Torrenters subscribe to VPNs for keeping their identity hidden. Even now, I find all the files I need on different p2p sites and download them via uTorrent, despite the legal issues of DMCA notices/fines. VPNs are truly a breath of fresh air, but my analysis of 180+ providers revealed a rather dark picture:
- Most VPNs marketed for torrenting deliver poor speeds.
- Some leak your IP address, putting you at risk of copyright fines.
- Others store logging data that are traceable back to you.
- Users get fooled by “free VPN swindles” and regret it later.
- Popular VPNs like TunnelBear do not allow p2p.
This is why I came up with my own list of recommendations, after putting in 60 hours into testing different uTorrent VPNs. Here is a round up on the 5 best VPNs for torrenting:
|#1||Surfshark||Unlimited bandwidth, fast speeds, p2p servers available, automatic kill switch, AES-256-GCM encryption, Private DNS + leak protection||$1.99/mo.|
|#2||NordVPN||No bandwidth/speed limits, p2p servers available, automatic kill switch, military-grade encryption, SOCKS5 proxy, zero, split tunneling||$2.99/mo.|
|#3||ExpressVPN||Limitless bandwidth, zero logs, network lock/ kill switch, works on all torrent clients, secure from WebRTC/DNS/IP leaks||$6.67/mo.|
|#4||CyberGhost||No data/bandwidth limits, p2p servers available, internet kill switch, SOCKS5 proxy, leak protection, military-grade encryption||$2.75/mo.|
|#5||PureVPN||NAT Firewall, IP leak protection, anonymous p2p servers, internet kill switch, port forwarding, split tunneling||$2.95/mo.|
How I Selected the Best VPN for Torrenting (Ranking Criteria)?
If you use uTorrent for downloading torrents, you probably know that the VPN you subscribe to, should offer fast download speeds and unlimited bandwidth. However, other factors need consideration too for evaluating p2p VPNs. I assessed each provider on the basis of:
- Jurisdiction – If the provider has its headquarters in a 5/9/14 Eyes alliance, or country with a set of invasive data retention laws, it is not suitable for downloading on uTorrent.
- Server Locations – The best VPNs provide you with a high number of server locations to leverage fast-speeds while engaging in p2p/torrent downloads.
- Leak Free – You need to ensure the provider is free from all sorts of WebRTC/DNS/IP leakages; otherwise, you will have to pay hefty fines.
- Speed Performance – The VPN should offering blazing fast speeds throughout the day, so you leverage maximum convenience.
- Encryption Strength – ISPs can clearly see illegal, file-sharing activity in progress, if your connection is unprotected. Strong encryption keeps your identity hidden.
What is the Best VPN for Torrenting?
The best VPN for torrenting in my opinion is Surfshark. It is highly recommended for people looking forward to download torrents all over the world, as it successfully meets the criteria above:
- Located in British Virgin Islands (away from “Internet Enemy” jurisdictions).
- Offers optimized server listing for P2P/torrenting.
- Passed WebRTC/DNS/IP leak tests on six different tools.
- High-speed downloading of torrents. Hardly 5% speed loss.
- Strong military-grade AES-256-CBC or AES-256-GCM encryption for protection.
5 Best VPNs for Anonymous & Secure Torrenting
I have already given my verdict on the best VPN for uTorrent. Here is a more detailed synopsis on the #1 recommended above and 4 other alternatives:
#1 Surfshark – Optimized for Secure Torrent Downloading
An affordable VPN which is highly recommended for Peer-to-Peer file sharing. The newcomer Surfshark stays true on its promise of secure torrenting. It also goes the extra mile, offering unlimited bandwidth and simultaneous connections and a robust Kill Switch feature.
There is a specialty P2P server listing available for, but torrenting is permitted on all servers even in forbidden countries. Surfshark may also redirect traffic to special P2P servers in Canada or Netherlands.
Just make sure to switch the protocol from IKEv2 to OpenVPN (UDP) first, so that you can receive strong military-grade encryption via AES-256-CBC or AES-256-GCM.
Since BVI is a safe haven, you can torrent with great peace of mind, and also take comfort in knowing that Surfshark has a strong torrenting and no logging policy. It even offers a kill switch.
While testing the server speeds for P2P/torrenting on uTorrent, Surfshark delivered 76.22Mbps download and 66.18Mbps upload on an average. Not bad at all.
Or read our in-depth Surfshark review for more information
#2 NordVPN – Best for uTorrent Users (Highest P2P Servers Available)
Ranked as “The People’s Choice”, NordVPN tops most VPN listings, staying strong in aspects of torrenting, too. It offers over a thousand P2P-specific servers, optimized for downloading torrents.
Its Windows and Android apps utilize OpenVPN (TCP or UDP), and iOS and Mac apps utilize IKEv2/IPSec. Regardless of the protocol or device, you receive fast speeds for torrenting.
You also get excellent anonymity and protection for P2P activities – thanks to the military-grade AES-256-CBC encryption with HMAC SHA256 data authentication and RSA-2048 handshake.
NordVPN also has a verified zero logs policy and offers an automatic kill switch, which disables the internet, upon VPN disconnection. Although, you will barely have any use of it, due to Nord’s reliability.
While testing the server speeds for p2p/torrenting, NordVPN delivered 89.97Mbps download and 77.28Mbps upload on an average. The speed is perfect for high-speed downloading on uTorrent.
Or check this NordVPN review out for a more detailed analysis
#3 ExpressVPN – Blazing-Fast Speeds for Downloading Torrents
The universal ExpressVPN offers exceptional p2p capabilities for uTorrent users. Although there is not a special listing of torrent servers, you can still enjoy blazing-fast speeds on any location.
It uses the OpenVPN (TCP and UDP) protocol for p2p and provides encryption via two different ciphers: AES-256-CBC and AES-256-GCM, so that you receive maximum security too.
Add this to the safe BVI jurisdiction and verified no logging policy even the Turkish authorities could not bypass, and you can feel relieved that ExpressVPN is a great choice to download torrents.
Not to mention, the provider is safe from WebRTC/DNS/IP address leaks and its kill switch feature works wonders in keeping your identity hidden, if your VPN disconnects while p2p/file sharing.
While testing the server speeds for p2p/torrenting on uTorrent, ExpressVPN delivered 82.45Mbps download and 74.13Mbps upload, clarifying again that you receive blazing-fast speeds.
Or receive more insights into the provider by reading this ExpressVPN review
#4 CyberGhost – Great for P2P Speed and Security
I usually recommend CyberGhost for the unblocking needs of users, but testing it on uTorrent revealed that it is actually a great choice for downloading torrents securely and speedily too.
Similar to Nord and Surf, CyberGhost offers a special p2p listing of servers. You can access them by entering “p2p” into the search bar on the top left corner of the Windows client.
These servers utilize the OpenVPN (UDP) protocol and encryption is provided via AES-256 cipher, RSA-4096 key encryption and SHA384 hash authentication.
The provider is also free from all WebRTC/DNS/IP address leaks, offers a SOCKS5 proxy for speeding torrents up, and an automatic kill switch to protect your identity.
While testing the server speeds for p2p/torrenting on uTorrent, CyberGhost delivered 74.22Mbps download and 70.29Mbps upload. Downloading torrents was quick and lag-free.
Or check this CyberGhost review out for a more detailed analysis
#5 PureVPN – Configurable P2P Port Forwarding Feature
There is a reason why I call PureVPN a feature-packed service. For torrenting specifically, it is among the few providers that offers a P2P Port Forwarding feature, as an add-on for $0.99.
You can learn how to configure it for speeding up your uTorrent downloads, which works well in conjunction with the “File Sharing” mode available in all clients.
The provider uses OpenVPN (UDP) for its p2p servers and encryption is available via AES-256 cipher, RSA-4096 key encryption and SHA384 hash authentication.
The logging policy may be a little confusing, but features like SOCKS5 Proxy, Split Tunneling, Automatic Kill Switch, and Port Forwarding, give it an edge over other names.
While testing the server speeds for p2p/torrenting on uTorrent, PureVPN delivering an average of 72.35Mbps and 64.71Mbps upload.
Or read our in-depth PureVPN review for more information
How to Speed Up uTorrent Downloads with a VPN
When it comes to downloading torrents from uTorrent, you may often get frustrated with the poor bandwidth speeds. There could be many reasons for poor torrenting performance.
However, if you already have a fast network, there are some tweaks available for boosting overall speeds. Follow the tips below to increase the speed for your uTorrent downloads:
Download Torrents with a High Number of Seeders
When you download a torrent, the uTorrent client grabs the dissected file from various computers. These are the seeders, who continue to share the file, even after completing the download.
Look for more seeders on a torrent to boost your download speeds, but also look at the comments on the page below. Opinions from others help identify if the torrent is clear of any viruses/malware.
Configure the “Bandwidth” Settings for Maximum Speed
Another way to boost the download speeds on uTorrent is to go to change the bandwidth settings.
- Click on the “Options” tab on the top left corner.
- Scroll down and click on “Preferences”.
- Find and open the tab marked “Bandwidth”.
- Limit your global upload and download rate by simply changing the values in each field.
It is advisable to keep the Global Upload rate as 80% of your upload speed i.e. 14 kb/s. As for the Global Download rate, change the value to a “0”.
Another hack you can use for boosting the speeds on the application is to change the number of connections to avoid any overload. For many, the below settings worked quite well.
- Set the global maximum number of connections to 2300
- Set the maximum number of connected peers per torrent to 250
- Set the number of upload slots per torrent to 14
Connecting Directly to the Seeds
Oftentimes, the seeder’s firewall settings can often inhibit the seeding process and prevents uTorrent from getting any download data from the Torrent file.
Now it is impossible for you to reconfigure every seeders’ firewall settings, but you can allow your uTorrent client to retrieve all data directly, without interference from firewalls:
- Go to the “Options” menu and select “Preferences”.
- Open the “Connections” tab from the left
- Check “Enable UPnP Port Mapping”
- Tick “Enable NAT-PMP Port Mapping”.
Add an Exception to Windows Firewall
Windows Firewall may block your torrent client and interrupt downloads and seeders incoming from BitTorrent connections. This hinders the entire torrenting experience.
To get rid of the problem, you can “add an exception to firewall” from the uTorrent app directly to boost overall speeds. You can do this by going to Options > Preferences > Connections.
Change General Settings to Optimize uTorrent
As another option for boosting the speeds of your uTorrent download, consider altering the general settings of the uTorrent client.
You can do this by navigation to Options > Preferences > General. Once done, check the “Append .!ud to incomplete files” and “Pre-allocate all files” options.
Add More Trackers in your Torrent Files
Trackers are useful for optimizing and boosting your torrent download speeds. Adding new trackers improve your torrenting experience, as they add new seeds/peers to your connection.
This process involves adding new links to the existing trackers of a particular torrent file. To add new ones, follow the step-by-step instructions below:
- Right-click on the torrent file and click on “Properties”
- Under the “General” tab, there will be a trackers list.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page, where there is no text.
- Paste trackers from this link in the empty space.
Best VPN Locations for P2P File Sharing
If you download a lot on uTorrent, then you might be interested in learning how to get the best speeds and access the fastest p2p swarms.
A VPN can easily allow you to do that, but you also need to know the right servers to connect to. Torrent speeds are the fastest in the following countries:
Legal Issues with Torrenting and P2p Law Fines
Torrenting itself is legal by all accounts in most countries worldwide. It is only an illegal activity, if you engage in torrenting for the downloading of copyrighted material.
To know more about the kind and severity of legal charges you can face, you need to be familiar with the relevant laws regarding piracy in your country.
Here is a country wise breakdown of the legal laws and issues you can face, if you indulge in piracy:
United States of America
USA is home to a highly evolved legal regime governing issues around piracy. The country has an extremely stringent stance on downloading illegal content through any means possible.
Most copyrighted media is owned by big corporate houses like Disney, Warner Bros, Fox, Sony and the like, so they often have the financial muscle to power through with lawsuits of all kinds.
Piracy in the USA can result in legal punishments of up to five years imprisonment and $250,000 in fines.
This neighboring country of USA is not as stringent when it comes to punishing people who commit piracy. Its piracy laws are there but are as lax as its borders i.e. they are there, but you won’t get caught much
The only relevant law dealing with copyright violations in Canada is “The Copyright Modernization act”. Under this act, notices can be sent to copyright violators by Internet Service Providers.
The max that a copyright holder can do is sue to the violating party for no more than $5000. This is too mere an amount to make the copyright holders interested towards filing a court case.
With a wide majority of larger Torrenting sites like PirateBay being already blocked, UK is not quite a friendly place when it comes to p2p fans.
ISPs with more than 400,000 users are required by law to send cease and desist letters to copyright violators. The law, however, does not apply to those ISPs that have fewer than the required number of subscribers.
The Indian Piracy industry clocks in at almost $2.7 billion each year indicting some woeful damage on local media houses, due to the popularity of Bollywood and other regional cinema.
According to the Indian Copyright Act, a person can be jailed for a maximum of 7 years and be fined for 200,000 INR, if found to be violating copyright of any media file or project.
In Germany too, copyright holders give the rights to sue on their behalf to copyright trolls and fines can range up to 500 or even 1000 Euros.
Still, the system is not as efficient because copyright trolls can only track IP addresses and not actual names and identities, so many notices that come are not addressed to people by name.
VPN Torrenting and Logging Policies Overview
If you want to indulge in P2P/Torrenting, you need to sign up with a zero logs provider. One that keeps your identity anonymous, even when government agencies go knocking their doors.
BestVPN.co decided to create an in-depth comparison chart of the logging and torrenting policies of 180+ providers. It took us an entire day, but in the end, the effort seems worth it.
I hope this helps you out in your decision-making process!
With this, I’ll end this guide. Do let me know what you found most useful and which of these top five recommended providers will you try for downloading on uTorrent and why?