliable speeds, with no bandwidth limits, and no data caps.
- Shared IPs for torrenting. Sharing an IP address among 100s other folks adds a significant layer of anonymity, making it puzzling to trace an internet activity back to you.
- Offer a logless feature. A P2P VPN provider should not collect or keep data about your online activity.
- Provide decent customer support
Without further ado, let’s look at our list of the 5 best VPNs for P2P file-sharing:
ExpressVPN provides all-round benefits, from high-speed P2P downloads to top-rated security standards. This VPN is excellent for torrenting as it offers third-party verified no logs policy, awfully secure apps, as well as a safe offshore jurisdiction.
Not only does this VPN permit torrenting, but the providers also encourage their users to use a torrent software with ExpressVPN. In fact, they’ve dedicated an entire page about this in the support section.
This provider from the British Virgin Islands allows torrenting on all its more than 3,000 super-fast servers in 94 countries. Moreover, P2P is accessible with unlimited bandwidth limit on all servers.
In April 2019, this provider started running its servers in RAM-disks, and not hard drives. This trusted server feature ensures logs and data can’t be stored physically on the servers. As a result, improved security.
All of ExpressVPN’s applications also feature cutting-edge leak protection settings. Meaning, you can torrent for longer periods without worrying about DNS leaks or IP address leaks. All thanks to their Open VPN protocols fastened with government-class AES-256 bit encryption.
In addition to this, ExpressVPN integrates a “network lock” kill switch feature which always blocks traffic if the VPN link is disrupted for whatever reason.
ExpressVPN supports customers 24/7 via e-mail, live chat, and chatbots. Into the bargain, a single subscription comprises user-friendly apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and so on.
- Very secure and user-friendly apps
- All servers allow P2P file sharing
- Super-fast servers in 90+ countries
- 24/7 customer support
- A bit more expensive than competitors
No matter where you are, NordVPN most likely supports P2P file sharing. Thanks to their 5500+ servers in 60 countries. The more the servers, the less the load and the many locations means you’ll most probably find one nearby. Plus, the provider has apps for Mac, Windows, Android, Android TV, Firefox, Chrome, iOS, and Linux.
NordVPN supports torrenting and bypassing geo-restrictions. For this matter, the provider hordes specialized “P2P servers” that are exclusively meant to keep your torrenting doings private and safe. Furthermore, NordVPN servers are located in Panama to avoid any information retention laws.
To bolster security, the provider offers 5 communication services: P2P, Onion Over VPN, Double VPN, Dedicated IP, and Obfuscated.
The servers’ use of Open VPN protocol and military-grade AES 256-bit encryption coupled with double data fortification features promise to keep your information secure. A distinct no-logging policy equally reassures that your browsing activities are invisible to third parties.
A NordVPN’s “double VPN” encrypts your data by allowing your machine to connect to a VPN server. It also channels you through another VPN server, which then supplies an additional layer of encryption to hide your originating internet address.
With fast connections, shared IPs, no data caps, and unlimited bandwidth, NordVPN seems to qualify for this list easily. However, in case of any inquiry, their 24/7 live chat support will be ready to help, or just email them!
- DoubleVPN servers to encrypt data twice
- Allows torrenting/P2P
- Secures up to 6 machines simultaneously
- Very affordable
- Varying speeds with some servers
CyberGhost ticks all the boxes as far as the must-have security features for torrenting are concerned. As a matter of fact, it automatically links to a P2P compatible server before activating the most appropriate settings to protect and speed up your file sharing.
Speaking of speed, CyberGhost Pro is Caesar. This VPN scored exceptionally well in our speed tests, making it a reliable option for downloading big files. Moreover, the provider doesn’t limit your downloading speed or cap your data usage.
Note that CyberGhost hordes 3,700+ servers in 60 countries across the world. However, only a select number of servers allow P2P file sharing.
This VPN software hides your IP address, encrypts and anonymizes your web activity, and secures your Wi-Fi. Also, the software is equipped with built-in protection features like kill switch, IPv6, and DNS leak protection that address common leaks.
CyberGhost too obeys a strict no-logs policy and allow users to share IP. And packs all features you’d expect like OpenVPN, perfect forward AES 256-bit encryption and an optional tunneling protocol. But that’s not all; it also includes a NAT-Firewall which several VPNs charge extra for.
Want to torrent on the go? No problem, CyberGhost’s reputable Android and iOS options got you covered. Didn’t we mention your machine? Check out their support library. And if you can’t find it, talk to an assistant via their live chat support, or send them a ticket.
- P2P allowed on select servers
- Outstandingly fast servers
- Automatic kill switch
- Bitcoin capabilities
- Only chat support
IPVanish is a top tier VPN service provider, and one of the world’s best P2P/torrent VPN available. On its merits, they tribute themselves as the fastest VPN for torrenting.
No matter where you are, IPVanish is just nearby. Thanks to their 1,300+ P2P-allowed personally managed servers in 75+ global locations.
