What Is a P2P VPN?

A P2P network is a type of network consisting of computers directly connected to each other. Such a network makes it extremely easy to distribute and share files. However, it can also put your privacy at risk. In such a scenario, a P2P VPN can help you stay anonymous

Unfortunately, not all VPNs come with servers that support peer-to-peer traffic. On top of that, even those that do can't always guarantee fast-enough speeds, which is certainly a dealbreaker. So, that’s why we’re here - to help you find the best option today.

But before that, what exactly is a P2P VPN, and how does it work? Is it safe to use a VPN for torrenting, and what to look for in a peer-to-peer VPN? In this article, we’ll answer all those questions and plenty more. Let's begin!

What Is a P2P VPN?

A P2P VPN is a VPN that supports downloading from peer-to-peer networks. Such VPNs not only specialize in securing P2P Internet traffic, but they also allow you to download huge files without limiting your bandwidth.

That said, VPNs aren’t usually designed with P2P traffic in mind. Good P2P VPNs have top-notch security features like a kill switch (to prevent accidental data leaks), split tunneling (letting you create VPN and non-VPN tunnels), strong VPN encryption (to anonymize your traffic), and a no-logs policy. Additionally, their headquarters should also be outside the 14-Eyes countries.

  P2P without a VPN P2P with a VPN
IP Address Exposed Hidden
Tracking  Allowed Not allowed
Logging Allowed Not allowed
Encryption Not available Available

Other than that, P2P VPNs behave just like normal VPNs. Their main role is to safeguard your digital privacy. And they achieve this by hiding your personal data and putting it through an impenetrable tunnel.

Since all your incoming and outgoing Web data will flow through that tunnel, no one will be able to track your online whereabouts (and that even includes your Internet provider). In other words, no one will know that you download torrent files (and here's what else a VPN hides).

How Does a P2P VPN Work?

P2P VPNs work by creating an encrypted tunnel to secure your Internet traffic. Everything that you send or receive will go through this tunnel. In that sense, a P2P VPN is not much different from a regular VPN. 

The only difference is that they’re designed to support peer-to-peer networks. Hence, a VPN for P2P allows you to download big files from different sources faster and without restricting bandwidth. Most "regular" VPNs don't support P2P traffic, so you won't even be able to start downloading a P2P file.

As explained in our ultimate guide to torrenting, the main characteristic of P2P traffic is that file hosting services don’t (and can’t) limit the flow of data. Instead, each individual taking part in a P2P network can download and upload data at any given moment. Therefore, a lot of bandwidth is required for P2P to work.

That's why certain VPN services have partnered with data centers that allow P2P traffic, despite the fact that P2P is a resource-hungry activity. This allows you to anonymize your traffic and download P2P files without being afraid of getting a copyright infringement notice.

What’s the Best VPN for P2P?

Based on our research and extensive testing, ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the best VPNs for torrenting. Generally, a robust VPN for P2P should have a kill switch, a no-logs policy, and military-grade encryption, and both ExpressVPN and NordVPN meet those requirements. 

Here’s our list of the top 5 VPNs for P2P:

  • ExpressVPN - All of ExpressVPN’s servers are ready for P2P. Hence, you’ll not find a separate category for specialized peer-to-peer servers. It also has many high-end security features useful for torrenting, such as strong AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, split tunneling, Threat Manager, and more.
  • NordVPN - This VPN has P2P-optimized servers with support for SOCKS5 proxy. All these servers feature advanced 256-bit AES encryption for maximum security. On top of that, it has a Threat Protection feature that detects malware and keeps your device secure.
  • CyberGhost VPN - Here, you’ll find AES 256-bit encryption in combination with dedicated servers for torrenting. These servers are located in countries with favorable torrenting legislation, such as Spain, Poland, Switzerland, Canada, and Egypt.
  • Surfshark - This VPN supports torrenting and P2P on all its servers. It features strong encryption and supports additional features like double hop, obfuscation, and split tunneling. Using these features can further secure your Internet traffic while torrenting.
  • Private Internet Access - PIA is an excellent VPN for torrenting due to its fast speeds and AES-256-bit encryption. It also supports port forwarding and offers its very own SOCKS5 proxy server. Other security features that may be helpful for P2P users include data leak protection and a no-logs policy.
P2P Servers Encryption Kill Switch  Jurisdiction Split Tunneling
ExpressVPN YES AES 256-bit YES British Virgin Islands YES
NordVPN YES AES 256-bit YES Panama YES
CyberGhost VPN YES AES 256-bit YES Romania YES
Surfshark YES AES 256-bit YES Netherlands YES
PIA YES AES 256-bit YES US legal jurisdiction YES

Are P2P VPNs Safe?

