Torrenting and P2P file sharing is still a risky business even today. I say this because most of the torrent files are known to contain copyrighted material or malware. You can find yourself dealing with:
- Nasty malware and viruses
- Legal settlements for copyright infringement (in rare cases)
- ISP throttling and account termination
Just to give you an idea of how risky torrenting can be if you’re not careful, back in 2016, security experts discovered a malvertisement on The Pirate Bay, which transmitted “exploit kits” onto the computers of anyone who visited the website.
Not scared yet?
Well, how about I tell you that the fine for DMCA violations starts from $2,500 and can exceed up to $25,000. Copyright violators can be fined $500,000 and up to five years imprisonment.
Even though torrenting is a fast, reliable, and effective way of downloading large files, so many people are skeptical of the terms torrenting and peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing. Few questions that I often get asked regarding torrenting are:
- Is torrenting safe?
- Is torrenting legal?
- What if I get caught torrenting?
Today, I’ll discuss torrenting with VPNs in great detail. I’ll also recommend you the best VPNs for torrenting and tell you the torrening laws of different countries around the world.
So without any further ado, let’s get started.
Downloading torrents without a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is not a safe idea. A VPN creates a virtual encrypted tunnel between you and the VPN server. All of your network traffic goes through this tunnel and prevents outsiders from ever knowing what you do online — not even your ISP.
With that being said, not all VPNs are safe for torrenting. I’ve tested over 150+ VPN service providers over the year and found the majority of them to:
- Leak sensitive and personally identifiable information such as your IP address.
- Become unbearably slow when downloading or uploading torrents.
- Track your browsing habits and store excessive logs.
- Discourage torrenting and P2P file-sharing altogether.
But there are still plenty of VPNs out there that support torrenting and offer rock-solid privacy. You’ll be able to find my list of best torrenting VPNs in the next section of this blog.
Best VPN for Torrenting (Quick Summary)
Read what matters the most in this quick summary of the best VPN for torrenting.
- PureVPN — The best VPN for torrenting with built-in File-sharing Mode for torrent users.
- Surfshark — The best budget VPN for torrenting with 1700+ RAM-only servers for maximum privacy.
- NordVPN — The fastest VPN for torrenting with plenty of highly optimized P2P servers.
- ExpressVPN — Expensive VPN service for torrenting with powerful features.
- CyberGhost — Affordable VPN with zero logs and dedicated P2P servers.
- PIA VPN — Offers 15,526 servers and proxy supporting Shadowsocks and SOCKS5.
- IPVanish — Comes with plenty of security features including SOCKS proxy.
- VyprVPN — Located in the safe Swiss jurisdiction and keeps no logs.
- SaferVPN — Allows torrenting on its Netherlands, Canada, and Spain servers.
- PrivateVPN — Effortlessly supports torrenting and offers AES-256 bit security.
The Best VPN for Torrenting in 2020 (in-depth analysis)
1. PureVPN — The best VPN for torrenting
Based on my extensive testing, PureVPN is the best VPN for torrenting. It truly offers the best combination of features and performance. From getting it initially set up to actually downloading torrents with it, PureVPN actually proved to be the best VPN for torrenting.
First of all, what really impressed me about PureVPN was its File-sharing Mode for torrenting. Combined with its 3200+ servers in 140+ countries, PureVPN managed to offer impressive upload and download speeds which are both absolutely necessary for torrenting. After connecting to one of PureVPN’s recommended servers (Denmark – dk2-ovpn-tcp. pointtoserver.com) for torrenting, I managed to get an impressive download speed of 70+ Mbps and just as impressive upload speeds of 65+ Mbps. As for pings, I never noticed my pings exceeding 120 ms during testing.
Aside from speeds, PureVPN offers a wealth of security features. For starters, PureVPN offers 256-bit AES encryption, which is the strongest form of encryption commercially being used at the moment.
It also offers DNS leak protection, an automatic kill switch, a strict zero-logging policy and so much more.
Lastly, what makes PureVPN such an ideal choice for so many torrenters is that it offers 10 simultaneous connections, 24/7 live chat, and a 31-day money-back guarantee to help you test out the service.
2. Surfshark — Best budget torrenting VPN
Next up, we have Surfshark — the best budget VPN for torrenting. Despite being super affordable, Surfshark still offers 3200+ P2P compatible servers. Downloading torrents with Surfshark was an absolute breeze. What I loved about Surfshark was that I didn’t have to connect to a specific P2P compatible server. I just connected to a random server location and still managed to get impressive speeds.
With my 100 Mbps connection, I managed to get 65+ upload and download speeds using multiple servers that I tested. Similar to PureVPN, Surfshark didn’t fluctuate my pings too much. Without Surfshark, my ping was 18 ms. With Surfshark connected, my pings jumped to 73 ms. Judging by my speed test results, I don’t think my ISP was able to throttle my connection.
