Updated on: September 25, 2023
Short on time? Here’s the best torrenting VPN:
ExpressVPN: Has P2P servers in 90+ countries, high-end security and privacy features, the fastest download speeds on the market, and user-friendly apps. It also has affordable plans that are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
I torrent a lot but hate when my internet service provider throttles my P2P speeds. It’s also infuriating when my ISP randomly decides to restrict access to a popular torrenting site. Plus, I hate that random creeps in the torrent swarm can see my IP address and use it to track my online activities, which compromises my privacy.
Using a VPN solves all those problems, but choosing a good VPN for torrenting isn’t easy — many VPNs don’t allow P2P traffic on most of their servers, and the ones that do lack essential security features or have very slow download speeds.
So, I tested the top VPNs in 2023 to see which ones are actually good for torrenting. All the VPNs on this list allow torrenting on tons of servers, provide strong security features, and have fast P2P speeds.
Please Note: Neither I nor anyone at SafetyDetectives condones doing anything illegal. Please consult with local rules and regulations to ensure you are aware of the law as it pertains to your jurisdiction.
Quick summary list of the best VPNs for torrenting in 2023:
ExpressVPN— Best overall VPN for torrenting in 2023.
Private Internet Access— Great for blocking ads on P2P sites.
CyberGhost VPN— Great for automating secure P2P connections.
NordVPN— Great for avoiding malicious downloads.
Surfshark— Good server network for torrenting.
- Plus 5 more!
- Comparison of the Best VPNs for Torrenting in 2023
ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Torrenting in 2023
Since it has P2P servers in so many countries, it’s easy to use nearby servers for fast downloads. In fact, ExpressVPN provided me with blazing-fast P2P speeds on both nearby and distant servers — on average, it only took me 10 minutes to download a 30 GB file on local servers in my home country of Romania (I downloaded the same file without ExpressVPN in 9 minutes, so the slowdown was almost non-existent), and about 15 minutes to download the same torrent on distant servers in the US, Japan, and Australia.
ExpressVPN offers excellent privacy and security while torrenting — it has a strict no-logs policy that has been verified by independent security audits and also comes with:
- Full leak protection — All of ExpressVPN’s apps provide built-in protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. I ran multiple leak tests while torrenting on servers in 20+ countries, and I never experienced any leaks. Only ExpressVPN’s IP addresses showed up, while my real IP address remained hidden.
- Threat Manager — This feature stops your device from communicating with ad trackers (which could log your P2P site preferences) and blocks connections to malicious sites, so it can protect you from shady P2P websites.
- RAM-only servers — This means none of your data is saved to the hard drive, so every time a server reset is performed, all data is wiped.
- Perfect forward secrecy — Changes the encryption key for each VPN session so that hackers can’t compromise past or future encryption keys to spy on your P2P traffic.
I also like that ExpressVPN comes with split-tunneling, a convenient feature that lets you pick which apps use the VPN connection and which apps use your local network. I used this feature to only send P2P traffic from my qBittorrent app through ExpressVPN, while I used my local network to surf social media and access Netflix.
ExpressVPN has very intuitive apps for all devices, including a router app (very few VPNs have this) that supports port forwarding, which lets you connect to more peers to get faster downloads — the router app is very easy to install and use, so it only took me around 6–7 minutes to set it up on my router and enable port forwarding.
ExpressVPN is my favorite P2P VPN in 2023 — it allows torrenting on all of its servers in 90+ countries, has the fastest download speeds on this list, provides high-end security and privacy features that protect your P2P traffic, and also has very user-friendly apps, including a router app that supports port forwarding. ExpressVPN backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Private Internet Access — Great VPN for Blocking Ads on P2P Sites
I tested PIA MACE on most of my favorite torrenting sites, and it always got rid of all ads. And on top of blocking ads, PIA MACE can also block connections to malicious torrenting sites (like ExpressVPN’s Threat Manager feature).
I also really like that PIA provides high-end privacy while torrenting — its no-logs policy has passed independent audits, and it has been proven true many times in court. In addition, all of PIA’s apps are open-source, meaning anyone can inspect the code for security vulnerabilities. I also like that PIA comes with advanced security features like full leak protection and RAM-only servers.
