When you pick a VPN for torrenting, you need to look out for a few key security features, like a kill switch and transparent no-log policy. Also, avoid United States-based VPN providers and servers.
If you’re going to torrent, you’re going to need a VPN to protect yourself while doing so. How do you pick a good VPN for torrenting, though, is there something a good torrenting VPN has that others don’t? Or is it more about what a VPN doesn’t do that makes it good for torrenting?
Turns out, it’s a bit of both. On the one hand, you want a VPN that secures your connection and reroutes it so you can’t be tracked. This is the basic, most fundamental function of a VPN, so any service worth its salt can handle this part. Problem is that there are more than a few untrustworthy players out there that don’t meet this basic criterion.
Look at the VPN’s Security
The best way to find out if your VPN is up to the task of securing your connection is to try it out—most VPNs have a money-back guarantee of some kind—see if you like it and, more importantly, test its security. The simplest way to do this is to connect to your VPN, go to the site ipleak.net and if no leaks show up, you’re golden.
If leaks do show up, you need to disconnect immediately, cancel your subscription, and ask for a refund. A VPN that leaks is no good and a complete waste of money. It can also prove dangerous if you’re trying to access the web from China or another country where internet access is restricted.
The other thing a VPN needs to have if you’re going to torrent is a kill switch, a feature that “kills” your internet connection if the VPN fails, for whatever reason. Without a kill switch, if the VPN server fails your traffic is once again identifiable as coming from you, leaving you open to tracking.
As you can imagine, this is a very important feature, and thankfully almost all VPNs have it—if your VPN doesn’t, run. However, for some unknown reason, many VPNs do not have it on by default, meaning you need to double-check that yours is engaged.
Speaking of basic security, there’s one feature you don’t want a VPN to have, namely logs, the records of what you’ve been doing while online and connected via the VPN. While it’s hard to determine if a VPN really destroys its logs, you can generally check how transparent they are in their dealings by browsing their blogs and privacy statements.
As we explain in our article on whether you can trust your VPN, you should also check a VPN’s track record. Google is your friend here, as even a quick search can come up with any nasty scandals a service may have had in its past.
What About Torrenting Servers?
Before we move on, you may wonder if it’s important if a VPN service has special servers for specific purposes. NordVPN likes to advertise that it has dedicated peer-to-peer (P2P) servers, for example, as does Proton VPN.
While this looks nifty, it doesn’t really matter. If a VPN offers torrenting servers, it’s more about them not wanting to overload their regular servers with BitTorrent traffic rather than offering you extra safety. As long as all basic security needs are met, any VPN is good for torrenting, not just those with special servers.
Avoid US-Based VPN Providers
Finally, something else to keep an eye out for is whether or not your VPN is headquartered in the United States. Most other countries won’t be a problem—though if your VPN is in China, you may want to think twice—but being within reach of U.S. warrants and lawsuits is a bad idea.
This is because in the past few years, America’s copyright watchdog DMCA as well as several major movie studios have become more litigious in their fight against piracy. As a result, the threat of lawsuits has forced several U.S.-based VPNs to either curtail torrenting on their servers, or even hand over customer information.
This is where we circle back to our earlier point: if a VPN knows nothing about you, there’s nothing to hand over. Still, unless you signed up anonymously, we recommend you steer clear of U.S.-based VPNs if you plan on doing any torrenting and, while you’re at it, stay away from using U.S. servers at the same time, too. This is more of a precaution, mind, but it never hurts to be safe.
Which VPN Is Best for Torrenting?
With all this in mind, you may think it’s hard to find a VPN that can do all this for you. However, since much of this is the basis of any decent VPN, all the services in our best VPN roundup fit the bill. We especially like IVPN and Mullvad for torrenting, but really any of them will do, so look around and see which one you like best.