BitTorrent is an like shooting fish in a barrel way to movement big files across the internet past sharing the burden amongst peers. However, its reputation every bit piracy’due south get-to tool has caused a few VPNs to kibosh torrenting on their platforms. We wait at the all-time VPN services that explicitly allow BitTorrenting and let yous know which is best.
What Is Torrenting, Anyhow?
BitTorrent (the technology that allows one to “torrent”) has an unsavory reputation, one that is both unfair and well deserved. At its best, BitTorrent addresses the logjam created when likewise many people try to download large files from a single source at once—be they bootlegged television set shows, hot music tracks, DRM-free books, or terabytes of cat photos.
BitTorrent turns a file’s popularity into a benefit, instead of a clogging, past having each of the downloaders distribute pieces of the file to every other downloader. The whole system is designed to exist decentralized, with no principal server to choke under the burden of traffic. It’s a brilliant idea merely its decentralized nature also makes it perfect for illegally sharing copyrighted content online, too.
Given its reputation, some ISPs and network managers block BitTorrent traffic altogether. To circumvent these barricades, and to protect your privacy when torrenting, using a VPN is a sensible pick. With a virtual private network, or VPN, all your internet traffic is encrypted to ensure that no one tin encounter what you lot’re up to—fifty-fifty when you’re torrenting. The take hold of is, not every VPN service allows BitTorrent on its servers.
Using a VPN tin aid improve your privacy by preventing your ISP from monitoring your traffic, making it harder for advertisers to track you online. Just when it comes to security, we often say that information technology’southward amend to think of tools like VPNs every bit increasing the amount of work required to successfully attack y’all. If someone is willing to invest the time and coin in targeting you lot specifically, such as a record label or law enforcement, they will somewhen go what they’re after.
A VPN needs to exist part of a layered arroyo to security and tin’t have the identify of critical tools, such every bit adept antivirus software, a countersign director, and multi-factor hallmark that’s enabled wherever possible.
Everything Is Free At present
We often receive emails asking near the interplay between VPNs and BitTorrent. Some of them have included admissions of piracy, and they even offering justifications for it. One reader bemoaned the difficulty in finding legal avenues for cloth that is not available for sale in a given locale. We sympathize. The state of the public domain has been woefully neglected, keeping countless works entangled in complicated (but lucrative) distribution deals.
But no affair how just the reasoning, the constabulary (nonetheless problematic) is the police force. ISPs and other tech companies are sometimes compelled to reply when rights holders come up with a list of offenses carried out on their infrastructure.
If you are going to utilize BitTorrent for whatever reason, good luck to you. If you lot are going to use a VPN, more than power to you. But exist sure that you have the time to read the VPN’due south terms of service before you beginning. Be enlightened of the local laws and possible penalties, too—whatever your willingness to obey them. “I didn’t know the law,” or “I don’t agree with the law,” won’t hold upward as defenses in a courtroom, and so make sure you can live with whatever potential punishments, should y’all cull to do something legally dubious.
Volition a VPN Hide My Torrenting From My ISP or the Law?
The brusque reply is that, yes, a VPN tin shield your online activities from your Internet access provider. It should too make it much, much harder for someone on the exterior to identify particular traffic equally belonging to you. That’s a expert matter, non merely if you have legally iffy torrenting habits, only likewise because it protects your privacy in full general.
That said, in that location are always exceptions. Time and fourth dimension again, user error and efforts past constabulary enforcement have undermined the protection offered past services similar Tor or VPNs. Timing attacks, for example, can correlate parcel traffic at a VPN server with activity on your ain network, thus linking y’all to online activities.
In some cases, the problem may exist the VPN itself. If the VPN company keeps copious logs about user activity (specifically, the identity of the user, which server they connected to, and when) that data could potentially be obtained by law enforcement. In our reviews, we always inquire VPN services what information they collect and how they collaborate with law enforcement requests for data.
Can I Utilise BitTorrent on My VPN?
Almost VPN services are completely fine with yous using BitTorrent or P2P services while using their products. None of our tiptop-rated VPN services prohibit file sharing.
Even the services that permit torrenting often accept restrictions, however. Some, for instance, may require that you just utilize BitTorrent when connected to specific VPN servers. NordVPN labels the servers on which torrenting is acceptable. Note that pretty much every VPN service that allows torrenting besides explicitly forbids breaking copyright law or otherwise abusing the service.