Like ExpressVPN, PIA supports port forwarding, but I think PIA is more convenient, as it offers built-in access to port forwarding on all platforms, except iOS — you only have to enable an in-app setting and connect to a VPN server, and PIA will automatically assign a port to you. My only minor complaint is that PIA doesn’t support port forwarding on its US servers (ExpressVPN allows port forwarding on all server locations).
You also get SOCKS5 proxy support, which changes your IP address but doesn’t encrypt your traffic — so you get much faster P2P downloads.
And PIA has pretty fast torrenting speeds — it only took 15 minutes to download a 30 GB torrent on local servers and 20 minutes to download it on distant servers. Plus, I like that the VPN displays the server ping (how long it takes for your device to exchange data with a VPN server), as this metric helps you find servers with fast speeds. Even so, ExpressVPN still provided me with faster P2P speeds, as the same 30 GB file took 5 minutes less to download on local and distant servers.
PIA also allows unlimited connections, so everyone in your household is able to download files at the same time on their devices. And I confirmed this works — all my family members connected to a PIA server (we had 11 total devices), and we all had stable connections.
Private Internet Access allows torrenting in 80+ countries and provides a really good ad blocker. It also has a strict and verified no-logs policy, RAM-only servers, and open-source apps. PIA allows unlimited connections and covers all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost VPN — Great for Automating Secure P2P Connections
I also really like CyberGhost VPN’s apps because they’re very easy to use. It only took me 1–2 minutes to install them, and I was able to find and connect to a P2P server and start torrenting in less than 5–6 seconds — it really helps that CyberGhost VPN has a tab that lists all of its P2P servers. The provider’s apps are also easy to navigate, and there are helpful explanations for all settings.
Plus, the provider’s huge P2P server network prevents you from connecting to overcrowded servers, which can slow down your speeds. In my tests, I was able to download a 30 GB file on nearby servers in 15 minutes and on distant servers in 30 minutes, which is really fast — that said, ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access provided me with faster downloads.
In addition, CyberGhost VPN provides strong security and privacy for torrenting. It has advanced features like RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, and strong leak protection. Plus, its Content Blocker protects you from shady P2P sites. Also, its no-logs policy has been independently audited, and I like that CyberGhost VPN regularly releases transparency reports that detail how the provider receives and refuses requests for user data from governments and authorities.
CyberGhost VPN also offers NoSpy servers, and several of them allow torrenting. These are super-secure servers that are physically located in the provider’s headquarters in Romania, so only CyberGhost VPN’s staff has access to them.
CyberGhost VPN has a massive P2P server network and provides convenient P2P automation. Plus, its apps are very easy to navigate, you get really fast download speeds, and your P2P traffic is secured by strong security features, including a malicious site blocker and strong leak protection. The provider’s plans are affordable, and there’s a 45-day money-back guarantee for all long-term plans.
NordVPN — Great for Avoiding Malicious Torrents
NordVPN has 4,500+ P2P servers in 45+ countries and offers protection against malicious downloads via Threat Protection, which scans the executable files you download for malware without compromising your privacy. In addition, Threat Protection is one of the best VPN ad blockers on the market, so it can also protect you from malicious P2P sites and get rid of annoying ads on torrent sites.
The provider also has other ways to secure your P2P traffic — it comes with full leak protection, RAM-only servers, and perfect forward secrecy, and it also has a strict no-logs policy that has been independently audited twice.
In addition to a standard kill switch, I like that you get an app-based kill switch, which shuts down selected apps if the VPN disconnects — this is much more convenient than losing your entire web access if the VPN connection drops. I tested the provider’s app-based kill switch with 5+ torrent clients, and it always worked without any issues.
NordVPN doesn’t have port forwarding, but it has SOCKS5 proxy servers. In my tests, my P2P speeds usually increased by about 35–40% when I used the provider’s SOCKS5 servers.
I also had fast torrenting speeds, as it usually took me around 18 minutes to download a 30 GB file on local servers, and 33 minutes to download it on distant servers. That said, I had better download speeds with ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and CyberGhost VPN.
