Buffered VPN doesn't disclose much about the size of its network, but the 30-day money back guarantee means that you can take their service for a test drive and really get a feel for how well it performs for you. The company lost a few points from us because they do keep some connection information. They gained points for their client support, unlimited bandwidth, and generous number of simultaneous sessions allowed.
If you plan on using a VPN while torrenting, consider the ramifications of the Kill Switch. This feature, found in most 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 not have their download interrupted.
Connecting through a VPN, though, encrypts all of the Internet traffic between your computer and the VPN server, preventing anyone on your local network, or at connection points along the way, from monitoring or modifying your traffic. Beyond the VPN server (in other words, the rest of the way to whatever Internet server you’re connecting to), your traffic mixes with traffic from other people on the same VPN—someone monitoring the connection to the destination server could see that your traffic came from the VPN server, but wouldn’t be able to know it was destined for your computer or device. Though these extra steps and encryption layers slow down any Internet connection, the best VPN providers have connections that are speedy enough to keep browsing and online services snappy.
If you're of the iPhone persuasion, there are a few other caveats to consider for a mobile VPN. Some iPhone VPN apps don't use OpenVPN, even if the VPN service that made the app supports the protocol. That's because Apple requires additional vetting if a company wants to include OpenVPN with its app. VPN app developers have slowly started jumping through those extra hoops and are bringing support for protocols such as OpenVPN to iOS.
A NAT Firewall may offer robust benefits but users have reported frequent issues while using NAT for torrents and P2P file sharing. In addition, NAT firewall can significantly reduce your download speed. However, this issue can be resolved by Port Forwarding, which allows torrent traffic to pass through a specific port in NAT Firewall. The best VPN services mentioned in this guide offer port forwarding, that will allow you to download torrents faster from anywhere in the world.
In conjunction with information security experts at The New York Times (parent company of Wirecutter), we reached out to our finalists with questions about their internal security practices. We asked how they handled internal security access, how they communicated securely with customers, in what ways they collected reports on security bugs, and of course whether their statements on logging policies matched their marketing and privacy policies. We also considered which companies had public-facing leadership or ownership, and which ones openly supported projects and organizations that promoted Internet security and privacy. (For a full breakdown of trust and VPNs, check out the section above.)
Hide.me is a VPN provider that keeps no logs and aims to put safety and security at the top of its priorities. They offer servers in 28 locations, including in all the main countries that you'll be looking for. The speeds are also generally good, faster than many other services we've seen, despite the high level (AES-256 bit) encryption that they offer. You can choose from a wide array of protocols to best suit your needs. They also offer a limited free access to 3 servers, allowing you to test out the system without any time limits.
Secure Shell (SSH): SSH creates both the VPN tunnel and the encryption that protects it. This allows users to transfer information unsecured data by routing the traffic from remote fileservers through an encrypted channel. The data itself isn't encrypted but the channel its moving through is. SSH connections are created by the SSH client, which forwards traffic from a local port one on the remote server. All data between the two ends of the tunnel flow through these specified ports.
A VPN kill switch halts all internet traffic in the event that the VPN unexpectedly drops the connection for any reason. This prevents your real IP address and torrent traffic from leaking onto your ISP’s unencrypted network, which could otherwise expose your activity to your ISP, copyright trolls, and hackers. This is why it’s very important to either bind your IP (see below) and/or use a kill switch.
ExpressVPN has a huge variety of servers with an ultra-secure 256-bit AES encryption. The network offers high speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and it’s compatible with all devices. ExpressVPN is a perfect VPN to use in China since it totally hides your IP address. With the large amount high quality features ExpressVPN can be easily nominated as the best VPN service.
The service has a comprehensive support forum that features an extensive, user-friendly FAQ, as well as a number you could call at any time to get support. Hide My Ass! is not only secure, but very reliable – we have had no connection issues when starting up or using the service. If you do experience any problems with the VPN, there are several ways you can resolve them; they not only have a well-maintained support website with numerous FAQs and help videos, you can also contact them through several different social media sites (including Facebook and Twitter). They also offer a live chat option which is available through the working day, the staff are very nice and quick to resolve any issues. Some regions even offer a contact phone number.
We've knocked CyberGhost down a peg from last year's standings because the service's network performance wasn't as great this time around in our tests. Yet it has a feature-loaded, user-friendly interface, with convenient buttons in the Windows client software for streaming media, torrenting files, protecting your Wi-Fi transmissions and evading censorship. (The Mac desktop software has fewer features.)
