Best Torrent VPN Services of 2019
A VPN is a good way to stay anonymous when downloading torrents. Whether you’re a caring seeder or a prolific leecher, you can land in a legal soup if your torrenting can be tied back to you. But before you get just any VPN, make sure it supports torrenting.
Kickass Torrents, Alternatives and how to use Them Safely
Kickass Torrents has long been an institution in the P2P community. Just like Pirate Bay or Demonoid, KAT garnered a huge user base over the years, and is partly responsible for the broader distribution of content and connectivity between file sharers across the globe. Since its launch just a decade ago, the site has faced a spate of federal litigation issues over copyright breaches, and the original domain was officially seized by the US government back in July 2016.
Just six months later though, in December 2016, former team members created an archetypal site, keeping all the original site’s features and layout. It first underwent federal heat in 2011, when it was forced to switch to a domain in the Philippines. Since then, the operators began changing it every six months to avoid another seizure. But this was years ago – and while it isn’t clear how routinely it changes its domain now, it is still very much active; as is the subreddit, with KAT operators and users both posting within the sub.
But just like those behind these popular torrent sites, who no doubt use as many safety tools as possible to protect theirs, the torrenter needs protecting too. Torrenting on an unsecure connection is a bad idea. There’s always a bigger fish, in this sense, someone who downloads/uploads more, but downloading movies, software and other content like books without paying is illegal. Even more so if the holder decides to distribute it. That’s why it’s important to protect online activity – and one of the best ways of doing so, especially P2P sharing, is with a VPN.
A virtual private network, or VPN, put simply, is a way of accessing region-specific content and the same stuff as usual, except it’s hidden from governments, ISPs and hackers. The only information available to websites is location, which can be defined only by the country the VPN’s server is in. Connect to a server in the US and the websites used will believe the user is there, giving access to region-specific content like news and on-demand entertainment.
When looking for a VPN, there are many factors to look out for, and not every VPN ticks all the boxes. The things to look out for in a VPN for torrenting can be found below.
What to Look for in a VPN
- Speed: The level of speed depends on how many servers there are to connect to, but also whether the servers are optimized for torrenting. Not all are, and not all providers support P2P sharing. Choose a VPN service that also offers fast connections and good bandwidth.
- IP and DNS leak protection. The point of using a VPN for torrenting is to be anonymous, so any leaks or drops in connection will just expose the user. Go for services with features such as an automatic kill switch, which terminates an internet connection when the VPN connection drops.
- Unlimited bandwidth. Unlimited bandwidth means unlimited torrenting. A limited connection would soon expire when torrenting, given that most files are in the hundreds of megabytes at least.
As mentioned before, there are plenty of household names in torrenting to choose from, with KAT not being the only one to face legal problems. The well-known Pirate Bay is still available, and soon Demonoid will be too, as the developers are soon to reintroduce it. But be prepared for the best sites to go down, as this could happen at any moment. Users should always have a backup. A few other sites to download torrents can be found below.
Alternatives similar to Kickass Torrents
RARBG has been around for as long as KAT has. While it hasn’t achieved the same level of infamy as KAT, it still gets a lot of traffic and doesn’t seem to face any substantial legal issues.
It’s still active in most countries and users can still torrent via the website, though serving as a seeder and uploading on the website might not be possible because of restrictions on registration.
Despite any apparent controversies surrounding YTS, it’s a great site and arguably better than a lot out there. YTS was first launched back in 2010, but despite a grey area, the service is active again, and is a popular choice for movies and TV.
For anyone looking to torrent software, YTS is probably not the right site.
ExtraTorrent is a no-cheap-frills website, offering a rudimentary facial with its focus on content and infrastructure only. Its unflattering layout isn’t an issue for users.
Numerous access websites for ExtraTorrent are available, and there are legal P2P files on the site, ranging from music, free-to-use images, open-source software and public domain films.
Torrentz has carried on with different domains since the closure of Torrentz.eu. Unlike YTS.AG, this website made it known to the torrenting community that it was a stand-in website for the original.
A search on Torrentz gives users access to over 60 specialized private trackers and websites, which provides a breadth of content for torrents to choose from.
Free and legal torrenting services
To be clear: the only thing that makes P2P sharing illegal is the content being shared. For anyone interested in legal P2P sharing, there are a load of different sites out there that offer free-to-use content like games, movies and archived websites. Whether there’s anything worth perusing is up to the individual’s discretion, but it’s unlikely there’ll be anything new or current.
Public Domain Torrents
Public Domain Torrents grants users access to approximately 1000 public-domain movies, all of which are free and legal to torrent. The website is compatible with all BitTorrent clients, and allows users to search for content based on the volume of leechers and seeders.
Some aspects of the service are a little outdated, like the section that offers PSP and iPod versions of films, but it’s one way of getting free entertainment.
One of the better-established services for freely and legally torrenting material is Internet Archive. It boasts tens of millions of files of various media types, including music, movies and games. There’s also an array of archived websites, digital books, and images, among other materials.
To find torrents, just head over to the “Archive Torrents” section on the website. The website relies on the BitTorrent network.