NordVPN has tier-based subscriptions that have monthly and yearly plans. Its Standard subscription (the one I recommend) starts at $3.19 / month and comes with all of the provider’s features, including its P2P support. All of the provider’s plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN has 4,500+ P2P servers in 45+ countries and provides great protection against malicious torrent downloads. It also comes with excellent security and privacy features, including full leak protection, an audited no-logs policy, and an app-based kill switch. The provider also has SOCKS5 support, good P2P speeds, affordable tier-based subscriptions, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Surfshark — Great Server Network for Torrenting
Surfshark allows P2P traffic on 3,200+ servers in 100+ countries. It has one of the largest server networks out there, allowing virtually any user to connect to either a server in their home country or in a neighboring country to get the fastest download speeds.
Surfshark also provides good security and privacy while torrenting — it has advanced security features like RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy, follows an audited and verified no-logs policy, and comes with CleanWeb, which is among the best VPN ad blockers in 2023. The only things that are missing are WebRTC and IPv6 leak protection, which competitors like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and CyberGhost VPN have.
In addition, you also get more privacy via the IP Rotator feature, which regularly changes your IP address without disconnecting you from the VPN — this makes it much harder for malicious actors to track your IP address in the torrent swarm.
Unfortunately, the provider is missing additional P2P features — for example, it doesn’t have port forwarding like the other top VPNs on this list or SOCKS5 proxy servers like Private Internet Access and NordVPN.
On the plus side, you get fast P2P downloads with this VPN — in my tests, it took just 18–19 minutes to download a 30 GB torrent on local servers, and around 32–34 minutes to download it on distant servers. And, I like how Surfshark allows unlimited connections.
Surfshark comes with very affordable plans that start at only $2.30 / month. Also, it backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Surfshark supports torrenting on servers in 100+ countries, making it easy to find a nearby server for the fastest P2P connections. It’s includes top-notch security features, blocks ads on torrent sites, and works with all popular torrent clients. It has affordable plans and provides a 30-day money-back guarantee for all purchases.
PrivateVPN — Super Affordable & Minimalistic P2P VPN
PrivateVPN allows torrenting on 200+ servers in 60+ countries and has simple and user-friendly apps. In addition, it offers some of the cheapest prices on the market, so it’s a good pick if you’re on a tight budget.
Despite having a small server network, it has servers in most countries around the globe, so it’s pretty easy to find and connect to a nearby server to get good P2P speeds. Also, PrivateVPN supports port forwarding on all of its apps.
The provider’s speeds are decent, as it took me 30 minutes to torrent a 30 GB file on nearby servers and 43 minutes to do it on distant servers — I was happy with the speeds, but ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access provided me with much faster downloads.
In addition to a standard kill switch, PrivateVPN also has an app-based kill switch (Application Guard) — I tested this feature 10+ times by manually disconnecting from the VPN server while torrenting, and it always closed my torrent client.
PrivateVPN has super cheap plans that start at only $2.00 / month. Also, it backs all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PrivateVPN has 200+ P2P servers in 60+ countries and comes with simple apps that are easy to get used to. It has good torrenting speeds, port forwarding, an app-based kill switch, and really cheap plans that are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Proton VPN — Good Privacy-Focused P2P VPN
Proton VPN has 1,900+ servers in 60+ countries but only allows torrenting on 300+ servers in 15+ countries. I think Proton VPN has a good P2P server network, as the servers are evenly spread across the globe, but I still think ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and CyberGhost VPN provide more convenient P2P support since they allow torrenting across all of their servers. On the plus side, you get access to port forwarding.
It’s also great that Proton VPN provides strong privacy for torrenting — it has a strict no-logs policy that has passed an independent audit, it releases regular transparency reports, and it has open-source apps that have been independently audited.
The VPN is also very secure, as it comes with advanced security features like full leak protection, perfect forward secrecy, and full-disk encryption, which keeps all servers secure even if they’re compromised.
Proton VPN has good P2P speeds, but it still isn’t as fast as ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access. I was able to download a 30 GB torrent in 20–21 minutes on local servers and in 35–36 minutes on distant servers.
