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Are Torrents Illegal? Update by Country 2023

Kristina Perunicic Updated on 20th October 2023 Managing Editor

Torrenting is one of the fastest-growing ways to share files on the internet, and in principle, it is legal. However, sharing and downloading unsanctioned copyrighted material is illegal, which leaves them in a very grey area. It's difficult to determine the legality of shared files, so some countries have made it unlawful. The consequences of using torrents where they are illegal vary but can include fines and imprisonment. However, even where torrents are legal, if you use them to access copyrighted material, you can still be charged with piracy.

In addition, torrenting sites can be unsafe to use and you may infect your device with malware, or even become a victim of a hacker attack. The best way to keep you safe while torrenting is by using a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN due to its robust security features and fast torrenting speeds. Also, since third parties can't see your activity, your bandwidth won't be throttled, meaning your speeds won't slow down.

We don't endorse or approve of unauthorized access to copyrighted content, however, we do strive to provide you with the most accurate and reliable information. Here's an updated list detailing which countries allow torrenting and which do not.

Torrent Safely With ExpressVPN >>

Where is torrenting permitted

*Not all countries are listed.

In order to identify locations where torrenting is allowed, we examined countries that permit the downloading of copyrighted material.

Countries where downloading is permitted (for personal use) Countries where downloading content is overlooked Countries where downloading illegal content is fined Countries that have shut down torrenting sites
Switzerland Netherlands Germany Portugal
Spain Canada Japan Italy
Poland Mexico UK Malaysia
Israel Finland China
România France US
Greece UAE Australia
India Russia
Uruguay South Africa
Czech Republic Latvia

Use a VPN to Torrent Safely

Torrenting poses notable dangers, including the risk of malware infection or facing a cybersecurity breach. A simple click on a link from a torrenting site can make you susceptible to these threats. This is where the utility of VPNs becomes evident. VPNs encrypt your information, rendering it indecipherable to outsiders. Several also feature ad and malware blockers, offering added protection against potential harmful viruses.

But, it is important to choose your VPN carefully. Not all providers allow torrenting over their servers, while others limit torrenting to specific, dedicated servers, and these may not be in the countries you want to access. You will also need a VPN with good download speeds, otherwise, you will experience extreme wait times to access the content you want.

That's why we recommend that you use a VPN like ExpressVPN. Express has servers in over 90 countries, and they're known for their lightning-fast speeds. They even have a speed test that will find the fastest server for you, so you won't be frustrated by slow download times. And they have a proven no-logs policy, meaning they don't keep records on any of your online activity, and a kill switch, so your real IP address will never be exposed while you're torrenting.

Or you can check out the other best VPNs for torrents.

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Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

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.

Visit ExpressVPN

We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.

About the Author

Kristina Perunicic is a former editor for vpnMentor. She’s a cybersecurity expert with an interest in VPNs and their importance in the digital privacy landscape.

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