If you’re interested in getting into torrenting, which involves downloading and uploading files via a BitTorrent network, you might want to remain anonymous.
Torrenting is a popular type of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing, but it does bring with it some piracy issues.
Is torrenting considered piracy?
Since you’re sharing files with others, such as by downloading a file from several other users on BitTorrent or uploading files to many users at the same time, you could be sharing files that are copyright protected.
This includes games and music. So, with that in mind, let’s check out the best VPN for torrenting: stay anonymous and safe!
By changing your IP address, a VPN can help you hide your torrenting activity from your internet service provider, but it also has many other benefits.
Best VPN For Torrenting – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
Best Overall: ExpressVPN
We start our list of the best VPNs for torrenting with ExpressVPN, which is considered to be one of the best VPNs in general.
Here’s why it’s worth it if you want to torrent or just protect yourself online whenever you browse the internet.
- One of the most important reasons why ExpressVPN is on our number-one spot is because of how it has servers in many countries across the globe. This means that you’ll be located within close proximity to servers, which will ensure better speeds.
- It makes use of a Kill Switch. This is a crucial feature to look for in the best VPNs for torrenting because it basically shuts down your web pages should you lose your connection to the VPN. This protects your privacy.
- You can connect up to five devices to ExpressVPN at the same time. You can also connect a VPN router, which will enable you to connect as many devices as you want to on one subscription, provided that those devices are on the same network.
- You can engage in split tunneling with ExpressVPN. This allows you to use your internet connection via private and public networks, giving you greater versatility when you’re on the go.
- ExpressVPN is very fast. This is a must for torrenting, especially since you will be downloading files that are of a large size. In tests, ExpressVPN was one of the most reliable connections.
- It offers peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing with unlimited bandwidth on all of its servers.
- ExpressVPN is the best VPN to use for torrenting because it has many strong privacy features in place to keep you safe whenever you’re online. For example, it encrypts your web traffic, has a secure server DNS, and doesn’t log your connection or activity.
- The company’s customer support is excellent, so you’ll always have help at hand if you run into problems.
- If you want to torrent via your iPhone or iPad, you’ll have to make use of an auto-reconnect option because you won’t be able to access a Kill Switch.
Runner Up: NordVPN
NordVPN is all about maintaining your privacy and security, so it’s an excellent VPN to consider if you want to engage in torrenting. Here’s what to know about it.
- NordVPN is focused on giving its customers secure connections, such as with supported protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec.
- NordVPN also offers its own protocol called NordLynx, which enables quicker connections to servers.
- This VPN doesn’t log any of your information, which is what you’ve probably come to expect from a high-quality VPN. This feature is certainly something to look for when VPN shopping so that you can stay safe, not just when torrenting but whenever you use the internet.
- NordVPN offers a Kill Switch on iOS, Mac, and Windows. If you’re on Android, you will have a user-friendly equivalent to ensure that you always stay as private as possible on the net.
- For further convenience, you can use a Kill Switch for a specific app, such as the torrent client that you want to use.
- This good VPN for torrenting has specific servers for P2P file sharing, so it’s one of the best to use for torrenting.
- Only some of NordVPN’s servers can be used for P2P file sharing. You have to go to your settings, then choose “Auto-connect at startup” where you can choose automatic selection or a certain type of server that you wish to connect to.
Alternative: Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield is considered to be one of the best VPNs for beginners because it’s fast and easy to use. It’s also great for torrenting. Here’s what to know about it.
- If you’re going to be P2P file-sharing, you want it to be fast. This is what Hotspot Shield can give you, thanks to its Catapult Hydra protocol, which offers faster connection speeds than what you can achieve with other protocols, such as OpenVPN.
- You’ll be pleased to know that with Hotspot Shield you’ll be able to use any of its servers for P2P.
- Hotspot Shield doesn’t have a data cap or bandwidth throttling, which further makes it one of the best VPNs for torrenting because you won’t feel restricted. After all, ISP throttling is something you probably wanted to avoid by choosing to torrent via a VPN in the first place.
- This top free VPN for torrenting gives you a free basic subscription, so it’s great for when you want to try it out for a long period without paying money. Of course, you will be restricted, such as by only being able to use U.S. servers, but it’s still useful.