IPVanish provides secure 256-bit encryption for both L2TP and OpenVPN protocols and comprises 40,000+shared IPs. Meaning that you’ll share the same IP address with 10,000s of other users. For this reason, your IP address cannot be traced back to you, thus increasing their level of security.
To add more security, IPVanish features a DNS leak prevention option, which when enabled connects you to the provider’s servers; instead of your ISP’s. Plus, when you download a torrent, it shows the provider’s IP address, and not yours.
Another critical security feature, especially when torrenting, is the kill switch. Activating this tool ensures that your real IP is never, and will never be exposed whether or not there’s an internet connection. Furthermore, they feature a zero-log policy, meaning they won’t register your activity.
IPVanish offers some of the fastest speeds out there, but occasionally experiences minimal speed losses in a few servers located very far away. But don’t worry about your Operating System, because this VPN is compatible with Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Ubuntu, and more others.
- Allows torrents on all servers
- 24/7 live support chat
- Includes socks5 proxy
- Connects 10 devices simultaneously
- Limited options for customer support
Private VPN features some of the most advanced P2P sharing options. Chiefly, this provider protects your VPN with military-grade 2048-bit encryption with AES-256; which is the most secure connection we’ve tested so far.
Still, on security, this provider comes with IPv6leak protection, a kill switch, and an application guard ensuring your activity is safe. Moreover, their strict adherence to zero data logging policy means that they too won’t know what you’re doing online.
PrivateVPN uses 256-bit encryption and features an optional kill switch uses to make your torrenting matters more private. Besides, the provider won’t record your connections or traffic.
With PrivateVPN’s decently fast connections and unlimited bandwidth you can surf the web smoothly, download content fast, and stream HD videos.
This VPN is also equipped with Stealth VPN to protect your device, no matter it’s a desktop, Android, Apple, or Amazon device.
A single account lets you connect up to 6 devices at the same time. Besides, apps are available for Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS. And their team will help you get started. Though not available 24/7, their support services aren’t outsourced, so you can be sure to get help from one of their developers.
With 100+ servers in 60 nations, this relatively young provider doesn’t have the most servers but don’t look at it wrongly. And here’s why: PrivateVPN arguably hordes the most Netflix supported regions on the market.
- Strongest encryption
- A solid performer for P2P and torrenting
- 6 concurrent devices
- Of the 5, it has the least number of servers
How to Torrent using VPN?
VPN lets you securely download/upload torrents using a source of internet, e.g., Wi-Fi (even public Wi-Fi). It also allows you to access geo-restricted services such as Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, and so on. So how is it done?
Acquire a VPN
In your search for the best VPN for torrenting, there are several factors to consider. And the criteria above (one we used to create this list) can help you decide on a VPN that best suits your P2P needs and preferences.
Get a Torrent Client
A good torrent client/downloader should be lightweight, and easy to use—uTorrent is a worthy torrent client. After downloading your client, open your VPN app →enable kill switch →enable port forwarding →switch on your VPN →enter the port number.
Find Your Torrent
There are lots of sites to choose from, e.g., The Pirate Bay. After finding your torrent files, use a magnet link to insert them to your BitTorrent Client and get them started. Enjoy your browsing!
What Are Some Legal Uses of Torrents?
Although torrenting and P2P file sharing is often viewed as a criminal activity, at its core P2P file-sharing technology isn’t illegal. In fact, there are numerous legitimate reasons to torrent. These include:
Sharing Music and Videos
Do you want to release your media online for people to find? And on a budget? Good, that’s where torrents come in. If you decide to host these files yourself, then prepare to pay for bandwidth. However, if you release the media via a torrent, you’ll not only save on bandwidth costs but also stand a chance to attract the right audience.
Distributing Large Data
Torrenting is a thoughtful way to dispense large pieces of data at the fastest speed possible while saving money on bandwidth. As it is, torrents are used to distribute large chunks of scientific datasets. Often, such data is free, and anyone interested can access it. Other bulky datasets you’ll find shared publicly with torrents include government resources, OS installs, and business files.
Game Downloads and Updates
Game developers likeBlizzard use their BitTorrent downloader to transfer Starcraft II, Word of Warcraft, and Diablo II. If you buy one of these games, you’ll be supplied with a link to a torrent downloader.
Better yet, should the game be updated, the inbuilt torrent downloader will automatically download it for you. This way, Blizzard offers the quickest possible downloads to its players, as well as save money on bandwidth.
No matter your torrenting activities are legal, your ISP might not view them that way. An ISP might only see P2P torrent traffic and quickly assume you’re committing a cybercrime. Their response could be interrupting your P2P network bandwidth or offer you a stern warning via e-mail.
For these reasons, we recommend torrenters to use a VPN service. However, free VPNs can expose your IP address which could lead to privacy issues.
Thankfully, there’s ExpressVPN; which is the most reputable VPN that allows torrenting and P2P traffic. Most importantly, it’s touted as unbeatable in both privacy and security, and high-speed connections.