For torrenting purposes, Private Internet Access is an established competitor that provides a great balance between security, performance, and price. It also has additional features like DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and multiple device support. For subscription plans of a year or more, Private Internet Access comes in at an impressive $3.33/month.
Part of why you don't want a VPN storing a lot of information about you and your activities is that the company could be compelled to hand over that information to law enforcement. Hide.me explains the company's stance this way: "If a court order is received from a recognized legal authority with jurisdiction over hide.me then the company shall comply with that order. However, the company cannot be compelled to hand over information which it does not have."
The downloader. Whether they’re downloading legally or illegally, this person doesn’t want on some company’s witch-hunt list just because they have a torrenting app installed on their computer. VPNs are the only way to stay safe when using something like BitTorrent—everything else is just a false sense of security. Better safe than trying to defend yourself in court or paying a massive fine for something you may or may not have even done, right?
You can download torrents on all IPVanish servers. This is a huge advantage since users are not restricted to particular servers which may be slow or in different locations. Since the online privacy provider offers an unlimited bandwidth, users are able to download content at blinding speeds. The servers also allow a variety of encryption protocols when connecting, so users can choose their security level and torrent speeds. File sharing is allowed using both uTorrent and BitTorrent protocols. T
NordVPN is a great all-rounder. With a strong focus on privacy and a willingness to keep innovating in the VPN space, NordVPN is a great VPN at a great price. Nord offers an industry-leading six simultaneous connections which means that everyone in the family can use the VPN at the same time. With clients available for all major platforms, the software looks great and works well. A three-day free trial is a nice bonus if you are looking to take it for a test drive, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee gives you plenty of time if you change your mind. NordVPN permits torrenting, works with all major streaming services (e.g. iPlayer and Netflix) and has robust privacy policies in place to ensure you remain anonymous.
Certain Kodi add-ons also source video streams from torrents. Keep an eye out in particular for a newer platform called Acestreams. Acestreams use peer-to-peer bittorrent connections so concurrent users can share the load of a stream. That means your connection is shared with others, causing potential security and privacy issues that can usually be averted with a torrent VPN. Acestreams are increasingly popular for both live and on-demand content.
When it comes to the sheer number of servers to choose from, it’s tough to beat IPVanish. One of the most popular VPNs worldwide, IPVanish takes privacy very seriously and has been built with torrenting in mind. It creates no logs, not even the connection logs used for troubleshooting like ExpressVPN. L2TP and OpenVPN protocols both use 256-bit encryption. IPVanish uses shared IP addresses, and even has a built-in feature that lets users switch IPs periodically, such as every 60 minutes.
ExpressVPN has a wide range of client software, a dedicated proxy service for streaming media and its own DNS service. But in our 2017 tests, it dropped many connections and its overall performance was in the middle of the pack. It also allows only three devices to be connected simultaneously per account, and it's one of the most expensive services we evaluated.
There are several different VPN protocols, not all of which are used by all of the VPN services we reviewed. Most operating systems have built-in support for at least one of these protocols, which means you can use that protocol — and a willing VPN service — without client software. The full-fledged VPN services have online instructions for how to do this, as well as how to set up routers to connect directly to the services.
IVPN exceeded our requirements for being trustworthy and transparent. It also offers good performance without sacrificing security, and it’s easy to set up and use on nearly any device running Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS. Other VPNs we tested had faster connections at particular server locations or lower prices, but they came up short on essential factors such as transparency about who exactly runs them. If you’re ready for a VPN, we think IVPN is worth the price, even considering competitors with cheaper options. If you’re not ready to commit, you can try it out with a seven-day money-back guarantee. It’s easy and obvious to turn off automatic billing, too.
Censorship: Similar to a web proxy, customers use HMA’s VPN service to bypass internet censorship. VPN’s are far more flexible compared to a web proxy as they tunnel the entire internet connection and not just your web browser traffic. As a result, there are never any rendering issues because there is no parsing of HMTL/JS, and all content will function as it should do (e.g. Flash). Speed will also be faster because of a larger network of servers in 190+ countries, and the ability to setup VPN connections on your actual router means third-party devices are able to bypass censorship without any additional configuration required.
