As the consequences of copyright infringement continue to escalate around the world, many people are looking for the best VPN for torrenting to stay safe and secure online.
Media companies are increasingly monitoring torrent traffic and collecting IP addresses from torrent swarms. Depending on where you live, you may receive copyright violation notices from your internet provider, or perhaps from a law firm that is demanding payment for “damages” on behalf of a copyright holder.
While some torrent clients offer different encryption options, these will not protect you. This is because media companies run networks of monitoring nodes, which are able to join torrent swarms and collect IP addresses and connection data of the infringing parties. If your torrent client connects with one of these nodes and you are not using a good VPN, your identity could be compromised. This is why a VPN offers the best protection when torrenting.
The problem with many torrent VPN services…
The problem, however, is that many popular VPNs actually fail when put to the test.
Over the past few years I have tested and researched over 100 different VPN services. While there are many different “best VPN” websites recommending VPNs for torrenting, the problem is that many of these VPNs will leak your data and expose your IP address, therefore rendering the VPN useless.
Here is one such example I found with a popular VPN provider that was actively leaking IP addresses and DNS requests:
Now that we’ve covered the bad, let’s jump into the best VPNs for torrenting.
What is the best VPN for torrenting?
Based on the latest test results, the best VPN for torrenting is ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN offers amazing download speeds as well as high-security applications that keep your data safe and do not leak. These apps also include a network lock kill switch that blocks all traffic if your VPN connection drops for any reason. ExpressVPN is also currently offering a coupon for three months free (you’ll see the coupon applied on the checkout page).
In addition to ExpressVPN, there are also four other VPN services that made the “best VPN for torrenting” rankings. All five of the torrent VPN services in this guide meet the following criteria:
- Located in a good privacy jurisdiction (outside of 5/9/14 Eyes countries)
- Passed all tests with no leaks found whatsoever (no IP address leaks or DNS leaks)
- Established company with a good track record and history (no new/unknown VPN providers)
- Supports the OpenVPN protocol and strong encryption standards
- Offers a money-back guarantee (between 7 and 30 days)
Now we’ll take an in-depth look at each VPN service.
ExpressVPN for torrenting
British Virgin Islands
ExpressVPN is an excellent option for torrenting and P2P downloads and currently holds the top spot as the best VPN for torrenting. This British Virgin Islands-based provider has a great lineup of custom applications and it also performed very well in testing for the ExpressVPN review. ExpressVPN offers strong protections for customer data with a solid no logs policy, very secure applications, and offshore jurisdiction.
The biggest advantages of ExpressVPN is that it is extremely fast and very secure. ExpressVPN is consistently among the fastest VPNs I have found when running comparison tests. Their apps also include advanced leak protection settings. This allows you to torrent without worrying about IP address leaks because the network lock feature will block traffic if the VPN connection is interrupted for any reason.
If you want a secure and user-friendly VPN service for torrenting, ExpressVPN is definitely worth considering, especially with the coupon below.
- Exceptional speeds throughout the server network
- User-friendly and reliable apps
- 30 day money-back guarantee
- Split tunneling feature (for Mac OS, Windows, and routers)
- Works with Netflix and other streaming services
- 24/7 live chat support
- Slightly more expensive (but currently offering a 49% discount)
Perfect Privacy for torrenting
Perfect Privacy is another great VPN for torrenting with very secure, leak-proof apps along with excellent speeds. Their network is comprised entirely of dedicated, bare-metal servers that offer great performance, security, and full IPv6 support (you will get both an IPv4 and IPv6 address). Every server in their network also supports multi-hop VPN chains and port forwarding, which can be is useful for torrenting.
If you are serious about security and online anonymity, this Switzerland-based, no logs VPN service is tough to beat. Another great feature you get with Perfect Privacy is the TrackStop filter, which effectively blocks advertisements, tracking, and malware/phishing domains.
