NordVPN like to claim that they are the best VPN for P2P (Peer-to-Peer) and torrenting activities.
In this article, we are going to cover what NordVPN’s P2P-optimized servers are, what they do, whether they are the real deal, and why they’re on our list of the best VPNs for torrenting.
What are Torrenting and P2P?
Torrenting and P2P are very popular activities that people turn to VPNs to do.
P2P file-sharing is where lots of end-users connect with one another to share files rather than relying on a website to host them. While torrenting itself is legal, the downloading and uploading (distribution of) copyrighted materials for free (piracy) is not.
P2P is simply any situation where resources are shared between peers (end-users and their computers) to facilitate a process, e.g. file-sharing.
Why Use a VPN for Torrenting?
It is always wise to use a VPN when participating in any type of torrenting or other P2P activity, especially if you do it a lot.
VPNs help hide your identity from “peers”
You don’t know the other peers who are party to your P2P activities, these people could be anyone from innocent users to hackers.
A good VPN hides your true IP address and encrypts your data. Nobody, not even your fellow peers, will be able to see what you are doing. NordVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN to do this, the same as used by the U.S. Government to transmit Top Secret information.
VPNs prevent you from “getting caught” by rights holders
When you use the best VPN for torrenting, your IP address, location, identity, personal data, and activities are hidden from third-parties who may be spying on you.
One of those peers you might be sharing data with might be the rights holders themselves or a hired third-party.
If they find out who you are and what you are doing, something that isn’t possible with a good VPN, they can threaten you with legal action. HBO is notorious for this.
Why NordVPN P2P Servers are Your Best Choice
NordVPN doesn’t just allow torrenting and P2P activity on their network, they have servers dedicated to and optimized for the task. Only NordVPN’s P2P servers can be used for this type of activity, though, to prevent other servers on the network becoming unstable.
These servers are fast, secure, and are specifically deployed with P2P activities in mind. It is worth noting that if you participate in P2P activity on a regular non-optimized server, NordVPN will automatically reroute your traffic through one of their Canadian or Dutch P2P servers.
In the case above, your download speeds won’t be optimized. So make sure you choose the server nearest to your location for optimum speeds.
You can connect to NordVPN’s P2P servers by opening up the NordVPN app and selecting “P2P” in the left-hand column.
You will then be connected automatically to the best one for you. If you want to choose your own P2P server, simply click the three dots (. . .) and select from the dropdown lists.
Won’t NordVPN Give Up My Details if Threatened with Legal Action?
Also, NordVPN operates a strict zero-logs policy which means even if any information was somehow forced from their hands, there would be nothing incriminating or interesting for the authorities to find.
Your details, VPN activities, and other data are never logged. You can trust that this is the case, too; NordVPN underwent an external audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a “big four” professional services firm, to prove it and were the first VPN to do so.
Try Out NordVPN P2P Servers for Yourself
You can try NordVPN risk-free thanks to their 30-day money-back guarantee.
Although you do need to subscribe to and pay for a plan, if you aren’t happy with NordVPN you can get your money back simply by asking for it within 30 days of your purchase.
Get ExpressVPN Editor’s Note: Looking for a free VPN for torrenting? You’re asking for trouble.
Free VPNs have strict bandwidth caps, are not secure for any “illicit” activities (your identity will be revealed). You can try ExpressVPN for 30 days no risk.
2. NordVPN – No Brainer VPN
NordVPN was our pick for best “no-brainer” VPN for 2018
This remains true in picking a no-brainer VPN for torrenting for the following reasons…
Encryption: 256-Bit AES with SOCKS5 Proxy
Kill Switch: Available
IP/DNS Leaks: None
Torrenting Servers: All servers + Optimized P2P servers
Speeds: Very Fast
NordVPN operates in Panama, outside of the government networks that snoop on your data, and as a result, your torrenting activity is safe from prying eyes.
The industry standard 256-bit encryption is also utilized. To this day it still uncracked by brute forcing methods due to the sheer computing power required to do it.
NordVPN is also one of the very few VPN providers that offer SOCKS5 proxies, which enables you to download torrents faster.
Going through a SOCKS5 proxy still provides you anonymity albeit just with less encryption.
If the file you’re downloading through BitTorrent isn’t considered illegal, SOCKS5 presents itself as the fastest, secure option for torrenting.
