Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networking is the biggest innovation the Internet has ever seen.
For me, torrenting is a sketchy business. There have been more than enough lawsuits over torrenting (and downloading illegal stuff). Hence the reason I always use VPN when I launch torrent.
However, which VPN is best for torrenting?
But first, let’s cover the important factors of torrenting:
5 Best VPNs for Torrenting
1. ExpressVPN: $8.32/mo, Torrenting allowed, 83 Mbps out of 100
ExpressVPN official states in their homepage that they allow torrenting.
According to our multiple tests on customer support, speed and usability, you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that ExpressVPN is also our best VPN provider overall.
Well, when it comes to torrenting, little changes..
- Their ZERO logging policy gives you a nice, cushy safety blanket for you to cuddle into as you download the latest season of Better Call Saul.
- When it comes to speed, ExpressVPN is only trumped by the Goliath of speed – PIA. With a 60% speed efficiency, ExpressVPN provides relatively high torrenting speeds.
- Last, but not least, ExpressVPN pulls ahead with the single most stable torrenting connection you’re likely to experience.
ExpressVPN has also been named as the best VPN service by PCmag, Techradar, and hundreds of other tech publications worldwide.
Lastly, they even have a guide for torrenting here.
2. Buffered: $8.25/mo, Torrenting Allowed, 46 Mbps out of 100.
Buffered is another solid VPN option for torrenting.
Their NO logging policy lays our first and foremost worries of user safety, quickly to rest.
While speeds aren’t as amazing as ExpressVPN or PIA, they come in at a respectable 50 Mbit/s average. Still well ahead of the curve.
Stability however, is where Buffered really earns their second place ranking. A super stable connection which didn’t drop even once.
Also, they officially allow torrenting.
3. VyprVPN: $5.00/mo, Torrenting allowed, 74 Mbps out of 100.
VyprVPN comes with zero logging, good downloading speeds and a reliable, stable connection. What more could we ask for?
They also allow torrenting with pretty decent download speed:
Their app is smooth and they come in with a pretty affordable price.
Do I recommend them? Sure.
4. PIA VPN: $3.33/mo, Torrenting allowed, 84 Mbps out of 100
Private Internet Access – probably the most popular VPN service provider.
For $3.33/mo you can torrent as much as you want, as they come with
- ZERO logging policy, which makes us feel all warm and fuzzy (read anonymous & safe) inside.
- Fast connection speeds. Really, how the heck do you do it? Nobody is even close.
- dirt cheap pricing with 7 day money back guarantee.
Similarly to many other VPN’s, they also promote and allow P2P on their website.
5. NordVPN: $5.75/mo, Torrenting allowed, 14 Mbps out of 100
NordVPN’s ZERO logging policy is definitely something to smile at.
Their app is very smooth and they even help you set up your VPN client for torrenting.
However, when it comes to speed – things get a little sad. Hence it’s ranked #4th.
Come on Nord, you can do better.
Important VPN Factors for Torrenting
Every time our team begins a new study to test & rank VPN providers, we have a set of rules we like to follow. We rarely change the core ranking criteria:
- Safety (logging)
- Usability & Customer Support.
This allows us to come back in a years’ time and check for improvements. It also standardizes and simplifies things for you, the reader.
Make sure you check out our biggest comparison study yet, where we crowned the best overall VPN provider.
As we started dissecting our favorite VPN providers and figuring out which is the best VPN for torrenting, we put an extra emphasis on safety and speed and introduced a new criteria.
We started our search for the best torrenting VPN from a pool of 30 of the most popular providers. We then started narrowing them down according to the factors mention above.
1. Safety and Logging (Keeping Yourself Fully Anonymous When Torrenting)
A VPN’s function is fairly simple to understand. Using a tunnelling protocol, a VPN provider hides your data from being spied on.
One thing people sometimes overlook though, is that your data isn’t hidden from everybody.
One entity that can always access your data is the VPN provider itself. When torrenting files, which may potentially be questionable in terms of copyright, making sure that your VPN service does not log your traffic is of vital importance.
