Best VPN for Torrenting and Torrents:
What is a VPN?
VPN is a well-known acronym which stands for ‘virtual private network’. It is a way of taking a private network and then extending it across a public network. This means that anyone using this VPN can send, receive and use data across the public network, in a way that mirrors and resembles being connected to a private network, ideal for anonymous browsing. VPNs are used all over the world and for several reasons, from torrenting, to live streaming to unblocking users favourite services while travelling. VPN services vary largely in what they offer.
Best VPNs For Torrenting
What is a Torrent?
A torrent is a file which is actually not really a file. Confused? Don’t be; a torrent is a file that contains information and metadata about the content a user is trying to send or receive. It does not contain the content itself, but the information about it, including the file size, name, type, composition and file integrity information. The torrent also includes information on the networks that house the content. Basically, a user can compare a torrent to an index which helps a device and a user lookup information, and where they can find and access the content, they are looking for. This means one user’s computer can download from another user’s device that allows this exchange to happen. Torrents have been a popular way of sharing and accessing content and continues to be a common way to do so.
How Do VPNs Enable Torrenting?
VPNs are often used for torrenting and by users looking for torrent files. Using a VPN for this helps protect the user’s network and personal information, and protects against hacking, viruses and other data and cybersecurity issues. It is known to be a risk and a real threat to users, who choose to torrent without enabling or using a VPN.
It is undoubtedly worth noting, however, that not all VPNs are the same and that not all are helpful and useful when torrenting. In fact, some VPNs are not fast or powerful enough for torrenting, plus some are not as secure as others, making your information insecure. Some VPNs also store user information, despite what users may be led to think or believe. Free VPNs are often the ones to avoid when torrenting, as they tend to be the least reliable or secure. Paying, whether monthly, or a one time fee, often gets users a higher level of security and encryption, as well as speed and bandwidth which is more ideal for things such as torrents and streaming.
Risks of Using a Poor VPN to Torrent
Some of the risks and downfalls of using a free or unreliable VPN service include:
- Slow speeds; torrenting, and doing so properly, requires a VPN which is fast and efficient.
- Low bandwidth; some VPNs have bandwidth issues which can impact the quality and the speed of your torrents.
- Logless; free VPNs often log and keep your information and sell it to other third parties, which is a risk for users and their information. Using a service that is not logless risks users’ data being accessed by third parties, the government, regulatory bodies or groups.
- Anonymity; by using a VPN that uses a shared IP address, you increase and enhance your level of anonymity.
- Viruses; third parties, hackers and other unwanted guests can snoop on user information and computers when using an unreliable VPN, which can result in viruses or hacks.
- Ban of torrenting; many popular (and free) VPN services actually ban, and do not permit, torrenting by users.
- IP leaks; many VPN services advertise that they are ‘leak-free’, meaning that they do not have IP leaks, and this is especially appealing if you are looking for a service to use for torrenting.
What is an IP Leak Exactly?
Many users may not be familiar with this term. Ultimately, it can be as messy as the term would suggest. An IP leak occurs when a user is connected to a given VPN service, and yet the user’s real IP address is used instead of the anonymous IP addresses through the VPN. Often, these leaks happen without the user even knowing what is happening or that this is occurring. The person or party responsible for these leaks is entirely dependent on the situation and the scenario; sometimes the service provider is the source or cause of the leak, and other times it is the user who may be responsible, and it is often accidental. Regardless of the cause, these leaks can be detrimental and have extremely negative impacts on users’ cybersecurity.
How to Set Up a VPN
Setting up a VPN can be straight forward and often, depending on the provider, instructions are provided and prompt users through the steps. The setup requirements and the setup process are entirely dependent on the operating system which you use. For example, the steps may be slightly different for those who use an Apple or Mac device, vs those who use Windows. Typically, the steps are as simple as either searching or finding the ‘Virtual Private Network’ settings on your browser, desktop or both. When this setting is found, often under the network and internet settings, users simply have to find the button that asks them to add a VPN. Then, users will be prompted to add details about the VPN provider and service as well as the connection name, server information, etc. For some VPN providers, they have their own client or platform, and these steps will be done separately from the operating system settings.
