Short on time? Here’s the best free VPN for torrenting in 2023:
- 🥇 ExpressVPN: It’s not free but it backs all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Allows torrenting on 3,000+ servers in more than 90 countries, has industry-leading security features, maintains the fastest download speeds, and provides very user-friendly apps for all of the major operating systems.
When you download P2P files, you should always make sure that personal data like your IP address is 100% secure. The best way to keep all of your information safe while torrenting is with a high-quality VPN, which hides your actual IP address and encrypts all of your online traffic — including the files you download. A VPN can also prevent your internet service provider from throttling your P2P speeds so you’re always able to download files quickly.
However, I know there are a lot of budget-minded users out there who may only be looking for a free torrenting VPN. So, I spent a few weeks testing the most popular free VPNs to see if there were any good ones. Unfortunately, most free VPNs I tested were pretty bad — the majority didn’t even support P2P traffic, and the ones that did lacked basic security features, stored logs of the files I downloaded, and/or had very slow speeds, very limited server networks, low data caps, and buggy apps.
This is why I highly recommend that you purchase an affordable premium VPN (my top choice is ExpressVPN). But if you’re only in the market for a free VPN, the good news is I found a few I actually trust. Each one of the free VPNs I listed here includes the key security features I look for in a top VPN, fast speeds, good server networks, and user-friendly interfaces.
Please Note: SafetyDetectives doesn’t condone using a VPN for illegal purposes. Please consult with local rules and regulations to ensure you are aware of the law for file sharing as it pertains to your jurisdiction.
Quick summary of the best free VPNs for torrenting:
- 1. 🥇ExpressVPN — Best overall VPN for torrenting in 2023.
- 2. 🥈Windscribe — Best completely free VPN for torrenting with unlimited connections.
- 3. 🥉hide.me — Great beginner-friendly free VPN for P2P traffic.
- 4. PrivadoVPN — Good speeds for torrenting on a free plan.
- 5. Hotspot Shield — Decent for downloading small files.
- Comparison of the Best VPNs for Torrenting in 2023.
🥇1. ExpressVPN — The Best VPN for Torrenting in 2023
ExpressVPN is hands-down my favorite VPN for torrenting. It’s ultra-secure, extremely fast, and really easy to use. ExpressVPN allows torrenting on all of its 3,000+ servers in more than 90 countries, which is far more than any other VPN on this list. Plus, it works with all of the top torrent clients like BitTorrent and Vuze, and it comes with unlimited data, which means you can download as many files as you want. This is also why ExpressVPN is ranked #1 on our list of the best VPNs for torrenting in 2023.
ExpressVPN covers all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee. It doesn’t have a free plan, but since it offers a money-back guarantee, you can test the VPN risk-free by downloading files for a month and then get a full refund if you’re not happy with it.
In addition to having industry-standard VPN security features, ExpressVPN has a strict no-logs policy that’s been independently audited and confirmed, so you can trust that the provider doesn’t record any of the P2P sites you visit or files you download. Also, it includes full leak protection, which prevents your actual IP address from being exposed on the internet. I tested ExpressVPN on servers in 10+ countries, and only ExpressVPN’s IP address was displayed (and not my actual IP address).
ExpressVPN also comes with advanced security features like RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, and the Lightway protocol. RAM memory is great for torrenting because it ensures that no data is stored on the hard drive and all data is erased each time the server is rebooted. And I like how perfect forward secrecy randomly changes your encryption key — this means that even if your current key is compromised, a hacker cannot access any past or future keys. Lightway is ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol that has high-end security and blazing-fast speeds (it’s even passed an independent security audit).
Thanks to Lightway and its state-of-the-art 10Gbps servers, ExpressVPN has the fastest speeds in the industry. In my tests, I downloaded a 6 GB file on a local server in less than 7 minutes, which is really impressive. When I attempted to download the same file connected to a distant server, it still only took about 10 minutes.
I love how ExpressVPN also comes with other cool features to help increase your speeds. I took advantage of its split-tunneling feature, which allows you to choose which apps are routed through the VPN connection, and excluded all apps except my torrent client app from the VPN. You can also use port forwarding (only available on ExpressVPN’s router app) to connect to more peers for slightly faster speeds.
ExpressVPN offers affordable monthly and yearly plans, which start at $6.67 / month. Its prices are on the higher end compared to some other top VPNs, but ExpressVPN offers the best app on the market (and it usually offers deals that include extra months for free). It also allows up to 5 simultaneous connections.
