Torrenting without a VPN is asking for trouble, but there’s a lot of confusing information on the best VPN torrenting. Many so-called ‘torrent VPNs’ leak the very information they claim to protect, some don’t allow torrenting or P2P and others still are so slow you’ll want to give up. Torrents use VPNs to stay private online and hide their uploads and downloads, but not all VPNs are suitable for BitTorrent. In fact, dozens of leading VPNs are best avoided by torrents. We found multiple issues with VPNs we assessed:
- Many VPNs are too slow for torrent users and will result in slow downloads.
- Some don’t provide sufficient leak protection to ensure identifying information is not exposed to copyright trolls and other third parties. This means your real IP address could be revealed to prying eyes.
- Many VPNs keep logs of user activity despite misleading marketing claims to the contrary. This means information that can be traced back to specific users (we’ve assessed the logging policies of 123 different VPNs as part of our research).
- Some popular VPNs have policies that do not allow torrenting.
What Makes VPNs a Must for Torrenting?
When you’re using your torrenting client unprotected, anyone can see your IP address. This makes it very easy to identify you and find your real location, so you’re vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves. As your traffic is visible, hackers can also intercept your downloads, infect your device with malware, and steal your personal information. Likewise, your ISP can easily block or throttle you if you’re torrenting. Worse still, you can face fines if you accidentally download a copyrighted file. You need a VPN to mask your IP and encrypt your P2P activity by running it through a special, protected remote server, so you know you are completely anonymous and safe. This is a legal, simple, and smart way to keep enjoying torrenting.
Everything Is Free Now
We often receive emails asking about the interplay between VPNs and BitTorrent. Some of them have included admissions of piracy and even justifications for it. One reader bemoaned the difficulty in finding legal avenues for material that is out of print or just hard to obtain or not available for sale in a given locale. We sympathize. The state of the public domain has been woefully neglected, and market forces and regional distribution deals often keep worthy art and materials out of the hands of those who want it, even if they are willing to pay for it. But no matter how just the reasoning, the law (however problematic) is the law. ISPs and, yes, other web companies, are often compelled to answer when rights holders come with a list of offenses carried out on their data infrastructure.
If you are going to use BitTorrent for whatever reason, good luck to you. If you are going to use a VPN, more power to you. But be sure that you take the time to read the VPN’s terms of service before you start. And be aware of the local laws and possible penalties before you start, whatever your willingness to obey them. “I didn’t know the law,” or “I don’t agree with the law,” won’t hold up as defenses in a court, so make sure you can live with any potential punishments should you choose to do something legally dubious.