Best VPNs for Torrenting

Unfortunately, most files available through torrenting are pirated. If you must engage in torrenting activities, make sure that your identity is protected by a VPN.

Although the Peer-to-Peer protocol (P2P) and file sharing methodologies are not illegal, downloading copyrighted material without permission from the owners of the rights to it is illegal. People have been prosecuted for downloading with torrenting systems, such as the BitTorrent protocol. In the USA it is even classified as a criminal offense – conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. Don’t take risks and make sure that you are untraceable when you download with P2P file-sharing systems.

It isn’t so easy to be completely anonymous on the internet. The way that the internet is designed requires that each address (called the IP address) is unique. If each person connected to the internet has a unique address, that person can be tracked down. Individuals can’t connect to the internet directly – they need an internet service provider (ISP).

Anonymity for P2P traffic

All the internet traffic of every member of the public, including torrenters, has to pass through the system of one ISP or another. Wherever there are network gateways, there are opportunities for activity logging and wherever there are retained records, there is the opportunity to trace and prosecute individuals.

Virtual private networks (VPNs) mask the true location, and therefore, the identity of their customers. However, there has to be a mapping between the real IP address of a customer and the fake IP address used to represent requests sent over the internet by the devices of that customer. That mapping is another record that can close the circuit and enable prosecutors to trace each internet connection all the way back through the VPN to the torrenter’s door.

For this reason, it is essential to be sure that a VPN wipes out those mappings as soon as a client session ends. Just about every VPN provider advertises that it “keeps no logs” However, not all of them are telling the truth. Those mappings do find their way into archive files with some VPN services. It is important to be sure that a “no logs policy” really does mean that the transaction records of customers are destroyed regularly, making VPN connections completely anonymous.

The best torrenting VPN services

This review will recommend the best VPN companies for torrenters. Transferring large files requires high download speeds and a logging policy that will provide anonymity. Strong encryption and IP and DNS leak protection are also important factors to look for in a torrent VPN service.

Here is our list of the ten best VPNs for torrenting:

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. Surfshark
  4. IPVanish
  5. CyberGhost VPN
  6. Private Internet Access
  7. Windscribe
  8. PrivateVPN
  9. StrongVPN
  10. SaferVPN

These VPN services got on our list because each has high download speeds for torrenting and strict no-logs policy. They all also offer unlimited bandwidth, good customer support, and a money-back guarantee. You can read more about each of these VPN companies in the following sections.

ExpressVPN

The best VPN service for torrenting

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is difficult for US copyright lawyers to get to and where the courts have a relaxed attitude on the issue of copyright infringement. The service is highly regarded and it is capable of dodging detection by the Chinese authorities and the regional restrictions control on video streaming services. The VPN company is OK with people using its services for torrenting.

Pricing

ExpressVPN is a little pricey. However, it recently became a better value for money because the VPN service increased the maximum number of simultaneous connections allowed from three to five. The price per month for the ExpressVPN service is $12.95 you can bring that price down by opting for a longer payment period with the lowest monthly rate being available on the yearly plan, working out at $8.32 per month. Fees have to be paid in advance and new customers get a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Security

Some key features in the ExpressVPN package include very strong encryption with AES 256-bit encryption if data and 4096-bit RSA encryption for session establishment. The VPN service includes a private DNS system. This means that the VPN client running on your computer directs DNS queries through the VPN tunnel and doesn’t require them to go to an outside DNS system, which could reveal the user’s real location.

Other security features in the VPN service include IP leak prevention measures and a kill switch to prevent software on the device from using the internet connection without the VPN being active.  A split tunneling feature means that you can decide which applications go through the VPN and which can access the internet directly.

VPN protocols

ExpressVPN offers the following protocols:

  • OpenVPN over TCP
  • OpenVPN over UDP
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • SSTP
  • PPTP

The default protocol setting in the app is “Automatic” which will select the strongest protocol appropriate to the connection and the VPN server chosen. This is usually the OpenVPN protocol over TCP.

Customer support

ExpressVPN’s customer service team is highly regarded. It is available around the clock, every day of the year via email or live chat support., There is also a ticket-raising form at the website and communications are tracked in the member account pages.

User experience

Each user gets an account page, which shows details of the chosen plan and includes a page that has the download files for the VPN apps. ExpressVPN is one of the few VPN providers that offer a free VPN app for routers. With many of the other VPN services, an installation on a router is possible, but it has to be performed manually. There is the same story with Linux because most VPN companies don’t include an app for that operating system, whereas Express VPN does. In all cases, the VPN app installs itself with a Wizard that starts up when you open the download file.

The app is very easy to use. Customers just need to select a server location and then press the Connect button. If no location is chosen, a default server will be used. The user can nominate that the VPN service starts up automatically with the operating system and connects to a user-selected default VPN server. It is possible to leave the VPN on permanently because there is no charge for data throughput.