If you’re seriously concerned about government surveillance—we explain above why that should be most people’s last consideration when choosing a VPN—some expert sites like privacytools.io recommend avoiding services with a corporate presence in the US or UK. Such experts warn about the “14 eyes,” a creepy name for a group of countries that share intelligence info, particularly with the US. IVPN is based in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory. We don’t think that makes you any worse off than a company based in Switzerland, Sweden, or anywhere else—government surveillance efforts around the world are so complicated and clandestine that few people have the commitment, skills, or technology to avoid it completely. But because Gibraltar’s status has been a topic of debate in other deep dives on VPNs, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention it.
ISPs (Internet service providers) have a much broader reach than any individual website when it comes to what behavior they can track and what types of information they technically and legally can collect. But few ISPs are transparent about how much information about their customers they store and for how long, instead relying on broad disclosures in their fine print. In theory, a VPN will prevent an ISP from monitoring or logging all the traffic to and from your home Internet connection, because your data is encrypted as it passes through your ISP—at best they’d see gibberish passing from your home to a VPN server.
TunnelBear is designed for a very specific group of people: people who want a VPN service but don’t want to mess around with configuration or become IT experts to make their connections more secure. And it caters brilliantly for that market, with a very straightforward interface and jargon-free writing. In truth, all of the VPN services these days do this but TunnelBear tries very hard to stand out. It’s not for power users - there isn’t much you can change - but with up to five simultaneous connections, servers across 20 countries and decent performance on US and Canadian websites. Longer connections can be slower, though: it’s when the relatively small number of server locations makes itself obvious. There’s a free version that limits you to 500MB of monthly traffic, and if you pay annually the price of the full version drops from $9.99 to $4.99 per month.
If you need a more affordable VPN than our top pick and don’t have an Apple device—or if you need ChromeOS support—we recommend TorGuard. Its apps aren’t as simple or user-friendly, but TorGuard is a good option for more tech-savvy people or those willing to spend a little more time fiddling with an app. TorGuard’s CEO has built trust by talking with media outlets (including us) and detailing the company’s commitment to a service built around a lack of activity logs. Though the apps aren’t as easy to use as our top pick, the connections were the fastest of any we tested and the company has more than twice as many server locations.
When it comes to reliability, you can count on Demonoid. The popular BitTorrent tracker was launched in 2003, the same year as The Pirate Bay, and it’s had its own fair share of downtime due to political pressure. The site with over 10 million users has over 800,000 torrent files and provides torrents for movies, TV series, music, books, applications, and games. Our research shows that Demonoid has more movies and TV series than other files, followed by music.
Large sites and platforms that trade in personal information, such as Google, track clicks, search terms, and other behavior associated with each particular IP address, even if you aren’t logged in to an account on those sites. Facebook collects, sells, and shares information, too, and that info can be used for purposes beyond marketing. By changing your IP address with a VPN, and mingling your activity with that of potentially dozens or hundreds of other people using the same VPN server, you make it harder for those sites to build a marketing profile based on your personal online behavior. Of course, if you’re signed in to your assorted online services, you’re out of luck regardless of VPNs or browser extensions. If you’re curious about how well major companies protect your data privacy from broad government data requests, check out the EFF’s annual “Who Has Your Back?” report.
Ideally, every VPN service provider would subject itself to independent audits to verify that it logs and operates as it claims. Right now, audits aren’t common practice in the VPN industry, though there’s a push to change that. Joseph Jerome, policy counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology, told us about that group’s efforts to bring transparency to the VPN industry: “We would like to see security audits released publicly so security researchers can review them and attest to their veracity, as well as learn from the issues being identified.” The few companies we found that currently performed these types of audits had other dismissal-worthy failings, despite their valiant efforts toward transparency. And while such reports may increase your confidence when you’re shopping, there’s no guarantee that an audit makes a VPN service trustworthy: In other industries, conflicts of interest have led auditors and rating agencies (PDF) to miss or ignore major problems.
Pricing is quite flexible, with a three-day plan available for just $2. But for those who want to avail of the complete service and support, A basic plan of $5 per month, a solid plan of $10 a month, and dedicated plan of $25 per month are also available. These packages offer users access to Proxy.sh servers in different countries and unlimited bandwidth. Custom plans can be arranged, all one has to do is contact support.
