Peer-to-peer technology has been around for decades at this point, which means that its inner workings have been refined and improved quite a lot over time. On the other hand, the idea behind the technology is fairly simple, even if the implementation can be quite challenging. As such, the goal of a P2P service is to avoid the client-server architecture and allow people to share data between them without relying on expensive servers.
Naturally, sharing data in this manner is also a good way to make sure no one gains monopoly over a particular service, not to mention the fact that the peers involved in these transactions can leave at any point without affecting the integrity of the data as a whole. There are many peer-to-peer protocols out there as well, including things like Bitcoin, Gnutella, and Freenet.
However, the most popular P2P protocol is by far BitTorrent, which is designed for Internet users to share files with each other. In fact, BitTorrent traffic accounts for almost half of all Internet traffic, which should tell you just how widespread the protocol is and how many people use it every day.
On the other hand, torrents are also heavily associated with piracy, so many ISPs around the world frown upon this practice. In fact, your connection can be throttled if you are caught using torrents, even if you use them to download perfectly legal files. Thankfully, there are ways to get around restrictions, and as you might expect, a good VPN is one of the simplest solutions.
Keep in mind the fact that rerouting your Internet traffic takes its toll on your connection even under ideal circumstances, which means that your download speeds are going to suffer if you plan on downloading files through BitTorrent. However, this depends on the quality of the VPN service, as well as the server you choose when connecting to a VPN.
A word on piracy and torrents
One thing we must make clear from the start is that torrents are not illegal in and by themselves. The protocol is very useful when it comes to downloading large files, which means that many serious websites offer torrent download links in order to take the load off their servers.
As an example, Linux ISOs usually have dozens of torrent mirrors, because they allow people to download them at much higher speeds than they would if the files were hosted on an FTP server. In addition, there are plenty of other situations where a torrent does a better job than a regular server, especially when you consider the fact that the download speeds increase as more and more people get the files and seed them. This is not the case for regular download servers.
On the other hand, it’s no mystery that the most common use for torrents is to acquire illegal copies of movies, video games, and music. Naturally, we do not encourage the download of illegal content, so keep that in mind as well.
What does it mean for a VPN to be good at torrenting?
Before we go into detail about what we picked and how you must first be aware of the qualities a good VPN service must have in order to be considered a good choice for torrenting.
Hence, since the whole point when it comes to torrents is to download files, high download speeds are crucial. Thus, if your connection takes too big of a hit while the VPN is active, then your downloads are going to take much longer to complete as well. Sometimes this is worth the trouble if the important thing is to avoid being detected by your ISP, but the goal is to lose as little speed as possible when doing so.
After that, bandwidth limitations are also important, because they can limit the amount of content you are able to download. Thankfully, most VPN providers do not put a cap on your available bandwidth, but it’s worth looking into the matter so you don’t run into any surprises after you have already purchased a subscription.
Lastly, none of these points matter if the VPN you choose is not very good at hiding your online identity, which means that a good torrenting VPN should also protect you from leaks. Since this is something you want from your VPN anyway, regardless of what you use it for, we recommend reading our article on how to perform security tests in order to check for the most common types of leaks.
How to choose a torrenting VPN
So now that you know what makes a torrenting VPN good, here’s what you should look for when you make your decision.
Before everything else, you should consult the VPN’s terms of service and make sure they allow you to download torrents because not all of them do. Thus, it’s important to make sure the VPN in question does not forbid torrents, otherwise, you can find yourself with a suspended account, and there’s not much you can do about it, given the fact that you agree to service’s terms when you create the account.
Bandwidth is yet another important feature you should research before making a decision. While this is not a problem for most VPNs, some impose traffic limits on your connection, which means that you are only able to transfer a certain amount of data over the course of a month. This is not a torrent-only limitation either, so if you reach your quota, the service won’t be usable for anything else until the following month.
If these conditions are met, then your only remaining concern is download speed. Latency is almost irrelevant when it comes to torrents, so even if you have a high ping, the download speed is not usually affected. Thus, it’s important to choose a service with great server quality, which usually means that popular VPNs are better suited for the job.
The best torrenting VPNs in 2020
With all that being said, we can now present you with our picks for the best torrenting VPNs. As you can see, every item is accompanied by quite a bit of information, which can make it a bit bothersome to scroll directly to the VPN you are most interested in. However, you can easily navigate the article by clicking on the following links:
If you want to see how all of our picks compare next to each other, then the table below should help you get a better understanding of what each VPN can do for you.
