Using a VPN for torrenting comes with a single goal – to hide your IP address from your ISP, keeping your P2P-related activities hidden from anyone’s eyes. That’s is done by encrypting your torrent data, which scrambles individual P2P data packets – and yes, that’s precisely what VPNs are designed to do. However, the following question remains – how exactly do you use a VPN for torrenting?
Well, even though explaining how VPNs protect your torrenting activities can be quite technical, today’s VPNs are incredibly simple to use. With that said, we’ve come up with a 7-step process of using a VPN for torrenting, as laid out just below.
Step #1: Pick a P2P-Friendly VPN
Before you start using a VPN for torrenting, you need to pick one. However, finding a VPN you can trust is more challenging than it might look. And on top of that, this first step is the most critical, so take your time and do it right.
When talking about P2P-friendly VPNs, we talk about VPNs that explicitly permit P2P-related activities on their servers. They can either allow that type of Web traffic or go one step further and offer servers specialized in P2P traffic. And of course, let's not forget that your chosen VPN should be a no-logs VPN (as you don’t want anyone logging your data).
That brings us to our overview of the best VPNs for torrenting, where you’ll find seven options (we’ve tested more than sixty VPNs so far, hands-on). You’ll see that we’ve highlighted ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and Ivacy VPN as the best VPNs right now – and we firmly stand by that decision.
Step #2: Set Up Your VPN App(s)
Once you select a VPN and get your subscription (remember that ExpressVPN is our first recommendation), it’s time to set up your VPN app. To use a VPN for torrenting, you’ll need to initialize VPN sessions on every device you’ll use to download P2P files. That means you need to run a VPN client (software) on each of those devices – and those could be computers, tablets, smartphones, and more.
With that said, check our guides on how to set up a VPN on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iPhone/iPad, and Chrome OS. If you decide to go with ExpressVPN, here's our central guide on how to download, install, and use ExpressVPN (covering over 60 devices and platforms).
Step #3: Configure Your VPN for Torrenting
We can’t show you how to use a VPN for torrenting if we don’t instruct you to enable your VPN’s kill switch. This is a crucial piece of the puzzle, as that feature will keep your torrenting protected at all times (to learn how, here’s how a VPN kill switch works).
These days, many VPNs already come with a kill switch enabled. However, you need to ensure that’s the case with your VPN, so make sure to visit its settings/preferences. And while you’re there, make sure to use a capable VPN protocol (we recommend using OpenVPN) paired with the highest level of encryption your VPN offers.
To take a closer look at how to optimize your VPN, we recommend reading our guides on VPN protocols and VPN encryption. That knowledge will come in handy to create a balance between performance and security, making your torrent sessions as seamless as possible.
Step #4: Download & Install a BitTorrent Client
Once you set up your VPN, it’s time to prepare your BitTorrent client as well (if you don’t have one, that is). To aid you in your search, we’ve already highlighted the best free torrent clients, so make sure to use the provided link. In case you use macOS, check out the best torrent clients for Mac.
We’re sure that many of you will pick uTorrent or BitTorrent, which are practically the same clients (more on that in our comparison of uTorrent and BitTorrent). With that said, we’ll point you to our guide on configuring uTorrent, as well as making uTorrent faster.
Step #5: Get a Torrent File From the Web
So far, you've set up your VPN, and you've done the same with a torrent client. The only thing left is to download a torrent file so you can start downloading its contents. This is where repositories of torrent files come into play.
Go ahead and check out the best torrent websites right now. And also, pay attention to this selection of P2P search engines as well. If you’re after niche websites, we have guides to torrent clients for various types of content, such as music, anime, and comics.
Step #6: Start Downloading a Torrent
You're now free to activate your torrent file and start downloading its contents. However, make sure to activate your VPN session first. That means you need to launch your VPN app and then connect to any P2P-friendly server using your VPN's interface.
Once you connect to a VPN server, your Web traffic will become encrypted, and your P2P data will flow through a secure tunnel. That will make it invisible to anyone else, and that even includes your Internet service provider (by the way, here’s what your ISP sees when you’re using a VPN).
As you can see, we've reached the goal set at the beginning of this article – to hide your actual IP address, encrypt your Web data, and create a secure environment to download torrents. So, that would be all on how to use a VPN for torrenting. Still, we have one extra step for you, so keep on reading.
Step #7 (Optional): Don't Forget to Seed!
When it comes to the global P2P community, we have leechers and seeders. So far, you’ve been a leecher, as you’ve instructed you to download a torrent file, which means you’ve copied it from other people’s devices. Now, it’s your time to help the community by being a seeder.
To learn more about this process, here’s our guide on how to seed torrent files. However, it all comes down to this – leave your VPN on and make sure to keep your torrent client open. Once you download your file, you'll begin to upload it, turning you into a seeder.
So, that's how you use a VPN for torrenting. Easy, right? We hope it was – but in case you have any questions or issues, let us know via the comments section below. And lastly, thank you for reading!