Torrenting has grown in popularity, especially during the quarantine. Since it continues to be a sensitive legal issue and privacy risk (other people in the swarm can see your IP), people generally use VPNs while torrenting. But with so many services on the market, how do you know which one to choose?
We decided to turn to Reddit for answers. Many Redditors love torrenting and privacy, and often hold discussions regarding what the best torrenting VPNs are. These users have first-hand experience with the services they recommend, so their insight is invaluable.
We read numerous threads, and compiled a list of the best VPNs for torrenting according to Reddit.
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Here are the best VPNs for Torrenting According to Reddit:
What to Look for in a Good Torrenting VPN
Here is the list of metrics we used to rank the VPNs. We prioritized the features that were most requested by Reddit users:
- P2P support – Not all VPNs allow torrenting on their servers. You need one that either allows P2P traffic on all servers, or has dedicated torrenting servers.
- Fast download speeds – VPNs will slow down your speeds, so you need a service that doesn’t have noticeable slowdowns. The VPN should also offer the WireGuard protocol since it’s both secure and very fast. IKEv2 and L2TP/IPSec are good options too.
- Kill switch – VPN connections can drop, and when that happens your ISP can see you’re downloading torrents. A kill switch prevents any data leak by shutting down your Internet access until the VPN reconnects.
- Port forwarding – Many Reddit users love this feature because it lets them connect to more peers in the swarm (so they get faster speeds). But, for regular users, port forwarding isn’t necessary. You’d only see improvements with it if you torrent large files or seed often.
- Leak protection – Poor VPN optimization or operating system features can cause data leaks (people in the swarm can still see your IP). Good torrenting VPNs have DNS and IPv6 leak protection.
- Split-tunneling – This feature lets you choose which traffic the VPN encrypts and ignores. You can make the VPN only route torrent client traffic to get better speeds (there’s less data to encrypt and decrypt).
- Unlimited data – Bandwidth caps are bad for torrenting since they limit how much you can download (some free VPNs limit you to 500MB or 2GB per month). All the VPNs we mentioned in this guide have unlimited bandwidth.
- No logs – VPN providers should never log what you do with their service (what files you download or what sites you browse). A zero-log policy means the authorities and copyright agencies can never force the VPN to hand over your data. There isn’t any to begin with.
The 5 Best VPNs for Torrenting According to Reddit
1. NordVPN – Reddit’s Best VPN for Torrenting
Reddit users generally had good things to say about NordVPN. The provider has dedicated P2P servers that are optimized to provide fast and secure torrenting. And they have tons of P2P servers – a little under 5,000 according to their support reps. They told us most of NordVPN’s network (total count is around 5,460+ right now) support torrenting.
People love NordVPN’s download speeds since they’re very fast. When we tested them, we had no problem downloading large files (over 10GB) in minutes when we used NordLynx (NordVPN’s protocol that’s built around WireGuard). Research from AV-TEST (an independent research institute that focuses on IT security) also concluded that NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market.
Many Redditors swear by NordVPN’s kill switch, saying it often saved them from accidental leaks. NordVPN also has DNS and IPv6 leak protection to further protect your data.
NordVPN doesn’t keep logs (they underwent two audits to prove that), uses powerful encryption (AES-256), and has RAM-only servers (they don’t store any information locally). They even started transitioning to colocated servers, meaning they own and manage their servers. The data centers only provide the storage space and Internet.
Here’s what else NordVPN offers:
- 24/7 live chat support (their reps are very friendly and helpful)
- A no-questions asked 30-day refund
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Apps for all platforms (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)
NordVPN doesn’t offer port forwarding, but that’s not a problem if you’re just a regular torrent user who isn’t obsessed with seed ratios. On the plus side, NordVPN supports seeding on their servers. Some VPNs disallow that.
To find out more about NordVPN, check out our review.