Proton VPN’s plans start at $4.99 / month. Proton VPN backs all purchases with a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee. While it has a decent free plan, it lacks P2P support.
Proton VPN has a decently-sized P2P network and provides great privacy and security while torrenting — it has an audited no-logs policy, open-source apps, and advanced features like full leak protection and full-disk encryption. It also has good P2P speeds, affordable plans, and a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.
TunnelBear — Great VPN for Beginners
TunnelBear has P2P servers in 45+ countries, unlimited connections, and the cutest apps around — the apps let you use a digital map to connect to a server, and when you do that, a digital bear digs a tunnel to the server’s location!
What’s more, the apps feature bear-themed puns and notifications. For example, when I connected to a UK server to download torrents, the app sent me a notification with a bear wearing a top hat and a monocle. I also like that the apps are really intuitive and simple to navigate.
TunnelBear has pretty decent P2P speeds — when I used it to download a 30 GB file, it took me 33 minutes to do it on nearby servers and 45 minutes on distant servers. That said, my downloads were much slower than they were with ExpressVPN.
TunnelBear has good security and privacy — it has full leak protection, issues regular transparency reports, and its codeware, infrastructure, website, and apps undergo regular independent audits.
TunnelBear’s plans are affordable and start at $3.33 / month, but they don’t come with a money-back guarantee. TunnelBear’s free plan is not good for torrenting, as it limits you to 2 GB per month, which is only enough to download really small torrents.
TunnelBear is a great P2P VPN for beginners. It allows torrenting on all servers, has decent download speeds, and provides good security and privacy features. TunnelBear allows unlimited connections, and it has a free plan with very limited data and paid monthly and yearly plans, but there’s no money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN — Fast & Secure Torrenting VPN
VyprVPN has 700+ P2P servers in 60+ countries and provides really fast torrenting speeds. In my tests, I was able to download a 30 GB file in 15 minutes on local servers and in 21 minutes on distant servers — the speeds are on par with Private Internet Access, but not as fast as ExpressVPN. However, VyprVPN doesn’t come with port forwarding or SOCKS5 proxy servers.
VyprVPN also has good security and privacy features — perfect forward secrecy, an independently audited no-logs policy, and full leak protection (like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and Proton VPN).
VyprVPN has paid plans that start at $5.00 / month. It backs all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN has 700+ P2P servers in 60+ countries and provides very fast P2P speeds. Also, it has strong security features. It’s a little expensive but backs all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish — Has SOCKS5 Support & Good Speeds
IPVanish allows P2P traffic in 50+ countries and has 20+ SOCKS5 proxy servers in 10+ countries — that’s nice to see, though I personally prefer port forwarding over SOCKS5 proxies because that way my P2P downloads are secured by VPN encryption.
This provider also supports unlimited connections — so I recommend getting this VPN if everyone in your house needs a good VPN for torrenting.
In my speed tests, IPVanish provided me with pretty good download speeds — it took around 25 minutes to download a 30 GB file on nearby servers and 40 minutes to download the same file on distant servers. The speeds are on par with CyberGhost VPN, but much slower than ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and Proton VPN.
IPVanish has perfect forward secrecy and its no-logs policy has been audited. However, it’s missing RAM-only servers and lacks WebRTC leak protection.
IPVanish has paid monthly and yearly plans that start at $2.99 / month — I’d go with the yearly plan because it comes bundled with VIPRE (a decent antivirus that can protect you from malicious torrents) and is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish allows P2P traffic on 2,000+ servers in 50+ countries, and it also provides access to SOCKS5 proxies. It also allows unlimited connections and has decent P2P speeds. IPVanish bundles its yearly plan with a decent antivirus (VIPRE) and backs it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Hotspot Shield — Super Fast P2P VPN
Hotspot Shield allows torrenting on 3,200+ servers in 80+ countries and has some of the fastest torrenting speeds on the market. It only took me 12 minutes to download a 30 GB file on local servers, and 17 minutes to download it on distant servers, so Hotspot Shield’s speeds are on par with ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access. Hotspot Shield also comes with split-tunneling and has a built-in speed test, which was accurate in my testing.
