VPN for Downloading Torrents in the US – Why Do You Need One?
Torrenting is great, but it may come with heavy legal repercussions — especially if you're in the U.S. Find out why (and how a VPN can help you) with our in-depth article. Share
Downloading Torrents in the US is Dangerous – Unless You Use a VPN
Torrenting can be a dangerous activity in the United States. You’re always at risk of getting into trouble with copyright censors, not to mention hackers and viruses.
That is, unless you use a VPN.
A VPN secures your connection, hiding your IP address and preventing other users from accessing your connection and seeing what you’re up to online. Let’s explore why torrenting in the US has become so dangerous and just how a VPN can keep you safe.
Downloading Torrents in Scary in the US – Here’s Why
File sharing – the core of torrenting – is not an illegal activity. At its simplest, it involves transferring files between users. So, you upload a file that might interest one user, and download a file you’re interested in from another user.
This is most commonly done with audio and video files, and this is where torrenting moves into dangerous territory. If those audio or video files contain copyrighted material, sharing them without the owner’s permission is illegal.
If you get caught, it can lead to warning letters, your connection being throttled, large fines, and even jail time. Legal action against those involved in torrenting peaked in the late 2000s, with many being sued disproportionately and most cases being settled out of court. The approach was used as a scare tactic to put others off torrenting activities – but it was not very effective.
In 2010, between March and September alone, 16,200 new lawsuits were filed. The US Copyright Group, acting on behalf of a group of independent movie makers, sued BitTorrent users. In taking this action, they forced ISPs to reveal the users’ real identities and were then able to send settlement offers to those users of between $1000 and $3000.
More recently, in only the second music downloading case to go to trial, Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University Graduate, was ordered by the courts to pay $615,000. The order related to illegally downloading and sharing 30 tracks online and was to be paid to four different record labels.
Sites that facilitate file-sharing and torrenting can be shut down and fined if they are deemed to have facilitated or enabled the sharing of copyrighted material – more commonly known as piracy.
Many torrenting sites have been closed down within the US in an attempt to stop piracy. This action, far from stopping the illegal use of torrenting and file sharing, actually puts users at greater risk.
As trusted sites disappear, less reputable sites often take their place. These sites put users at risk of viruses and malware that infect their systems and sell their personal data. Without the additional security and data protection, torrenting is no longer a safe activity in the US.
A VPN to the Rescue – How Does It Work?
A VPN secures your connection by changing your IP address and creating a tunnel through which your data travels undetected. You can connect to a torrenting site without the connection being traced back to your actual IP address. So, if you do accidentally download copyrighted material from the site, it cannot be traced back to you. Of course, we do not condone video or music piracy, but we do believe that you should be able to share uncopyrighted materials without fear of being targeted by copyright trolls.
Connections created through a VPN are also secured through AES encryption. This means that not only is your connection invisible, but it is also private. No one can piggyback your connection to gather information about you or follow you around the internet. This greatly reduces the risk of your data being stolen or used for targeted advertising.
Not all VPNs support torrenting and P2P activities, so choosing your VPN carefully is crucial. Luckily, we have done much of the legwork for you.
The Best VPNs for Torrenting in the US
The Fastest VPN for Torrenting
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest and most stable VPNs available that uses obfuscated servers, so your encrypted traffic looks no different to ordinary traffic, further enhancing your privacy and security.
It allows torrenting across its servers and has a network of over 1,500 servers across 148 countries. ExpressVPN supports a range of security protocols including OpenVPN, IKEv2, and PPTP, as well as others.
ExpressVPN has no bandwidth or download restrictions and its split tunneling feature allows you to safely torrent from the US using servers in P2P friendly countries, while using US servers to access your favorite Netflix shows.
ExpressVPN’s security measures are mentioned in many of its outstanding reviews. Such measures include 256-bit AES security, a kill switch, DNS/IPv6 leak protect, browser extensions and a strict no-logging policy.
- Torrent and P2P friendly
- 1,500+ servers across 148 countries
- Obfuscated servers
- Excellent speeds with no download or bandwidth restrictions
- Strict no-logging policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
NordVPN has one of the largest server networks available with over 4,000 servers spread across 62 countries, many of which are torrent friendly. It has specific servers in these countries that are optimized for P2P activities.
It also bboasts fast speeds, no bandwidth limits, unlimited server switching, and P2P guidance in its FAQs.
NordVPN’s security features include obfuscated servers, 2048-bit AES encryption, double VPN, DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and a choice of protocols. Along with its strict no-logging policy, this makes it a firm favorite with its many users.
- 4,000+ servers across 62 countries
- Specific servers optimized for torrenting and P2P activities
- No bandwidth limits and excellent speeds
- Excellent 24/7 customer service
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Easy-to-use interfaces and superb customer services
CyberGhost has an extensive server network with just under 2,800 servers across 59 countries, however, it only allows torrenting on P2P compatible servers in locations where it is legal to download. You shouldn’t be put off by this as it still leaves a wide variety of server locations and CyberGhost’s excellent features.
The provider has an easy to use interface, unlimited bandwidth and traffic, and consistent speeds, making it an effective and practical choice. This is clear I the reviews of this many happy users.
CyberGhost takes security seriously offering IP and DNS leak protection, as well as 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, and OpenVPN protocol.
- Nearly 2,800 servers across 59 countries
- Specific P2P and torrenting servers
- No bandwidth restrictions
- 7-day free trial and 45-day money-back guarantee
No bandwidth or server restrictions
IPVanish allows you to access torrents on all its servers, meaning no restrictions or being limited to slow servers in less than perfect locations. This combined with its lack of bandwidth restrictions and excellent speeds makes it a torrenting favorite among its many users.
IPVanish allows file sharing using both BitTorrent and uTorrent protocols. It has a network of over 1000 servers across 61 countries, so finding a connection outside the US, in a Torrent friendly country shouldn’t be a problem.
The provider offers users 256-bit encryption and a choice of protocols including PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN, unlimited server switching, and zero traffic logs.
- Over 1,000 servers across 61 countries
- Anonymous torrenting allowed on all servers
- Fast speeds, unlimited server switching and bandwidth
- 24/7 customer services
- 7-day money-back guarantee
Ideal for torrenting
PIA is serious about torrenting, routing all P2P activity through specific servers in locations that do not restrict torrenting.
PIA’s five simultaneous connections, reliable speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and range of configurable settings makes it one of the most user-friendly and affordable VPNs on the market.
Your P2P connection is secured with IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch, an ad blocker, and either 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption depending on the protocol you are using. Additionally, PIA has a strict no logging policy to safeguard your data.
- Dedicated P2P and torrenting VPN
- Strict no-logging policy
- Reliable speed and no bandwidth restrictions
- 7-day money-back guarantee