A virtual private network is an excellent way to protect yourself and your family from the various dangers you can encounter when using the internet, but there are some extra considerations involved when choosing the right VPN for torrenting. It is also very easy to set up and use. While you don’t have to look too far to find the best VPN service for your needs, choosing the right torrenting VPN among the variety of providers out there today can be a bit challenging if you don’t know what to look for.
Let us ease your burden a bit. If you’re looking for a good VPN for torrenting and online privacy and none of the best free VPNs are quite robust enough for your needs (and they rarely are), we’ve put together a quick and handy guide that lays out the best torrenting VPN providers broken down by pricing and features. We also delve a little deeper into what particular things to look for when choosing a VPN for torrenting.
Best VPN for torrenting in 2021
- Country of registration: Panama
- Clients supported: Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android, smart TVs, game consoles
- Cost: $12 per month; $59 for the first year; $89 for the first two years (plus three free months)
- Number of servers & locations: 5,280+; 80+ locations across 59 countries
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to six
- Special features: Split tunneling
With three different encryption protocols (IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and NordLynx), NordVPN is not only one of the most secure virtual private networks out there, it’s also a strong candidate for the best VPN for torrenting. Its servers are also spread across more than 5,200 locations in 59 countries around the globe, giving users plenty of options when it comes to node and location selection.
NordVPN is registered in Panama — outside of the Five Eyes and 14 Eyes joint U.S.-European intelligence networks (not that we’re particularly worried about that for our purposes) — which has pretty good privacy laws and no regulations that mandate that VPN providers retain user data. NordVPN has a no-log policy, which is one thing we always look for when choosing a good VPN for torrenting or anything else. A kill switch feature also protects your privacy in the event of a dropped connection, so your IP address and other information won’t be revealed if something causes you to temporarily de-sync with the VPN servers.
This provider has some other great features, too, such as split tunneling that allows you to choose which apps and services you want to route through VPN servers and which ones you want to use your regular internet connection for. NordVPN is also compatible with a wide range of devices, including smart TVs and gaming consoles, addressing one of our former complaints about this otherwise excellent service.
- Country of registration: Switzerland
- Cost: $5 per month; $60 for the first year
- Number of servers & locations: 517; 58 physical locations across 47 countries
- Clients supported: Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Fire TV Stick
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to 10
- Special features: SOCKS5 proxy support
Location is important when choosing a good VPN for torrenting, as different countries have different privacy laws and regulations. PrivadoVPN is based in Switzerland, a nation noted for its strong privacy laws and, like Panama, one that sits outside of the Five eyes and 14 Eyes networks. That’s not necessarily a requirement for a good torrenting VPN — we’re not talking about any illegal activities, after all — but is something worth considering for the more hardcore Secret Squirrels out there.
Aside from its ideal country of registration, PrivadoVPN is a great all-around virtual private network provider. Although it operates a smaller server network than most other big-name VPNs, that’s only because Privado doesn’t rely on any virtual servers, only its own physical ones. That said, its 500-plus servers are still spread across 47 countries, which is pretty good. This VPN also works with multiple encryption protocols including SOCKS5.
Privado’s SOCKS5 proxy support is actually the stand-out feature that makes this such a good torrenting VPN, along with its physical servers that should improve download speeds and overall performance. It’s not the cheapest service at $5-$8 per month, but it does allow you to use it on as many as 10 devices simultaneously. There’s also a free app VPN service that includes 10GB of monthly bandwidth.
- Country of registration: British Virgin Islands
- Cost: $13 per month; $60 for the first six months; $100 for the first year (plus three free months)
- Number of servers & locations: 3,000+; 160 locations across 94 countries
- Clients supported: Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, routers
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to five (but you can have more if you install ExpressVPN on your router)
- Special features: Free cloud backup, split tunneling
You’ll see ExpressVPN on more than a few “best virtual private network” lists, and that’s no less true when talking about the best VPN for torrenting. Operated out of the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN runs thousands of servers in more than 90 countries around the world, all of which are spread out nicely among large cities and other popular travel destinations.
ExpressVPN works with the most common devices and operating systems, and although it can only be used on five devices simultaneously, you can install it on a router (if yours is compatible). This effectively gives you unlimited device compatibility as anything connecting through your router will be using the VPN connection. But don’t worry — like Nord VPN, ExpressVPN offers split tunneling, allowing you to choose which services run through the VPN and which don’t. You might want to keep your online gaming sessions on the clearnet, for example, while using the VPN for torrenting.
Another nice feature that ExpressVPN offers is free cloud storage for backing up some of your data. And, aside from being useful for torrenting, we found ExpressVPN to work quite well with streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video (even if it’s not our favorite Netflix VPN).
- Country of registration: British Virgin Islands
- Cost: $13 per month; $39 for the first six months; $60 for the first two years
- Number of servers & locations: 3,200; 100+ locations across 65 countries
- Clients supported: Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android
- Number of simultaneous connections: Unlimited
- Special features: Double VPN hop
If you need a VPN for torrenting and you’re on a tighter budget, then Surfshark is one of our top picks that’s worth looking at. Along with more than 3,000 servers in 65 countries, Surfshark allows for unlimited simultaneous device connections. That’s pretty solid for a VPN that can be had for as cheap as $2.50 per month with a two-year subscription.
Of course, the old maxim “you get what you pay for” applies here. That doesn’t mean Surfshark is a bad VPN — far from it — but don’t expect any bells and whistles. On the other hand, if all you want is a cheap, basic VPn for torrenting and don’t want to fuss with unnecessary complications, then Surfshark’s simplicity might prove to be a selling point for you.