- Hotspot Shield provides users with online support for how to torrent safely, which further makes it great for you if you’re just starting out with P2P.
- Hotspot Shield is open about torrenting and endorses it, which we have to say is quite refreshing and impressive because many VPNs don’t do this.
- Hotspot Shield does log some information about its users. This includes things like IP addresses and internet session length. Although these aren’t major, they might make you prefer to use a VPN that has a zero-logging policy.
- Although it has a Kill Switch for some platforms, you can’t make use of it if you’re using the iOS app.
What is the best VPN for torrenting?
While you might consider using Surfshark because of how well priced it is compared to some of its competitors, this VPN has many other benefits to offer you, such as that it’s one of the best VPNs for P2P file sharing and torrenting.
Let’s explore why.
- With Surfshark you can connect an unlimited number of devices. This makes it great for general use and file sharing, and it’s ideal if many people want to connect to the internet via a VPN in their household. Best of all, you can achieve all this with one subscription.
- Surfshark is one of the few VPNs that offer Kill Switch features on iPhone, Mac, Windows, and Android devices.
- You’ll be able to make the most of and customize your P2P experience thanks to Surfshark’s features that include a Kill Switch, split tunneling, and protocol switching.
- Since Surfshark makes use of encryption of the highest standard, you don’t have to worry that anyone will be monitoring your internet connection.
- You don’t have to worry about bandwidth restrictions either, as Surfshark doesn’t limit your upload or download speeds. You will love not having to deal with any data caps.
- This best-paid VPN for torrenting supports all the big P2P clients, such as BitTorrent, Deluge, Transmission, and others.
- There is an issue you might experience with Surfshark’s Kill Switch: sometimes it doesn’t give you enough of a warning that the connection has dropped. This was found to be the case on Windows devices.
- Only some of Surfshark’s servers support P2P traffic.
PrivateVPN is another beginner-friendly VPN that you should consider using for torrenting. Here’s what you need to know about it.
- While some VPNs have the tendency of slowing you down, with PrivateVPN you will be able to enjoy really fast torrenting and browsing in general. This is thanks to its military-grade 2048-bit encryption, which is also highly secure. This gives you the best of both worlds.
- Since PrivateVPN is located in Sweden, it can engage in zero-logging policies – no web traffic logs are kept that can be seized by the government.
- PrivateVPN makes use of IPv6 Leak Protection. This feature ensures that your identity will be secure even if you lose the connection to your VPN, preventing your web traffic from being monitored. In case you’re wondering, it also comes with a Kill Switch like other top-quality VPNs.
- You can connect up to six devices to this VPN at the same time, which gives you a lot of versatility.
- With PrivateVPN, you’ll be able to enjoy unlimited bandwidth and speeds. This means you won’t have to deal with frustrating buffering issues or downloads that seem to take forever.
- PrivateVPN supports P2P file sharing across its network for the ultimate convenience.
- Although PrivateVPN has a LiveChat option to help you if you need assistance with any issue, it is not available at all hours.
- Sometimes changing from one server to another can be a bit slow.
VPN For Torrenting FAQ
Now that we’ve looked at the best VPNs that you should buy if you want to engage in torrenting, you might have some questions related to this online practice.
With that in mind, here’s information you should know before you go ahead.
Is Torrenting Safe With a VPN?
If you want to start torrenting on your device, you should always ensure you first download and install a VPN. This is because torrenting will be much safer and more private.
A VPN basically encrypts your web traffic and IP address so that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) won’t be able to see or track your online activity.
Although you might not be using torrenting to download copyrighted materials, and it is legal, you might still wish to hide your online activity from your ISP.
It’s worth bearing in mind that if your ISP can tell that you’re torrenting, it could slow down your service. If torrenting isn’t allowed where you live, your ISP could even cut your service completely!
Some ISPs will block torrenting sites and clients, which can further get in your way. Therefore, hiding the fact that you’re torrenting is advisable to stay safe. You can only do this with the use of a VPN.
But, there’s a catch!
