Need a truly free VPN for torrenting? Try these

Last updated: November 29, 2021

If you’re a torrent user, you know it’s wise to have a VPN. This helps protect your identity, mask your IP address, and prevent your internet service provider from monitoring your torrenting activity.

While paid VPN services tend to be relatively cheap, you may want to experiment with a free VPN first to check out the benefits they bring.

However, not all free VPNs are worthwhile. Most fail to provide the encryption and protection you need, while others actively log your data and sell it to third parties.

Read on to learn which truly free VPNs are worth downloading and why you should be vigilant to avoid the sketchy ones.

What is a free VPN for torrenting?

The term VPN stands for “virtual private network”. While many companies offer this service, there are only a handful of truly free VPN options.

A VPN service encrypts data and hides your IP address. It does this by sending your activity data through a secure chain to different servers in various locations. Doing this gives the impression that your computer has a direct connection to the VPN company’s private network.

Its purpose is to provide extra security and hide your identity when downloading torrents. Currently, 68% of U.S. internet users have some form of free or paid VPN.

The problem is that nothing is really free in this world.

While you may not have to fork over hard cash to pay for a subscription to a free VPN service, you’ll pay in other ways. Often, a free VPN provider collects user information and online activity data and sells this to third parties.

In this sense, it’s usually wise to pay a small monthly fee for a more reliable paid-for VPN service. Not only do you benefit from faster connections and bigger data allowances, but you also get much better security and privacy.

The 2 types of free VPNs

types of free VPNs

There are two types of free VPNs available on the market.

  1. Unlimited: Unlimited VPNs give you unlimited access to the functionality of a VPN service, which usually means unlimited data allowance, access to all servers, and fast connections. In return, these companies usually monetize the user by selling data.
  2. Limited: A limited VPN is based on the freemium model, where a VPN provider gives you access to a limited version of its product in the hopes that you upgrade to the paid edition. You’ll be able to use the VPN for free, but your speed, data allowance, and server locations will be limited. Sometimes you’ll only be able to use the product for a limited time as a free trial.

What to look for in a free VPN for torrenting

While free VPNs have the advantage of being free, they often come with restrictions.

what to look for in a VPN

If you’re considering using a free VPN service, here are some factors you should consider.

1. Number of servers

Lots of free VPNs limit the number of servers you can connect to.

Not only does this determine how easy it’ll be for you to make a connection, but it’ll also influence how stable your VPN connection is and how fast it’ll run.

2. Server location

Free VPNs tend to limit the locations of the servers you can access.

When trying to access specific content, you may want to pick a server outside your local area to bypass restrictions and censorship. Alternatively, you may be using a VPN to access content that’s only available in other geographical locations.

If the locations of your servers are limited, access to external content and your ability to bypass local censorship will be limited.

3. Privacy policy

One of the ways that free VPNs operate is to sell your private data to third parties. However, they’re not always transparent about this practice.

Look for a privacy policy on the VPN’s website to figure out if it logs your data and how long this data is kept. The privacy policy should also tell you how they use this data and who they share it with.

If they’re not forthcoming with this information, beware.

4. Data limits

If you’re looking for a free torrenting VPN, data limits are a huge weakness. In fact, some free VPNs limit data so much that they’re virtually unusable.

Make sure you check out data allowances. Otherwise, you may not be able to use your free VPN for torrenting. For example, if your data allowance is limited to 500 MB a month, you won’t even be able to download one movie torrent file.

5. Device compatibility

Are you using your VPN to torrent content on multiple devices? If so, you need to check that the VPN service you’re using is compatible with your device.

While some VPN companies offer services that work with your PC, Mac, iPhone, and Android devices, others will limit the number and type of device you can use.

6. Qualities

Consider how the VPN provider aligns with your personal needs. Perhaps you don’t care about privacy, but you’re really concerned with speed. Maybe speed isn’t your main issue, but you’re a real stickler for strong encryption.

Check the qualities to make sure they meet your requirements on:

Looking for a free VPN for torrenting? Try one of these

While free VPNs certainly aren’t the best option, they can provide a certain level of security without cost.

Here are three of the most popular free torrent VPN services available, along with their pros and cons.

1. Windscribe VPN Windscribe VPN platform

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Windscribe VPN is a well-known free VPN service with a relatively large data allowance, servers in multiple countries, and impressive download speed.

While streaming isn’t available, you can torrent.

The software has recently been upgraded, so Windscribe VPN now performs better than it used to.