NordVPN also optimized hundreds of its 5,000+ servers for torrenting with unlimited bandwidth capacity.
Download speeds would never be a problem with NordVPN.
The price for NordVPN start at $3.99 per month, also making it a real no-brainer.
Get NordVPN Editor’s Note: Free VPNs are not safe at all.
On top of that, you will only have 500MB per day, which you can’t do anything with. Your torrenting activities will be publicly made. You can try NordVPN for 30 days no risk.
3. Mullvad – Privacy for Torrenting
Mullvad has its reputation for taking VPN anonymity to the next level.
The signup process is unique; you’re given a randomly generated account number and that’s it.
Mullvad doesn’t care about knowing who you are or where you’re from – that is true anonymity.
Here are some more reasons why we think Mullvad is one of the most anonymous VPN available…
Encryption: 256-Bit AES
Kill Switch: Available
IP/DNS Leaks: None
Logs: None at all, not even customer information
Torrenting Servers: All servers
Speeds: Very Fast
Mullvad is one of the best options for torrenting since the download speeds are really fast, even with the high level of encryption.
This allows you to download torrent files securely at the least possible time.
If there’s any drawback to Mullvad, it’s their customer support. They are simply not that responsive.
Overall, the great things about Mullvad for torrenting easily outweigh its weakness; there really is no reason for you not to try it out.
With VPN providers hesitating to take stances on torrenting, there are still one-offs like CyberGhost that makes it clear for subscribers.
As seen in the main menu of CyberGhost, you can access their torrenting servers right off the bat.
One could argue that these dedicated torrenting servers allow for the most anonymity since more users share the IP addresses.
When it comes to speeds, CyberGhost is far from the fastest VPNs for torrenting.
This is because CyberGhost does not allow port forwarding on their servers.
Some torrent clients are configurable for port forwarding to allow for faster speeds, but this usually opens the connection to vulnerabilities.
Despite speeds, we still see CyberGhost as a strong torrenting VPN, due to its security features and easy-to-use app.
Of course, there’s more to why we were impressed with CyberGhost. Read our review here to find out more.
Get CyberGhost Editor’s Note: Always use a premium VPN for torrenting.
You should look out for zero logs and zero leaks with a high bandwidth cap. CyberGhost checks those plus there’s a free trial for 24 hours.
5. Windscribe VPN – Free VPN for Torrenting
If you’re serious about security, a free VPN is always out of the options.
Windscribe VPN is the one free VPN we have on the list.
They have a free VPN package that is the same as their premium VPN – they just limit your bandwidth.
Windscribe isn’t the best VPN… but if we consider the costs, this VPN is still the best you can get for torrenting.
Encryption: 256-Bit AES
Kill Switch: Available
IP/DNS Leaks: None
Logs: Logs bandwidth consumption / No activity logs
Torrenting Servers: Dedicated torrenting servers
Speeds: Fast (no port forwarding)
Despite being free, Windscribe’s security feature is still at par with industry standards.
It’s not one of those free VPNs that take advantage of you by gathering so much data.
The only data Windscribe collects is the amount of bandwidth you consume to make sure you stay under the limit, and that’s harmless enough.
For torrenting, Windscribe allows up to 10 GB of data to be downloaded per month, which really isn’t so bad and way better than nothing.
Upgrading to the paid service simply takes away the bandwidth cap. Do note that Windscribe is based in Canada, which is a member of the Five Eyes Alliance.
But if you want to bet Windscribe to not log your activity, you have a decent torrenting VPN that you can get for free.
Editor’s Note: Try out Windscribe but don’t upgrade.
We generally don’t trust free plans! The data cap seems high enough along with good business policies. However, if you are seriously considering a safe VPN to torrent with, we recommend NordVPN or ExpressVPN (both come with 30-day refunds).
This concludes our list.
Maybe you’d like to educate yourself further on the matter and do your own research?
Keep reading to learn how you can protect yourself.
How to Choose a VPN for Torrenting
A VPN’s security features are the reasons why you stay protected.
This is why it’s imperative that your VPN provider uses industry-standard levels of encryption and security protocols to keep your identity hidden.
Poor security features offered by substandard VPN providers (usually free VPNs) are susceptible to DNS leaks which can easily expose your identity.