You could engage in torrenting with the use of a VPN and still get caught. This is because some VPNs don’t have Kill Switches in place that shut down your internet connection if you lose the connection to your VPN.
This can result in your online activity and IP address being exposed, so it’s always essential that you choose the best VPN for torrenting, such as one from our list of reviews, that offers a Kill Switch feature.
You should also make sure that you check how many platforms are compatible with this feature. You don’t want to find that the Kill Switch is available on Android but not iOS, or vice versa, for example.
This will ensure you can remain as private as possible and prevent your data from being leaked.
Can You Go To Jail For Torrenting?
The big question surrounding torrenting is if it’s legal or not. At the beginning of this article, we looked at how torrenting can be linked to piracy because you could be receiving or uploading files that are copyright protected.
So, while torrenting isn’t illegal, if you’re downloading these types of items then it will be against the law.
What further makes the situation tricky is that it’s not always easy to know right off the bat what content is legal and what isn’t, which means you could unknowingly end up on the wrong side of the law.
This is why it’s important to tread carefully when torrenting.
While you might not necessarily go to jail for torrenting, you could end up paying fines if you’re caught doing it. This is the case in countries such as Germany, France, and Finland, amongst others.
On the other hand, there are some countries that have completely shut down torrenting sites, such as South Africa, Italy, China, and the U.S.
If you’re caught torrenting in a country where it’s not allowed, you will be guilty of a civil offense and you could even be sued by organizations such as the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), or others as a result of your copyright violations.
Your internet service provider can record your torrenting activities and place you on a database so that it can give you a warning letter to stop you from torrenting in future.
You will likely also be told that if you continue torrenting, your internet connection will be cut off.
If you go ahead and ignore those warnings, you will lose your internet connection and you can even be blacklisted by various internet service providers.
In addition to the above, you should also know that copyright agencies can fine you for piracy and if you continue breaking piracy laws then you could find yourself behind bars.
How Do ISPs Know You’re Torrenting?
Earlier, we mentioned that your ISP will keep a record of your torrenting on their database, but how does your ISP even know that you’re torrenting to begin with?
Your ISP will be able to know that you’re torrenting as a result of your IP address as well as port number that’s on your internet packets.
In addition to that, if you are using a lot of bandwidth, this also can show your ISP that you’re engaging in file-sharing online.
However, the interesting thing to note here is that your ISP won’t see exactly what files you’re uploading or downloading because torrenting isn’t illegal, but if you’re sharing copyrighted material, then that’s a different story.
It’s also good to know that popular torrent files, such as those consisting of music or movies, are being monitored all the time by automatic tracking software.
This detects your IP address when you’re torrenting and reports it to your ISP.
All ISPs that are in the U.S. have to keep a record of their customers who are caught torrenting. This database can be asked for by the government, after which it is forwarded to copyright agencies.
This is how those agencies can get your personal details and send you fines.
Can The Police Track a VPN?
If you want to use a VPN, you might wonder just how private it really is. One of the questions you will likely have is if the police can track your VPN.
The truth of the matter is that police can’t track encrypted, live VPN traffic. However, there’s a catch. If the police have a court order, they can request from your ISP that your connection and usage logs are handed over to them.
- Connection logs basically contain information about times when you connected to your VPN. This information will also include how much bandwidth was used as well as the user’s IP address. However, what activities you did online won’t be provided.
- Traffic usage logs, on the other hand, contain detailed information associated with your connection to the internet. This will show the names of all the websites that you visited.
This doesn’t mean that your ISP will always be obliged to provide the police with the information they want.
If good VPNs for torrenting are not logging any information from their customers, then they won’t have any data to hand over to the police.
In addition to their policies, where a VPN is located also matters when it comes to how much information they can give to police.
A VPN that’s located in an area of the world where there are no data retention laws, such as the British Virgin Islands, won’t be under any obligation to store the data of its users.
Torrenting can be a prickly issue. Although it’s not illegal or banned everywhere, you should still exercise caution when engaging in this behavior or else risk your privacy being exposed. That’s why it’s essential to use a VPN.
In this article, we’ve featured five of the best VPNs for safe, anonymous torrenting. These usually also offer additional benefits, such as faster speeds and no bandwidth restrictions.