I think Hotspot Shield provides good security, as it comes with advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy. It also has full leak protection, but only on its Windows app. And while it has a strict no-logs policy, I wish it were audited like ExpressVPN.
Hotspot Shield’s plans start at $2.99 / month and are backed by a 45-day money-back guarantee. It also has a free plan with unlimited data, but it doesn’t guarantee P2P support, and it limits you to 1 device and servers in the US, the UK, and Singapore.
Hotspot Shield has 3,200+ servers in 80+ countries and provides lightning-fast download speeds. It also has split-tunneling and strong security features. Hotspot Shield has a decent free plan and paid monthly and yearly plans that are backed by a 45-day money-back guarantee.
hide.me — Best Free VPN for Torrenting
hide.me has the best free plan for torrenting since it lets you use 10 GB per month, which is enough if you don’t torrent often and only download small files. For comparison, TunnelBear’s free plan, which also allows torrenting, limits you to 2 GB per month. In addition, hide.me’s free plan comes with a strict no-logs policy and good speeds.
However, the free plan has some limitations — you can only use servers in 4 countries (the US, the Netherlands, Germany, and Canada) and connect 1 device.
hide.me has RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, and full leak protection. Also, its no-logs policy was audited in 2015 — I’d like to see it undergo a more recent audit like ExpressVPN.
hide.me’s paid plans start at $3.84 / month and include unlimited data, access to port forwarding, and P2P support on all 2,100+ servers in 50+ countries. All plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
hide.me’s free plan supports torrenting and lets you download up to 10 GB per month. Upgrading to its paid plans adds access to unlimited data, 2,100+ P2P servers in 50+ countries, port forwarding, and more. hide.me backs all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Comparison of the Best VPNs for Torrenting in 2023
|VPN||Starting Price||P2P Support||Port Forwarding||SOCKS5 Servers||Simultaneous Connections|
||$6.67 / month||✅
(in 90+ countries)
(only on the router app)
|❌||Up to 8|
||$2.19 / month||✅
(in 80+ countries)
(available on all apps, except iOS)
||$2.19 / month||✅
(in 60+ countries)
||$3.19 / month||✅
(in 45+ countries)
||$2.30 / month||✅
(in 100+ countries)
||$2.00 / month||✅
(in 60+ countries)
(on all apps)
||$4.99 / month||✅
(in 15+ countries)
(only on the Windows app)
||$3.33 / month||✅
(in 45+ countries)
||$5.00 / month||✅
(in 60+ countries)
||$2.99 / month||✅
(in 50+ countries)
(20+ servers in 10+ countries)
||$2.99 / month||✅
(in 80+ countries)
||$3.84 / month||✅
(in 50+ countries)
How to Choose the Best VPN for Torrenting in 2023
- Look for a VPN with good P2P support. All of the VPNs that made it to this list either allow torrenting on all of their servers or have dedicated P2P servers that are optimized for torrenting. Also, all of my top picks work with popular torrent clients like uTorrent, qBittorrent, and Vuze.
- Choose a VPN with strong security features. All the VPNs in this article provide industry-standard VPN security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a no-logs policy to prevent the VPN from logging your P2P traffic, a kill switch to protect you from traffic leaks if the VPN disconnects while torrenting, and strong leak protection.
- Pick a provider with fast speeds. VPNs will always slow down your speeds due to the encryption-decryption process and the distance between you and the server. But the best VPNs minimize the slowdown so that it’s not noticeable — all the VPNs on this list provided me with fast download speeds on both nearby and distant servers.
- Get a VPN with extra features. I recommend picking a VPN that provides extra features that make torrenting more secure and convenient. Most of my top picks provide access to split-tunneling and port forwarding (features that let you fine-tune download speeds) or an ad blocker, which gets rid of ads on P2P sites and protects you from shady torrenting sites.
- Select a VPN that’s easy to use. It shouldn’t take you more than 2 minutes to install a VPN on your device and start torrenting with it. All the VPNs in this guide have easy-to-install apps that are very intuitive.
- Look for a VPN that provides good value. My advice is to choose a VPN that allows multiple simultaneous connections (Private Internet Access and Surfshark allow unlimited connections), has affordable plans, and a money-back guarantee.