Pros of Windscribe VPN:

  • 10GB of free data a month
  • Allows torrenting
  • Doesn’t log data
  • 10 free countries (There are 32 countries on the premium VPN)
  • Supports all platforms
  • Relatively strong encryption

Cons of Windscribe VPN:

  • Slow in some locations (particularly the U.S. and Canada)
  • Unstable connections at times
  • Doesn’t bypass censorship in most locations
  • iOS security is weak

2. TunnelBear TunnelBear server locations map

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Based on the freemium model, TunnelBear offers a limited free VPN with the hope that you’ll upgrade to its premium VPN service.

While it’s easy to use thanks to its excellent graphical user interface (GUI), data allowance is severely limited. You get access to over 24 server locations, but it’s faster in European locations.

There are some data privacy issues since this service only protects 80% of data when you don’t have the VPN kill switch turned on.

Pros of TunnelBear:

  • It owns its own DNS servers, so it has a strong DNS structure
  • Intuitive GUI
  • Lots of server locations in the free version
  • VPN kill switch helps to improve protection
  • Supports all major device types

Cons of TunnelBear:

  • Very low data allowance making it virtually unusable for torrenting
  • Speeds fluctuate enormously based on location
  • iOS functionality is limited
  • Torrenting activity leaks if the kill switch isn’t turned on

3. Hide.Me Hide.Me platform on desktop and mobile device

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With a high data allowance and support for all platforms, Hide.Me is a top free VPN for torrenting.

The platform is free of ads to prevent data leaks through advertising, and it encrypts all traffic going through torrents.

Bear in mind that you’ll want to change the protocol to SoftEtherVPN, as it’s safer and faster. You’ll also need to remember to switch off sleeping mode, or the service eats all the data.

Unfortunately, you’re limited to only a handful of server locations. Plus, the free service is significantly slower than the paid plans.

Pros of Hide.Me:

  • 10GB monthly data allowance
  • Supports all major platforms
  • Encrypts all traffic through torrents for extra security
  • No ads to prevent data leaks
  • No need to give card details on signup

Cons of Hide.Me:

  • Free version only supports up to four locations
  • iOS has limited functionality
  • Low speeds in all locations for the free version

The cons of free VPN services – why some free VPNs can’t be trusted

The benefit of free VPNs is that you don’t have to pay upfront fees each month. However, this does come at a pretty substantial cost. Free VPNs can’t always be trusted.

Here are some of the main reasons why you shouldn’t trust a free VPN.

Issues and threats with free VPNs

1. IP address sharing

Many free VPNs share your IP address with other users.

For example, Hola is a free VPN service where free users must let other users pass through their connections. This is how the service operates for free.

The problem with this is that illegal activity performed by someone else can ultimately get traced back to your IP address.

2. Malware and spyware

Another big problem with free VPNs is malware and spyware.

Lots of free VPNs are vulnerable to people installing tracking codes in the software. While you get to use a torrenting VPN for free on the surface, you’re now at risk of someone hacking your device through the VPN.

3. Data collection and usage

Some companies will collect private information and usage data to sell to third parties. This can include private contact data, usernames, passwords, and payment details.

Not all companies are transparent about how they do this and to whom they sell this information. Many of them also don’t tell you how long they hold your data for.

4. Targeted advertising

Targeted advertising is another downfall of free torrent VPN services.

The free VPN will inject targeted ads and spam into your browser without you realizing it, causing annoying pop-ups and tailoring the advertising you see.

5. Poor encryption and security issues

If you’re looking for a secure VPN, you should steer clear of free services. Often, the encryption on free VPNs is weaker than paid products. It could turn out that you’re not that well protected, negating the whole point of anonymous torrenting.

You’ll also find that many free VPN providers don’t have solid DNS leak protection. This is a major security flaw that allows DNS requests to be seen by ISP DNS servers. If you’re experiencing a DNS leak, your data isn’t protected, and your anonymity is at risk.

6. Data restrictions

If you’re a frequent torrent user, you’ll need unlimited bandwidth to cope with demand.

However, free VPN services limit your monthly data allowance. While some of the top free services offer up to 10GB per month, this still isn’t enough if you’re torrenting regularly.

Plus, if you accidentally leave your torrent site running overnight, you’re likely to eat up all of your data in one go.

7. Server limitations

Not only will a free VPN app limit the number of servers you can access, but it’ll also restrict the locations in which you can access servers.

If you’re trying to bypass censorship and geographical restrictions, you may have difficulty if you’re not using a paid VPN.

Plus, you’ll also find that servers in particular locations run more slowly than others. When using a free VPN, you might only have access to the slower-running servers.

