Best free VPNs for torrenting (and the risks of using them)

free vpn

Free VPNs are tempting because you enjoy services without paying anything. However, there are things you need to consider before choosing this option. Is the privacy risk work taking? Do they offer sufficient speeds for torrenting and are they safe to use? Do they have data usage limitation? In this article, we will look at some of the best free VPNs suitable for torrenting. Also, we look at some affordable paid VPNs as a safer alternative to free VPNs.

You should expect to face several hurdles when using free VPNs for torrenting. Since high speed and secure encryption is costly to the providing company, it is almost impossible to find a free VPN with sufficient speeds and protection.

When looking for a free VPN for torrenting, you can adopt the following strategies.

  • Take advantage of the free trial and refund periods of paid VPNs.
  • Choose a free VPN service for P2P downloading with speed and good security measures.
  • Use free versions of reliable VPNs

How to get a paid VPN for free

Later in the article, we will discuss how free VPNs are faced with a lot of shortcomings, which cannot work with  Bittorrent. Therefore, we look at the alternative free options of getting torrent protection: making use of refund periods of top rated.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the most popular paid VPNs for torrenting on the market. However, to get the free service, you will have to subscribe first to a plan and cancel later within the refund period. This way, you will be able to enjoy the services at no cost.

The VPN offers a no-cavil money-back guarantee for thirty days after signing up. This means that if you cancel within the thirty days, you will get back your money. Unlike other providers, the refund process is straightforward. You will only need to inform the customer support for the refund.

This VPN ticks all the boxeswhen it comes to torrenting. For instance, it offers impressive speeds, high-level encryption, and is compatible with major platforms that support torrent. In addition, it offers extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

There is a prominent feature known as split tunneling which allows the user to choose which traffic will route through the VPN channel or regular internet connection. For instance, you can tunnel your torrent clients through the VPN tunnel while operating other internet traffic elsewhere.

On the downside, ExpressVPN offers a few simultaneous connections. This means it can only supportthree connections at the same time. If you want to protect the devices that access the internet in your house, you can install the VPN on your router. It is important to note that installing the VPN on the router amount to one of the connections.

The best part is that this VPN does not impose data limitation on their services. Therefore, you can download even large files.

ExpressVPN is based in British Virgin Island and observes strict measures on privacy and security of the user. It has a large number of networks spread across 94 countries around the world. The servers are very fast, and if you have sufficient internet speeds, you will be able to download high quality content within a short time.

On top of that, the company does not record or keep traffic logs, and so it cannot be compelled to surrender user’s information in court. Also, it uses a powerful encryption system. For instance, if you connect through the OpenVPN protocol, the session establishment is covered with a RSA 4096-bit encryption. This is one of the highest levels of encryption in the VPN industry. ExpressVPN also uses 256-bit key AES encryption to protect users’data.

The customer care support is impressive with 24/7 availability. ExpressVPN does not restrict users from torrenting. So, if you experience any problem with your torrent client, you can ask help from the support technician.

Free versions of good VPNs

Most paid VPNs offer free services. Even though this is a great feature, the free version is not the same as the paid versions. In most cases, the providers make the free version inferior to encourage people to subscribe to the premium versions.

Recommended free versions of good VPNs

Luckily, we have managed to compile paid VPNs that offerreliable free versions. However, the free services are not as good compared to paid versions . The providers have placed restrictions and inconveniences on the free versions to oblige users to subscribe to the paid versions. Nonetheless, these restrictions are not annoying.

The VPNs below are safe to use for your torrent downloads needs      

CyberGhost Free Service

The company stopped offering a free version on the desktop app in 2018. Nevertheless, they still provide free browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. However, these extensions does not your torrent downloads and uploads.

CyberGhost is one of the best VPN services on the market. The free version also performs well and is a good option if you are looking for a free VPN for torrenting.

However, the free service is not as reliable as the paid version. For instance, when you connect to a server to queue, the advert of the paid version will appear. So, you will have to wait for a while before a connection is established.

Even though the speed is also decreased on the free version, it is better than some of the paid VPNs. In addition, the provider does not impose limits on data on the free version. However, video streaming and torrenting optimization options are not available. In addition, the free version supports only a single connection

The CyberGhost paid version offers access to servers in over sixty countries but only eleven countries on the free version. Also, there are numerous features that are limited in the free version. For instance, ad and tracker blocker is not included.

On the bright side, you can still remain anonymous when downloading or using the app. In the paid version, there is a strict no-logs policy to protect the anonymity of the users.