Since ExpressVPN is a great all-rounder, to begin with, it’s not surprising that the service is also a great choice in terms of torrenting. In fact, the VPN has all the right tools to help you remain anonymous even while downloading files through a peer-to-peer network, as well as all the freedom you could wish for in terms of bandwidth.
To begin with, ExpressVPN does not limit your traffic in any way, which means that you can download as much data as you want without having to calculate how much each torrent is going to set you back. In addition, there are also no restrictions when it comes to the terms of service, so your account is not in any danger if you want to use the VPN for torrenting.
Given the fact that it takes quite a bit of time to download large files, a kill switch feature is mandatory as well, and ExpressVPN includes one too. This allows the app to instantly disable your Internet connection in case the VPN server you are connected to experiences issues, thus preventing your real IP address from being exposed in the meantime. While this feature is optional and can be turned off, we strongly suggest you keep it turned on while downloading torrents.
As far as download speeds are concerned, ExpressVPN is one of the biggest VPN providers in the world, which means that they provide you with access to thousands of high-quality servers and locations all over the globe. Thanks to this, it’s very easy to find a suitable server for torrenting as well, without taking a big hit in terms of download speeds. On the other hand, you might have to go through a few servers before finding the one that affects your connection the least.
Finally, the app also comes bundled with split-tunneling capabilities, which can come in handy. Hence, if you are only worried about your torrent downloads and not about your regular web browsing, ExpressVPN can be configured to ignore apps like Google Chrome or Firefox. This allows you to take full advantage of your Internet connection when browsing the web, while at the same time obfuscating your torrent traffic in the background.
+ Great download speeds and a multitude of servers and locations
+ The kill switch feature prevents your torrent traffic from getting exposed
+ A handy split-tunneling option that’s ideal for focusing the VPN on your torrenting and nothing else
+ No bandwidth limitations of any kind
– More expensive than other VPN providers
NordVPN is a heavyweight contender on the VPN market, and it excels at everything you might throw at it, including torrents. Because of the VPN’s popularity, you also get access to thousands of servers to choose from, thus making it easy to pick one that’s closest to you in order to lose as little speed as possible when you download something.
However, there’s more to NordVPN than great download speeds. As such, one of the most useful settings hidden in the app’s control panel is the “App kill switch”. Unlike a regular kill switch, this enables you to hand-pick the apps you want to automatically terminate in case the VPN connection is interrupted for some reason. Hence, you can tell NordVPN to automatically kill your preferred BitTorrent client when the connection is lost, which is a very useful feature.
Naturally, a regular kill switch is available too, and you should actually use both of them at the same time to maximize security. It’s not a bad idea to disable your Internet connection entirely if something goes wrong, especially if the torrenting app freezes and the process cannot be terminated quickly enough.
Another interesting feature is the possibility to use a custom DNS, although this is obviously mostly aimed at advanced users. Changing your DNS can be a great solution if you happen to be using a proxy, but keep in mind that a proxy by itself will not be able to hide your torrent traffic most of the time, so make sure you also have something like NordVPN running in the background.
Lastly, NordVPN does not forbid you from using the service for torrenting, which is obviously great news. In addition, there are no traffic limits either, so you are free to download as much data as you want without worrying about throttling or anything of the sort.
+ Selective app kill switch that allows you to terminate BitTorrent clients when the VPN server goes down
+ Generous collection of servers and locations
+ No traffic limitations or monthly quotas
+ Very high download speeds
– Expensive monthly subscription
Surfshark is yet another one of those VPNs that can be found on almost every “good VPNs” list, and it’s no surprise at all, given the fact that the quality of the service has been improving steadily ever since the app was first released. Because of that, you definitely can’t go wrong with it in terms of torrenting either, which is why it’s on our list as well.
Before everything else, it must be mentioned that Surfshark comes with a feature called “MultiHop”, which allows you to get even better privacy and remain as hidden as possible while browsing the Internet. On the other hand, the fact that this feature bounces your connection two times means that your download speeds can be significantly lower than expected. Thankfully, this feature is optional, but remember to disable it in order to avoid the speed issues.