Since we first recommended IVPN in the spring of 2018, the company has added automatic server selection to its desktop applications, bringing it in line with other top-performing VPN apps. Alternatively, when you click on the location at the bottom of the app, you’ll see a list of all of the global IVPN server locations, color coded by speed. At the top of the list is an option to connect to the fastest one, and once selected, the app remembers your preference through future disconnects and reboots. You can also use IVPN’s multihop servers to route your traffic through two VPN servers—a feature unique to IVPN among the services we tested—though we don’t think this step is necessary for most people, given the slower speeds you’ll likely experience.
The first of Hide.me's paid tiers is Hide.me Plus, which costs a reasonable $4.99 per month. That's significantly lower than our Editors' Choice winner Private Internet Access, which charges $6.95 per month for its service. This gives you access to all of Hide.me's server locations and all of the company's supported VPN protocols. The data cap gets raised to a very generous 75GB per month, but you're still limited to just one device. For just under two dollars more per month, Private Internet Access gives you a lot more.
The only downsides to Private Internet Access are that you can't select your own username — you've got to stick with an assigned random ID — and that you've occasionally got to reinstall a balky driver in Windows. (There's a button to do this.) Selecting Private Internet Access as our VPN service of choice was almost a no-brainer, but because it's based in the U.S., anyone wary of the FBI may want to consider another service.
Hide.me VPN takes your security seriously, giving you advanced protection by encrypting your data so you can use the web safely, wherever you are. It masks your IP address to keep you hidden and stop internet service providers and hackers from spying on you or tracking your activity online. Hide.me VPN even adopts a zero logs policy, which means they don't store any logs of your online activity.
The IVPN app’s default settings are great for most people, who should be happy just smashing the Connect button and not fiddling with settings. The desktop app defaults to a secure OpenVPN connection with AES 256-bit encryption (what we consider the standard at this point), and the mobile app can (and should) be toggled to OpenVPN as well. Our budget pick, TorGuard, defaults to the weaker (but also acceptable) AES 128-bit encryption unless you manually change it, and hasn’t added OpenVPN support on its iOS app.
Some users will also want to research a VPN provider’s peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing policies. There are VPNs that block torrents. Others turn a blind eye to them, but will sell you out in a heartbeat should you be up to no good. P2P is not our main focus here, but we will note in each review whether a particular provider allows file sharing or not.
Several VPN providers permit the best torrenting services and many people use VPN services for downloading torrent with complete anonymity and security. The best part of torrenting with VPN that you can’t tracked or caught anyone because its keep your credential secure / hide so no DMCA notice you will have to receive, however from the above mentioned comparison table I choose PureVPN.
As VPN services allow you to access online content as though you were physically located in a different country, they’re extremely useful if you’re travelling on business and need to access location-restricted services or if you need to see how and whether a particular website or service works properly for users elsewhere in the world. With servers in over 190 countries, Hide My Ass! is by far the best equipped VPN provider in this respect, on the off-chance that you ever need to see what your website looks like to users in Burkina Faso.
I also after a year of paying month by month, I bought a 1 year subscription from one their promos. I then discovered they were also charging me for my monthly subs. Getting my money back was fairly ordinary. As soon as I disputed the monthly costs they suspended my account. In the end I got my monthly subs back, but lost the balance of the yearly sub - luckily it had been a good promo.
Many VPN services also provide their own DNS resolution system. Think of DNS as a phone book that turns a text-based URL like "pcmag.com" into a numeric IP address that computers can understand. Savvy snoops can monitor DNS requests and track your movements online. Greedy attackers can also use DNS poisoning to direct you to bogus phishing pages designed to steal your data. When you use a VPN's DNS system, it's another layer of protection.
Even TunnelBear's network performance and pricing are just about average compared to other services we've reviewed, except that you can pay anonymously with cash. The company takes security and privacy seriously, explaining its policies and protocols in plain English, and you can read the results of two third-party security audits on the company website.
Perhaps more importantly, free VPNs are inconsistent when it comes to security. The connection regularly drops out, leaving your data vulnerable to surveillance. To ensure your privacy, it’s essential to use the very best VPN for torrenting. If you want guaranteed safety for low-cost, we recommend taking advantage of the trial and money-back periods offered by premium clients.
Other encryption protocols add another layer of security by encrypting your data multiple times. While your data is more secure, your speed will suffer as the VPN works to decrypt multiple layers of encryption. Think of it like a handshake. A secret handshake gets you through the door of a popular nightclub if that’s the policy. It’s a quick, but effective way to determine if you should have access to the club. But if the club requires multiple handshakes, that’ll take more time as you pass through all the security checks.