ExpressVPN is by far the best VPN for torrenting. It supports P2P traffic on all of its servers in 90+ countries, includes unlimited data, works with each of the top torrenting clients, and is the fastest VPN out there. ExpressVPN comes with industry-leading security features and a strict and audited no-logs policy. While it’s not free, it covers all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full ExpressVPN review
🥈2. Windscribe — Best Free VPN for Torrenting With Unlimited Connections
Windscribe is easily the best completely free VPN for torrenting — its free plan is very secure, has fast download speeds, works with top torrent clients, offers a pretty good server network, and allows unlimited simultaneous connections (so you can share files on as many devices as you want).
However, the free plan has a 10 GB monthly data limit, so it isn’t ideal if you’re trying to torrent several large files. Make note that you must provide your email address to get 10 GB per month (otherwise, Windscribe limits you to only 2 GB of data per month). That being said, data caps are a drawback of most free VPNs — Proton VPN is one of the rare VPNs to offer a free plan with unlimited data, but unfortunately, it doesn’t allow torrenting.
One of my favorite things about Windscribe’s free plan is that it includes nearly every single feature. While you only get 10+ server locations and a limited (but still decent) ad and malware blocker, Windscribe’s free plan comes with other extra features that are great for torrenting like split-tunneling and port forwarding.
When it comes to security, Windscribe’s free plan has top-notch features. It uses RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy, has full leak protection (and passed all of my leak tests), and has a strict no-logs policy — though it hasn’t been independently audited like ExpressVPN. Plus, I like how Windscribe publishes a transparency report, which displays the number of requests it receives from law enforcement for user data and proves how it never turns anything over.
In my speed tests, Windscribe had faster speeds than every other VPN on this list except ExpressVPN. It offers the popular WireGuard protocol, which isn’t as fast as Lightway but is one of the fastest ones on the market. I was able to torrent the same 6 GB file I downloaded with ExpressVPN in about 13 minutes, which is still pretty good for a free VPN.
Upgrading to Windscribe’s paid plans (that start at $5.75 / month) unlocks access to servers in all 60+ countries and unlimited data. However, Windscribe only comes with a pretty stingy 3-day money-back guarantee. Another unique option is you can also build your own plan by selecting only the features and servers you want to use. This can be cheaper than the fixed paid plans unless you want access to multiple servers, which can quickly ramp up the price.
Windscribe is easily the best truly free VPN for torrenting. It allows torrenting on all of its free servers, includes really good security features, has feature-rich apps, is fast, and allows unlimited connections. However, there’s a monthly 10 GB data cap (make sure you include your email address), and its paid plans offer a very short 3-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full Windscribe review
🥉3. hide.me — Easy-to-Use VPN Good for New Users
hide.me’s free plan has really good security features and comes with beginner-friendly apps for all of the major operating systems. Plus, it’s compatible with popular torrent clients such as uTorrent and Deluge, and you get 10GB of data each month. However, it only allows 1 connection and access to servers in 5 countries.
I love all of the security features that are included in the free plan. It has RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, and full leak protection, and I really like how there’s also a customizable kill switch that lets you choose which apps to disable if the VPN connection drops — I set it up so my uTorrent app could access the internet only if I was connected to a hide.me server. The no-logs policy passed an independent audit (but way back in 2015), and the provider issues a transparency report.
And new users will really like hide.me. I downloaded and installed the app on my Windows and Mac PCs in less than 2 minutes, and it takes just a few minutes to get used to the interface and to navigate the server menu and Settings tab.
However, I was a little disappointed with my download speeds. hide.me has WireGuard and port forwarding, but neither one is available for free users. So, I used OpenVPN — it’s still secure and fast but a bit slower than WireGuard. It took me over 15 minutes to download the same 6 GB file I tested with ExpressVPN and Windscribe.
To get unlimited data and access to hide.me’s full server network (in 40+ countries), you have to upgrade to one of the premium plans. They start at ($3.84 / month), include up to 10 connections, and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
hide.me has excellent security features for torrenting, provides beginner-friendly apps, and allows 10 GB of data per month on the free plan. However, some features that are good for torrenting are locked behind the paywall, including port forwarding, and the free plan excludes WireGuard, so my speeds weren’t as fast as most of the other VPNs on this list.
4. PrivadoVPN — Good Speeds for P2P Traffic
PrivadoVPN maintains pretty fast speeds for torrenting. I was able to download a 6 GB file in about 12 minutes, which is on par with Windscribe but still significantly slower than ExpressVPN. I also like how PrivadoVPN uses an easy-to-follow color-coded system for the latency (how long it takes the internet signal to reach the server), so you can choose the fastest server.
