NordVPN has one of the most solid reputations in the world of VPNs, attracting praise from leading tech journals for its easy to use interface, great speeds, coverage, and the ability to work around geo-blocking. So it’s easy to see why it’s become the VPN of choice for many people. But what do we know about NordVPN torrenting capabilities?

Even the best VPNs often have a blind spot where torrenting is concerned. While they may be watertight in all other regards, VPNs often don’t allow P2P traffic at all or leak IP information, which is terrible for users who want to connect to popular torrenting services. This article will assess whether you should use NordVPN for torrenting, or whether even this high-profile VPN fails the test.

Warning!

Torrenting without a VPN is trouble

While torrenting is legal in most countries, downloading copyrighted content isn’t. Don’t get caught doing it – use a VPN!

Why VPNs have problems with P2P downloads: A quick overview

Before moving onto assessing the specific merits of NordVPN, it’s probably useful to run through the state of play with Peer to Peer (P2P) downloading and VPNs. If you’ve tried to find a VPN for torrenting or other P2P activities, you’ll appreciate that finding the right VPN isn’t easy. But why is this the case?

In some cases, VPNs ban P2P traffic due to capacity issues. They simply don’t want high-volume users causing congestion on their services, so they cut one of the biggest sources of traffic: torrenting. In other cases, compliance is the issue. In some jurisdictions, VPNs feel it necessary to limit P2P to avoid users violating copyright laws, fearing that their actions could lead to a response from authorities.

Then there are VPNs which technically allow P2P but aren’t really suitable for torrenters. Some of these VPNs channel torrenters into crowded servers, essentially turning them into second-class customers. Others don’t have the server speeds required for practical torrenting. And many don’t possess the know-how to prevent IP leaks – the major security issue associated with using torrents and VPNs.

Finally, there are a few VPNs which meet the technical challenge, allowing torrenters to download files quickly and reliably. But watch out! Some of these providers maintain logs of user activity, making torrenting a lot less private than you might think.

Having laid out the wide range of sad possibilities, let’s move on to assess the NordVPN torrent situation, and find out whether this is the right VPN for private P2P downloads.

Can you use NordVPN for torrenting?

nordvpn for torrenting

NordVPN states that it allows P2P downloads on specially optimized servers, so accessing trackers and using clients won’t be difficult.

However, note that torrenters are not allowed to use all of NordVPN’s servers, but the servers they do make available offer unlimited bandwidth and keep no logs, so they tick a couple of boxes right off the bat.

And with thousands of server options, the fact that NordVPN segment their servers isn’t a huge issue. Some VPNs have fewer total servers than the NordVPN torrent selection, so it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

Adding security features to make torrenting safer

Moreover, when you connect to a torrenting client while running NordVPN, you will be redirected to a safe torrenting server. After encountering issues where users would lose their connection when firing up uTorrent or BitTorrent, they’ve now changed their setup so that users are automatically routed to servers in Canada or the Netherlands. Both locations are deemed safe for torrenting, with greater legal protections than jurisdictions like the USA.

There are other security features worth noting as well. For instance, NordVPN client comes with a kill switch, which automatically cuts your internet connection should the VPN go offline. This is a crucial feature to have if you want to avoid IP leakage when torrenting, and not all VPNs have it.

NordVPN
VPNpro rating: 9.5 / 10

NordVPN is among the VPN elite when it comes to transparency and autonomy from governments, and there’s no sign that it has ever capitulated to demands for data from the USA or EU. This is what you would expect from a VPN that’s based in Panama and which specializes in doing laps around government censorship.

What have Reddit users made of NordVPN’s torrenting features?

These are all very encouraging signs that NordVPN offers a torrent-friendly service, and they already exceed what’s on offer from many competitors. But in the world of technology, we need more than positive language and reassurances. We need to know whether ordinary people have used NordVPN to torrent files without any issue.

Here’s a quick sample from a pretty good source – Reddit. Reddit users are generally a skeptical bunch, and they regularly weigh up the merits of VPNs. But when it came to evaluating NordVPN’s torrenting capabilities, the feedback was mostly positive.

Redditors praised NordVPN’s anti-DNS leakage systems, choice of P2P-optimized servers, and the ability to screen torrenting from ISPs. However, there were a few mentions of slow speeds – something to bear in mind.