It is also worth noting that VPN behaviour, and the way in which it functions and is set up, can be dependent on the type of browser being used, as well as the browser’s security, firewall and other settings. Be sure to read instructions carefully and do adequate research to get the most from a VPN service.
Disabling or Turning Off a VPN
As is the case with establishing or setting up a VPN, often disabling a VPN service is dependent on the operating system browser, as well as the actual VPN provider. Turning it off and disabling the service often involves going into the same network and internet settings that you would use to turn it on if you happen to use the built-in VPN client. From there, it really is just simply a matter of finding the VPN and selecting ‘disable’ or the equivalent wording. If you are using a different client or interface provided by the VPN provider, the steps and prompts may look inconsistent but should be similar and prompt you.
Torrenting Laws and Regulations
The legality and ability to torrent varies country by country and even region by region. Some countries do not have regulations, others are strict when it comes to torrenting, and some do not allow torrenting at all. For the most part, torrenting is legal, within reason; that is, users are not permitted to download copyrighted or protected material. With the laws being different country by country, the best VPN services to use in each country varies; some countries require more focus on encryption and security, whereas others require users to focus on speed and efficiency when choosing the best VPN service. In order to know what to look for, it can be important to understand the online and digital landscape of the country in question.
Here is a quick guide to various different country’s legislation as it relates to torrenting:
- Canada; has legislation in place to protect copyright material but it is not as strict as other countries. It is, however, a country which has long been a target of, and home to, quite a number of cyber attacks and hacks, which means that VPNs are more frequently and broadly used here.
- Switzerland; downloading all material is permitted and legal, as long as it is for personal use.
- Poland; similar to Switzerland, all material, even copyright material, is legal to download for individuals using VPNs and torrenting.
- Spain: Spain is one of the most easy-going when it comes to any sort of downloading or copyright enforcement. This means there is an abundance of VPN providers, so users should do their research and be informed to make safe decisions.
- The Netherlands; traditionally, VPNs have been used in the Netherlands for privacy and for unblocking international or external content. New legislation that took effect in May of 2018 gave the Dutch government more control and capabilities, as it relates to surveillance and digital monitoring, which may reduce the ability and favourability of torrenting in this country.
- Israel; there is a lot of content automatically blocked for Israeli internet users, as well as censored posts from the media outlets. With outdated digital infrastructure, this country is also subject and open to a variety of viruses and cyber-attacks. Currently, torrenting is not legal, but the surveillance of it and consequences are limited, as authorities typically turn more of a blind eye to the use of VPNs and torrenting.
- Greece; in Greece, there are laws that do restrict and impact the ability of citizens to display and portray certain opinions which creates a need for anonymity (i.e. the use of VPNs). Most commonly, these VPN services are used for streaming unblocking content on platforms such as Netflix and Hulu.
- The Czech Republic; similar to Greece, these VPNs are often used for unlocking international content and by tourists and travellers to get and keep up with content they use and access in their home countries. High security and encryption is something that’s important to look for in a VPN when in the Czech Republic.
- Singapore; in Singapore, the legislation and copyright enforcement is extremely strict and high, as there is an agreement between the US and Singapore that requires them to be as vigilant as the US, in relation to copyright enforcement. Further, the constitution in the country does not actually allow or provide rights to 100% privacy for citizens and the government controls and blocks many websites. Using a VPN helps users access content anonymously, but torrenting is trickier here because of these laws, as well as their strict enforcement.
- Brazil; most, if not all, internet activity is tracked and logged using IP addresses in Brazil per the national legislation. Using VPNs can be tricky here, and the best are those that users may have to pay a premium for.
- Germany; the laws and regulations as they relate to sharing copyright items are strict in Germany. This means that even when using VPNs, it is important for users to know what they are sharing, downloading and consuming, in order to respect the law, even when downloading or torrenting anonymously.