Is It Safe to Torrent Files While Using a VPN
Yes, as a VPN provides security and privacy by:
- Changing your IP address. This way, nobody in the torrent swarm can see your real IP address and use it to track you.
- Encrypting your P2P traffic. A VPN makes your torrenting traffic completely unreadable, so nobody will be able to tell you are downloading torrents.
But keep in mind not all VPNs are safe to use for torrenting. Some VPN providers keep logs of their users’ activities. Others may not have strong encryption protocols, so your data could still be vulnerable to interception. And other VPNs might even suffer data leaks, exposing your IP address while torrenting.
So it’s important to get a VPN that provides excellent security and privacy. I recommend picking a provider with a strict no-logs policy, strong encryption protocols, and a kill switch (to prevent accidental data leaks if the VPN disconnects). All the VPNs on my list have all these security measures and also come with other advanced security and privacy features.
But remember VPNs can’t protect you from malware-infected torrents. So in addition to getting a good P2P VPN, I also recommend getting a good antivirus to enjoy 100% security while torrenting.
Why You Need a VPN for Popcorn Time & Kodi
When you stream on Popcorn Time or certain Kodi add-ons, your online activities are traceable. Both Popcorn and some Kodi add-ons source their videos from torrents, which means that when you watch these videos, you’re P2P (peer-to-peer) torrenting. And when you’re P2P torrenting, you’re an active part of a torrenting network, and everyone in that network can see your IP address, just like you can see theirs.
This is where a VPN comes in. VPNs hide your IP address behind the IP address of one of their servers, making it seem like you’re torrenting from the server’s location. This protects your identity and location. VPNs also scramble your online traffic by encrypting it, so that nobody can see what you’re doing online, not even your ISP (Internet Service Provider). This is important because some ISPs throttle bandwidth for torrenting activities. Every VPN on my list offers these essential security features.
How NAT Firewalls Affect Torrenting Capabilities
A Network Address Translation (NAT) firewall can disrupt torrenting. In most cases, a NAT firewall will slow down your torrenting speeds, but at other times, it can stop torrents from functioning properly.
This is because NAT firewalls stop unsolicited internet traffic, like P2P file sharing. In P2P file sharing, your device connects directly with others in the network to download and upload pieces of files. NAT firewalls exist to prevent this type of connection — they restrict which inbound connections can get through to protect your network.
You can overcome these limitations via port forwarding — most of the VPNs on my list allow port forwarding and can therefore bypass NAT firewalls, enabling you to enjoy secure, seamless torrenting.
Why Kill Switches Are Essential for Torrenting
During torrenting, a momentary connection drop can expose your IP address, allowing others to see it and enabling bad actors to spy on your traffic. This happens because when you lose the VPN connection, the encryption protecting your network also disappears.
A kill switch acts as a safety net. If your VPN connection drops, it immediately disconnects your internet, preventing any data leaks. This ensures your torrenting activities never link back to your IP address, keeping them anonymous. Every VPN I recommend for torrenting has a kill switch. I’ve tested the feature on all of them, and each one worked as advertised.
How to Protect Against Malware When Torrenting
Torrenting can expose your device to various malware threats — nasty surprises like ransomware, viruses, and spyware.
A VPN provides a significant layer of security by encrypting your data and making it harder for any malicious actors to inject malware into your system.
But having a good antivirus software is equally crucial as VPNs don’t typically protect you against malware threats. Top antivirus programs identify and remove harmful files even before they can damage your system.
Should You Bind Your IP Address Before Torrenting?
IP binding, or tying your torrent client to your VPN, provides additional security when torrenting as it makes sure that torrenting only occurs when connected to the VPN. While it might sound technical, setting up IP binding is a straightforward process, and it’s a smart precautionary measure for secure torrenting.
Here’s how you set it up with ExpressVPN:
- Connect to a VPN server. Launch your ExpressVPN app, find your desired server location, and connect to it.
- Find the “bind to local IP address” option in your torrent client. You should be able to find it in the connection settings.
- Copy your VPN IP address. You can find this by going to ExpressVPN’s site and using its IP address checker.
