Surfshark for Torrenting: How Good Is It for SAFE P2P in 2024?
- Quick Guide: How to Use Surfshark for Torrenting in 3 Easy Steps
- Is Surfshark Good for Torrenting?
- How to Set Up Surfshark With Torrenting Clients
- Best Alternative VPNs for Torrenting — Full Analysis (Updated in 2024)
- ExpressVPN — Fast Speeds and Unlimited Bandwidth for Downloading Files Without Limitations
- CyberGhost — P2P-Optimized Servers Designed for Easy Torrenting
- Private Internet Access — Proprietary MACE Tool to Block Ads and Trackers While Torrenting
- Quick Comparison Table: Torrenting VPN Features
- FAQs on Using Surfshark for Torrenting
- Start Using Surfshark for Torrenting
Torrenting is risky. I don’t want snoops intercepting my traffic or my speed getting throttled, so I always use a VPN for P2P activities. But choosing the right service can be difficult. Surfshark seems like a good torrenting VPN, but is it safe and fast enough?
I tested the VPN’s P2P support and speeds plus its security and privacy features, to find out whether it’s a good option for torrenting. I also looked into how easy it is to set up with different torrent clients and which devices it’s compatible with. After testing, my team and I compared Surfshark to 60 other torrenting VPNs to see how it stands up against the competition.
Overall, Surfshark is decent for torrenting (especially since you can try it for free). However, it lacks some vital torrent features so I’ve also recommended other VPNs that I think perform a bit better for large downloads. Read on to find out how Surfshark fares against those services and why I still think it’s a good mid-range torrent VPN.
Quick Guide: How to Use Surfshark for Torrenting in 3 Easy Steps
- Download Surfshark. This service offers fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth for torrenting without restrictions. You can try Surfshark for free as it’s backed by a tested 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Connect to a server. You can manually connect to a P2P-optimized server in your desired location. Alternatively, Surfshark automatically switches you to a torrenting server if you launch your torrent client while connected to the VPN.
- Start torrenting. Check your IP address is hidden on a site like ipleak.net, and enable Surfshark’s kill switch. Then, run a torrent client such as qBittorrent or uTorrent to download files easily and safely.
Is Surfshark Good for Torrenting?
P2P Support — Plenty of Torrenting Servers
Surfshark offers many P2P-optimized server locations. You can search for the P2P-optimized choices under the Locations tab. This helped me easily use a torrenting-capable connection and download files without restrictions.
There are P2P-optimized servers in the following locations:
|Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt)
The VPN also has 3,200 servers across 100 countries, which gives pretty good coverage. I travel a lot throughout Europe, and I was always able to find a fast server nearby.
During my tests, I loaded torrent clients such as uTorrent, BitTorrent, Vuze, Deluge, and Transmission, and everything worked error-free. The Surfshark app also automatically connected me to a P2P-optimized server when using qBittorrent. This is useful if you don’t want to spend time looking for the right server manually.
On the downside, Surfshark doesn’t support port forwarding. This feature is beneficial for torrenting because it allows you to bypass the NAT firewall on your router to allow incoming traffic to access your torrent client. That means you’ll face issues seeding with this VPN. This is fine if you just want to download torrents, but could be a problem if you want to use the VPN with a private tracker that requires a good ratio.
Speeds — Consistent Connection
Surfshark isn’t the fastest VPN I’ve used for torrenting but it still gives you a decent bitrate for reliable downloads. I torrented a 5GB file that took around 18 minutes to complete. Plus, the VPN offers unlimited bandwidth, meaning you can download all you want without being data capped. However, it's still a little slower than other comparable VPNs like ExpressVPN or CyberGhost.
|US (New York)
|44.74Mbps (26.22% drop)
|53.28Mbps (17.39% drop)
|43.74Mbps (27.86% drop)
|57.76Mbps (10.44% drop)
|48.11Mbps (20.66% drop)
|51.96Mbps (19.44% drop)
All of the P2P servers worked well and offered fast download and upload speeds (the Windows app has a built-in server speed test to help you find the fastest one). Faraway locations drop my speeds a bit (on average, a 26% loss in speeds), but my torrents didn’t take too much of a hit.
Security and Privacy — Top-Tier Features For Torrenting
Your connection is secured with AES 256-bit encryption. This is the highest level of encryption available. It means you can download files safely without worrying about snoops monitoring your torrenting activity.
Plus, IPv4/DNS/WebRTC leak protection keeps your real IP address from being exposed to other peers. This prevents malicious users in your swarm from using your IP to launch cyber threats (like DDoS attacks). It doesn’t have IPv6 leak protection though, which is disappointing. Some trackers employ IPv6, so your IP address could be exposed if you use them with Surfshark unless you disable IPv6 manually.
