Some will remember the days before P2P. Stacks of burned DVD-Rs (and CD-Rs before that) used to crowd every corner, unstable FTP servers were a necessary evil, we used GetRight, IRC download bots, and even met people to get TV shows… There’s no reason to wax lyrical about the ‘90s, the point is – people went to great lengths for culture and knowledge because it’s crucial. Nowadays, we have torrents and everything is easier, but only if you know what you’re doing.
Torrenting is awesome, but in many countries, it’s also very risky. In Western Europe, for example, people get slapped with copyright violation fines or even prison sentences quite frequently. Thankfully, VPN exists to solve your issues but before you buy the first tool claiming to be the “best VPN for torrenting”, have a read. We’ve taken great care to sort through the good and the bad to find the crème de la crème of VPN services for torrents.
None of the VPNs below limit your speed, bandwidth or number of server switches – a common negative with free VPN services.
Which VPN is best for torrenting?
There are several important considerations when choosing a VPN for torrenting. Depending on where you are in the world, security or speed will be the primary factors and frequently you’ll have to choose between them. ExpressVPN has you covered on both bases.
ExpressVPN offers powerful encryption, a durable kill switch and has no DNS or IPv6 leaks – on the tech side, it is impenetrable. But that isn’t the only security/privacy aspect in need of inspection. We should always look at where the VPN is registered and how much data it collects. In this case, home base is in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a British overseas territory. As we all know, the United Kingdom is one of the worst offenders of privacy in the whole world, so the BVI may be a worrying location for some. Thankfully, the truth is Britain has very little sway in the BVI, and the location has no data retention laws. We consider it completely safe.
Just as many other VPNs, ExpressVPN claims to have a no-logging policy. This is almost never true, so we should try to look at logging realistically. Express has the benefit of having been tested in the real world: in 2017, Turkish authorities seized an ExpressVPN server to investigate the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey in Ankara and got nothing from it.
As the name suggests, with 2,000+ servers in 94 countries, ExpressVPN is fast, fast, fast! It’s one of the best performing VPNs on the market – particularly important if you have a mediocre connection and still want to torrent safely. It also works very consistently in China, although for maximum security you might have to give up some speed. Contrary to many other VPNs, ExpressVPN does not restrict P2P usage to specific servers.
There’s only one real drawback to ExpressVPN – the price. It costs $12.95 a month, $9.99 a month billed every 6 months, or $6.67 a month billed annually. This only gets you 3 simultaneous connections, but ExpressVPN has a Router app, which will help you cover all your Wi-Fi traffic.
Read our full ExpressVPN Review
Express and Nord are always fighting for the #1 market position, and it’s always 50/50 who will win. In this case, we put NordVPN in second place, because the speeds it offers are merely very good. That’s not to say there are no reasons to get Nord instead of Express – far from it!
Firstly, NordVPN has the strongest security credentials on the market – potent encryption, a dependable kill switch, and no leaking issues. It also has some cool additional features (onion over VPN, double VPN, etc.). Their company is based where there are no data retention laws or serious intelligence risks. Panama. NordVPN also has a no-logging policy, which, although not yet tested “in the wild”, seems very plausible.
NordVPN offers an insane 4,000+ servers in 60+ countries, and their speeds are naturally very good. Not all of these servers allow P2P traffic, but NordVPN has special servers, optimized for maximum performance. There are good reasons for this approach, mainly it has to do with some server locations being more forgiving than others. By choosing to avoid riskier locations, NordVPN is thinking about the long term.
As is the case with ExpressVPN, Nord reliably works in China and is an all-around great choice. And also it’s cheap: $11.95 a month, $5.75 a month billed annually, or $3.29 a month billed every two years. The subscription gets you an above-average 6 simultaneous connections.
Read our full NordVPN Review
Right off the bat we must mention that the “Tor” in TorGuard stands for “torrent”, so you’re in good hands. Technically, TorGuard is every bit as powerful as Express and Nord. No other VPN is in that same territory at the moment – not even CyberGhost.
TorGuard shows very little oversight when it comes to privacy and security. Their encryption is top-notch AES-256, they have no leaks (either DNS, WebRTC, or otherwise), and the suite of features includes anything you could want – a good kill switch, stealth protocols, etc. People should only be concerned with TorGuard when it comes to non-technical things. For example, their company is registered in the United States, which isn’t exactly the bastion of online privacy. Secondly, at least some of their communications go through Gmail, and Google is also not very good with privacy. When all’s said and done, most people probably shouldn’t worry about that – especially if it’s just torrents you’re interested in.
This is one of the largest VPNs in terms of server count – they have 3,000+ in 50+ countries. Also, in this case, the numbers convert to speed. TorGuard is one of the fastest tools in the VPN world, which is great news for torrenting fans. It works well in restricted countries like China, is more than capable of bypassing geo-blocking restrictions, and has apps for most important devices (including a router app!).