2 top VPNs for torrenting with free trials

Free VPNs come with a myriad of downfalls, including lax security and data tracking. Instead, why not try free VPN trials.

You won’t have to pay upfront, and you get to try out some of the most prestigious premium VPN services for free.

1. CyberGhost cyberghost VPN platform

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Where other paid VPN services offer a money-back guarantee, CyberGhost offers a 30-day free trial to test out its premium product.

To find out more, check out our full CyberGhost review.

Pros of CyberGhost VPN:

  • Only $2.25 per month after free trial
  • Nearly 6,000 servers over 100 countries
  • Specialist torrenting and streaming servers
  • Doesn’t log private data
  • Supports every device platform

Cons of CyberGhost VPN:

  • Limited functionality on iOS
  • Doesn’t work in China
  • Only three Netflix locations are supported

2. ZenMate ZenMate on mac desktop and laptop

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ZenMate is a very powerful and popular premium VPN service. It offers a full seven-day free trial but limits trial users to only four server locations and has slower speeds than the paid version.

To find out more about this VPN service, check out our full ZenMate review.

Pros of ZenMate:

  • Only $2.22 per month after free trial
  • Supports streaming on various platforms
  • Special servers designed for torrenting
  • Works on multiple platforms and devices

Cons of ZenMate:

  • Slight DNS leak on Windows
  • Server location choice is automatic, so you can’t choose
  • Limited to four servers for the free trial
  • High CPU load on Windows

3 best paid VPNs for torrenting (and why you should consider paying)

While the bonus of a free VPN is that you don’t pay for the service with money, you’ll pay in other ways. Usually, this means poor security, sketchy data usage, and a whole bunch of restrictions.

While you may not have considered paying for your VPN, it’s a worthwhile investment. After all, most VPN services are very cheap and overcome the major issues associated with free VPNs.

For a small monthly price, you’ll get:

  • Robust security
  • Strong encryption
  • DNS leak protection
  • Specialist torrenting servers
  • Lots of servers and server locations
  • Improved GUIs
  • Strict privacy policies
  • Ad blockers
  • Malware and spyware protection

Here are three of the best, most affordable paid VPN services to consider for torrenting.

1. ExpressVPN ExpressVPN on desktop and mobile devices

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ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN around. Not only is it extremely easy to switch between its 3,000+ servers across 94 countries, but ExpressVPN’s service is also the fastest in every single one of these locations. It’s also highly P2P-friendly, making it ideal for torrenting.

Because ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, it has to adhere to some of the strictest privacy laws on the planet. The service has a stringent no-log data policy that includes all traffic destinations, browsing history, DNS queries, and data content.

In terms of security, ExpressVPN is highly secure, using AES 256-bit standard encryption. This is the same encryption used by the U.S. government to protect classified data.

Enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee and top-notch customer support for as little as $6.95 per month.

Click here to read our full ExpressVPN review.

2. NordVPN Pros and Cons of NordVPN

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NordVPN boasts more than 5,200 servers in 62 countries. Built around the modern VPN protocol, Wireguard, NordVPN has impressive connection speeds.

Excellent for torrenting, NordVPN allows unlimited P2P traffic over your torrent client. However, you’ll have to select the right servers to do this.

Using military-grade encryption, NordVPN enables you to secure up to six devices at the same time. Its strict no-log policy also means that all data is secured and private.

You can try this product with a 30-day money-back guarantee and access it for as little as $3.75 per month.

Check out our full NordVPN review for more information.

3. SurfShark SurfShark VPN homepage

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SurfShark has over 3,200 P2P-friendly servers in over 65 locations, making it an ideal service for torrenting. Each server location has a private DNS that provides extra security and anonymity.

Not only does SurfShark offer very fast speeds, but it can also be used on a wide variety of devices and operating systems with protection on unlimited simultaneous connections.

Also based in the British Virgin Islands, SurfShark has an impeccable reputation for privacy and security with strong encryption, DNS leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and camouflage mode.

All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can trial the VPN app on iOS, macOS, and Android devices. Packages start as low as $2.09 per month.

Read our SurfShark review for even more in-depth information.

Conclusion

While several free VPN services could feasibly be used for torrenting, you need to be aware that “free” comes at a price.

Sometimes these services sell your data, making you the product. In other cases, you have a severely limited data allowance, or the privacy simply isn’t that good.

If you’re looking for fast, reliable service, it may just be worth putting up a couple of dollars per month for a more reputable VPN, such as CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, or NordVPN.

If you need more help deciding which VPN is best for your needs, check out our VPN reviews page.

Published on: November 26, 2021