An automatic kill switch also cuts your connection if the VPN tunnel fails. This prevents your traffic from defaulting to your regular ISP, further protecting you from accidental data exposure to peers. However, the kill switch is only available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices. If you’re a Linux user, you don’t get this additional layer of protection.
The VPN offers 3 different protocols — IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), and Wireguard. OpenVPN is the golden standard for securely downloading torrent files, whereas Wireguard offers fast speeds with reliable protection. So you can choose from better security or faster speeds depending on your torrenting needs.
The only relevant protocol missing from the list is SOCKS5. SOCKS5 can be useful for torrenting because it allows you to connect to more peers simultaneously, which boosts your download speeds. Plenty of VPNs offer a SOCKS5 proxy as a bonus feature, so I’d like to see Surfshark add this to its offering.
Slightly more concerning is the fact that Surfshark is based in the Netherlands, which is a key figure in the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances (a group of countries known for collecting and sharing their citizens’ online data). However, the VPN has a no logs policy and the RAM-only servers ensure that your torrenting data is deleted with every reboot. So, even if Surfshark is legally requested to share your data, it won’t have anything to provide.
Besides the usual VPN security measures, Surfshark has lots of unique features that work well with torrenting. The CleanWeb feature blocks ads/cookies and monitors data breach history, which is great for avoiding dodgy torrent sites. Camouflage Mode (obfuscation) stops torrent trackers from seeing that you’re using a VPN. Plus, the NoBorders function helps you access the torrent platforms that are legal in your country if they're blocked on certain networks (like those at school or work).
There’s also a MultiHop (double VPN) setting that routes your traffic through 2 VPN servers instead of one. This is ideal for making your online movements even less traceable, though I don’t recommend using it for torrenting because it did slow down my connection quite a bit.
Device Compatibility — Works Across All Major Operating Systems
Surfshark allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices at the same time. I torrented safely on my PC while browsing in privacy on my smartphone and unblocking content on my laptop. I also tried connecting all my devices (8 in total) at the same time and didn’t see any drop in performance.
The VPN runs on all major OSs (Windows, macOS, Linux), smartphones (Android and iOS), and routers. Plus, Bypasser (previously known as Whitelister) — the split tunneling feature lets you choose which apps use the VPN tunnel. This means you can download files on your torrent client with the VPN, while still accessing local Google results with your regular IP.
How to Set Up Surfshark With Torrenting Clients
My guide below helps you install Surfshark and use it with torrenting platforms quickly. Just follow the process and you’ll be connected to a P2P server to download files in no time.
Make sure to subscribe to Surfshark first — choose the plan best suited to your requirements before downloading the app. You can try Surfshark risk-free, as it’s backed by a trustworthy 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Download the Surfshark app installer for your device.
- Run the installer, set up the VPN service on your device, and log in with your account details.
- Connect to a P2P-optimized server. You can find these servers under the Locations tab.
- Now, configure and use the OpenVPN protocol from the Settings panel to get the best protection while torrenting.
Note: It’s a good idea to ensure your IP isn’t leaking before torrenting. You can run an IP leak check online to see that your location information is masked.
- Download a torrent client of your choice (uTorrent, BitTorrent, and qBitTorrent are all recommended) and install it on your device.
- Run the client and start downloading securely.
Best Alternative VPNs for Torrenting — Full Analysis (Updated in 2024)
1. ExpressVPN — Fast Speeds and Unlimited Bandwidth for Downloading Files Without Limitations
Tested February 2024 Try Risk-Free for 30 Days
|Impressive speeds for fast downloading and uploading
|3,000 servers to torrent quickly and safely
|Military-grade encryption and Network Lock for extra privacy
|The Pirate Bay, YTS, 1337X, LimeTorrents, EZTV, and more
ExpressVPN’s great speeds let you torrent files quickly. Its proprietary Lightway protocol doesn’t take up a lot of resources so it can offer the fastest performance. During my ExpressVPN tests, I recorded excellent download speeds with uTorrent. My average speed hovered around 57.3Mbps, letting me torrent a 5GB file in just under 15 minutes.
The VPN offers a P2P-friendly server network in 105 countries for accessing torrent websites. It supports port forwarding for smooth seeding (even on router connections) and you also get unlimited bandwidth, meaning there’s no data cap to restrict your downloads.
Robust encryption keeps your online activity safe while torrenting files. Network Lock (a kill switch) terminates your connection if the VPN tunnel suddenly drops. This prevents your identity from being exposed while torrenting. Plus, I didn’t detect any IP/DNS leaks, meaning my exact location wasn’t revealed to other peers while connected to the VPN.