As we conducted our due diligence and researched the Internet’s most popular VPNs, several have raised red flags. Do not, under any circumstance, download torrents connected to the following VPNs:
- HideMyAss: According to an article by TorrentFreak, HMA has been logging customer IPs and other VPN usage details since 2011. This is precisely what you want to avoid, as you download torrents of ambiguous nature.
It’s most unfortunate to have to report on such companies. While we don’t kid ourselves and expect a perfect world, it’s truly disappointing to issue a vote of no confidence against companies which break the very tenets they’ve promised to uphold and protect – your unconditional privacy.
Make sure you read our in-depth reviews and why we recommend the VPN providers we do. Don’t gamble with your privacy!
2. Download Speed (important for Torrenting)
Now that we’ve got rid of the bad apples, we get into the much more interesting, juicy part of our ranking matrix – connection speeds. Download speeds, to be specific.
Sound-barrier-breaking, unbelievably fast download speeds. That’s what we’re after, aren’t we?
There’s nothing worse than waiting for months for a game torrent to pop up, only to be stuck with a 29GB torrent downloading at 112 KiB/s.
Ugh, the horror!
Over the course of our month-long VPN study, we conducted download & upload speed tests of the top 30 VPN services. Adjusting for torrenting, we did a new set of tests, with a smaller sample size, taking the averages of speeds recorded by connecting to several continents. This way, we mimicked the actual speed you’d expect to have while torrenting from people all over the world.
As download speeds are often the single deciding factor for many torrenters, the results below are indicative of our final ranking.
Good download speed when torrenting: ExpressVPN, VyprVPN, PIA, Buffered and IPVanish.
Bad download speed when torrenting: VPNArea, VPN Unlimited and PureVPN.
3. Stability (when Torrenting)
Constantly having to reconnect to a pool of seeders as your connection drops due to a VPN outage, will dramatically slow down your download progress.
Especially critical for torrenting, VPN stability is another important criterion to consider. While VPN connection issues are less likely during web surfing sessions, when in high use certain VPNs tend to underperform and drop your connection.
As we narrowed down our initial pool of VPN providers to the 5 fastest ones, we examined each one of them for their stability when torrenting.
PIA, again, makes us pull our hair out. Will they ever learn? We love them, but they’ve got their work cut out for them…
Is Torrenting Illegal (Even if I use a VPN?)
NO! Torrenting is 100% legal.
There’s a big difference between downloading a torrent of a game demo, openly available for free, and a torrent to the full, paid for, game.
What you’re really asking is whether piracy, the sharing of copyrighted content, is illegal. The answer to that, is an unequivocal:
YES! Pirating is 100% illegal.
Piracy is a violation of intellectual property rights laws and is therefore illegal.
See, here are where things get tricky. In general, if you don’t own a certain item, which is copyrighted, downloading and consuming it would be illegal. This is true for most countries, which all have similar IP protection laws.
There is though some content you CAN use freely. Art which is either available in the public domain (for example, 70 years after the death of the artist, like in the USA) or content under a Creative Commons Licence are available for you to download, share and consume as much as you’d like.
The problem is that every country’s laws are different. You’ll have to look up how your country regulates IP theft.
If we’re talking ethics, that’s a whole topic in and of itself. There are oodles of arguments that can be made on both sides.
People share millions of books among friends, that’s not illegal. The second you share it with strangers online, torrent or not, it is. People share consoles and games among friends. Via a torrent? Illegal!
Do we condone piracy? No, we don’t. Does it bother us? Well…
Conclusion: You Should Use a VPN When Torrenting
Despite an increase in privacy intrusions by governments (looking at you, USA, nobody likes their browsing history sold) lobbying pressure by big media companies and all round bad-mouthing, torrenting has strong growth year on year!
The way the wind is blowing, privacy is becoming more and more important (and more, and more…)
The only way to remain safe is to make sure you use a VPN when torrenting.
You don’t want to get a knock from your ISP, or someone worse!
If you’re ready to step your game up, ExpressVPN has everything you need.
Either way, make sure you use protection!
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