Windscribe

Windscribe is a VPN provider based in Canada with a very big proportion of torrent users. It is ideal for torrent protection because the company erases all records a few minutes after terminating the session. However, it keeps records of the data consumed by each free account.

On the paid version, you will able to access servers in 52 countries. However, the free version offers access to servers only in eleven countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Romania, and Norway. 

Unlike other providers, Windscribe does not impose speed restrictions on their free services. However, it has a data limit of 10GB, which is sufficient for a free VPN. The data cap is reset on the day you signed up.

It is compatible with a wide variety of platforms such as Windows, macOS X, macOS, and Android. On the iOS platform, you may need a third-party app to connect. There is also support for browser extensions like Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. However, the extensions do not cover the torrent client. In addition, the VPN is compatible with Linux and routers.

The provider uses very strong security measures to protect the user. For session establishment, the VPN uses 4096-bit RSA encryption while the main data is protected with AES 256-bit encryption.

Hide.me

This is a Malaysian based VPN that offers very remarkable features. The legal landscape in Malaysia allowsHide.me to operatea strict no-logs policy. Therefore the company does not keep users’ information, including IP addresses.

The paid version offers various connection protocols such as OpenVPN, SoftEther, PPTP, IKEv2, and SSTP. However, OpenVPN and SoftEther protocols are not available on the free version. Nonetheless, you can use IKEv2, which comes with AES 256-bit encryption. 

Hide.com offers speeds of up to 3Mbps for the free services and data of 2GB per month. The VPN is compatible with various platforms like Windows, macOS X, Android, iOS, and macOS. Also, it is compatible with routers and extensions such as Linux.

Even though the free version allows P2P activity, it only offers access to three countries that include the Netherlands, Canada, and Singapore.

SurfEasy

SurfEasy has a good reputation for protecting its users. It offers two main paid packages that include the Total and the Ultra plans. The Ultra plan is more expensive and features extra features for protecting torrenting. Nonetheless, the Total plan alsosupports P2P activities.

The Ultra plan offers access to over thirty countries. However, the Total plan provides access to only sixteen countries that include Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Ukraine, the UK, and the US.

Since the company provides a short money-back guarantee period of only seven days, it may not be a good option for the sign-up and cancel later strategy.

The VPN apps are available for Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and macOS X and browser extension for Chrome and Opera. On each account, you will be able to get up to five simultaneous connections, even on the free plans. 

Surfeasy put a cap on monthly data usage which is set at 600MB. This is very little compared to other providers, such as Windscribe that offer 10GB. However, you can get an allowance of over 1GB per month if you complete the following tasks:

  • Installing both the app and browser extension
  • Register your email
  • Follow the company on Twitter

Free versions of VPNs that are not good enough

There are some good free versions of reliable VPN providers. However, they have imposed impairments that render them useless for torrenting. Here are some of the examples.

TunnelBear

TunnelBear is a great VPN with both free and paid versions. Although the free version may seem perfect for torrenting, it offers insufficient data of 500MB per month. In addition, the company does not allow torrenting. Therefore, this VPN is ideal for low data volume browsing but not for intense work like torrenting.

ProtonVPN

This is a Swiss-based VPN provider with remarkable services. It offers a strange billing structure where the paid and the free versions are the same. The company claims that the paid subscriptions funds the free version. It may seem like a good option free VPN, but it does not support torrenting.

SaferVPN

SaferVPN is a popular VPN service with millions of subscribers from around the world. It offers a 24 hours free trial and 14-day money-back guarantee. So, if you want to try the version, sign up and cancel before the two weeks elapses to get your money back.

The free version is accessible after completing the free trial. However, it only offers 500MB monthly data allowance. Also, it is not available on major operating systems and cannot cover the torrent client.

SecurityKISS

SecurityKISS is an affordable Ireland-based VPN that also offers free services. The company claims to keep ‘minimum logs’. Also, you don’t need to provide any personal information to use the VPN. Actually, you won’t even need a username or password to set up the free VPN.

The VPN uses OpenVPN on the Windows and macOS X/macOS platforms, which is one of the best connection protocol. It also supports other protocols such as L2TP which is available on iOS, Android, and Linux. 

This VPN is popular because of its flexible billing scheme. The highest tier offers access to servers in sixteen countries while the free VPN has access to only four countries.

However, you should avoid this VPN, even the paid services. This is because of the poor privacy policy. The ‘minimum logs’ clause may include your real IP address and traffic logs. Other reasons why you should avoid SecurityKISS for torrenting include:

  • Unreliable session establishment RSA 1024-bit encryption
  • Data cap off 300MB per 24 hours
  • Does not support torrenting
  • ProXPN

ProXPN supports torrenting and features the OpenVPN connection protocol. It is headquartered in the USA, which is not a good location for privacy concerns. Government agencies can compel the provider to surrender users’ traffic and information.