The main drawback is the price, at about €8.95 per month. But your subscription also gives you an unlimited number of connections to use with all devices, advanced features, and excellent performance. For additional test results, see the Perfect Privacy review.
- Unlimited number of device connections
- Multi-hop VPN chains, up to 4 servers (self-configurable) + NeuroRouting
- Truly no logs without any restrictions
- Stealth VPN (OpenVPN with Stunnel, SSH, Obfusproxy 2 & 3)
- Dedicated bare-metal servers operating only in RAM DISK mode
- Full IPv6 support (provides both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses)
- Customizable firewall & port-forwarding options
- TrackStop advertisement, tracking, and malware blocker
- Higher price
VPNArea for torrenting
Another solid choice when selecting a VPN for torrenting is VPNArea. This Bulgaria-based provider offers good applications that did well in testing for the VPNArea review. VPNArea is a strictly no logs service that offers some decent features (ad blocking) and access to Netflix and other streaming services.
Many of the servers in VPNArea’s network are optimized for torrenting and P2P downloads with high-bandwidth data channels. They are also one of the few VPNs that work with Netflix with dedicated streaming servers. It passed all privacy and security tests while also having good speeds and reliability.
Overall VPNArea is a good privacy-focused VPN service that works well for torrenting and anyone looking for more privacy and security.
- No logs
- Excellent speed and reliability
- Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services
- Anonymous payment options
- Strong security features, with self-hosted DNS
- Ad blocking
- Dedicated IP addresses available
- Large server network
- 24/7 live chat support
- Limited number of Netflix streaming servers (but still works well)
NordVPN for torrenting
Another great VPN service for torrenting is NordVPN. NordVPN is a Panama-based VPN provider with a strict no logs policy and a nice lineup of VPN apps. It performed well in testing for the NordVPN review and continues to offer one of the best values for your money with the 75% discount coupon. While there is some variability in the network speeds, NordVPN still offers solid performance for torrenting and P2P downloads.
If you are a privacy-focused user, NordVPN has many features you may be interested in. These include double-hop VPN configurations, VPN-over-Tor servers, and a well-designed ad-blocking feature that is built into the VPN apps. Whether you are using NordVPN for torrenting, accessing Netflix, or just basic internet browsing, it remains a great all-around VPN at a very affordable price.
- User-friendly apps
- 30 day money-back guarantee
- Double-hop VPN servers
- Tor-over-VPN servers
- 24/7 live chat support
- No logs
- Works with Netflix
- Competitive price
- Ad blocking feature
- Variable speeds with some servers
VPN.ac for torrenting
The final VPN for torrenting we will examine is VPN.ac, a security-focused provider based in Romania. VPN.ac was created by a team of network security professionals and they offer an excellent service that is secure and fast. Their server network is composed entirely of dedicated bare-metal servers that provide great performance. (Check out their real-time bandwidth stats by selecting VPN Nodes Status at the top of the site.)
VPN.ac offers excellent applications with advanced leak protection features, double-hop VPN configurations, numerous encryption options, as well as obfuscation. They do not limit torrenting traffic in any way, while also providing designated servers that are optimized for P2P downloads.
The one drawback with VPN.ac is the connection logs, which are used for security and network optimization. But on a positive note, these logs do not including any browsing/activity data and everything is automatically erased daily – further explained on their website.
- Highest security standards for VPN server network (dedicated premium servers, with self-hosted encrypted DNS)
- Excellent speeds with available bandwidth
- Multi-hop (double VPN) server configurations
- Obfuscation features
- Advanced encryption (7 available protocols)
- Professional and prompt tech support
- Low price for a very advanced VPN (good value)
- Connection logs (no activity, erased daily)
Now that we have examined the best VPNs for torrenting, we will go over why it is important to always use a VPN when torrenting to protect your identity.
Torrenting without a VPN and copyright violations
Some people may torrent without protection for years and not face any consequences, thereby “flying under the radar” and avoiding the consequences.