- Japan; because of Japan’s strict laws, there are many restrictions in terms of what users can access, especially when it comes to geo-blocked sites. This means that a strong and reliable VPN is crucial for those who want to access things such as Netflix and other geo-blocked sites and content.
- The UK; as part of one of the “nine eyes” countries, the UK does have strict laws as it relates to online content and sharing. When choosing a VPN for use in the UK, whether a resident or a visitor or tourist, choosing a VPN service that is not based in the UK is crucial. This is because the services based in the UK allow government authorities to ask, at any time, for user information. If not based in the UK, the government does not have the jurisdiction to do so.
- France; though not traditionally the case, since they joined the nine eyes alliance, has been adding increasingly strict and stringent data retention laws which can infringe on people’s privacy rights and cyber privacy. There are undoubtedly many reasons to use a VPN when in France, and there are some services that are better for using there than others. Users should do adequate research to choose one that is both in line with their needs, as well as one that respects the country’s legislation.
- Italy; recently, Italy and the Italian government have cracked down on torrenting as online crime. There have actually been several torrenting sites that have been completely shut down by Italian authorities. As laws become more strict, there are bodies and groups being created for the sole purpose of monitoring online activity, especially anything suspicious or illegal. When visiting Italy or thinking of torrenting here, users are encouraged to understand and know the laws and their rights, in order to respect the increasingly strict legislation.
- The United States; the United States is notorious for being strict and active in online activity monitoring and in cracking down on torrenting or any online activity that does not align with their extensive and stringent laws and regulations, as it relates to accessing copyright material and content.
Top VPNs for Torrenting
Because not all VPNs are built or used the same, here are some of the best options for VPNs for torrenting, based on speed, bandwidth, and customer service.
- ExpressVPN; this is mentioned by many different experts, sites and tech review resources, as one of the top choices for torrenting VPNs. This may be due to its super-secure encryption or impressive download speeds or might even be the top-notch security and logless nature. Further, this VPN is usable and available in almost 100 countries. It is also undoubtedly simple to set up and use, making it a great option for beginners or those less versed in the world of VPNs, who may just be looking for something simple without a lot of settings or configuration options or requirements. This VPN service is actually based in the British Virgin Islands, which may not be of significance until it is brought to light there are no retention laws here as it relates to data. This means that ExpressVPN focuses on the anonymity of users and protecting users from breaches and impositions to their security, files and personal information.
ExpressVPN is also favoured by many users for its ability and capabilities of unblocking popular streaming services, as well as the fact that it is available on almost every operating system from Windows to Linux.
The one noted drawback by many users and experts alike about ExpressVPN is its cost, with prices that are significantly higher than many other options. However, this service tends to be an example and a testament to the fact that you do indeed get what you pay for.
- Perfect Privacy; as the name would suggest, this is a great option for torrenting as this VPN service focuses heavily on user privacy and security. It is a leak-proof service which offers great download speed and performance, as well as extensive and elaborate user support. Based in Switzerland, this VPN service does cost more than other alternatives, but the price per month does allow users to connect as many devices as they would like, with no limits on bandwidth either. There are some impressive and unique features built into Perfect Privacy as well, including the ability to block ads, viruses and the fact it is a logless and anonymous service.
- NordVPN; this is a more affordable option when compared to the two above mentioned VPN providers and is still an excellent service with great features and capabilities. It also is so confident in its services, that it offers users a satisfaction guarantee, whereby, if users are not happy, they can get their money back for a full 30 days. The default encryption is tight and secure enough that users won’t have to fuss much with the settings. The speed is comparable with more expensive services, but users, experts and online reviews indicate that the speeds may not always be consistent. There is also a kill switch option for users, which offers additional security and protection and allows users to actually select which services to stop or ‘kill’ if the VPN service drops or fails for any reason. This is another great option for unblocking users’ favourite streaming services and also explicitly calls out and permits torrenting. It does limit the number of connections to six, which is still a reasonable amount and a great value for the money that users pay.