Surfshark still delivers the goods where it counts, though. The VPN network supports multiple encryption protocols including OpenVPN (UDP or TCP), IKEv2, and WireGuard, with the option to “double-hop” your connection if you want. That lets you route your connection through two remote VPN servers instead of just one for some extra security. Just note that download speeds may suffer, but that’s part of the trade-off with most virtual private networks. If you really want a super-fast VPN for torrenting, though, then read on to our next pick.
5. Hotspot Shield
- Country of registration: United States
- Cost: $13 per month or $96 per year for Premium plan; $20 per month or $144 per year for Premium Family plan
- Number of servers & locations: 1,800+; 110+ locations across 80+ countries
- Clients supported: Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android, smart TVs, routers
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to five, or up to 25 with Premium Family plan
- Special features: Gigabit speeds, 45-day money-back guarantee
When it comes to torrenting, a more important consideration than location might be speed. One recurring issue with virtual private networks is that they are usually slower than your standard internet connection, for the simple reason that a VPN adds another “leg” to the journey that data has to take when being downloaded and uploaded to and from your computer or other devices.
Enter the U.S.-based Hotspot Shield, a newcomer to the VPN space that seeks to solve that little speed problem. Hotspot Shield offers up to gigabit speeds, which is pretty incredible for a virtual private network and is a blessing for users who are paying for gigabit internet and don’t want their VPN bottlenecking their connection. That’s also music to the ears of anybody looking for a fast VPN for torrenting. That’s not just marketing hype: Speedtest.net rated Hotspot Shield the fasted VPN last year and the year before it. It’s not for advanced users, either, as we found the interface to be very easy to install and operate.
One sticking point to note is that you don’t get to choose between encryption protocols, however. Hotspot Shield uses its own unique encryption method that it calls “Hydra,” which is allegedly what makes it so snappy. Another potential drawback (depending on your needs) is that the standard plan limits you to five simultaneous connections, although the Premium Family Plan bumps that up to 25. There’s also a free seven-day VPN free trial if you want to give it a spin and test the speeds for yourself before committing.
- Country of registration: Romania
- Cost: $13 per month; $38 for the first six months; $59 for the first two years (plus two free months)
- Number of servers & locations: 7,000+; 500+ locations across 90+ countries
- Clients supported: Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android, smart TVs, Xbox, PlayStation
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to seven
- Special features: 45-day money-back guarantee
If you’re paying for a virtual private network, you’re probably not using your VPN for torrenting alone. A versatile VPN provider like CyberGhost can serve your peer-to-peer file-sharing needs while also protecting your other activities, from simple web browsing to gaming and streaming, thanks to its broad device compatibility and huge list of servers — 7,000-plus servers, to be more precise, spread across more than 500 locations in 90-plus countries.
Based in Romania, CyberGhost VPN works with computers, phones, tablets, smart TVs, streaming sticks, and Xbox and PlayStation gaming consoles, covering pretty much all of the bases when it comes to privacy. It’s no slouch as a torrenting VPN, either, thanks to its ability to automatically route your connection through the best server for whatever task you’re performing. Go from gaming to torrenting and CyberGhost will note the change and find the fastest server to use.
The VPN also supports the most popular encryption protocols (OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard), so no worries there, and keeps a strict no-logs policy, although it’s worth mentioning that this hasn’t been audited by a third party. If that doesn’t sour the deal for you, then CyberGhost is one of the better VPNs for torrenting and also one of the cheapest, coming in at just $2.25 per month with the two-year plan.
Is torrenting safe with a VPN?
Any trusted VPN provider is going to be generally quite safe, with modern features like kill-switches and IP leak protection making things pretty fool-proof nowadays. However, using a VPN for torrenting complicates things a little, as this is a more complex task than web browsing or watching YouTube videos. There are a few stand-out features to look for if you need a virtual private network that’s truly suitable for peer-to-peer file-sharing.
The VPN operator’s server network is worth looking at if you need something that can bypass region-based restrictions or if you’re concerned about the privacy laws and intrusive surveillance practices of certain countries. Most providers should give you an idea on their websites of where their servers are located, and any of the torrenting VPN services listed above check the boxes here.
Another thing to look for is a strict no-logs policy, and it’s also ideal for the VPN provider to operate out of a country where the government doesn’t mandate that companies retain private user data. Many VPN operators understand that people won’t blindly trust these no-logs policies (how can we really know they’re not keeping logs?), and so they’ll often have their no-logs practices regularly audited by independent third parties. That said, don’t do anything illegal and you shouldn’t have to lose sleep over this.
Other features, such as broad device compatibility and simultaneous connection support, should take a back seat if your main focus is on finding a good VPN for torrenting. You’re probably doing most of your torrenting on a computer, anyways. On the other hand, advanced features like split tunneling could be very useful if you’re torrenting a lot, as this allows you to keep your file shares running in the background while using your regular high-speed internet for other things that you don’t necessarily need to be routed through remote servers (and thus potentially slowed down).
Kill switches are also very useful for a torrenting VPN if you’re sharing large files and you temporarily lose your connection with the remote server. The kill switch will stop whatever process you had running on the VPN, preventing your IP address and other data from getting leaked. So long as you understand how virtual private networks function, know what features you need, and go with a trusted provider such as the ones we listed above, you’ll be swimming in safe waters when using your VPN for torrenting.