With that out of the way, Surfshark performs really well in terms of speed, and it also comes with all the classic tools one can expect from a top VPN. This includes a kill switch as well, which as mentioned before is a crucial part of torrenting. Naturally, this can also hinder your torrenting if the connection is disabled whenever the VPN server experiences problems, but better safe than sorry.
If the traffic rerouting proves to be too annoying in terms of simple web browsing, on the other hand, the selective app white-listing feature allows you to exclude certain programs from the VPN’s effects. Remember that the kill switch does not account for this fact, however, which means that even if your browser does not use the VPN, you won’t be able to use the Internet if the kill switch disables your computer’s connection.
As far as servers are concerned, the truth is that Surfshark is not as generous as other popular VPN services. Thankfully, at least you can pick servers from every continent, which is definitely a plus, even if the number of actual locations is pretty low.
+ Decent download speeds if you disable the “MultiHop” feature
+ No bandwidth limits to worry about
+ Includes split-tunneling and a kill switch
– A fairly small number of locations
In terms of popularity and renown, Private Internet Access is definitely up there with the best of them, especially since the service has been around for a long time. Because of that, they had time to improve and tweak their app over the years, making it a great choice for a variety of purposes, and, as luck has it, for torrenting as well.
As is the case with every trustworthy VPN, Private Internet Access comes with both a kill switch and a split-tunneling feature. Thus, besides the fact that you are kept hidden in case the chosen VPN server goes down, you also have the luxury of letting certain apps on your computer go around the VPN if you want to. Obviously, you should never include your torrenting app in the split-tunneling list, because that would defeat the purpose of using a VPN anyway.
In terms of speed, you get more than decent results if you decide to go with Private Internet Access, although this can depend on the location sometimes. However, unlike many other VPN services on the market, the hit your connection takes is much smaller, which means that your download times won’t increase by any significant margin.
As far as advanced features are concerned, the port forwarding option might come in handy if you are dealing with torrents, as will the fact that you can configure the app to use a proxy as well. On the other hand, a torrent download should work right out of the box as well, meaning that there is no special configuration needed in order to start downloading your files.
Lastly, bandwidth limits won’t hinder your activities either, regardless of how much data you transfer at any given point. As you might have deduced by now, this is exactly what you want from a VPN if your goal is to download torrents.
+ A lot of advanced features that come in handy for torrenting purposes
+ Fast download speeds and good upload speeds as well
+ Includes a kill switch and split-tunneling
– Not as many locations as other VPNs
Even though VPNArea does not enjoy the same level of prestige as some of the other VPNs on our list, the truth of the matter is that it comes with a few interesting features that make this VPN a very good choice for torrenting. In addition, the service as a whole is top-notch, so you don’t have to worry about giving up security or privacy either.
To begin with, VPNArea is one of the few VPNs that actually encourages the use of torrents and P2P clients, which is obvious when you first open the app and see the fact that there are dedicated servers designed for torrenting. Not only that, but these servers are designed to maximize both download and upload speeds, which is definitely something not all VPNs are willing to do for you.
In addition to all these, the P2P servers also display some additional information that can help you pick the right location, including things like the geographical distance between you and the server, as well as the overall load. This allows you to see whether one of the servers is too busy at the moment because that could mean your speed will be affected as well.
You also have two kill switch options to choose from, depending on whether you want to block the connection using your computer’s firewall, or simply disable the connection entirely whenever the VPN server goes down. Unfortunately, a split-tunneling option is not present, so you cannot pick which apps are affected by the VPN.
Since VPNArea comes with a special list of P2P servers, it should be obvious that the service does not impose any bandwidth restrictions either. On the other hand, the overall list of servers is not as long as you might hope, which is a bit annoying if you intend on using the app for something other than torrents.
+ A dedicated list of P2P and torrenting servers
+ No traffic limitations
– Slower speeds than most other VPNs on the list
– Not that many servers
All in all, we can safely conclude that there are plenty of good options out there if you want to use a VPN for torrenting. Many services actually bend over backward to optimize download speeds and peer-to-peer traffic, which means that you do not have to worry about giving up too much of your bandwidth when you turn on the VPN.
Furthermore, you do not have to give up on your privacy either, especially since every VPN on this list comes with various security features that prevent your traffic from being exposed, including things like kill switches, split-tunneling, and proxy servers.
Thus, it shouldn’t be difficult to find the perfect fit for your needs, especially if you take our advice into consideration.