Will a VPN Protect You When Torrenting (Explained)

No one wants to get caught with pants around their ankles – both literally and figuratively. That’s why VPN use has exploded in recent years, and major VPN providers such as NordVPN have more than ten million subscribers.

Staying safe and private online is our main focus here, and that’s why we’re answering a much-asked question – will a VPN protect me when torrenting?

Most VPNs will protect you when torrenting by hiding sensitive information about you and your location, including the IP address. No organization or internet provider will be able to find out who or where you are if you use a reputable VPN provider. 

Our recommendation: NordVPN

nordvpn

NordVPN is a third-party audited VPN that is consistently featured as one of the top VPNs in general. It’s also exceptional for torrenting as it has a full range of extremely secure privacy features that keep you safe and specialized P2P dedicated servers with ridiculous speeds when compared to other providers.

All of NordVPNs apps come with a built-in kill switch that prevents your data from leaking if the connection breaks (and it will). If you still don’t feel safe enough, NordVPN also has a Double VPN feature that will double your encryption. 

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What’s incredibly important when torrenting (besides privacy)? Speed! NordVPN won’t slow down your connection, so you’ll be able to download a 4K movie in no time. Read more in Best VPN for Torrenting.

>> Get NordVPN for Torrenting

Why is torrenting without a VPN not safe?

Torrenting and filesharing without a reliable VPN aren’t generally safe because of many reasons. They are also highly illegal if you’re downloading or uploading copyrighted material like video, music, books, etc.

If you still aren’t convinced of the risks of being unprotected when torrenting, here are just some of the reasons why it isn’t safe.

Legal concerns 

I’m guessing this is your main concern, right? No one wants to get in trouble with the law and face potential legal consequences. 

Copyright owners and other organizations can be very unreasonable when issuing sentences for downloading copyrighted files and often mentioning millions or even billions of dollars damages from global torrenting. 

The truth is, you probably wouldn’t buy or watch a movie or play a game if it weren’t available for torrenting anyway. Still, legal troubles are the number one concern for people that are torrenting or filesharing.

Copyright trolls 

This ties in closely to the previous point. Copyright trolls are companies that know most people are afraid of legal issues and hefty fines that can arise from torrenting and are therefore sending thousands of emails or even physical letters to unsuspecting folks.

Malware 

Downloading malware is also one of the biggest concerns as they can infect your computer and open it up to hacks or even install cryptocurrency miners that will slow down your computer and earn money for their distributors. 

Slow speeds

ISPs are known to throttle internet connection speeds for people that are actively torrenting, streaming, or playing online games. 

How to stay safe when torrenting? 

It’s actually fairly easy to stay safe when torrenting. If you do your homework, you’ll be able to download torrents worry-free quickly and reliably.   

Choose a trustworthy VPN

First of all, you need a good VPN that will ensure a private and safe connection even when you’re not torrenting but simply browsing, playing online video games, streaming video, etc. 

Choose a reliable torrent site

You also need to do your homework and find the right torrent site in a sea of fishy, scammy, and unreliable sites. This is very important as you’re otherwise risking downloading fake files, malware, and even viruses. The best sites are usually the ones that require you and other users to sign up.  

The best torrenting websites are generally outright blocked by ISPs but by using a VPN, you can get past that block.

Find the right torrent

It’s also important to download the right torrent and not a file that could hurt your computer, your files, and ultimately, even you. Look for verified torrents from well-known sites, and don’t download a video, game, or program if you know it hasn’t been released yet as it might be fake and harmful.

A dead giveaway can be a discrepancy in file size. For instance, an HD video that has an unusually small size. 

Torrent client is also important

Find a torrent that is easy to use and free. That doesn’t take up too much space on your computer or smartphone. Yes, you can torrent on your phone as well. A good choice would be uTorrent or qBittorrent.

Antivirus is still king

Although Windows has a firewall and VPNs like NordVPN can normally block malicious ads and websites and inform you if you’ve downloaded a malware file, using an antivirus is a no-brainer. 

I know they’re a pain and keep asking and telling you about something you don’t care about. They are also constantly updating which can slow down your computer. Still, they’re good to have installed.  

READ ALSO: Cheapest VPN for Torrenting

How a VPN protects you when torrenting

A VPN connection enables you to access the internet and subsequently torrents through a remote server and thus hiding your real location, your IP address, browser history, and other data from prying eyes.