It also offers a pretty good server network, giving free users access to servers in 8+ countries, which is better than most free VPNs. The free plan also comes with 10 GB of data per month (like Windscribe and hide.me).
PrivadoVPN has good security, including full leak protection. However, its no-logs policy hasn’t been audited and the provider doesn’t issue a transparency report, so there’s no proof to back up the claim it doesn’t keep a record of the files you download. In addition, PrivadoVPN is missing RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy — unlike ExpressVPN, Windscribe, and hide.me.
PrivadoVPN offers competitive paid plans, which cost as low as $1.99 / month. Each one comes with unlimited data, access to all 400+ servers in 40+ countries, SOCKS5 proxy servers, and 10 connections. PrivadoVPN covers all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PrivadoVPN’s free plan is fast and offers a decent server network. Its monthly data limit matches the other free VPNs listed here. However, it’s pretty basic in terms of extra features, its no-logs policy hasn’t been audited, and it lacks some advanced security features.
Read the full PrivadoVPN review
5. Hotspot Shield — Good for Downloading Small P2P Files
Hotspot Shield is a decent free VPN if you only need to download very small files. This is because the free plan limits your data to 500 MB per day and doesn’t carry over any unused data per day. However, its monthly cap allows a combined 15 GB, which is the most of any of the free VPNs on this list.
I like the advanced security features and fast speeds that Hotspot Shield provides — it has perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak protection, and its own superfast proprietary Hydra protocol. Even though Hotspot Shield throttles free subscribers’ speeds to 2 Mbps, Hydra maintained speeds comparable to Windscribe (though ExpressVPN was much faster).
However, Hotspot Shield has a few issues. In addition to the low daily data limit, the free plan only comes with 1 US-based server, and I don’t like how Hotspot Shield shares free users’ geo-location with advertisers — but it doesn’t share any personal information. On top of that, there are no RAM-only servers, the no-logs policy hasn’t been audited, and the provider doesn’t release a transparency report.
Hotspot Shield’s premium plans begin at $2.99 / month and give you unlimited data, access to servers in over 80 countries, and 5 connections. All plans include a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
Hotspot Shield is only good for downloading small files due to its small daily 500 MB data cap. While it has fast speeds and good security features, I don’t like how there’s only 1 server location (in the US), it shares your location with advertisers, and its no-logs policy hasn’t been verified. However, its premium plans let you connect to servers in 80+ countries and provide really fast speeds.
Read the full Hotspot Shield review
Comparison of the Best VPNs for Torrenting in 2023
|VPN||Premium Plan (Starting Price)||Data Usage Limits||Number of Countries||Split-Tunneling||Number of Simultaneous Connections|
|🥇1. ExpressVPN||$6.67 / month||Unlimited||90+||✅||5|
|🥈2. Windscribe||$5.75 / month||2 GB per month
(10 GB per month if you verify your email)
|🥉3. hide.me||$3.84 / month||10 GB per month||5||✅||1|
|4. PrivadoVPN||$1.99 / month||10 GB per month||8||❌||1|
|5. Hotspot Shield||$2.99 / month||500 MB per day||1 (US)||✅||1|
How to Choose the Best VPN for Torrenting in 2023
- Reliable security. All of the VPNs on this list have key industry-standard VPN security features, including military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and a kill switch to prevent your data from leaking onto the internet if your VPN connection is interrupted.
- P2P Support. The free VPNs on this list allow torrenting on their free servers and are compatible with popular torrenting clients.
- Connection speeds. All VPNs slow down your connection speeds due to the distance between the server and your device, as well as because of the encryption process. However, I only recommend VPNs that maintain very fast speeds (ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN out there).
- Compatibility and ease of use. It’s important that the VPN offers an intuitive app for each of the top devices you want to use for torrenting. All of the VPNs here have easy-to-install and easy-to-use apps for Windows, Macs, Android, iOS, and more — ExpressVPN even has a router app so you can connect all of the devices in your home to the VPN.
- Affordable paid plans. I only considered VPNs that offer affordable premium plans in case you decide to upgrade to a paid subscription to access additional servers and features.
Risks & Disadvantages of Using a Free VPN
- No torrenting support. There are many free VPNs that don’t allow P2P traffic. I always recommend using a premium VPN to ensure you’re able to access servers that support file sharing (for example, ExpressVPN allows torrenting on all 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries).
- Bad security. A lot of free VPNs lack essential security features like encryption and leak protection that can actually put your data and privacy at high risk. Without encryption, your internet service provider can see which websites you visit and files you download. And if your IP address leaks on the internet, it will expose the city where you’re located. The best way to keep your data and privacy secure is to use one of the top premium VPNs for torrenting in 2023.