Pros

  • Torrenting allowed
  • More than 3,000 VPN servers in 94 countries
  • Fast connection speeds
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Simultaneous connection allowance of five devices
  • Compatible with uTorrent, BitTorrent, qBittorrent, Deluge, Vuze, BitComet, and WebTorrent
  • VPN apps for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, wi-fi routers, and set-top boxes
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • More expensive than the other VPN providers on this list

NordVPN

The best VPN for security features

NordVPN is based in Panama. The VPN service has many points of excellence that make it one of the best VPN providers but its pricing structure also makes it one of the cheapest VPN companies in the world. If you are on a tight budget, pay close attention to this NordVPN review. This VPN service is also a good choice for China and it is good at getting past location restrictions at streaming services such as Netflix. NordVPN allows the use of its system for torrenting.

Pricing

NordVPN is paid for by subscription. The longer the subscription period, the cheaper the VPN service works out per month. However, all fees for the chosen payment period have to be paid in advance. The monthly subscription costs $11.95 per month but the 2-year plan works out at $3.49 per month.

Each plan is entitled to connect six devices simultaneously and new customers get a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Security

As well as providing excellent connection security features, such as AES 256-bit encryption, and DNS leak protection, NordVPN has some extra security services that include protection against Web-bourne malware. This free package of security features is called CyberSec.

The VPN company maintains a blacklist of sites that it has already detected to contain malware. CyberSec will automatically block those pages from loading. Every page is scanned before it loads into a browser, so newly infected sites can’t dodge the security checks.

As with the other VPN services on this list, NordVPN can be set to start up automatically with a default server location and the app also includes a kill switch.

VPN protocols

NordVPN offers the following protocols:

  • OpenVPN over TCP
  • OpenVPN over UDP
  • IKEv2/IPSec

The default protocol setting in the app is OpenVPN over UDP. NordVPN used to support L2TP and PPTP. However, these options have now been removed. The VPN provider is currently producing a proprietary VPN protocol, called NordLynx, which is based on the new tunneling protocol called WireGuard.

Customer support

Although NordVPN doesn’t have live chat support, its customer service team can be reached by email or a ticket raising form on the NordVPN website. Response times are very fast.

User experience

The NordVPN app is attractive and easy to use. The VPN client interface is available from the NordVPN website and from app stores. The download file installs the VPN app automatically. The interface of the app gives the user the option of clicking on a country in a map to get connected to a specific server location. An alternative method is to select a server location from a list.

Special security options in the app include a double-hop connection, which runs through two VPN server locations and applies double encryption. Another option is to connect to the Tor network through the VPN.

Pros

  • P2P file sharing allowed
  • More than 5,513 VPN servers in 59 countries
  • Unlimited bandwidth and data
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Extra security features
  • Simultaneous connection allowance of six devices
  • Compatible with uTorrent, Vuze, BitTorrent, qBittorent, Deluge, Transmission, and Tixati
  • VPN apps for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Chrome, and Firefox
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Some VPN servers can be slow

Surfshark

High-speed VPN servers good for file sharing

Surfshark’s distinctive feature is that it does not impose a limit on the number of devices that each account holder can connect to the VPN service at the same time. The VPN company is OK with customers using the VPN for protection while downloading with P2P networks. This VPN provider is based in the British Virgin Islands, alongside ExpressVPN.

Pricing

The monthly subscription plan of Surfshark costs $11.95 per month. The lowest rate, when calculated per month, is offered by the 2-year plan and works out at $1.99 per month. The unlimited simultaneous connections allowance creates a very low cost per connection. The company provides each new customer with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Security

The security features of the Surfshark VPN service include all of the familiar routines that all of the VPNs in this review include. These include AES 256-bit encryption. IP and DNS leak protection, and a kill switch in the app. Extra security options include a “split-exclude” split tunneling system. Access to websites included in the list will not be channeled through the VPN.

Another security extra is the option to channel traffic through two VPN servers and have double encryption applied. The Surfshark VPN app includes an ad blocker.

VPN protocols

Surfshark operates three VPN protocols that are applied to different device types.

  • OpenVPN on Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, and Fire TV
  • IKEv2/IPSec on Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Fire TV
  • Shadowsocks on Windows and Android

Shadowsocks isn’t a VPN. It is an encrypted proxy and is included for use in countries where the government actively blocks VPN traffic, such as China, Russia, and Iran. Surfshark recommends the use of OpenVPN for desktops and laptops and IKEv2 for mobile devices.

Customer support

The customer support team is available through a live chat support window at the Surfshark website. Technical support is active around the clock every day of the year. The team can also be contacted by email as well as through the chat system.