For the paid version, you will get access to servers in countries such as the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Singapore. However, you will only access to servers in the USfor the free version. Also, the free version does not allow torrenting and speed are limited to 300Kps. However, you can sign up for the paid services to get the 30-day money-back guarantee instead of relying on the free version.

Free VPNs to avoid

Some free VPNs should be avoided at all costs. We have backlisted these VPNs because they offer terrible services, compromise user’s security, and are dishonest. Therefore, no matter how much they lure you into trying their services, do not try to install them under any circumstances.

Hola

Hola claims to be a free VPN, but it isn’t. This is a system that works like the Tor network where it allows other users to use unused bandwidth of members. It looks like a community where the members enjoy unused bandwidth together.

One of the biggest reasons why we discourage the use of Hola services is because the company sells bandwidth of free members. Also, even though Hola is advertised as a privacy service, the free version does not feature any encryption at all.

Essentially, Hola works by sending your traffic through other people’s connections. If your traffic happens to be an exit point, which is likely possible, your IP address will feature on other people’s traffic on the network.

There isanother company that sells access to the Hola network known as Luminati. Since the company does not screen its customers, it attracts criminals and hackers who need to cover their illegal activities online. Free users do not have control over who passes through their internet connection. The hackers can trace your IP address or even inject bots to track your activities even when offlineor even.

Hola’s routing system has a performance flaw. For instance, the network does not transmit your traffic directly to its destination. Instead, the traffic bounces unprotected around different nodes around the globe, and the exit point can be anywhere. As a result, the transfer speed is reduced significantly and therefore, useless for torrenting.

Hotspot Shield

This VPN was prominently mentioned in a recent study bythe Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) about bad VPNs. It was discovered that the VPN redirects users’ access to some websites through an affiliate program. The parent company known as AnchorFree is then paid a commission on anything bought on the sites. For instance, if you use their services to access e-commerce sites like Alibaba or eBay, the parent company earns a percentage on everything you buy.

Furthermore, the company allegedly has a marketing department that sells advertising space on the sites you visit. If you use their services, you might think the adverts are part of the website. However, it may be Hotspot injecting the adverts. While other VPNs are employing technologies to block adverts, this VPN add extra adverts.

If you try to access sites like Netflix, Hotspot will block your access and displays a message that asks you to subscribe to the paid version known as Hotspot Shield Elite.

Speeds through the US servers are capped at 1.4Mbps. This a very slow speed for torrenting or any form of downloading.

Betternet

This VPN service is also owned by AnchorFree. The CSIRO study also mentioned it adversely for using tracking codes, malware, and adware. Actually, it features 14 different tracking codes which are more dubious than even free VPNs. The research also found out that the Betternet app has 13 instances of malware.

In the company’s terms of services, it allows third-party companies to access users connecting devices like computers. At the same time, the company absolves itself of any actions by these third-party companies.

The free version only offers access to a server in the US. This is not an ideal location for privacy services due to copyright trolls and interference from internet service providers (ISPs) and government agencies. Also, the transfer speeds are very slow.

Cheap VPNs suitable for torrenting

There are some good VPNs that offer very incredible deals. For instance, you can get a reliable VPN service for as low as $3 a month. The best part is that these VPNs will enable you to torrent privately and with sufficient speeds. Here are good VPNs under $3 a month.

CyberGhost

CyberGhost is a very reliable VPN with impressive speeds. It is headquartered in Romania which has notable privacy laws. In fact, the High Court in the country has consistently protected services providers by rejecting laws that enforce data retention.

Moreover, the company observes strict no-log policy and does not record or keep identifiable information on its users’. The only information they have on their customers is the account number. Actually, CyberGhost works with a different company in a different country to collect payment. The company then informs CyberGhost that a certain account number has subscribed to a certain plan. So, the company does not know who you are or what you are doing online.

CyberGhost has servers spread across sixty countries. On the home screen, you will be able to specify how you plan to use the VPN. For instance, if you select the torrenting option, the VPN will automatically adjust the settings to improve downloading and select a server that supports P2P activities.

This VPN blocks adverts and trackers and feature data compression to optimize downloading speeds.

CyberGhost does not impose data caps on the paid version and can support up to seven simultaneous connections. It is available on major platforms, including Windows, macOS X, Android, iOS, and macOS. Also, it can be installed manually on Linux and some routers.