A few extra:
- http://academictorrents.com/ for academia. It has more than 22 terabytes of public content available for download.
- http://bt.etree.org/ for recordings of gigs and concerts.
- http://vodo.net for indie movies and public domain films.
The Dangers of Torrenting In A Nutshell
There are many people using VPNs to stay protected when they download content via P2P networks.
All over the world, most ISPs are allowed to monitor user activity. This can be done to sell the information to advertisers and it can also be used to target piracy. If you’ve been torrenting, there are chances that you’ll catch the attention of your ISP.
As a result, you stand the risk of your internet connection throttled or even canceled, along with other legal troubles.
Governments also actively try to remove torrent websites. You might remember Kickass Torrents that was brought down in 2016. In such a scenario, it has become difficult for torrent lovers to find good sites to download their favorite movies or shows without risking a prison sentence.
But it’s not just the issues over torrenting that have scared netizens. It’s a common knowledge that the governments spy on internet activity, thus making it important to use a VPN if you like your online activities to stay private.
The trends reveal that it’s time to be cautious. It’s a smart choice to use a VPN whenever you go online, and especially when you download torrents.
How Is Torrenting Safer With A VPN?
A VPN will encrypt your data so your ISP won’t be able to see what you’ve been doing online. And since they can’t monitor your traffic, you’ll be free to open torrent websites and download files.
With a good VPN service, you get a lot of advantages:
- It hides your IP address and thus your geographic location.
- It grants access to blocked torrent sites.
- It encrypts your connection and provides an additional layer of security.
- It prevents any third party (such as the ISP, government, and corporations) from viewing your online activities.
- What To Look For In A VPN For Torrents
The first thing to check is the VPN’s company policy. Do they allow P2P (peer to peer)? If they don't allow it, you can't torrent any files. If your VPN allows P2P only on selected servers, then you must connect to those when torrenting.
Another thing to check is if they log user data. If they keep track of what you’re doing, those logs can be requested during criminal investigations. There really is no point in getting a VPN that logs your data.
When you connect to a VPN, there will be a slight speed drop. However, if the VPN provider has fast and high-end servers, this speed drop is not noticeable.
Closely related to the speed of your connection is your bandwidth, the limit on the amount of data you can use.
Now that you know what to look for, here are the top VPNs for torrenting.
Top 3 Recommended VPNs For Torrents
Ivacy has P2P optimized servers that provide outstanding speeds so you can quickly download the files you want.
Since it keeps zero logs, you don’t have to worry about tracking and logging. So when you use Ivacy, anonymity is guaranteed and you can torrent in peace.
If you’re a torrent freak, you’d be happy to know that it offers unlimited bandwidth so you can download as many torrents as you want.
Pros of Ivacy: P2P optimized servers; Can connect up to 5 devices on a single license
Cons of Ivacy: Not compatible with Tor
ExpressVPN offers a great solution for anonymous torrenting. With strong encryption and no logs, you can rest assured your data is safe from the government and hackers.
ExpressVPN doesn’t pose any restrictions on visiting torrent websites, which means you can open ThePirateBay, Torrentz, or any other torrent website without any issues.
With its fast speeds, you can download torrents in no time and thanks to the unlimited bandwidth provided by it, you can torrent to your heart’s content.
Pros of ExpressVPN: Apps for all major platforms; Provides DNS/IPv6 leak protection
Cons of ExpressVPN: Above average prices; limited simultaneous connections
NordVPN is a no-log VPN provider that makes torrenting easy. Just start up NordVPN and it gives you the choice to connect to the best server for P2P.
NordVPN is known for its high speeds, which helps users in downloading torrents in no time, and since it doesn’t put any bandwidth restrictions, you can download as many torrents as you want.
Nord offers military-grade encryption to make sure your identity isn’t’ getting leaked to the government. When you torrent with NordVPN, you can always torrent with peace of mind, knowing that your actions are secure and you are completely anonymous online.
Pros of NordVPN: Fast connections; Double VPN available; Onion over VPN
Cons of NordVPN: Shorter plans are a bit expensive
Copyright Violations For Torrenting Without a VPN
While you might have been torrenting for years without getting in legal trouble, it can happen at any time. When it happens for the first time, you’ll receive correspondence (generally an email) from your ISP. This will be a piracy warning and will explain that you have been caught in the act of piracy.
These notices are generally meant to be taken as warnings. If you have received such a notice, it’s best to either quit torrenting or be more secretive while doing it.
And what happens when you continue downloading torrents without a VPN?
If you keep infringing copyrights, you will be termed a repeat infringer. Depending on the country you live in, the government can take action on you. If you live in the US, this can be a serious situation.
There are various ways in which repeat infringers are dealt with like your ISP slowing your internet or cutting your services. You might even land in prison for downloading your favorite movie.
Every online activity is safer with a VPN, but those that like to torrent have even more at risk than regular internet users.
You might think that the odds of getting caught are low and that there's safety in numbers, but if you're the unlucky one you'll regret not having the extra layer of protection a VPN gives.