In our guide on whether you should use a VPN when torrenting, we gave you five excellent (and essential) reasons why using VPN is an absolute must. However, we understand any doubts you might have, as torrenting is a highly sensitive subject. We're here to dispel those worries by answering the question: Will a VPN protect me when torrenting?
The short answer is – yes, a VPN will protect you when downloading P2P files. Still, there are some important considerations to keep in mind, as not all VPNs are good for torrenting. With that said, let’s dive deeper, shall we?
How Do VPNs Hide My Torrenting-Related Activities?
It’s true that VPNs hide your sensitive information both from your Internet provider and any third party. With that said, your torrenting activities are hidden in the following way:
- Step #1: You need to set up your VPN on your device. In most cases, you’ll interact with your VPN through a dedicated application. To learn more, here’s how that is done on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS/iPadOS, and Android.
- Step #2: You connect to a server that's optimized for torrenting. Keep in mind that not all VPNs offer such servers. So, double-check that the server you plan to use supports P2P. Also, double-check if your VPN allows P2P traffic as well.
- Step #3: As soon as you connect, all your incoming and outgoing data becomes encrypted (thanks to yuor chosen VPN protocol). At the moment, the best protocol to use for torrenting would be OpenVPN (combining fast performance with security).
- Step #4: With your VPN session active, you can download P2P files using your favorite torrent client. Keep your VPN session alive as long as your torrent client downloads or uploads files.
- Step #5: Once you’re done, stop any pending P2P transfers using your torrent client. Then, exit the torrent client. When you do that, feel free to disconnect from your VPN.
To take a deeper look at the above-explained procedure, first read our guide on VPN services. And then, here’s our in-depth guide on how VPN services work.
Can VPNs 100% Hide My Torrenting (From My ISP)? Can They Expose My Data?
Yes, a VPN will 100% protect you when torrenting while hiding your data. However, they can also expose your data – if you don’t set them up or use them properly.
It’s important to understand that VPNs have the power to anonymize your Web traffic, making you invisible on the Internet. In fact, they are the only effective tool for that job.
Still, know that if you don’t set up your VPN properly, it might leak data. So, if you encounter online discussions where people say that they’ve received copyright notices from their ISPs while using a VPN, know that they probably failed to use it properly.
A crucial piece of VPN technology for downloading torrents is something called – kill switch. That feature blocks your Web traffic if you disconnect from a server by accident, preventing your ISP from "seeing" your traffic at all times. Here are the best VPNs that offer a kill switch.
Once you set up your VPN, we recommend running a series of tests to ensure no data leaks outside your VPN tunnel. To learn more, here's our guide on how to know if your VPN works properly, where we introduce you to IP, DNS, and WebRTC data leak tests.
Is Torrenting With a VPN Safe?
Yes, torrenting with a VPN is safe. In fact, it’s more than safe since VPNs help you stop malicious attempts aimed at exposing and exploiting your privacy.
In the world of torrenting, encountering malware is quite common. That especially applies to those who download popular TV shows. However, just about any torrent can be a fake torrent file designed to hide malicious code. With that said, you can employ a VPN to preserve your privacy and keep malware at bay.
To explore this topic a bit further, here’s our list of the best antivirus apps with a VPN included. That way, you can combine multiple cybersecurity tools to create a safe and malware-free environment when torrenting.
Is Torrenting With a VPN Legal?
Yes, torrenting with a VPN is legal. However, even though downloading torrents is legal, certain types of files should be avoided – even while using a VPN.
To help you understand this aspect of torrenting, we’ve produced several handy guides. First, here’s how to stay legal when torrenting. Then, here’s how to download torrents legally. You’ll see there that we recommend sticking to torrent repositories that serve copyright-free files. That’s because the core problem of torrenting is copyright infringement.
Don't forget that copyright infringement is punishable by law in most countries. Therefore, even if VPNs allow torrenting via their servers – they don't permit copyright infringement. Still, all of that exists in a grey area, as even when pressed by copyrights agencies, no-logs VPN services won't have any data to produce and hand over.
In the past, we’ve seen VPNs hand over the personal data of their users when pressed by different kinds of authorities. However, all of those were severe criminal cases whose resolutions were pursued by international police agencies. With that said, our strong recommendation is to stick to VPNs that don’t keep any logs (and whose policies are verified).
What Is the Best VPN for Torrenting in 2021?
Based on our hands-on tests, the best VPN for torrenting in 2021 is ExpressVPN. We’ve been using it for a long time, without any issues whatsoever.
Keep in mind that ExpressVPN is available on 60+ devices and platforms while supporting up to 5 simultaneous connections. It offers plenty of protocols, fast performance, and all of its servers are optimized for P2P. Therefore, this is perhaps the only VPN that checks all the right boxes. To learn more, consult our hands-on ExpressVPN review.
Of course, your list of options doesn’t stop there. To explore what else is out there, here’s our guide on the best VPNs for torrenting. You will find six additional options there, suitable for different needs, budgets, and priorities.
Will a Free VPN Protect Me When Torrenting?
No, you won’t be able to count on a free VPN for torrenting. Those VPNs come with many limitations that make torrenting a very frustrating experience.
For the most part, free VPNs come with limited bandwidth, restricted Web speeds, and minimal data allowance (daily or monthly). Therefore, even if you decide to use a free VPN for P2P, you can count on downloading very small files only while waiting for a long time for those files to reach your device.
To help you get started, we’ve prepared a guide on the best free VPNs for torrenting. However, we also urge you to read why free VPNs aren’t recommended to use. So, do your research right and collect all the facts before you start downloading P2P files.
You don’t have to spend a lot on a VPN suitable for torrenting, as our guide to the cheapest VPNs shows. Additionally, here are the best VPN deals available right now.
So, will a VPN protect you when torrenting? Yes, absolutely – but make sure to pick a VPN suitable for the task! And with that said, we conclude this guide. If you have any questions, let us know via the comments section below. Finally, thanks for reading!