We don't see any point in beating around the bush - despite the best efforts of governments and internet providers, downloading music, films and video games via torrenting is still incredibly popular.
Torrenting is where many users share small bits of a larger file with each other to enable some potentially very fast download speeds. And the rise of torrenting has also meant a rise in the popularity of VPN downloads.
Of course TechRadar doesn’t condone any copyright-trampling activities, but we do worry about your safety online. And, on the privacy front, all these other online folks you’re sharing files with can clearly see your IP address. So if you want to avoid that and retain your anonymity, then we'd recommend using one of our best VPN service options that we've listed below to ensure that your details stay private.
The Virtual Private Networks in question all support torrents (not every VPN out there does) and we're on hand to tell you the best VPN for torrenting in 2018.
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.
- Check out the best VPN
Finally, you want a VPN which offers fast download speeds to keep those files coming quickly, and one that doesn’t throttle bandwidth. So with that in mind, let’s move on to look at the five best VPNs for torrenting.
Best all-round VPN for torrenting and P2P traffic
Number of servers: 1500+ | Server locations: 148 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum devices supported: 3
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This British Virgin Islands-based provider is impressive on the performance front, with excellent speeds across a wide range of server locations. And that’s obviously a major advantage for anyone who downloads large files.
The software’s unique split tunneling feature for both Mac and Windows users is definitely worth mentioning as it allows users to choose to protect their torrent client only (leaving all other online activities, such as, for example, web browsing or online gaming, unaffected by the VPN).
And should you encounter any problems with the VPN, 24/7 customer support is provided via live chat or email. ExpressVPN’s offshore jurisdiction in the BVI is also a key advantage for protecting your anonymity.
Price-wise, ExpressVPN costs slightly more than other providers but it may be worth it for those who want the very best experience when torrenting.
This provider doesn’t offer a free plan or trial but all the plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Out of the three subscriptions, the annual plan offers the best value-for-money (you get an extra three months free, into the bargain). The packages available are:
- Exclusive deal 12 month plan - $6.67 a month (plus 3 free months) - ($99.95 total cost)
- 6 month plan - $9.99 a month ($59.95 total cost)
- 1 month plan - $12.95 a month (12.95 total cost)
Great balance of power and performance
Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 5
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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 great clients that work well across different platforms (although we found that the Windows client may be prone to the odd network issue).
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. It 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:
Most secure torrenting VPN
Number of servers: 4331 | Server locations: 62 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6
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 VPN offers ample server coverage, an automatic kill-switch, a good client and great performance levels with steady download speeds. There’s a clear no log policy, too.
NordVPN has very reasonable pricing – save for the monthly plan, which is one of the more expensive offerings around – and there's a free 3-day trial. You have four plans available, all with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The three-year plan is clearly the best choice in terms of pure value for money. The packages available are:
Great for speed and security
Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 73 | IP addresses: 200,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 3-5
Because VyprVPN fully manages its own network, it means the provider can deliver excellent speeds. We know that, because that's exactly the kind of thing we discover in our in-depth tests. You won’t have trouble finding speedy connections, either, since this VPN operates more than 700 servers in over 70 locations.
That's great news when it comes to torrenting, as speed is the name of the game for those mega fast downloads. If you're downloading a film, box set or artist's back catalogue, you don't want to be slowed down by a sluggish VPN.
VyprVPN also has some great extras from such as auto-connect options to make things easy for you, a kill switch, and you get bolstered security courtesy of the firm’s proprietary Chameleon protocol and VyprDNS. Note that on the logging front, some logs are maintained (connection times, IP addresses) - that's one reason why it isn't higher in the list.
One point you should be aware of is that VyprVPN doesn’t do refunds at all, but there is a 3-day trial. In terms of what’s on offer here, you can subscribe either monthly or annually to a Basic or Premium plan (you get three connections with the former, and five with the latter). The packages available are:
5. Buffered VPN
Best VPN for desktop PCs
Number of servers: N/A | Server locations: 45 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
Torrenting demands high download speeds and this Hungarian-based provider certainly delivers in this department. In our testing, Buffered VPN achieved very consistent performance levels with speeds nearly matching our usual rates with the VPN turned off.
One downside, however, is that there are no native mobile clients, so you’ll have to set up everything manually on your phone or tablet. In terms of security, you get 256-bit Blowfish encryption, and Buffered VPN promises that it doesn’t log any of your online activities so there should be no worries about privacy. The firm’s customer service is available 24/7, too.
Another highlight is a rather generous refund policy. If you’re not satisfied, you can still get a refund after up to 10 hours of usage or 100 sessions or 10GB of bandwidth – whichever comes first. This will come in handy, however, as the it is far from cheap. The yearly plan is the best option for the moment, even if it’s still a pricey subscription compared to rival VPNs. The packages available are:
- [$12.99 a month] 1-month
- [$9.99 a month] 6-months - $59.94
- [$7.62 a month] 13-months (1-month free)_- $99.00
- We’ve rounded up the best free VPN of 2018