- VPNArea; based in Bulgaria, this works with many streaming services, offers impressive speeds, ad-blocking capabilities and a secure VPN platform. It is logless and permits torrenting, making it a great option. The price is one of, if not, the most appealing elements of this service, offering one of the best quality to service ratios in terms of torrenting friendly VPNs. It has a dedicated and helpful team of customer service and support agents to help users with any issues they may encounter as well.
- CyberGhost allows those looking for an affordable yet efficient VPN service for torrenting a great option. P2P filesharing is totally permitted for users in most countries, (see their websites and information for restrictions), with the exception of the US and Russia, where torrent laws and regulations prevent these types of sharing and this method of VPN use. One great aspect is their ‘Torrent Anonymously’ feature that connects users with the best VPN server available (that is torrent-friendly of course). The encryption and security are top-notch, and as with many VPN services, has a desktop enabled kill switch. Unlike some other VPN services, however, this killswitch can be tricky to find in the various and vast settings. One disadvantage is that this VPN provider cannot unblock any streaming service. Despite this minor drawback, it is an affordable option with great speed and service for users.
- StrongVPN is another great option for torrentors. It has a simple and limited interface but is a great option for those who need a simple VPN for the sake of torrenting. Unlimited bandwidth is a great feature, especially given it can support five connections at any one time.
Some of the security measures which StrongVPN has taken, include strong encryption, kill switches and scrambling connections to help with anonymity. The site targets the torrentors market and fully supports torrenting.
The price is another appealing option for users of all shapes and sizes.
- Windscribe; this service is well rounded as it offers good speed, bandwidth, security, encryption and torrenting abilities. A firewall is used to keep data, information and files secure on the service. Unlike some of the other services mentioned above, Windscribe works in many countries, even those with stricter regulations and legislation. One thing to note is that there is only a three day turnaround time to get money back if a user is actually dissatisfied with the service. On a more positive note, Windscribe does offer subscription options but also provides users with the ability to build and customise their own plan, depending on their needs.
- Surfshark: Surfshark prides itself on being a safe and secure service for consumers to use for their torrenting needs. Not only does it keep its promise in this regard, but is also very user-friendly and is limitless in terms of bandwidth, and number of simultaneous connections, which is often extremely important for users looking for a great torrenting VPN. Torrenting is explicitly permitted using all servers provided by and connected with Surfshark, even in countries with tight and strict P2P restrictions and regulations. Torrent specific servers are provided, and intelligent algorithms help connect users with the ideal server for them.
- Mullvad; this service offers the ultimate anonymous experience and is great for users who are looking for an extremely and truly secure provider. This Swedish based company goes to great lengths to protect user data and keep absolutely no logs, making it an entirely anonymous experience.
VPN Services to Avoid and Steer Clear Of
As previously mentioned, not all VPNs are made the same. Though some are great for torrenting, some just appear to be. It is important to be able to actually distinguish between reliable services and those which may be scams or too good to be true. Some of these services may advertise great features, a great price, or both, but may not actually be legitimate or great at all. Users should read reviews and follow the suggested tips mentioned later in this article to help them make informed decisions. Here are just a few notoriously bad VPN providers that users should avoid, or at the very least, be wary of.
- ExpatSurfer; this is known to be a scam and does not have great user reviews or reputation. The customer service lacks and is known to be almost completely unresponsive. The price is also high, charging over 10 USD per month for little to no service. There are no server addresses provided, which prevents connection to any PPTP. Many users have asked for this service to be blacklisted completely.
- Earth VPN; based in Cyprus, users may know this VPN as one which used actually to be an extremely popular option and choice, due to the advertised features such as unlimited usage, P2P sharing, and logless interface, but it does not deliver even a fraction of what it advertises. The service has actually been dropped, yet still accepts user subscriptions. Users beware when even thinking of subscribing, as there will be an influx of emails and invoices sent for months after a user visits and abandons the site. Users should also not expect to hear from any human being as it relates to customer service or any issues users may need to be resolved.
