ExpressVPN is often considered one of the best VPNs on the market. But just how good is ExpressVPN for torrenting?
We checked Reddit, ran some ExpressVPN torrenting tests, analyzed their features in-depth, and asked their support reps multiple questions to find a good objective answer.
Does ExpressVPN Allow Torrenting?
Yes. Unlike most VPNs, ExpressVPN lets you download torrents on all their servers. You have access to 3,000+ ExpressVPN P2P servers in 94 countries.
Is ExpressVPN Good for Torrenting?
Yes. Here’s what we like the most:
- Excellent P2P support – ExpressVPN allows torrenting on their entire network (over 3,000 servers). They also support seeding..
- Fast download speeds – Thanks to the Lightway protocol (ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol which is very lightweight) and the large server network (it’s easy to find nearby servers that are not overcrowded).
- Kill switch – By enabling the kill switch, you avoid potential traffic leaks that could expose your P2P traffic. Whenever your VPN connection accidentally drops, The VPN app will shut down your Internet access until you reconnect to the VPN server.
- No logs – ExpressVPN doesn’t log your activity. They don’t know what you download or what sites you visit. The VPN underwent an audit to prove it doesn’t keep any logs. Also, Turkish authorities seized one of the provider’s servers, and they weren’t able to recover any data, proving this is a no-log VPN.
- No leaks – You get the complete package: IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection. Data leaks can’t expose your torrenting traffic.
- Great security – ExpressVPN uses end-to-end AES-256 encryption (the same cipher used by banks and the military) to secure your data. Also, their TrustedServer technology ensures all servers run on RAM memory only (all data is wiped with every reboot).
- Split-tunneling – You can make the VPN only route traffic from your torrent client. That helps you get better speeds because there’s less data to encrypt and decrypt.
- User-friendly – The apps are really intuitive, and they’re available on most platforms (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, routers).
- Great torrent client compatibility – ExpressVPN supports just about any torrent client (uTorrent, qBittorrent, Deluge, Vuze, Transmission, BitTorrent, etc.).
- Port forwarding – If you run the ExpressVPN router v1 or v2 firmware, you can enable port forwarding on your router. That way, all the devices you torrent on will automatically use a VPN connection with port forwarding. However, you can only use port forwarding if you manually set it up on your router. It’s not available on ExpressVPN’s apps.
ExpressVPN Torrenting Speed Tests
To see the average torrenting speeds, we used qBittorrent and uTorrent, a 10.2 GB file, the Lightway protocol, and three server locations (the US, Australia, and South Korea). For reference, our tester is from Romania, and these are their original torrenting speeds: 7-8 MB/s (uTorrent) and 54-55 MiB/s (qBittorrent). These are their average ETAs: 30-35 minutes (uTorrent) and 10-15 minutes (qBittorrent).
We first tested a US server. Our speeds slowed down noticeably, but that’s to be expected given the distance between Romania and the US (9,000+ kilometers/5,600+ miles). These were our speeds: 1-2 MB/s and a 3-4 hours ETA with uTorrent, and 13-14 MiB/s and a 10 minute ETA with qBittorrent.
Next, we tested the Australian and South Korean servers. Here are our results:
- Australia – 19-20 MiB/s and a 5-10 minute ETA (qBittorrent), and 1-2 MB/s and a 2-3 hour ETA (uTorrent).
- South Korea – 1-2 MiB/s and a 1 hour 30 minutes ETA (qBittorrent), and 280-300 kB/s and a 12-hour ETA (uTorrent).
We also tested the Smart Location ExpressVPN recommends (Romania, in this case). That server was really close to our tester’s location, so the speeds were naturally faster: 20-25 MiB/s and a 10 minute ETA (qBittorrent), and 3-4 MB/s and a 1 hour ETA (uTorrent).
We also tested the OpenVPN protocol while connected to the Smart Location (Romania) since it’s really popular. As expected, our ExpressVPN uTorrent and qBittorrent download speeds were slower. We averaged around 500-600 KiB/s and a 4-5 hour ETA with qBittorrent, and 200-250 kB/s and a 17-hour ETA with uTorrent. You should definitely use Lightway instead of OpenVPN.
Overall, we had good download speeds with ExpressVPN. This service was noticeably slower when using uTorrent, so we’d recommend using qBittorrent instead. If you’d like to try a faster VPN for torrenting, check out NordVPN.
REMINDER: To get good download speeds, you need a torrent with lots of seeders. If there aren’t enough seeders, you’ll always have slow speeds no matter how fast the VPN is. We downloaded torrents that had few seeders, and our ExpressVPN download speeds with qBittorrent and uTorrent were extremely slow.
How’s ExpressVPN for Torrenting According to Reddit?
After checking over 15 Reddit threads, we can conclude that most people are happy using ExpressVPN for torrenting. They love the speeds, the fact that they don’t get DMCA notices, and that all servers support P2P traffic.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Using ExpressVPN for Torrenting?