Unlike other VPNs, CyberGhost features two split-tunneling options. The first option allows you to choose the traffic which will be transmitted through the VPN and the ones that will not. On the other hand, the second option enables you to protect certain applications. For instance, you can protect the torrent client without affecting other apps.

The provider uses high-level security measures such as RSA 4096-bit encryption for session establishment and AES 256-bit encryption for data channeling.

If you face any problems when using the VPN, you can get help through a live support. Also, you can contact them using the web form, email, or a page in the app. It is important to note that customer care may require you to provide your email address for assistance. This breaks all of the impressive anonymity features that the company has put in place.

PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN is one of the best VPN services for torrenting. One of the most alluring features of this VPN is that you can contact the support technicians through a live chat at the website. In fact, they have software that can help them take control of your computer (with your permission) to explore and fix the issues.

Since this VPN was started by tottenters, it does not have data limits for downloading. Even though the network of servers is low compared to other top rated VPNs, they offer excellent speeds. The servers are strategically placed in different locations in 56 countries.

The company is headquartered in Sweden and claims to observe stringent logging policy. The issue of data retention has elicited a lot of debate in the past few years in Sweden. This is because the country is a member of the European Union (EU) that keeps trying to enforce data retention on digital service providers in member states. Actually, this made some Swedish VPN companies move to other countries like Mauritious to protect the privacy of their customers. However, in 2016, some activists managed to persuade the European Courts of Justice to quash data retention laws and improve privacy laws in Europe.

This VPN uses RSA 2048-bit encryption for the session establishment, which is slightly weaker than other VPNs like ExpressVPN or CyberGhost. Nonetheless, this encryption is still unbreakable. Data tunneling is encrypted using AES 256-bit key, which is a high-level encryption technology. In addition, PrivateVPN offers 128-bit Blowfish as alternative encryption.

PrivateVPN also uses a different payment collection company known as Cleverbridge. So, when signing up for the VPN services, you will only be identified by the account number on their systems.

The VPN supports up to six simultaneous connections. If you have more than one device, you can install the VPN on your router to protect all the devices. PrivateVPN is compatible with major platforms like Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and macOS X. There are also instructions on how to manually install the VPN on other platforms such as Linux.

The money-back-guarantee last for thirty days where you can cancel the subscription to get your money back. The company also offers five months of free use. However, you will have to subscribe to the annual plan.

NordVPN

This is another popular VPN with one the largest network of servers on the market and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will only need to sign up, use the service, and cancel before thirty days lapses to get your money back. The refund process is straightforward and quick.

Although NordVPN is based in Panama, it does not have any servers in the country. Also, the company does not keep logs of the user’s activities, making it a good option for torrenting.

Furthermore, the company uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect users’ data. Also, the AES key is protected with an RSA 2048-bit encryption. Another prominent security feature is the double-hop VPN. It adds two layers of encryption on connections and transmits your traffic through different servers in different locations before sending it to its destination. Also, the VPN offers the option of connecting through the Tor network. Even though the extra routing may slow the connection, it is a good option to protect your identity while torrenting. If you want more downloading speeds, you can pass the extra security features.

The customer support can be accessed through email or ticket submission on their website. Although these methods are not as reliable as a live chat, the support responds to questions very quickly. The company does not prohibit torrenting, so, you can ask help for any torrent-related problem.

NordVPN is available on major apps like Windows, macOS X, macOS, iOS, and Android. It is also compatible with routers and Linux computers. This VPN supports up to six simultaneous connections. The router installation counts as one of the connections even though it covers all the devices in your house.

NordVPN operates over 5000 servers spread across 62 countries. This means there is a better chance of getting a server closer to you for increased speeds.

Why you need a VPN for torrenting 

BitTorrent is an innovative peer-to-peer protocol of transferring large files. However, most implementations of this technology focus on the illegal downloading of copyrighted files. We do not accept copyright infringement and this article is intended to highlight subscription media distribution systems that support BitTorrent protocol so that you can get your favorite content legally.

Since BitTorrent is mostly used for illegal downloading, internet service providers (ISP) censor torrent traffic even if you are using it legally. In fact, you can be penalized or even get into a legal battle.

Most ISPs use a system known as Sandvine which identifies torrenting traffic and send reboot commands to the protocol. This makes your connection to drop, making it unbearable to download anything.