- Betternet VPN; one of the most notorious scams, Betternet offers users free VPN services when in reality, when users sign up, instead of proper VPN services, they can expect malware, the spread of their personal information and data and viruses galore. It has been continuously ranked by different online watchdogs and organisations as being one of the highest in terms of the number of viruses. Users should be wary of this service and understand that the minute they input any personal data, they can expect a host of third parties to be able to access it.
- Cryptostorm VPN; users are often enticed by the plethora of promising features offered and advertised by this VPN service. The first bonus is that users get a token, so they don’t even need to input a password or email address. It also has great security features and speed and even offers impressive and enticing pricing options. Nothing to be wary of thus far; wrong! This is speculated to be an FBI trap. Users should be aware if they choose to sign up for this service, as to what they share over this VPN.
- Liberty VPN entices users and appears to be a great option due to its advertised ability to unblock many popular streaming services. This is where reading the fine print becomes extremely important, as their unrealistic and unfavourable terms of service really pigeonhole and trap users. From their refund policy to their above-average pricing, with limits on daily usage. Further, users have complained about the complex and overly complicated interface, the inability to use more than one connection at once and the restrictions on certain services such as Skype. Further, be aware that this company charges a deactivation fee for those users who wish to cancel their account, and it isn’t cheap.
Choosing a Reliable and Legitimate VPN Service
Users’ criteria for choosing a great VPN service is entirely dependent on their needs and what they are looking for and what they need their VPN to do. In order to make an educated, informed decision as to which is best for them, here are some ways that users can get information and better understand their options in terms of VPN providers:
- Read reviews; user reviews and experience are a great way to get some initial insight into the vast and almost overwhelming amount of VPN services and providers out there. These reviews will provide valuable information on everything from speed to encryption to customer service. It is a great way to get information, but should not be used as the only source or means of getting information about a provider or VPN, as customer experience, and reviews can be influenced and impacted by a wide variety of factors and considerations, in addition to the fact that each user’s needs are different and unique.
- Try before you buy; many VPN services allow you the ability to sign up and use the service for anywhere from 15 to 45 days, and if you are dissatisfied or do not like, want or need the service, you can cancel it without penalty and in a lot of cases, even get all of your money back. This is a great way to test the waters and to try out a few different options before committing to and paying for any one service. This also allows beginners an opportunity to get more familiar with VPN services.
- Cost comparison; if there are several services which make it onto a user’s shortlist of desired providers, it may be worthwhile to create some sort of cost comparison, so to understand better which option provides the best value for money.
- Ask an expert; whether a family member, the IT guy at work, or an online authority, getting opinions from an expert can help make the decision a lot easier, as these professionals can translate the technical language to terms users may understand better, so that it is easier to understand the security, encryption, speed and the service as a whole.
- Read the fine print; though users may understand the service, or feel that they do, it is always beneficial to read the providers terms and conditions to understand aspects such as how they handle user information, retention policies, third party agreements, how they manage payment information, or service renewal terms, etc. This paints a bigger picture for users.
- Research jurisdictional rules and regulations; as previously mentioned, laws, restrictions and regulations vary largely from country to country as it relates to torrenting and the content which can be shared, used, downloaded and accessed by users all over the world. Before subscribing to or signing up for any VPN service, it can be important to understand jurisdictional laws and rules, to be sure not to break any laws when using and accessing a VPN. This can be especially important when using VPNs in foreign countries, or when travelling to new places.
- Understand what makes a good VPN service; knowing what you are even looking for can be a great first step in choosing the best VPN. Understanding what makes a VPN a good option for torrenting is important. Users should know what they need their VPN service to do so that they are able to understand and distinguish the good options from the lesser than. There are many options and providers, with more and more emerging every year, so this can be extra important. The number of connections, encryption levels, security measures, speed and bandwidth can be a few things to consider when choosing a site.