A kill switch feature also helps out in preventing your VPN from temporarily exposing your identity in cases of interrupted connections.
Dedicated P2P/Torrent Servers
Dedicated servers are often optimized for a better file sharing experience. Meaning, you will get faster download and upload speeds.
On top of this, the more users are sharing the same IP, it is more difficult to trace a specific activity back to you. One key factor is making sure they do not log your activities since this is one way to trace your activities back to you.
Here’s another reason why you should avoid free VPNs. They have bandwidth limits.
Not only that but they also usually suffer from slow speeds due to either network congestion or unoptimized servers.
Before subscribing to a VPN service, you have to check whether your VPN allows for high bandwidth capacity. Some keywords to look for is gigabit connection.
This would ensure that your download speeds are maintained at the fastest possible rate.
Make sure you also check for any bandwidth caps.
Always look for a VPN with strict no-logs policy.
A VPN that logs or tracks your online activity defeats the purpose of using one.
More than that, logs are admissible evidence in case you face legal action for torrenting or copyright infringement.
If you can’t afford to check off all the boxes, there are some cheaper alternatives…
But they are usually in the “Eyes” jurisdiction. Meaning your data can be handed over to the government and shared among the 5, 9 and 14 Alliance members.
Of course, if the VPN has a no log policy, the risk is even further reduced.
Which Security Protocol Should Be Used for Torrenting?
With VPNs offering various security protocols in their VPN service, it’s possible for you to be confused.
There’s a consensus that OpenVPN is the go-to option.
OpenVPN is open-source and security experts contribute to the project to keep it secured.
OpenVPN also seams in well with AES encryption, which is pretty much the standard for VPN providers nowadays.
When it comes to security, OpenVPN remains as the people’s choice.
Should I Start Using a VPN for Torrenting?
The short answer is YES.
VPNs, in general, offer you great security when you’re online.
VPNs allow you to reclaim your privacy rights and have access to a secure, open Internet.
For torrenting especially, you are ensuring that there will be no legal action against you in case you decide to torrent copyrighted material.
Is Torrenting Legal?
The act of torrenting in itself is not illegal.
It only becomes illegal when you start using it to download and share copyrighted material.
Some countries, as a preventive measure, shut down torrenting websites by having ISPs block them. Fines are also being imposed upon those who are caught downloading copyrighted material.
In some cases, legal action is used to set an extreme precedence to scare and deter people from torrenting.
There’s a case-to-case basis for countries on how they see torrenting and it’s best to check your local laws before partaking in the network.
Is Torrenting Safe?
As mentioned earlier, a BitTorrent network is open and can be infiltrated by persons with malicious intent.
So the possibility of downloading infected files is a likely risk.
If you download any copyrighted material, the possibility of authorities catching you isn’t off the table.
Can You Get Caught Torrenting?
The short answer is yes.
When seeding or leeching torrents, it’s very easy to spot the IP addresses that are participating.
That alone exposes your identity.
Your ISP can also see your activity (and often records all your Internet usage). A red flag can be triggered the moment you start downloading a file through the network.
Let’s remember, without a VPN, your IP address is available to the public along with all your history of downloaded files.
What Happens When You Get Caught?
As mentioned earlier, there is a case-to-case basis in torrenting regulations among states.
Some countries like South Korea throttle down the speeds of your internet connection by as much as 74% of your speed as a penalty for torrenting.
Other countries like the UK would go to the extent of putting you to jail, as already done in a landmark case in 2016.
In other cases, penalties for those that get caught amount to thousands of dollars. In one extreme case, a Minnesota woman was fined $220,000 after illegally downloading 24 songs.
Yes, you read that right – the federal court ruled and set the damages at $220,000.
How Can I Protect My Torrenting Activity?
First, use a VPN. VPNs grant you anonymity by assigning you a different IP address from somewhere else in the world.
Second, make sure the VPN does not keep logs of your IP or your activity.
Third, get a VPN that is outside any Alliance jurisdiction.
In addition, some VPN services even have integrated virus and malware scanners that would alert you when they detect something.
Putting a value to your safety and privacy is difficult.
But you can do the math.
A VPN is an all-in-one solution that protects you at a low cost of somewhere around $5-8 per month.