As far as features are concerned, Surfshark offers more features than you’ll ever need. It offers AES 256-bit encryption, MultiHop, kill switch, zero-logs policy, ad blocker, malware protection, and so many other unique features. One more cool feature that Surfshark offers is the SOCKS5 proxy. I was easily able to set it up with my torrenting client.
As I mentioned earlier, Surfshark is super affordable costing only $2.21/mo. Despite that, it still offers unlimited simultaneous connections and also a 30-day money-back guarantee.
3. NordVPN — Offer obfuscated servers for torrenting
Next up, we have NordVPN. There’s a lot that I love about NordVPN. In total, It offers 5500+ servers in over 59 countries. One thing to keep in mind is that NordVPN only supports torrenting on a few selected server locations. But what’s cool about NordVPN is that it offers a P2P server selection tool to help you pick the best servers.
While connected to one of its recommended servers, I was able to get a super impressive download speed of 60+ Mbps. As for the upload speeds, NordVPN managed to output an impressive upload speed of 65+ Mbps with pings maxing at only 85 ms. Overall, I was super impressed with NordVPN’s torrenting speeds.
With the SOCKS5 proxy, which by the way NordVPN supports, I was able to get an even better downloading speed of 70+ Mbps.
Security-wise, NordVPN is super secure. It comes with a strict zero-logging policy, DNS and IP leak protection, 256-bit AES encryption, kill switch, and much more. It even accepts cryptocurrencies for maximum anonymity.
Just like other VPNs I’ve talked about so far, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, 24/7 live chat support, and even 6 simultaneous connections.
4. ExpressVPN — Fastest P2P VPN
ExpressVPN is super famous for its blazing fast speeds. It offers 3000+ servers all over the world that are all compatible with torrenting. It also offers unlimited bandwidth so you’ll never have to worry about your internet connection slowing down.
Speaking of speeds, with my 100 Mbps connection and the Smart Location feature, I was able to get a download speed of 80+ Mbps and an upload speed of 75+ Mbps with ExpressVPN. As for pings, ExpressVPN managed to output a decent ping of around 76+ ms which is pretty manageable.
Feature-wise, ExpressVPN comes jam-packed with security features. You get features such as strict zero policy, 256-bit AES encryption, perfect forward secrecy, kill switch, among many other features.
Despite being on the pricier side, ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, 5 multi logins, and 24/7 customer support. If you can bear the expensive subscription cost of ExpressVPN, you can’t find a better VPN for torrenting out there.
5. CyberGhost — Offers dedicated P2P servers
CyberGhost is another super powerful VPNs that’s ideal for torrenting. It offers 6600+ servers and user-friendly apps that any newbie can appreciate. Speaking of servers, CyberGhost actually offers dozens of P2P optimized servers.
With CyberGhost’s massive server network, I was able to get a decently fast download speed of 65+ Mbps and an upload speed of 60+ Mbps. I was also quite impressed with the pings that CyberGhost managed to output. During testing, I never noticed my pings exceeding the 90 ms mark.
If we talk about features, CyberGhost comes with awesome security features like AES 256-bit encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, kill switch, and more.
Despite offering so many features, CyberGhost is more than affordable. It also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, 7 simultaneous connections and premium live chat support.
6. PIA VPN — Offers 15,526 servers
Private Internet Access has one of the largest server networks in the entire industry. It currently offers 15,526 servers all over the world. Literally, no other VPN out there offers this many servers.
As for speeds, I tested dozens of server locations offered by PIA VPN and was super impressed with its performance. Even during peak hours, PIA VPN easily managed to output download speeds in the upper 60 Mbps and upload speeds in the upper 70 Mbps range. As for pings, PIA VPN managed to do a pretty good job at offering pings under 100 ms range.
Features wise PIA VPN comes well equipped. You get AES 256-bit encryption as standard along with premium features such as SOCKS5 proxy, ad and malware blocker, kill switch, DNS leak protection, and more.
Overall, PIA VPN offers plenty of features for its price. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee along with 10 simultaneous connections per account making it extremely affordable.
7. IPVanish — Torrent without a trace
Next up we have IPVanish. This VPN managed to perform quite impressively during my testing. When connected to one of its many servers, I easily managed to get an impressively fast speed of 55+ Mbps download and 60+ Mbps upload. Pings were also quite manageable with IPVanish and did not exceed the 100 ms mark.
Aside from speeds, the cool thing about IPVanish keeps zero logs despite being headquartered in the U.S.
If we talk about security features, IPVanish comes with 256-bit AES encryption, SOCKS5 proxy, WiFi protection, and much more. Overall, IPVanish is a super-secure VPN for torrenting.
