Torrents are a popular way of downloading things – legal things, and of course in some cases, not-so-legal things (of course we don’t condone any copyright- trampling activities here at TechRadar) – whereby many users share small bits of a larger file with each other to enable some potentially very fast download speeds.
Of course, the downside on the privacy front is that all these other online folks you’re sharing with can clearly see your IP address, so if you want to avoid that, obviously a VPN will ensure that your details stay private. Providing the Virtual Private Network in question supports torrents, of course.
How to choose the best VPN for torrenting
Because not every VPN supports torrent downloading, so you need to be careful when picking one out – this is clearly your prime concern when selecting a client for this purpose. Download speeds are important, too, as are privacy and security.
Finally, you want a VPN which offers fast download speeds to keep those files coming quickly, and a service which doesn’t throttle bandwidth. So with that in mind, let’s move on to look at the five best VPN services for torrenting.
IPVanish routinely stands out as one of the top VPN providers and for good reason. It offers impressive download speeds, wide global coverage, unlimited P2P traffic and a great client that works well across different platforms. The no logs policy and strong encryption via OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPsec protocols, along with an automatic kill switch make for a genuinely private and secure experience.
However, the price might be the one fly in the VPN ointment. The service doesn’t come with the benefit of a free trial, but you do get a 7-day money-back guarantee. The 1-year subscription is the most popular choice, and the best one in our books. The packages available are:
When talking about VPN security, NordVPN is one of the first names that springs to mind. You get an ultra-secure connection with support for IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP protocols, plus there’s a certain number of ‘Double VPN’ servers which actually pass your data through two separate VPN servers for extra security.
The service has a strict no logs policy, ample coverage, an automatic kill-switch, a good client and great performance levels with steady download speeds. However, those looking to hook up a larger number of devices have to deal with a slight complication – if you’re connecting these devices to the same server, you have to choose a different protocol for each connection, which effectively limits you to four devices per server.
Still, NordVPN has very reasonable pricing, and there's a free 3-day trial (hidden away in the FAQ). You have three plans available, all with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The 1-year plan is clearly the best choice in terms of pure value for money. The packages available are:
The company’s boast that it’s the ‘world’s fastest VPN’ isn’t an idle one, as Hide.me offers some truly impressive performance levels, actually slightly improving upon our regular download speeds. The client is well-designed and simple to use, automatically selecting the fastest server available at the time. There is also a strict ‘no logging, ever’ policy in place, with the service boasting OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, IPsec, SoftEther and SSTP protocols.
Another big plus point of Hide.me is the 2GB per month free plan which offers a good preview of the service. You’ll need it as the Premium plan with unlimited data is expensive, so you can use the freebie to be sure before you commit. Your best bet is the Plus plan if you don’t mind its restrictions (75GB data transfer limit, no port forwarding, among other restrictions). The packages available are:
Private Internet Access offers a well-balanced VPN experience when it comes to torrenting. The service supports up to five devices, PPTP/OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec protocols, a SOCKS5 proxy and it has no restrictions on P2P. The client also benefits from a number of additional features like DNS and IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch and more; but the performance is where this VPN falters a bit. When we tested the service, both upload and download speeds had their wings clipped considerably – but that said, things remained perfectly usable.
The company has three plans with identical features, with only the billing period being different. The yearly plan is the clear winner here with a marvellously cheap price. There is no free trial, but Private Internet Access offers a 7-day money-back guarantee with a ‘no questions asked’ policy. The packages available are:
As the name suggests, TorGuard is a VPN designed for torrent users. It offers a vast selection of servers, all mainstream protocol support, unlimited bandwidth and 24/7 customer support.
Furthermore, expert users will have a field day with the client as it offers loads of configuration options not commonly found in VPN software, along with the necessary stuff like a kill switch and DNS leak prevention. The company doesn't store or log any online activity, either.
Things are more wobbly on the performance front, though, and when we tested things out latency was high, although download and upload speeds were reasonable, if a little varied. Overall, we’d describe the service as acceptable in this department.
There’s no free trial of this VPN, but there is a refund available if requested within 7-days from the date of purchase. TorGuard has five price plans and generally speaking, it’s about average value-for-money (with possible additional customisations). The 6-month plan offers the best value (seeing as a year-long or two-year subscription doesn’t get you a cheaper monthly rate). The packages available are: