The 3 Best VPNs for Torrenting: ExpressVPN vs. CyberGhost vs. Mullvad
VPNs are useful for hiding your browsing data away from the eyes of ISPs and governments. By extension, therefore, VPNs also make ideal companions for anyone who downloads a lot of torrents. The practice is frowned upon by many. You could face speed throttling—or worse, legal threats—if you don’t use a VPN.
But with all the choice out there, which is the best VPN for torrenting? Keep reading to find out.
How to Choose a VPN for Torrenting
If you’re looking for a VPN for torrenting, there are some specific criteria that will need to be met if you want a smooth experience.
Speed and Bandwidth
Torrent files can be massive. If you’re downloading a lengthy 4K video, its file size could reach upwards of dozens of gigabytes. Therefore, a VPN for torrenting needs to do two things:
- Provide faster-than-average download speeds.
- Provide unrestricted bandwidth on your connection.
VPN security comes in many forms. Of course, the more secure your plan, the better. Encryption should be a standard, but people who torrent should also sign up for a plan with a kill switch and DNS leak protection.
A kill switch will protect you if you unexpectedly lose your VPN connection, while a DNS leak can reveal your identity and undermine the purpose of using a VPN in the first place.
Ideally, you should never sign up for a VPN that logs your browsing habits. However, for torrenting, it’s especially important. A lack of logging means the VPN provider cannot be hacked, forced, or coerced into giving up your data to media companies and government authorities.
Shared IP Addresses
Using a VPN provider with shared IP addresses adds an extra layer of anonymity to your torrenting. Because you’re sharing with hundreds of other people, it is more difficult for bits of traffic to be traced back to your specific machine.
The 3 Best VPNs for Torrenting
So which VPN providers are best for torrenting?
1. ExpressVPN: Fastest VPN for Torrenting
Our first pick is ExpressVPN. Let’s look at the service in light of the criteria we discussed above.
Firstly, speed. ExpressVPN is fast. Independent testing has shown that it averages more than 100Mbps on international servers in North America, Europe, and Asia. In total, the company boasts more than 3,000 servers in 160 cities across 94 countries. Just as importantly, ExpressVPN does not limit, throttle, nor restrict your bandwidth usage; it is unlimited.
Unfortunately, the company does do some minor logging, but only to record the amount of bandwidth you use and your timestamps—presumably to help with internal resource management. It does not log your traffic, DNS requests, or IP addresses in any way.
The company is based in the British Virgin Islands. The country is not directly part of the Fourteen Eyes information-sharing alliance; however, it’s a British Overseas Territory, and the UK is part of that group.
ExpressVPN offers robust security and privacy features. They include 256-bit AES encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch, and split tunneling. Split tunneling is useful for torrent users: it lets you put your torrent client on the VPN network while leaving the rest of your web traffic untouched.
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2. CyberGhost: A VPN With Unlimited Torrenting
CyberGhost’s biggest forte is its safety and security. The company is based in Romania, and Romania isn’t part of the Fourteen Eyes alliance. There isn’t even a tenuous link, as there is with ExpressVPN.
The VPN is entirely log-free. It does not keep records about your traffic, DNS requests, timestamps, bandwidth, or IP address. It even offers shared IP addresses for an extra layer of anonymity. The service comes with both a kill switch and DNS leak protection.
CyberGhost also claims to have more servers than ExpressVPN, with 7,000+ in total. It does, however, only offer 91 different locations. More locations are slowly becoming available over time.
To keep your traffic flowing as freely as possible, CyberGhost offers two of the fastest VPN protocols, L2TP and IKEV2.
With CyberGhost, you have access to unlimited, unthrottled bandwidth.
3. Mullvad: Best Torrent VPN According to Reddit
There are quite a few subreddits where you can find VPN recommendations. Two of the best are /r/VPN and /r/VPNTorrents, but you can also check out /r/Piracy.
After painstakingly reading endless posts on those subreddits, our entirely unscientific methodology has determined that Reddit’s best VPN for torrenting is Mullvad. Mullvad might not boast the brand recognition that some of its more well-known competitors can, but it matches them in terms of quality.
Like CyberGhost, it does not log any data, not even for troubleshooting purposes. It is also one of the fastest VPNs. Testing saw it boast an average download speed of around 90Mbps.
Security-wise, Mullvad uses AES-256 encryption for all your web traffic. The SSL handshake uses RSA-4096 encryption. The service also offers a kill switch and DNS leak protection. The privacy mantra extends beyond the service itself. Mullvad is also one of the few VPN providers that accept payment in cryptocurrency. It accepts both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
The service has two downsides. Firstly, Mullvad is based in Sweden. Sweden is a Fourteen Eyes member. However, because the company does not keep any logs, the issue is partially mitigated.
Secondly, because the Mullvad is based in Sweden, the price is listed in Euros. If you’re based in the US or UK, the precise amount you pay each month will change with currency exchange rate fluctuations.
Bonus: The Best Free VPN for Torrenting
Before we talk about the best free VPN for torrenting, let us be clear. This is not a strategy that we recommend. Using a free VPN is fraught with possible issues, logging issues, botnets, and data leaks are all commonplace. If the content you are downloading is from The Pirate Bay or its alternatives and in a “grey area” legally, a free VPN for torrenting might not provide the security you need.
However, if for whatever reason you want to press ahead, you should check out one of the free-tier services from one of the sector’s most well-known names. Companies like Hotspot Shield, Windscribe, or ProtonVPN. They are some of the best free VPNs to protect your privacy.
And the Best Torrenting VPN Is…
For us, it’s a tossup between ExpressVPN and Mullvad. ExpressVPN has the edge thanks to its non-Fourteen Eyes jurisdiction, but Mullvad’s complete lack of logging will appeal to heavy torrent users who fear reprisals. Mullvad also wins on cost, but non-European users might not appreciate being unable to budget a fixed amount for the service every month.
If none of these three services appeals to you, you can always check out our broader list of high-quality paid VPNs.
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