Yes, P2P VPNs are generally safe on their own because they’re no different than regular VPNs. If you’re using a capable VPN, chances are that its servers support peer-to-peer networks. However, some VPNs also provide a separate category of P2P-optimized servers. 

For maximum safety, it’s important to make sure that your peer-to-peer VPN provider checks all the right boxes in terms of security. Look for VPN services that exist in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction and have strong encryption with a no-logs policy.

Nevertheless, remember that P2P VPNs won’t protect your PC from infected files or other malicious downloads. All that it will do is keep your traffic secure and maintain your anonymity. 

Hence, it’s important to do due diligence while downloading anything on a peer-to-peer network. That’s because P2P networks consist of many devices at once. There’s always a risk of malicious actors being present on the network. 

What Makes a Good P2P VPN?

A good P2P VPN should have specialized servers for peer-to-peer traffic and other options like torrenting support, kill switch, split tunneling, and unlimited bandwidth. Let’s discuss each of these in detail:

  • Specialized & Optimized P2P Servers: First and foremost, ensure that your chosen VPN brings servers specialized for P2P traffic. That should be clearly stated on its website and its privacy policy or terms of use.
  • Support for Torrent Clients: Some VPNs might support only a limited selection of torrent clients, such as uTorrent and BitTorrent. However, it’s not that hard to find a VPN that brings universal support for all clients.
  • Kill Switch: A kill switch will shut down your traffic if your VPN session ends unexpectedly, preventing your P2P data from leaking online. Here are the best VPNs with a kill switch.
  • Split-Tunneling: More advanced users will want to try split-tunneling, helping them create two parallel tunnels. One could be used for encrypting P2P traffic, while the second one could be used for your regular Web traffic. Here are the best VPNs with split tunneling.
  • No Bandwidth Limit: Remember that P2P traffic requires a lot of bandwidth. So, you wouldn’t want any limitations. Luckily for us, every reputable VPN offers unlimited speeds and unlimited bandwidth.

Final Thoughts

P2P VPNs are just regular VPNs that support P2P - but without any bandwidth limitations. This means you can quickly download large files and torrents without putting your privacy at risk. 

While P2P VPNs will generally keep your data safe, they won’t detect viruses or malicious files that you may download by accident. However, some VPNs offer malware detection features and additional security suites. Generally, you should always do due diligence when torrenting.

After extensive testing, we recommend ExpressVPN because all its servers are optimized for P2P with lightning-fast speeds. Also, ExpressVPN is the fastest option available today, with servers in 90+ countries. As such, it’s a bulletproof option for torrenting. 

FAQ

Do All VPNs Support P2P?

No, only a handful of truly capable VPNs support P2P. Some examples include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CyberGhost VPN, which are the best P2P VPNs right now.

Is It Legal to Use P2P VPNs?

Yes, it’s legal to use P2P VPNs if you’re not using them for illegal Internet activities, such as copyright infringement. 

Will P2P VPN Detect Malicious Downloads?

Yes, some P2P VPNs, like NordVPN, can detect malicious downloads. Other VPNs like Surfshark and CyberGhost offer security suites as add-ons. But a regular P2P VPN won’t check for infected files.

How Is P2P Different From a Normal VPN?

The only difference between a P2P VPN and a normal VPN is that P2P VPNs support peer-to-peer networks on top of regular Internet traffic. 

What Is a P2P Server?

A P2P server is a VPN server that supports downloading from a peer-to-peer network and doesn’t restrict your connection in any way.  

Do I Need a P2P VPN?

Yes, you need a P2P VPN for additional security during activities like torrenting. However, if you’re not downloading files from any peer-to-peer network, you don’t need a P2P VPN.

Is There a Free VPN That Supports P2P?

Yes, there are a few free VPNs that support P2P - Hide.me and Windscribe are two good examples. However, we don’t recommend free VPNs because they have data caps, weak security, and can endanger your privacy.

Does P2P Use a Server?

No, P2P doesn’t use a server. Instead, it consists of computers directly connected with each other to share files. 

Is NordVPN Good for P2P?

Yes, NordVPN is a capable VPN that supports P2P and torrenting. It offers specialty servers that are optimized for this purpose and has no bandwidth limitations.

Does ExpressVPN Allow P2P?

Yes, ExpressVPN allows P2P. All of its servers are well-optimized for torrenting and peer-to-peer downloads. In fact, it's the best P2P VPN available at the moment.

That would be all you need to know about P2P VPN services. In case you have any questions or doubts, make sure to post your comment below. And lastly, thanks for reading!

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