Last but not least, things that make IPVanish super desirable are its unmetered number of simultaneous connections and 30-day money-back guarantee. The only thing I do wish that IPVanish would add in the future is the live chat support option. But other than that IPVanish is a pretty solid choice for torrenting.
8. VyprVPN — Comes with Chameleon security protocol
During my testing, I found VyprVPN to be quite fast. Thanks to its network of 700+ servers, I easily managed to get download speeds in the mid-60s and upload speeds in the high 70s. Speaking of servers, one thing I found super cool about VyprVPN is that it manages its own DNS servers without involving any third parties.
As for security features, VyprVPN comes with top of the line security features such as its own proprietary Chameleon protocol, a legit no-logs policy, and plenty of features to guarantee complete privacy while torrenting.
From a budget standpoint, VyprVPN is quite affordable. Other than offering easy to use apps, VyprVPN comes with 5 simultaneous connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Next up on our list, we have SaferVPN. Just like its name, SaferVPN is more than safe to use for torrenting. Even after testing SaferVPN with multiple torrent clients, I couldn’t find a single thing to complain about.
SaferVPN is super easy to set up too. With SaferVPN’s recommended Canada, Spain, and Netherlands servers, I managed to get a download speed of 65+ Mbps and an upload speed of 70+ Mbps. As for pings, SaferVPN managed to offer pings between 70 ms to 80 ms max.
As for overall performance, SaferVPN managed to consistently offer a stable connection throughout my testing.
If we talk about features, SaferVPN comes with strong security features such as automatic Wi-Fi security, VPN kill switch, no logs policy, and other similarly secure features.
Price-wise SaferVPN is quite affordable and all of its subscription plans come with 24/7 live chat support, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and up to 5 simultaneous connections.
Last but not least, we have PrivateVPN. It doesn’t offer as many servers as some of the other VPNs we’ve discussed so far, but it is still a great VPN for torrenting. Currently, PrivateVPN offers 100+ servers in 60 countries. Since PrivateVPN offers unlimited bandwidth and speed, I was more than happy with its performance.
I was able to download a significantly large torrent file in around 20 minutes without facing any connection drops. If we talk about numbers, PrivateVPN managed to output download speeds of around 50+ Mbps and upload speeds of 65+ Mbps with pings maxing at 80 ms.
If we talk about security features, PrivateVPN comes with port forwarding, kill switch, 256-bit encryption, IPv6 leak protection, and a few other features.
Aside from all that, PrivateVPN supports 6 simultaneous connections and offers a full 30-day money-back guarantee along with professional customer support.
Why Do You Need a VPN for Torrenting?
There was a time when making copies of your favourite songs or movies had no repercussions. However, ever since the internet became common in every household, things have changed quite drastically. Now, if you copy someone else’s work, it would be considered copyright infringement.
But aside from copyright issues, there are far bigger issues associated with torrenting. As I mentioned earlier, dangerous malware and your ISPs attempt to throttle your connection to the point where it becomes unusable, is becoming more common than we’d like to think.
This is why so many torrenters use VPNs nowadays. With the help of a quality VPN, you’ll be able to download any torrent file from any torrent website and from any location without exposing your identity.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Torrenting?
To help you find the best VPN for torrenting, I’ve come up with the following five factors to rank each of the VPN providers that I’m going to recommend in this blog:
- Unlimited bandwidth — A lot of VPNs impose some sort of data caps to prevent users from consuming too much bandwidth. You should look for a VPN that offers unlimited bandwidth such as PureVPN.
- Fast speeds — Due to crowded servers, most VPNs are unable to offer fast speeds. You should only go for those VPNs that don’t negatively impact your speeds by more than 30% – 40%. As per my testing, NordVPN and ExpressVPN are super fast and barely negatively impact internet speeds.
- No logs — A VPN service must keep zero browsing logs. This way, if a VPN provider is questioned by authorities in any legal matter, the VPN provider will have nothing to disclose.
- Security and privacy — A VPN must offer security features such as 256-bit encryption, kill switch, DNS leak protection, and others to prevent anyone from spying on you.
- Anonymous IPs — For torrenting, it is super important for a VPN service to offer plenty of shared anonymous IP addresses. With so many torrenters sharing the same IP, there’s no way anyone would be able to uniquely identify your torrenting activities.
Torrenting laws in different countries
While there are some countries that simply overlook the fact that you download or share torrents, there are many countries out there that strictly penalize torrenters.
Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here are the torrenting laws of the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands:
In the United States, downloading or sharing copyright material without consent is penalized by law. Anyone found guilty of copyright infringement can face up to five years of imprisonment or a fine of up to $150,000 per copyrighted file downloaded or shared.
In the U.K, torrenting is illegal by law. As per the United Kingdom’s Digital Economy Act, anyone found guilty of copyright infringement can face a maximum prison sentence of two to ten years.