2. Surfshark – Best Way to Torrent on Multiple Devices at the Same Time
Surfshark is one of the only VPNs that has unlimited parallel connections. Most providers let you use their service on up to five or seven devices. With Surfshark, you can do that on as many devices as you want.
That’s one of the main reasons why it’s popular with Reddit users. Many of them take advantage of that perk to save money by sharing the VPN subscription costs with their friends.
Surfshark also has lightning-fast speeds since it offers WireGuard. We have no trouble simultaneously downloading multiple large torrents in 10-15 minutes. It also helps that their 70+ P2P dedicated servers are optimized to offer the best speeds. If you’re interested in the total server count, it’s around 3,200+.
With Surfshark, you get great security. This VPN has AES-256 encryption, a no-log policy, DNS leak protection through private DNS, and a kill switch. Unfortunately, Surfshark doesn’t have IPv6 leak protection. You’ll have to manually disable IPv6 on your end instead.
Surfshark also offers:
- Great 24/7 live chat support
- A 30-day refund policy
- Easy-to-use apps on all devices
- Unmetered bandwidth
One thing we don’t like about Surfshark is that they don’t allow seeding on their servers. They also don’t support port forwarding (it’s not a huge drawback, but worth mentioning). You should only use Surfshark if you only want to download torrents, and don’t care about seed ratios.
Here’s our hands-on review of Surfshark if you’d like to read more about this service.
3. ExpressVPN – Best P2P Support
Redditors really like that all of ExpressVPN’s servers support torrent traffic (including seeding). They’re one of the few providers to offer this perk. And their server network is impressive: over 3,000 servers in 94 countries. Overcrowding won’t be an issue, so you’ll get better download speeds.
Speaking of which, ExpressVPN is really fast. It’s all thanks to their proprietary protocol: Lightway. They built it with speed in mind. Even connecting to a server only takes a fraction of a second.
ExpressVPN offers excellent security. They use strong AES-256 encryption, have RAM-only servers, have a reliable kill switch (Network Lock), and prevent leaks through IPv6 and DNS leak protection. ExpressVPN also underwent a security audit to prove that their no-log claims are true.
ExpressVPN also has:
- Unmetered data
- User-friendly apps for all platforms
- 24/7 live chat support
- A 30-day money-back guarantee
You get port forwarding with ExpressVPN, but it’s not available through their app. Instead, you’ll have to configure it on their routers. If you have to buy one, expect to pay over $100 or $200.
Here’s our in-depth ExpressVPN review if you’d like to read more about this VPN.
4. Private Internet Access (PIA) – Best Server Network
PIA has by far the largest server network we have ever seen. Right now, they have over 28,000 servers (and counting). They all support P2P traffic except the US servers. Redditors love that because they never have to deal with overcrowding (no slow speeds). Also, it’s easy for them to find a nearby server, which means they’ll get even faster connections.
PIA is also a popular torrenting VPN on Reddit due to its high speeds. You can easily get consistently good download speeds because PIA lets you use WireGuard. They also redesigned their servers in 2020 to switch from 1 Gbps network cards to 10 Gbps network cards. Their new servers are RAM-only too, so they’re more secure.
PIA uses AES-256 and AES-128 encryption to secure your data. It also protects you from DNS and IPv6 leaks by using private DNS servers and disabling IPv6 traffic. PIA’s apps have a kill switch, so traffic leaks aren’t a concern either. And PIA’s no-log policy has been proven true by court documents.
Here’s what else you get with PIA:
- Unlimited data
- 24/7 support (live chat)
- A 30-day refund period
- Split tunneling
- Cross-platform compatible apps
PIA allows seeding, but their support reps told us it might only work through port forwarding (which PIA supports).
PIA also lets you torrent through their SOCKS5 proxy. You should only use it if you need really fast speeds. Since it’s a proxy, its encryption is weaker, so it’s less secure than a VPN.
If you’d like to read more about PIA, take a look at our review.