How easy is it to configure NordVPN SOCKS5 for torrent clients?

nordvpn socks5 configuration

SOCKS5 is an alternative to classic VPNs, and functions like a beefed-up proxy. It offers faster speeds for torrenting than most VPNs, which is why NordVPN adopted it as a standard part of their client.

If you want an extra layer of security or if you only want the torrenting traffic to be protected, you can set up a SOCKS5 proxy on your torrent client. Doing that with NordVPN is really easy. Below you will find the instructions for the most popular P2P clients.

How to setup uTorrent with NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy

To set up uTorrent with NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy, simply follow these steps:

  1. Head to the Preferences section on uTorrent and choose “socks5” under the “Proxy Server” drop-down menu.
  2. Paste in one of the NordVPN P2P server addresses. Don’t worry – you can find them fairly quickly on the NordVPN server list.
  3. Then, specify the port as 1080 and check: Use proxy for hostname lookupsAuthentication
    Use proxy for peer-to-peer connections
    Disable features that leak identifying information
    Disable connections unsupported by the proxy
    Disable all local DNS lookups
  4. Add your NordVPN login details to the username and password fields, and you’re good to go.

The kill switch and DNS leak protection will still apply, but you’ll be able to use uTorrent with the faster SOCKS5 proxy, which also provides a very decent level of anonymity (at least as good as standard VPNs).

How to setup BitTorrent with NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy

Setting BitTorrent with NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy is easy. You just need to follow these steps:

  1. Go to Options and click Preferences
  2. Go to Connection and choose Socks5 from a drop-down menu
  3. Enter NordVPN server that allows torrenting in the Proxy field
  4. Enter 1080 in the Port field
  5. Check these boxes: Authentication
    Use proxy for hostname lookups
    Use proxy for peer-to-peer connections
    Disable all local DNS lookups
    Disable features that leak identifying information
    Disable connections unsupported by the proxy
  6. Enter your NordVPN username and password in the appropriate fields and hit OK

How to setup Vuze with NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy

The setup of Vuze and NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy is simple if you follow this step-by-step guide:

  1. In Vuze client, click Tools and chose Options
  2. Click Mode at the top and choose Advanced User proficiency
  3. Click Connection. Under the Peer sources section, deselect everything except From a tracker
  4. Double click Connection to expand it and select Proxy
  5. In the Tracker Communications, check Enable proxying of tracker communications [restart required] and I have a SOCKS proxy
  6. In Host field, enter a NordVPN server that allows torrenting
  7. In Port field, enter 1080
  8. Enter your NordVPN username and password in the appropriate fields and click Test SOCKS
  9. Close the pop-up window if it says “Connection OK”
  10. Press Save and restart Vuze. If everything went OK, you’d see a new SOCKS status bar with a green indicator at the bottom right of the client.

How to setup Deluge with NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy

NordVPN SOCKS5 can be configured on Deluge in these three steps:

  1. Click Edit > Preferences or Deluge > Preferences for Mac
  2. Choose Proxy from the left menu on the left
  3. For the Proxy settings, configure the Peer, Web Seed, Tracker, and DHT sections accordingly:
    Type: SOCKSv5 W/ Auth
    Username: NordVPN username
    Password: NordVPN password
    Host: NordVPN server that allows P2P
    Port: 1080

Can I set up the NordVPN SOCKS5 proxy to torrent with other P2P clients?

It’s also possible to set up NordVPN on other kinds of P2P software not mentioned above, like Soulseek. In this case, the VPN’s port forwarding capabilities come into play. You can access this via the main NordVPN settings menu, and Soulseek shouldn’t have any issues with the VPN.

Conclusion: Is NordVPN the torrenting solution we’ve been seeking?

Based upon its range of features, it’s hard to criticize NordVPN as a torrenting solution. It offers P2P-optimized servers, provides a SOCKS5 proxy for major torrent clients, doesn’t keep logs, and has great security features. Clearly, the people behind NordVPN have thought about what torrenters need, and have implemented policies to meet those needs.

Are there any drawbacks? Sadly, no VPN is entirely flawless. If NordVPN has an Achilles Heel, it’s definitely the connection speeds. Customer feedback regularly notes slower speeds – although that’s not a universal experience.

You may also quibble with their price. NordVPN isn’t a budget VPN, although its cheap long-term plans starting at $3.49/month and the 30-day money-back guarantee are all major positives in this regard.

So, the final verdict? Give NordVPN a try. It could well be the security and privacy solution that torrenters need.

Recommended reads:

NordVPN evaluation

Best VPNs for Torrenting