A VPN will essentially create a virtual private network (VPN) and mask your IP address and let you anonymously download torrents and keep all your internet activities private. 

A secure and encrypted internet connection is a must, and not only when torrenting. 

Not every VPN supports filesharing. On the other hand, there are many that offer servers optimized for torrenting and P2P. 

READ ALSO: Torrenting over Tor

What VPN features are a must to stay safe while torrenting?

There are mandatory and optional features that make a VPN good for torrenting but also a good choice in general. 

Mandatory:

  • Privacy
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Leak protection
  • Torrenting friendly
  • Good speeds

When torrenting, your data packets can easily be intercepted by other participants and find out your IP address and ISP. The best VPNs for torrenting have AES-256 encryption, along with powerful hashing and salting protection.

This way, the only information that third parties can see is that you’re sending and receiving encrypted data. This doesn’t tell them anything useful.

A good VPN should have a strict no-logs policy which means there’s no trace of information left behind you or others. Then there’s leak protection.

Data leaks are no good. A leak in general rarely is good. But data leaks can and do happen. For example, you can forget to connect to a VPN before connecting to the internet. That’s why there’s the auto-connect feature that will connect you to a VPN server when you turn on your device, connect to the internet, or start your torrenting client. 

There’s also the ability to enable the kill switch that will cut off your internet connection if you lose your VPN connection. 

Optional:

  • Dedicated torrenting servers
  • Split tunneling

Dedicated torrenting or P2P servers are also a good thing to have as they will enable you to download files at normal speeds that won’t be throttled. Some VPNs don’t have dedicated torrenting servers as most of their normal servers can keep up with the bandwidth load. 

You can also direct some of your traffic with split tunneling through your VPN while leaving other data streams unencrypted. This will enable you to torrent at reliable speeds that won’t slow down your other internet traffic.

Can a VPN expose my information?

Unfortunately, VPNs can indeed expose your information. Free VPNs are the worst offenders as they will often sell your data to third parties and make a fortune in the process. 

The thing is, free VPNs don’t allow torrenting and will actively ban any users that are using P2P networks for file sharing. File sharing uses an enormous amount of bandwidth and data and isn’t cheap for VPNs. 

Regrettably, free versions of paid VPNs aren’t much more beneficial either. TunnelBear, for instance, doesn’t allow torrenting, even for paid users, and Windscribe has monthly data restrictions.

There are thousands of VPNs out there that are free and that log or worse, sell your activity. Even paid VPNs can do this, so your best bet is to find a VPN with a strict no-logs policy, read their fine print, and read what other users are saying about them. We recommend NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN

VPNs can also expose your data if you don’t set them up properly. The most crucial tool here is a kill switch that will cut your internet connection if you lose the connection to a VPN server. That way your ISP won’t see your traffic. 

It’s also wise to enable auto-connection in case you forget to turn on a VPN connection.

READ ALSO: qBittorrent VPN Guide – How to Enjoy Safe Torrenting

Why are free VPNs not good for torrenting?

Listen, I get it. We’re already paying for multiple streaming services and still, we have to torrent TV shows or movies that AREN’T available on one of the streaming services we’re paying for. So infuriating. 

Honestly, all this cable-cutting business must be a conspiracy as we’re paying through the roof for movies, TV shows, and other content. They said we’re better off without cable, now look at us. 

The reason for this rant is that people don’t want to incur additional costs by paying for a VPN service as well on top of all the rest. That’s why folks are trying to find a free VPN that will have them protected while torrenting. 

The thing is, free VPNs can be treacherous even if they do let you torrent, which in most cases they don’t. With a paid VPN you at least know their main revenue is originating from the license that you purchased and any add-ons that you bought.

God only knows where free VPNs make their money and how they’re able to maintain all the servers. You can rightfully assume that a free VPN makes a profit through advertising and by limiting its expenses elsewhere, but that’s not always the situation. 

The bottom line

A good VPN company will definitely protect you when torrenting without slowing down your internet connection by having a strict no-logs policy and effective leak protection including a kill switch and auto-connect. 

You could read that we recommend NordVPN as one of the best VPNs for torrenting. It’s an affordable VPN provider with an extraordinary set of security and privacy features as well as dedicated P2P/torrenting servers that are created to endure the heavy bandwidth of torrenting, as well as their own version of WireGuard to help obfuscate your identity

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