- Allows Port Forwarding setup on specific servers
- Supports Torrenting and P2P traffic
- No Traffic or Request logs
- Can be used with 10 devices simultaneously
- Unlimited Bandwidth and good speeds
- 3200+ Servers in 29 Countries
- 30-day money-back guarantee
5. AirVPN – Best Open-Source Torrenting VPN
In every thread we visited, there was at least one person mentioning AirVPN. This provider supports P2P traffic (including seeding) on all servers (over 200). AirVPN even offers port forwarding.
One thing that makes AirVPN unique is that its software is completely open-source. Anyone can audit it (including you) to make sure it’s safe to use. AirVPN also doesn’t keep logs, uses powerful encryption (AES-256), and has a reliable kill switch.
AirVPN doesn’t specify if they offer DNS leak protection. But all their VPN servers run their own DNS servers, so your DNS queries should be safe. However, we weren’t able to find out if AirVPN provides IPv6 leak protection, so you should disable IPv6 if you plan to use this provider.
Here’s what else you get with AirVPN:
- Apps for most platforms (the design is dated, however)
- Unlimited data
- A 30-day money-back guarantee
- Split-tunneling (less user-friendly compared to the other VPNs)
Some Reddit users have complained that AirVPN’s support isn’t very good. They don’t respond fast (it takes them about three or four days), and don’t offer 24/7 live chat support. Instead, you have to email them or post on their forums.
Another issue is that AirVPN only lets you use OpenVPN. While it’s a very secure protocol, it’s also pretty slow. And since you only get servers in around 20 countries, it can be hard to find one that’s close to you (adding even more to the slowdown you’ll experience). It would have been nice to see support for WireGuard or at least IKEv2 and L2TP/IPSec.
How to Use a VPN to Download Torrents (4 Quick Steps)
- Sign up for a VPN (we recommend NordVPN).
- Download and install the VPN provider’s app.
- Run the app and connect to a server.
- Use your torrent client to download whatever you want.
Here are the most common questions we saw people asking on Reddit about VPNs and torrenting. If you have more, please leave them in the comments.
Do All VPNs Allow Seeding?
Generally, yes. VPN providers normally don’t ban seeding on their servers. Based on our research, only Surfshark doesn’t let you seed.
If you need to seed a lot because you’re part of a private torrenting community, we recommend using a seedbox (like Seedbox.io) instead of a VPN. Seedboxes are built to offer fast upload speeds.
Should You Bind Your Torrent Client to the VPN?
Binding your torrent client to a VPN server means it won’t download torrents unless it’s connected to said server. Many Reddit users rely on this method to prevent traffic leaks.
However, IP binding isn’t necessary if your VPN has a kill switch. If it’s enabled, all your Internet traffic will be shut down until the VPN reconnects. Some VPNs even have an application-level kill switch. You can use it to make sure only the torrent client can’t use the Internet if the VPN connection goes down.
If you’d still like to try IP binding, you’ll have to google a guide for the client you’re using. How you do it is different for each torrent client, so we can’t offer a step-by-step tutorial.
Why Don’t All VPNs Offer Port Forwarding?
Some VPN providers don’t allow port forwarding because they consider it a security risk. If you open a random port, a hacker could exploit it to get access to your device. That likely won’t happen all the time, sure, but it’s a risk VPNs don’t want to take. They also don’t want unknown vulnerabilities exposing user data (like Port Fail did in 2015 when it leaked VPN users’ IPs).
The reason why many people want to use port forwarding is because they think it will increase their speeds since the torrent client will connect to more peers. We can’t say how accurate that is since our tests never showed an improvement. Also, other Redditors say port forwarding is unnecessary.
Overall, you don’t need port forwarding if you’re not downloading or seeding massive torrents 24/7. Even then, it’d be safer to get a seedbox instead.
What Does Reddit Think About Using Free VPNs for Torrenting?
They generally dislike them. They don’t trust them because they log data and offer weak security (like no kill switch or leak protection). Also, they’re not fans of the slow speeds, lack of support, buggy apps, and bandwidth caps.