ExpressVPN is safe for torrenting and it offers great speeds. But it’s not without its flaws:
1. Port Forwarding Is Limited
Port forwarding is important to some torrent users because it lets them connect to more peers. That way, they get better speeds.
ExpressVPN has port forwarding, but you can’t enable it in its apps. You can only use it on your router. To do that, it needs to be running ExpressVPN v1 or v2 firmware. Upgrading the firmware can be daunting, but ExpressVPN has step-by-step tutorials that show you what you need to do.
Unfortunately, if your router isn’t compatible with ExpressVPN v1 or v2, you’ll need to buy an ExpressVPN router which can cost anywhere between $100 and $200 (or more).
2. The KIll Switch Isn’t 100% Reliable on Linux
A few Reddit users have mentioned that the kill switch doesn’t always work on Linux. Apparently, it might ignore torrenting traffic because it doesn’t require DNS name resolutions (the Linux kill switch just points your traffic to ExpressVPN’s DNS servers).
We can’t test this claim because we don’t use Linux. If you do, please let us know if there are any issues with ExpressVPN’s kill switch. We tested the kill switch on other platforms, though, and it always worked as intended. We especially like that the kill switch activates when the VPN connection accidentally drops, not when you manually shut it off. It’s more convenient that way.
3. ExpressVPN Is Expensive
So if you’re on a budget, ExpressVPN might not be the best pick. We recommend using Surfshark instead – it’s much cheaper and just as fast as ExpressVPN.
How to Use ExpressVPN for Torrenting
- Sign up for ExpressVPN.
- Download and install ExpressVPN’s app.
- Connect to a server. Pro tip: use Lightway and connect to the Smart Location to get the best speeds.
- Use your favorite torrent client to download anything you want.
What follows are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about P2P traffic and ExpressVPN. If you have more, just leave them in the comments.
Does ExpressVPN Hide Torrenting?
Yes. ExpressVPN hides torrenting by using end-to-end AES2-56 encryption. It makes your traffic unreadable, so your ISP won’t know you’re browsing torrenting sites or using torrent clients.
For example, instead of seeing a connection request heading to www.pirateproxy-bay.com, your ISP will only see gibberish like HG56SHFghtRTgfj54FD.
ExpressVPN also offers complete leak protection (WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6). The service also has a kill switch that protects you against traffic leaks. Thanks to that, your torrenting traffic can’t be accidentally exposed. And ExpressVPN doesn’t keep any logs, so the authorities or copyright agencies can’t force them to hand over torrent users’ data.
Can You Bind Torrent Clients to ExpressVPN?
Yes, but you don’t need to do that. ExpressVPN has a kill switch (called Network Lock) that shuts down your internet access if the VPN connection accidentally drops. If that happens, your torrent download will automatically stop, and will only restart once you’re connected to the VPN server.
How Do You Improve ExpressVPN Torrent Download Speeds?
ExpressVPN is fast, but you might experience noticeable slowdowns if your original speeds are slow. If that happens, do this:
- Connect to a nearby server – Servers close to your location offer faster speeds because it takes less time to exchange data with them. ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers so it’s easy to find one close to you. Pick the Smart Location since it’s usually the closest one to you.
- Use Lightway – This is ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol. It’s optimized to offer very fast speeds, so you should use it instead of OpenVPN. IKEv2 and L2TP/IPSec are also decent options, but they’re not as fast as Lightway.
- Use wired connections – Download speeds will usually be slower over WiFi if the signal isn’t strong enough (it’s enough for you to leave the room with the router for the signal to lose strength). If possible, try using a wired connection. Our torrenting speeds were always faster with an ethernet connection.
- Try a different torrent client – For example, we always have much better download speeds with qBittorrent instead of uTorrent.
- Use split-tunneling – You can choose which apps use the VPN tunnel and which don’t. To get faster speeds, make the VPN app only route traffic from the torrent client you’re using. Data packets should take less time to travel if the VPN doesn’t have to also encrypt and decrypt traffic from other apps (Steam, Chrome, Skype, etc.).
Can You Unblock The Pirate Bay with ExpressVPN?
Yes. If your ISP blocks The Pirate Bay, ExpressVPN can help you unblock it. To do that, the service will route your traffic through a VPN server. That way, you’ll communicate with The Pirate Bay through a new IP address (one that doesn’t have firewall rules linked to it).
Just use a server in a country that doesn’t block this site. We tried multiple locations and always managed to access The Pirate Bay.
What’s ExpressVPN’s Best Location for Torrenting?
There isn’t a specific ExpressVPN server for torrenting you should use. Just connect to the one that’s closest to your location. You’ll get better download speeds because it takes less time for your device to exchange data with the VPN server.
We asked ExpressVPN’s support reps about this, and they confirmed you should use the nearest server.
How Many ExpressVPN P2P Servers Are There?
There are over 3,000 P2P servers in 160 locations in 94 countries. ExpressVPN allows torrenting on all their servers, so you can use their entire network.