However, given the recent trends with copyright violations, this is no longer worth the risk. After all, the consequences for copyright infringement can be very serious:
Aside from the growing practice of blocking torrent websites, many governments are rolling out alarming copyright infringement laws. Here are a few examples:
- United States – The US is home to the infamous Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). DMCA penalties for copyright violations include:
- Up to $500,000 in fines and 5 years in jail (first offense)
- Up to $1,000,000 in fines and 10 years in jail (repeat offenders)
- United Kingdom – The Digital Economy Act was recently passed in the UK, which raises the maximum prison sentence for copyright infringement to 10 years.
- Australia – Many torrenting websites have already been blocked in Australia (but a torrent VPN will get around these restrictions). Now, industry lawyers will be targeting copyright infringers for damages with fines up to $2,000 per infringement (get a VPN for Australia).
We see these trends throughout Europe as well, particularly in Austria, Denmark, and Germany.
So no matter where you are located, using a good VPN is essential whenever you are torrenting.
Your torrent activity is being recorded and published
You should also know that without a VPN hiding your identity and IP address, you can be easily tracked online.
Even worse, random groups are now creating giant databases of torrenting activity linked to your IP address, available for anyone to see. One example is the website I Know What You Download, which publicly publishes all torrents under the user’s IP address:
Thanks to websites such as I Know What You Download, it is even easier for copyright attorneys to target users – unless you’re protecting yourself with a good VPN for torrenting.
Is torrenting safe with a VPN?
If you are using a good VPN service that effectively secures your connection, then torrenting with a VPN is indeed safe. In fact, it is much safer than torrenting without a VPN service.
A good torrent VPN offers many advantages:
- Hides your real IP address and geographic location
- Adds an extra level of security by encrypting your internet connection (on all your devices)
- Prevents your internet service provider (ISP), corporations, governments, and other third parties from spying on your online activities
- Allows you to access blocked content that’s restricted to certain geographic locations
- Protects you when torrenting or streaming from unofficial sources
If you want blanket protection for all devices on your network, you may also want to consider using a VPN router. This allows you to protect everything on the network without having to install VPN software on each device.
What is the best free VPN for torrenting?
The problem with using a free VPN for torrenting is that free VPNs are notoriously dangerous.
As we covered in the free VPN guide, free VPNs are dangerous and usually collect the user’s data, which is then sold to third parties. Here are a few of the dangers when using a free VPN for torrenting:
- Data leaks – If you are torrenting with a free VPN you should know that your IP address is likely being leaked. One in-depth study found that 84% of free VPN apps will leak your IP address.
- Tracking – Free VPNs often included hidden tracking libraries. One example of this is Betternet.
- Malware – Many free VPNs include hidden malware to collect your data. This study found that nearly 40% of free VPNs tested positive for malware.
- Stolen bandwidth – Some free VPNs will even steal your bandwidth, which will then be resold to third parties (see Hola VPN, for example).
The bottom line here is that using a free VPN for torrenting is not safe or secure. If you are tight on money, you can go with a lower-priced service, such as NordVPN, which is currently available for $2.99 per month. As an alternative to free VPNs, you can check out free trial VPN services.
VPN for torrenting conclusion
Most people are now using a VPN for torrenting simply to protect themselves against copyright infringement penalties. But aside from copyright violation issues, there are many other alarming trends, which further highlight the importance of a good VPN service:
- Internet service providers (ISPs) in many countries are now legally allowed to record your activities and hand this information over to third parties. These third parties include advertising companies and government authorities (surveillance).
- Many ISPs are cancelling internet service for repeated copyright violations (common in the US).
- Governments and ISPs are actively blocking torrent websites, such as The Pirate Bay and 1337x, throughout the world. This is common in Australia, the United Kingdom, and parts of Europe.
- Websites are now publicly posting all torrent activity associated with your IP address, which can be viewed by anyone and used to prosecute you for copyright violations – see I Know What You Download.
The trend is clear. Use a good VPN whenever you go online. Here are the best VPNs for torrenting in 2018:
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