It is good to hide your internet traffic using a VPNto avoid these issues with ISPs. However, not all VPNs are suitable for torrenting, and there are certain factors to consider. A good VPN for torrenting should have the following characteristics:

  • Sufficient speeds to support downloads
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • A large network of servers
  • Strict no-log policy
  • Secure encryption and other security features
  • Complete address masking
  • System-wide coverage
  • Port forwarding

VPN address substitution and privacy

There are several issues mentioned in the above VPNs description that need further clarification. For instance, you have to be careful when choosing a free VPN for torrenting. You will have to ensure that the VPN service completely replaces your IP address because it can be visible to anyone in the torrent swarm. Copyright law firms have been able to tracktorrenterson free VPNs to demand compensation. In some instances, torrent service providers have been coerced to surrender all the addresses that have used their services.

Therefore, if you want to use VPN for torrenting, make sure your IP address is not noticeable on the internet. So, you should carefully inspect the free VPN before using it for torrenting. Some VPNs do not sufficiently hide the user’s address and could expose them to malicious actors.

Another important factor to consider when choosing a VPN is data retention. Even if the VPN replaces the IP addresses, the protection is of no use if the company still keeps traffic logs and other identifiable information of the user. This is because, when presented with a court order, they have to surrender the information. So, the best defense is for the VPN company not to keep records. If the company does not keep logs or identifiable information, it cannot be compelled or coerced by third parties.

Due to increased privacy concerns, the VPN industry has attracted a lot of players, which has resulted ina huge competition. Some companies still keep traffic logs despite claiming they do not. Others fiddle with the definition of ‘logs’ to get an excuse of keeping identifiable information. Ensure that the VPN provider is true to their word that they do not keep the user’s information. Some VPN companies have initiated audits to confirm to their customers that they have a strict logging policy.

The headquarters of the VPN provider is also a crucial factor to consider when looking for a VPN. Some countries have stringent copyright laws. Therefore, if a VPN provider is based in these countries, the company can be forced to collaborate with government agencies to surrender your information.

Choosing a VPN server for torrenting

If you want increased speeds, a general thumb rule is to connect with a VPN server close to you as possible. Normally, the VPN diverts internet traffic coming from your device through a VPN. For example, if you are in Turkey and want to connect to a web server based in Germany, diverting your traffic through a VPN in           India can create more distance for the data to travel. This significantly lowers the download speeds.

When torrenting, it is possible to connect to various peers from around the world at the same time. Therefore, it is not viable to use a server close to the source. The best selection strategy is to connect the server closest to you. However, in order to circumvent complicated legal processes, it is advisable to connect the servers in your neighboring countries. For example, if you are in France, you can connect to a server in the Netherlands or the UK.

Top VPN providers have servers in different countries around the world. If you live in Europe, you will get a rich selection ofboth free and paid VPN services. However, most free VPN services offer only a single server location, which is often in the US.

Should you avoid “free” VPNs?

It is almost impossible to get a good free VPN that allow torrenting, offers sufficient speeds and strong encryption. The cost of running quality services is very high, making it very difficult to offer free services.

Even though there are thousands of VPN services on the market, only a few of them offer sufficient privacy protection. In fact, research conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) found out that 18% of VPNs on the market that do not include any form of encryption. Without proper encryption, your ISP can see the protocol details of your connection.

The CSIRO report indicates that it is very risky to just pick a VPN service out of a search engine results. It will be a waste of time to install a VPN that does not have sufficient encryption. All of your online activities can be traced back to you even by your ISP.

Most free VPNs are offered by companies that want to use the traffic of customers in other profitable endeavors. The CSIRO research found out that some VPNs contain tracking libraries. Such features cost money to install and run on a VPN, yet it does not enhance customers’ experience. So, why do they do it? Apparently, the VPN providers make money by tracking user’s activities (even when offline) and sell the information to advertisers and other interested third-parties. While people may be using VPNs to hide their online habits, the free VPN may be recording and selling their information rather than protecting them. Other free VPNs make money by injecting adverts on the service.

The Tor network is a privacy protection alternative. It is a free service that works almost like a VPN by transmitting traffic randomly through various nodes. Unfortunately, this service is not suitable for torrenting. Data is bounced all around the world and crosses all over the internet again before getting to its destination. This makes it difficult to download large files. Actually, torrenting can cause strain on the Tor network.

Conclusion

We reiterate that picking a random free VPN from the search engine is not a good strategy, especially when you are looking for torrent protection. Already, you are taking risks by using P2P networks. So, you will need to be sure that the VPN service offers high-level encryption and other security features.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to find free VPNs that offer quality services. Nonetheless, some of the free VPNs we have highlighted above are very reliable. So, if you are determined to get free VPN services, you should focus on the VPNs we have reviewed above.

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