- They sell your data. Many free VPN companies sell your information to third-party advertisers for profit. This is why it’s crucial to always use a VPN that has a strict no-logs policy, preferably one that’s been independently audited and confirmed like ExpressVPN.
- Slow speeds. Free VPNs have slow speeds because they usually only allow access to a handful of servers, which causes a lot of bandwidth traffic and slow speeds. Also, some free VPNs throttle the speeds for free users. However, the VPNs on this list all provide fast enough speeds for downloading files.
- Data caps. Most free VPNs set a limit on how much data you can use per day or month, which drastically affects how many files you can torrent. I only recommend free VPNs that allow enough data to torrent at least small files and some are capable of torrenting one or two medium files each month.
Affordable VPNs for Torrenting
- Private Internet Access (PIA). Private Internet Access allows torrenting on servers in all 80+ countries, works with all of the top torrent clients, has extremely fast speeds, and features some of the best security tools in the industry — you get a verified no-logs policy, a transparency report, full leak protection, and open-source apps. Plus, it offers other extras that enhance your torrenting experiences like split-tunneling, port forwarding, SOCKS5 proxy servers, and the best ad and malware blocker on the market. With prices starting at just $2.11 / month, PIA is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market, and each plan is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can read the full Private Internet Access review here.
- CyberGhost VPN. CyberGhost VPN is another one of my go-to VPNs for torrenting, as it has dedicated torrenting servers in 75+ countries, provides top-notch security features, and has very fast download speeds. Plans cost as low as $2.11 / month, and its long-term plans come with a pretty generous 45-day money-back guarantee. You can read the full CyberGhost VPN review here.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- TunnelBear. TunnelBear’s free plan supports torrenting in more than 45 countries, provides excellent security and privacy features, and has an intuitive and really cute bear-themed user interface. However, its free plan allows just 500 MB of data per month, which is only enough to download one small file.
- Proton VPN. Proton VPN has the best free plan on the market thanks to offering unlimited data. While this is great, the provider doesn’t allow torrenting (or streaming) on its free plan.
- ZoogVPN. ZoogVPN’s free plan allows 10 GB of data per month, but you only get access to P2P servers in the US, UK, and the Netherlands, and it has slower speeds on distant servers — so if you’re not located near one of the 3 server locations, you’ll likely experience slow download speeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best free VPN for torrenting?
My top choice is ExpressVPN, which supports torrenting on 3,000+ servers across 90+ countries, works with all of the popular torrent clients like uTorrent and Deluge, includes industry-leading security and privacy features, and is the fastest VPN on the market. While it’s not 100% free, ExpressVPN backs all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it out for yourself risk-free.
That said, I think there are a few other good free options as well. Windscribe allows unlimited connnections, and hide.me’s beginner-friendly design is great for users who torrent but have never used a VPN. PrivadoVPN has pretty fast speeds for P2P traffic, and Hotspot Shield is secure and good for downloading small files.
Are free VPNs safe?
No, many free VPNs often lack essential security features, leaving your data and privacy at risk. In my research, I found a lot of free VPNs don’t have 256-bit AES encryption, which makes all of your internet traffic indecipherable to third parties like your internet service provider. And most free VPNs don’t have a kill switch, so there’s a serious potential that your data may leak onto the web if the VPN connection unknowingly fails.
On top of that, many free VPNs also log and sell user data to third-party advertisers. I strongly recommend that you only use a VPN that has a strict no-logs policy — this way, you can trust that the provider doesn’t store any user data.
Fortunately, all of the VPNs on this list include these industry-standard VPN security features.
Why do I need a VPN for torrenting?
A VPN secures your data and protects your privacy when you download files. It uses bank-grade encryption to scramble all of your online traffic (including the torrenting sites you visit) and the files you download, and it hides your IP address so other peers are unable to figure out where you live.
While all of the free VPNs on this list come with the essential VPN security features, my favorite VPN for torrenting is ExpressVPN — it also includes advanced security features, has blazing-fast download speeds, and easy-to-use apps for all of the major operating systems.
Is using a VPN to torrent legal?
Yes, torrenting with a VPN is legal in many countries. However, VPNs are either banned or restricted in some restricted countries, including China, Russia, and Iran, And other countries, like the US and the UK, allow torrenting in the public domain but don’t allow the practice of torrenting copyrighted content.
Honestly, I strongly recommend checking the policies and local laws in your country before torrenting so you can avoid facing any associated penalties or fines.