Some VPNs have tools that are peculiarly useful for torrenting. Several companies offer static IP addresses for purchase, which can be desirable in some circumstances. New technologies, similar WireGuard, may provide better speeds than older VPN protocols. Our VPN reviews cover the available features in depth, so you lot’ll find something that works for you.
How Will a VPN Affect My Torrenting Speeds?
When you utilize a VPN, your web traffic is usually traveling through more fiber and more machines. You should wait slower upload and download speeds and higher latency regardless of the VPN you cull. For large torrents, this can mean a longer wait before you get the completed file.
In our latest circular of testing, nosotros record the median from 10 tests with and without a VPN running, and so notice a pct modify betwixt the two. For measuring speeds, we utilize the Ookla speed test tool. In the past, we tested all the VPNs we reviewed at the same time. Unfortunately, COVID-nineteen restrictions have limited our access to the PCMag Labs, and so we’re opting for a rolling testing model where we test new products throughout the year. The latest results are presented in the chart below.
(Editor’due south Notation: Ookla is endemic past PCMag’southward publisher Ziff Davis.)
Networks are finicky things, and we don’t claim our work to exist the be-all and end-all of VPN speed testing. Instead, this is a snapshot of how a item service performed on a specific twenty-four hours. We also don’t think that speeds should be the merely metric used to evaluate a VPN, but it’s clearly 1 that’s of concern to BitTorrent users.
To brand this list, nosotros looked at the best download scores across the services we’ve tested thus far. The VPN services in the chart at the pinnacle of this story are the ten services that had the to the lowest degree impact on download speed test results. Nosotros’ve arranged them in descending order, meaning the VPN on the far left had the least affect on download speeds. Notation, however, that not all of them vanquish the median results for upload and latency testing.
Previously, TorGuard VPN was this list of noble torrenting VPNs. While the company allows torrenting exterior the United states, a legal settlement now requires the company to block torrents on The states servers. We may return TorGuard VPN to the list in the future, if this changes.
VPN Reliability and Accessibility Issues
The extra stops and processes for your information and the distance introduced by VPNs can make a normal browsing feel somewhat hiccup-y. All of a sudden losing connectivity while the VPN resets is mildly abrasive in twenty-four hours-to-mean solar day life, but nosotros could see how such interruptions could wearisome downward or even halt a large BitTorrent download.
If y’all plan on using a VPN while torrenting, consider the ramifications of the Kill Switch. This feature, found in nigh VPN services, prevents apps from sending data via the internet when the VPN is disconnected. The idea is that it prevents any information from being transmitted in the clear. The avid BitTorrent downloader needs to decide if they want total and complete protection or would rather non have their download interrupted.
Location, Location, Location
While VPN services take servers all over the world, each company’s headquarters do have to exist based somewhere on the planet. And that somewhere might take information retention laws that require the VPN visitor to collect and maintain user information for a set fourth dimension.
Agreement what kind of information a VPN service collects, and how long it is maintained, can be hard to figure out. To get the answer, you may take to wade through unending FAQ pages and opaque terms of service written in cabalistic legalese. If the VPN company you’re considering tin’t clearly explicate what information it gathers and how long it volition be kept, it’southward probably not a great service.
When nosotros review VPNs, we make a point to enquire service representatives nearly what efforts they take to secure customers’ privacy. We also read those hefty tomes of service (yous’re welcome). Yous tin can read through our full reviews to see their answers.
Notation that national and international law equally it relates to data storage and whether that information tin can exist turned over to constabulary enforcement is complicated and constantly changing. A good service today might choose or be compelled to alter its policies tomorrow, so pay attending to whatsoever updates to the terms of service.
Use a VPN to Encrypt Your Torrent Traffic
Perhaps you lot’ll decide that all this effort isn’t worth information technology just to secure your BitTorrent downloads. But however, you should keep in listen that a VPN is all the same an piece of cake manner to ameliorate your privacy. Whether you decide to spring for a premium account, you’re looking for a cheap VPN, or you want to dip your toe in with a gratis VPN, it’s nigh time you started living the encrypted lifestyle.
Looking for more information about Torrenting and how to get started? You can read our story on how to apply bitTorrent.
(Editors’ Notation: While they may not both appear in this story IPVanish, and StrongVPN are owned by Ziff Davis, PCMag’s parent company.)