An audited no-logs policy safeguards your information from third parties and government agencies. TrustedServer tech (RAM-only servers) wipes all data with every reboot, so ExpressVPN physically can’t store your sensitive information. The VPN is also headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances.
The Threat Manager proves especially beneficial for torrenting activities, offering protection against disruptive popups on torrent websites and guarding against inadvertent clicks on harmful links. Moreover, the split tunneling feature allows you to select which applications you'd like to route through the VPN tunnel. I managed to run my torrent clients (uTorrent, BitTorrent) through the VPN, while maintaining my regular connection for accessing my bank account to prevent triggering any security alarms.
The only snag is that subscription plans are expensive — they start at $6.67/month. However, ExpressVPN also offers regular discounts that can help you save money. I recommend getting the 12-month plan for the best value.
- Easy unblocking — The massive server list also helps unblock platforms like ITV Hub, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
- Multiple device connections — You can connect up to 8 devices to ExpressVPN and the VPN supports all major platforms (including iOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire Stick).
- 24/7 live chat support — ExpressVPN’s team offers round-the-clock support from anywhere. This is great if you ever get stuck with any of the features.
- 30-day money-back guarantee — Getting a full refund is easy if you’re not completely happy with the VPN service. I tested the process and got my money back in 3 days.
|Specialized torrenting servers for smooth file downloads
|11,683 servers in 100 countries to bypass geo-blocks
|IP/DNS leak protection and a kill switch to secure your data
|The Pirate Bay, YTS, 1337X, LimeTorrents, EZTV, and more
CyberGhost offers servers specifically made for torrenting, to provide you with the best upload and download speeds. Their high bandwidth means you can download large files without slowdowns. While testing CyberGhost, I used the P2P servers to download files easily on BitTorrent. I also accessed The Pirate Bay while in the UK using CyberGhost’s Spanish server.
The Pirate Bay (and similar platforms) host a lot of copyrighted content that's illegal to download almost everywhere. Before you join a torrent swarm, check the link thoroughly to make sure you're not downloading anything illegally. The vpnMentor team and I don't condone any illegal behavior.
Thanks to the fast speeds, I downloaded torrent files without interruptions. My average speed on the P2P-optimized US server was 51.9Mbps. It only took me a few minutes to download free games and documentaries. Plus, I didn’t face any data caps or bandwidth restrictions.
AES 256-bit encryption scrambles your data to safeguard you from hackers and snoops. CyberGhost’s dedicated ad-blocker also stops annoying pop-ups and warns you of malicious torrenting sites. Plus, you get a kill switch and IPv6/DNS leak protection for added security against data exposure on torrenting platforms.
Like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost is headquartered outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances (in Romania). This means your torrenting information is safe from data-sharing government agencies. There’s also an audited no-logs policy, so your sensitive information isn’t shared even if government authorities legally request it.
The downsides? Like Surfshark, CyberGhost doesn't support port forwarding. The monthly plans can also be expensive and have a shorter money-back guarantee. However, long-term subscriptions start at just $2.03/month and have an extended refund period. I chose the 2-year plan as it was the most budget-friendly deal.
- Split tunneling — The VPN lets you choose which apps use the VPN tunnel and which don’t. This is great if you want to use your torrent client with an encrypted connection but use your regular IP for browsing.
- Multiple device connections — You can connect up to 7 devices and the VPN supports all major platforms (including Linux and Kodi).
- 24/7 live chat support — Customer support is available anytime you like. I tested the live chat and the answers were prompt and helpful.
- 45-day money-back guarantee — Getting a refund is straightforward if you’re not 100% satisfied with the experience. I tested the process and got my money back in 4 days.
3. Private Internet Access — Proprietary MACE Tool to Block Ads and Trackers While Torrenting
|Built-in blockers for ads, trackers, and malware
|29,650 servers to unblock torrenting sites
|MACE and AES 256-bit encryption to keep you safe online
|The Pirate Bay, YTS, 1337X, LimeTorrents, EZTV, and more
PIA offers an ad-blocking tool — MACE — that protects you from malicious websites and blocks ads. This means you can access torrenting platforms without running into dangerous sites infected with spyware or viruses. While testing PIA, I got reliable leak protection and secure protocols (OpenVPN and Wireguard) to protect my data while torrenting.
You also get many advanced security options for torrenting safely. The app lets you choose from AES 256-bit encryption (better security) or AES 128-bit encryption (faster speeds). The abundance of changeable toggles can be a little overwhelming for VPN beginners, but I found the default configuration good enough for torrenting. So, you don’t have to touch the security settings if you don't want to.