Although in Canada, torrenting for personal use is greatly overlooked, however, as per Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11), copyright owners can still press charges for statutory damages of up to $100 and not more than $5,000 even if the downloaded material is meant for non-commercial purposes.
Australia is among the very few countries that have taken stern actions against mainstream torrenting sites. The country has enforced strict anti-piracy laws to protect the intellectual properties of copyright holders. Anyone caught torrenting copyrighted material in Australia can face up to AUD 117,000 in fines as well as a maximum of five years imprisonment.
Germany also considers torrenting and P2P file sharing as illegal. The fine for torrenting in Germany starts from $200 and can go all the way up to $1300. According to a poll conducted by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, around 4.3 million Germans have received fines demanding an average of $1,000.
Downloading pirated copyrighted content has been illegal in the Netherlands since 2014 as per the civil law. In the Netherlands, if a copyright owner sues someone for infringement, he or she might have to pay a fine somewhere between $100 or $200. That being said, the fines for copyright infringement cannot be artificially high as enforced in countries like the U.S.
VPN’s Not Recommended for Torrenting
There are plenty of VPN service providers out there that either don’t support torrenting or are untrustworthy. Here are the top three VPN providers that you should avoid for torrenting purposes:
TunnelBear doesn’t support torrenting and P2P file sharing. It used to have a proper article on its website explaining why it doesn’t support torrenting, however, it’s no longer on its website. But since TunnelBear is headquartered in Canada, they do have to comply with Canadian laws and regulations which are strongly against torrenting. Hence, torrenting is not officially supported by TunnelBear.
2. Hola VPN
Hola is another VPN provider that doesn’t support torrenting. Not only that, since Hola mostly runs on the peer-to-peer model, it lacks security features and can expose your true identity, which no VPN user wants. Hola VPN should be considered a glorified proxy service and not a trustworthy VPN. If you want to download torrents safely, steer clear of Hola VPN. Overall, Hola is very slow considering its transfer speeds and is pretty much useless for torrenting.
Lastly, I would recommend that you avoid Betternet if you want to download torrents with it. As disclosed by CSIRO researchers, Betternet contained malware, adware, and multiple tracking codes. Considering all this, Betternet is one VPN you should absolutely avoid.
Why Free VPNs are not recommended for torrenting?
Although there are hundreds of free VPNs on the market, research conducted by CSIRO found that 18 percent of all VPNs don’t offer any encryption. As a fact, a lot of free VPNs in the market are known to contain tracking libraries. Even though free VPN providers don’t charge you anything, they make money by tracking your online activities, which is absolutely devastating for your privacy.
From a privacy standpoint, free VPNs are a major no-no for torrenting.
Even if you don’t care much about your privacy, free VPNs come with a lot of limitations. For starters, free VPNs only let you choose between one or two server locations. Naturally, when a server is overcrowded, you’ll likely face unbearably slow downloading or uploading speeds, making torrenting impossible.
In addition to that, free VPNs often impose some sort of bandwidth caps to restrict users from consuming too much bandwidth. With 500 MB or a maximum of 1 GB data cap, you’ll obviously be unable to download large torrent files.
Overall, if you want to download torrents without restrictions, paid VPNs are the ones to get.
Common FAQs of Torrenting users
Now that you know which are the best VPNs for torrenting, let’s check out some of the frequently asked questions that torrenting users have regarding VPNs.
Is Torrenting safe with a VPN?
Yes, torrenting is safe with VPNs. As long as you choose a reliable VPN provider, you should have nothing to worry about. When using a VPN, your IP address gets masked and prevents even your ISP from knowing what you do online. A lot of VPNs even come with ads and malware blockers which prevents you from visiting or downloading malicious files.
Can you go to jail for Torrenting?
For downloading copyright-free torrents, you will not face any legal repercussions. But for downloading copyrighted intellectual property of someone else, you might have to pay a certain amount of fine and even serve jail time depending on which part of the world you reside in. The United States for example.
How do ISPs know you’re Torrenting?
Technically speaking, ISPs, for the most part, can’t tell that you download torrents using their service, as most torrent clients nowadays use some form of encryption. However, by analyzing your usage patterns and how many concurrent upload and download streams you have associated with your IP address, your ISP can figure out whether you’re downloading torrents or not.
How dangerous is Torrenting without VPN?
As discussed previously, torrenting without a VPN is super risky. You can get heavily fined if your identity gets exposed, have your internet connection severely throttled, or even get your computer infected with dangerous malware.
Is using a VPN for torrenting legal?
Yes, it is perfectly legal to use a VPN for torrenting. However, in some countries like China, Russia, and Iran, using VPNs is banned. As long as you’re not downloading or sharing copyrighted materials using VPNs, you should have nothing to worry about. But in case you download torrents illegally, you can get fined and also face many legal issues.