- Enter the IP address of the server you connected to in the Value field. Save the settings and that’s it! Now, if your VPN connection drops, your torrenting automatically stops.
This prevents data from being uploaded or downloaded under your real IP address, providing an extra layer of security.
Is Port Forwarding Necessary When Torrenting?
That depends on your tolerance for risk.
Port forwarding improves your torrenting speed because it allows your torrent client to connect to more peers. It can also help you avoid tracker errors or timeouts because it makes sure that your device is reachable by the tracker server.
However, port forwarding exposes your device to potential cyber threats. It opens a gate in your firewall, and if a malicious actor finds it, they could potentially access your device.
The safest way to torrent is via a VPN connection. Good VPNs provide a balance of speed and security, hiding your IP address, scrambling your online traffic, and employing kill switches to prevent data leaks. All VPNs on my list come with these essential security features, making it very difficult for a third party to compromise your information during P2P sharing.
How to Test If a VPN Is Safe for Torrenting
First, you should run a leak test before using the VPN to torrent. Here’s how to do that:
- Access ipleak.net without the VPN. The results will show your real IP and DNS addresses — take a screenshot of them.
- Next, open the VPN app. Then, connect to any server you want.
- Access ipleak.net with the VPN. Wait for the test to display the new IP and DNS data results.
- Compare the results. Check if the IP and DNS addresses present in your screenshot are also present in the new results — if they are, the VPN is leaking your data, so you should avoid using it.
You should also use a torrent IP leak test tool (like bash.ws) to make sure the torrent apps you’re using won’t leak your real IP address. To perform the test, you’ll need to torrent a test torrent file while connected to the VPN and check which IP address is displayed while the file is downloading — as long as it’s the VPN’s IP address, you can safely use it for torrenting.
I tested all of the VPNs in this article for leaks, and I’m happy to report that I never experienced any leaks.
What Could Happen if You Don’t Use a Good VPN for Torrenting
One major concern with VPNs is potential data leaks, which could expose your IP address. This might allow others, including those on the lookout for copyright violations, to see your actual IP and potentially extort money by threatening legal repercussions.
Also, a data leak might let your ISP see your P2P traffic. If your ISP doesn’t approve of torrenting, it could throttle your download speeds to discourage you from torrenting.
Also, low-quality VPNs might log your data (like your IP address and P2P traffic). And if the providers share those logs with third parties, they will compromise your privacy.
So you should only use a secure P2P VPN, like the ones on my list — they have all industry-standard security features (including a kill switch), don’t leak your data, and also don’t log and share your data with third parties.
How Your Torrenting Activity Is Being Tracked
Someone could track your P2P activity via your IP address. Torrenting involves connecting to other users who are also downloading or sharing the same file. When you connect to these users, they can see your IP address and the files you are downloading or sharing.
Also, your ISP can track your P2P traffic. While P2P traffic is difficult to detect, ISPs can still spot it by checking for metrics like high bandwidth usage, simultaneous upload streams, and multiple Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connections.
The best way to keep your P2P activity private is with a VPN. It changes your IP address so that nobody in the torrent swarm can see it, and it also encrypts all of your traffic so that nobody can spy on it. All of the VPNs in this article are great picks for securing your P2P traffic.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut:
- IVPN. IVPN has fast speeds, excellent security, and it supports torrenting. However, it’s pretty restrictive in that it recommends users avoid US servers for torrenting, plus it’s terrible for streaming. Overall, the VPNs on this list provide a better value for torrenting.
- HMA VPN. HMA has decent speeds for torrenting and works with popular torrent clients, but it only supports P2P traffic on 6 server locations. Plus, it doesn’t have any extras like port forwarding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is using a VPN for torrenting legal?
It’s perfectly legal to use a VPN to download files in the public domain in most countries. However, there are many countries that consider it illegal to torrent copyrighted files. Also, it might be illegal to use a VPN to torrent in oppressive countries that restrict VPN usage and P2P traffic. I strongly recommend researching your local laws before you use a VPN to torrent, otherwise, you might risk facing legal repercussions.
What’s the best VPN to torrent with?
