In order to find the best VPN for torrenting, we assess every VPN by the same criteria.
We test every VPN using qBittorrent, the safest torrent client, to ensure a fair comparison. Competing clients like uTorrent can present some safety risks.
For torrenting specifically, we test for:
- Average torrenting speeds and bitrate on a local server.
- OpenVPN functionality and AES-256 encryption.
- IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection.
- Fast P2P servers located in privacy-friendly jurisdictions.
- Additional features including port-forwarding, customer support, and compatibility.
Here’s a breakdown of how we calculate our ratings for torrenting VPNs:
1. Encryption & Security: 30%
Minimum Requirement: P2P support, leak protection, and a VPN kill switch.
We Recommend: AES-256 encryption, multiple available protocols, leak protection and a VPN kill switch using firewall rules.
A securely encrypted VPN keeps you hidden from malicious third-parties when you torrent. It also stops your ISP from seeing that you are torrenting (and potentially throttling your connection).
A kill switch is a must-have for torrenting. Without one your true IP address could easily be exposed to other users and copyright trolls.
The gold standard for kill switches is to use firewall rules to ensure leaks cannot possibly occur.
2. P2P Speed: 20%
Minimum Requirement: An average bitrate over 5MiB/s
We Recommend: An average bitrate of 6.5MiB/s or better
VPNs can often be slow when it comes to torrenting – especially free ones. A fast VPN can be the difference between waiting minutes or hours for a torrent to download.
We use a bespoke P2P benchmarking test to identify the fastest VPNs for torrenting. We use this test to determine the average bitrate of each VPN when actually torrenting.
Here’s how we test every VPN for torrenting speed:
- Set up a private torrent tracker for a 1GB data file.
- Host a torrent client on a local server with a fixed connection speed to seed to torrent.
- Configure the client not to use DHT or otherwise communicate with any other peers.
- While running a VPN, torrent the file on a 100Mbps connection.
- Measure the duration of the 1GB download in order to determine average bitrate.
We’ve run this test on every free and paid VPN covered here.
3. Logging Policy: 20%
We Recommend: A strict zero-logs policy with absolutely no activity or connection logs.
Some VPN providers keep activity logs of their users’ activity. This fundamentally undermines the privacy of the service. In the case of torrenting, it’s especially important the VPN providers cannot forward DMCA requests to users.
Unfortunately, free VPNs are especially guilty of bad privacy practices.
We analyze the records and policies of free VPNs to make sure they are safe before we recommend them.
4. P2P Servers: 15%
Minimum Requirement: At least one P2P server in your region.
We Recommend: P2P servers in your country.
Some torrenting VPNs allow P2P traffic on their whole network, while others restrict it to special P2P servers.
This means you can end up on a very slow, long distance connection even if your VPN has a large network. Free VPNs are often guilty of this. Longer distance connections will be far too slow for comfortable torrenting and too few P2P servers will result in bottlenecks.
Ideally, you want multiple P2P server choices in your country, but as a bare minimum you need to connect to a server in your region.
5. Additional Features: 15%
Minimum Requirement: The ability to customize security settings in-app.
We Recommend: Multiple additional features including port forwarding, split tunneling, and SOCKS5.
Every VPN comes with a unique selection of tools and advanced features. Some of these features are useful for torrenting, and some are absolutely necessary.
We test every VPN for extra configuration options and additional features, and reward the services that provide the best tools for torrenters.
For example, a good P2P VPN needs unlimited bandwidth, so you can torrent without worrying about data caps.
We also recommend VPNs that use shared IP addresses, which means you’ll share an IP address with dozens or even hundreds of other people. This adds a significant layer of anonymity.
Port forwarding is another feature we reward when testing the best VPNs for torrenting. This allows you to set your VPN connection to flow through a specific port on your router, bypassing the NAT firewall.
You’ll need port forwarding if you want to seed torrents, because P2P activity is sometimes blocked by the NAT firewall.