You can get TorGuard for $9.99 a month, $4.99 a month billed quarterly, $4.99 a month billed every six months, $4.99 a month billed annually, or $4.15 a month billed every two years.
Read our full TorGuard Review
At #3 we have the Romania-based CyberGhost. Although not an ideal VPN when compared to any of the Top 3 choices, CyberGhost is still very good, cheap, and has unique selling points.
CyberGhost has top-notch security in terms of encryption and features, but it’s got some leaking issues to address. If you intend to use this tool, you should ask whether they have managed to solve their problems with DNS/WebRTC leaks. The CyberGhost support site also has guides that will help you minimize your risks while torrenting.
Romania is a good location for a VPN – it has a pro-privacy stance and no data retention laws. It’s also not part of the 5 eyes or 14 eyes intelligence-sharing country groups. All this makes CyberGhost’s no logging policy a lot more credible than is usually the case.
This VPN boasts 1,800+ servers in 60+ countries and the speeds are very good regardless of where you are. With that said, it’s not as reliable in China and other restricted countries. Less tech-savvy users will appreciate CyberGhost’s usage profiles, which will help optimize their experience with the program. Torrent users will particularly appreciate this feature because of the awesome “Torrent Anonymously” profile.
CyberGhost is available for $11.99 a month, $4.99 a month billed annually, $3.79 a month billed every two years, or $2.75 a month billed every three years. The price includes the ability to use up to 7 devices simultaneously. There’s also a custom router app, so you can easily protect yourself at the router level.
Read our full CyberGhost Review
There are many more big VPNs that have hundreds of servers around the globe. For our #4 we decided to pick something different yet very powerful. The boringly-named PrivateVPN is a great low-key choice for torrenting.
PrivateVPN is very small – it only has 100+ servers scattered in 56 countries around the globe. Needless to say, speed is not PrivateVPN’s strongest aspect, but neither is it the weakest. This VPN has optimized their infrastructure for small-scale operation so the drop-off in speed should not be crippling. We urge you to try it for yourself and see if that happens to be the case for you in particular.
This little VPN makes a point of not discriminating against P2P traffic – all ports are open and ready to go!
Despite its sub-par location (they are registered in not-so-privacy-friendly Sweden), PrivateVPN keep no logs. Or so they say – it’s probably not strictly true, but the reality seems not far off.
In terms of technical prowess – it’s all there. Strong encryption and privacy features (including a kill switch), and, apparently, no leaking issues. However, PrivateVPN does not have their own DNS, so you should make sure DNS leaks are not a problem.
One more reason we decided to include PrivateVPN on this list is the price: $7.12 a month, $4.50 a month billed every 3 months, or $2.73 a month billed every 19 months. The cost includes the ability to use the program simultaneously on 6 devices. There’s also a free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full PrivateVPN Review
Also Worth Trying
6. Private Internet Access
Last, but not least, we have PIA – the budget VPN to end all budget VPNs. With some exceptions, Private Internet Access is a decent choice for torrent users.
For a tool as cheap as PIA, it’s very good at protecting your privacy. Strong encryption that you can customize for your needs, a functional kill switch, OpenVPN – Private Internet Access offers all of this and more. There are some concerns about WebRTC leaks, but this is actually the case with the majority of VPNs.
The most concerning fact about PIA security-wise is that it is registered in the United States. Obviously, that’s not an ideal location due to intelligence concerns and the legal landscape, but all is not lost. US law enforcement has already tested PIA’s no-logs policy several times. Each time the data they got was useless to build a case. This is great news for the torrenting enthusiast!
Private Internet Access has 3,000+ servers in 30 countries. That’s a lot but we should add an asterisk: most of those servers are based in Europe and North America. That means you can expect decent speeds in those regions and disappointing speeds in others. It’s also not the most reliable VPN service for users in restricted countries, such as China, Russia, Turkey, etc.
This tool deserves to be on the best torrenting VPN list for its cost-effectiveness. The subscription is $6.95 a month, $3.33 a month billed annually, or $2.91 a month billed every two years. One subscription gets you 5 simultaneous connections.
Read our full PIA Review
Torrent wisely. Whether you choose one of the VPNs above or some other tool, the most important thing is to be aware of what you’re getting. VPN is a growing industry full of people trying to make a fortune as quickly as possible. Usually, the quickest way to do this is by making shortcuts, some of which can be disastrous.
The VPNs we picked have been around long enough to prove their trustworthiness. They will allow you to torrent safely and efficiently, so you’ll neither have to wait around for your download nor your probation hearing.
How we made this list
We have done rigorous testing on all the abovementioned VPNs. When you’re making a choice, keep in mind that:
- We prize versatility. VPN can (and should) be an all-around tool, capable of working everywhere and giving the user access to anything from torrents to Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It’s all about the money – why get two tools for something that can be accomplished using one?
- Security and trust are a VPN’s primary assets.
- The selection is not final and will be constantly updated. With that said, we are confident that the Top VPNs on this list aren’t going anywhere.