ExpressVPN is the best torrenting VPN in 2023. It supports P2P traffic on servers in 90+ countries, has the fastest speeds out there, provides industry-leading security and privacy features, and is very easy to use.
Is torrenting safe with a VPN?
Yes, as long as you pick a VPN that comes with essential security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch to protect you from traffic leaks, a no-logs policy to prevent the VPN from logging your data, and leak protection.
All the VPNs on this list provide those features, but ExpressVPN (my #1 pick) goes the extra mile — it has advanced security features like RAM-only servers that wipe all data on every reset, perfect forward secrecy, which changes the encryption key for each VPN session to prevent hackers from compromising past or future keys, and full leak protection. It also has Threat Manager, which blocks connections to malicious torrenting sites.
However, a VPN can’t normally protect you against malware that gets downloaded in torrent files — NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature provides some protection against malicious downloads, but I still recommend using an antivirus program to keep your device and data safe from downloadable malware.
Will third parties see that I’m downloading torrents?
No. A good VPN masks your activity by encrypting all of your traffic, which means no one will be able to see your online activity — except for your VPN provider. That’s why it’s important to make sure you pick a VPN provider that does not keep user logs (like ExpressVPN, which has been independently verified to maintain a secure and legitimate no-logs policy).
The best VPNs for torrenting also have additional safety measures like a kill switch, which shuts down your internet connection (or specific apps) in case your VPN connection gets interrupted or compromised. In addition, they provide protection against IPv6, DNS, or WebRTC leaks to prevent third parties from seeing that you’re using P2P sites.
Can I use a free VPN to torrent?
I don’t normally recommend using free VPNs for torrenting, as most of them don’t support P2P traffic. And the ones that do significantly limit how much data you can use each day or month. Plus, many free VPNs lack essential security features (like a kill switch) and log your data, which compromises your privacy while torrenting.
Still, if you insist on using a free P2P VPN, I recommend hide.me’s free plan — it supports torrenting and lets you use 10 GB of data per month, which is enough if you don’t torrent often and only download small files. Plus, the free plan comes with a strict no-logs policy and good speeds. However, it limits you to 1 connection, servers in 4 countries (the US, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands), and there’s no port forwarding support.
Overall, I strongly recommend using a paid premium P2P VPN like ExpressVPN, as it provides a significantly better experience.
Should you bind your VPN IP address to your torrent client?
Doing this means the torrent app will only download torrents if it’s connected to the VPN’s IP address. That way, your P2P traffic doesn’t leak if the VPN disconnects while you’re using the torrent client.
While that’s useful, I don’t think it’s 100% necessary. As long as you’re using a VPN with a good kill switch, you don’t need to bind the VPN’s IP address to the torrent client — if the VPN disconnects, the kill switch will disable all online access, preventing you from torrenting without the VPN.
What is port forwarding?
Port forwarding is the process of allowing remote computers to connect to your local network that would otherwise be inaccessible due to firewalls or Network Address Translation (NAT) configurations. It’s a feature that a lot of top VPNs, including my #1 pick, ExpressVPN, offer.
This feature allows you to get faster speeds when torrenting with a VPN. When you’re sharing P2P through a VPN, your IP address is masked and your traffic is encapsulated within the VPN tunnel. This sometimes makes it challenging for other torrent peers to initiate connections with your torrent client, potentially slowing down your download and upload rates.
When you enable port forwarding, you create a specific entry point within the VPN server that directs incoming torrent traffic to your client. This way, you ensure stable P2P connections while still benefiting from the privacy and security features of the VPN.
What are SOCKS5 proxy servers?
SOCKS5 proxy servers work like regular VPN servers, but they don’t encrypt your traffic. A VPN server changes your IP address and encrypts the data packets before it sends them to the final destination. On the other hand, a SOCKS5 proxy server changes your IP address and simply forwards the data packets, without applying encryption.
This is great if you want faster speeds and to hide your IP address from the other peers in the torrent swarm. The only downside is that the lack of encryption with SOCKS5 means your traffic content remains visible to potential snoopers like ISPs unless it’s also running through a VPN. If you’re looking for a VPN that offers SOCKS5 servers, check out my favorite VPNs for torrenting.