Just like CyberGhost, you also get fast speeds across the P2P servers. I got average speeds of 49.8Mbps — great for torrenting large files — and the VPN supports port forwarding. Plus, PIA has unlimited bandwidth for downloading torrent files or streaming without interruptions.
You can get a subscription for only $2.03/month. I recommend getting the 3-year plan for the best value.
- Automatic kill switch — The automatically enabled kill switch cuts your traffic if the VPN goes down. This prevents your identity and location from leaking while torrenting.
- SOCKS5 proxies — Unlike Surfshark, PIA offers multiple SOCKS5 locations that can be used to boost torrent speeds. It also works for unblocking services in China.
- 24/7 live chat support — The helpful support team is particularly handy when it comes to configuring the complex security settings.
- 30-day money-back guarantee — Getting a refund is easy if you’re unhappy with the VPN. I tested the process and got my money back in 5 days.
Quick Comparison Table: Torrenting VPN Features
FAQs on Using Surfshark for Torrenting
Is it legal to use Surfshark for torrenting?
Yes, as long as you’re not torrenting copyrighted material. While torrenting itself is legal in most places, torrenting copyrighted material is against the law nearly everywhere — even if you use a VPN. Breaking copyright laws can result in anything from a fine to a prison sentence. Surfshark provides plenty of good security features for torrenting copyright-free material safely.
Does Surfshark allow torrenting?
Yes, the VPN has P2P-optimized servers to help you easily unblock and access all your favorite torrent sites. Plus, Surfshark’s fast torrenting speeds and unlimited bandwidth mean you get zero data restrictions.
What are the pros and cons of using Surfshark for torrenting?
It's got lots of unique security features, but it can slow you down a bit compared to other services. When it comes to speed and reliability, there are some slightly better torrenting VPNs out there.
Surfshark is also missing some key torrenting features, including port forwarding, SOCKS5 proxies, and IPV6 leak protection. That means you can’t use it for safe seeding, only downloads. That said, it offers a strong defense against malware and pop-up ads, P2P-optimized servers, and it works well with torrent clients — so it’s still a decent option for torrenting.
Can torrent download speeds be improved with Surfshark?
It depends if your connection is being throttled. Any VPN will slow your speeds compared to your standard connection, as it reroutes your traffic. But Surfshark’s strong encryption can prevent your ISP from detecting your activity and throttling your speeds when you torrent. Overall, Surfshark provides pretty reliable speeds for torrenting even if it isn’t the fastest VPN service on the market.
Does Surfshark limit bandwidth?
No, it doesn’t have any bandwidth limitations. Its P2P servers are also optimized for high-bandwidth activity, which means Surfshark lets you download all you want without facing any slowdowns.
What Surfshark protocol is best for torrenting?
WireGuard offers the best upload and download speeds. The OpenVPN alternative is the most secure, but WireGuard has better speeds with decent security. You can configure the protocol you want to use in the settings panel.
Can I use Surfshark for BitTorrent, qBittorrent and uTorrent?
Yes, all torrent clients work with Surfshark. The VPN also automatically connects you to a P2P-optimized server when it detects you’ve launched a torrent client. Here’s an easy guide to setting up Surfshark with your chosen client.
Which Surfshark Servers Should I Use for Torrenting?
A P2P-capable server is the best option for torrenting, as you get the fastest speeds and the best security features to keep you protected. Just choose a server from the P2P list to get started.
Can I use a free VPN for torrenting?
It’s not at all recommended. Most free VPNs don’t offer P2P-capable servers or have small networks that are too slow for downloads. So, using a premium VPN with a reliable money-back guarantee is your best bet for torrenting.
Most free VPN services don’t have reliable security and privacy features to keep you safe while torrenting either. Any that do offer decent security employ lots of restrictions instead, to get you to upgrade to a paid plan. They can restrict your server access, speeds, and bandwidth so your connection is useless for torrenting. The worst free VPNs log and sell your data, or go one step further and install malware on your devices themselves.
Start Using Surfshark for Torrenting
Surfshark is good for torrenting because it offers a great P2P-optimized network, decent speeds, and reliable security. However, it’s not as fast as other services and the VPN does lack some important P2P-friendly features, like port forwarding.
My best recommendation for torrenting is ExpressVPN. It has robust encryption and capable P2P servers to unblock torrent websites. You also get fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth for downloading without restrictions. Plus, you can try ExpressVPN without risk as it’s backed by a tried-and-tested 30-day money-back guarantee.
To summarize, here are the best torrenting VPNs…
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VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.