User experience

The VPN apps for Surfshark can be downloaded from the VPN service’s website or from the relevant app store. The app installs itself. The app includes a list of countries. The user just needs to click on a country to connect to a VPN server in that location.

Pros

  • Torrenting allowed on all Surfshark servers
  • More than 1,700 VPN servers in 63 countries
  • Good download speeds for P2Pfile sharing
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Strong no logs policy
  • No limit to simultaneous connections
  • Free extra security features
  • Customer support available 24/7 via live chat
  • Compatible with uTorrent, BitTorrent, qBittorent, Vuze, Deluge, BitLord, and eMule
  • VPN apps for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Not one of the larger VPN server location lists in this review

IPVanish

Fast download speeds for any streaming or torrenting activities

IPVanish is a very fast VPN service, which means it ideal for transferring files. However, the VPN company has another system that it encourages its users to deploy for torrenting. This is called a SOCKS5 proxy. This is a pass-through service that masks your own IP address without fully encrypting the communication between your computer and the proxy server.

A big problem with torrent protocols is that anyone in a swarm for a file is able to see the IP addresses of all the other computers in the file. Copyright lawyers use this to track down those who share pirated copies of entertainment. The proxy service is just enough to block that trace because the lawyers will see the proxy server’s address and not yours. You could double your anonymity by turning on the VPN again, so your downloads pass through the proxy and then the VPN server.

Pricing

The price of a monthly subscription to IPVanish is $10.00 per month. That monthly cost comes down with longer subscription periods. The two-year plan works out at $3.70 per month. However, you have to pay for the whole subscription period upfront.

IPVanish now includes 250 GB of secure storage, called SugarSync. Each account holder gets the right to connect to the VPN service ten times simultaneously. IPVanish gives all new customers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Security

The IPVanish VPN service includes a private DNS system and IP leak protection. The apps for the VPN include a kill switch. One interesting feature in the app is an IP switcher. This will change your allocated IP address on-demand. Ordinarily, VPN customers need to log out and log in again in order to change the address.

VPN protocols

The IPVanish apps enable the user to choose between VPN protocols. These are:

  • OpenVPN
  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • L2TP/IPSec

OpenVPN is the best of these options.

Customer support

Customer support has always been a weak point of IPVanish. However, the VPN company has recently improved its standing in this category. It has instituted a live chat support team, which is a vast improvement in the performance of the old email-based team, which could take a week to answer any question.

User experience

The apps for IPVanish are available from the service’s website and from the app stores. The app is very straightforward. The user just selects a VPN server location from a list. Double-clicking on the entry starts the connection process. Once, the connection is established, the hosting device is secure and all of its internet communications will pass through the chosen VPN server. This substitutes the device’s IP address with that of the VPN server, masking the true location of the customer.

Pros

  • Special facilities for torrenting
  • More than 1,500 VPN servers in 55 countries
  • The fastest network available
  • A strict no logs policy
  • Account anonymity
  • Compatible with uTorrent, BitTorrent, qBittorent, Vuze, Deluge, BitLord, and eMule
  • VPN apps for Windows Mac OS, Linux, Android, and iOS
  • Allowance of 10 simultaneous connections
  • Includes a secure cloud storage account
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Based in the USA, so could be vulnerable to pressure

CyberGhost VPN

Specialist VPN server settings for torrenting

CyberGhost VPN is based in Romania and it became successful through innovation. The company pioneered new approaches to the design of its app and seemed to really understand its target market.

Despite having excellent technical features and investing a lot into communicating information about how to use the tool, CyberGhost’s human customer support team isn’t very good. It can take up to a week for the technical support team to answer a query.

The VPN is an excellent protection service for P2P file sharing and online gaming and it is a fast service that can get past regional restrictions at any video streaming service.

Pricing

CyberGhost is a good value for money. The service is in the top division of VPNs in terms of technical capabilities and is also one of the cheapest VPNs available. As with most VPNs, the standard monthly rate is high at $12.99. You have to be prepared to buy a long-term plan in order to get the best value with CyberGhost. That’s the three-year plan, which has a rate of $2.75 per month.

Paying for three years of service before even trying out the system is a big risk, so CyberGhost offers a 24-hour free trial. It also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee. Each account holder can connect seven devices to the service simultaneously.

Security

The encryption system of CyberGhost is equal to the high standard deployed by ExpressVPN. The data channel of the CyberGhost VPN is protected by AES 256-bit encryption and session establishment is covered by 4096-bit RSA encryption. Both of these systems are uncrackable.

Other security features in CyberGhost mirror those available in the other top VPN apps on this list: a kill switch, a private DNS service, IP leak protection, and automatic protection for wi-fi connections. The company also produces specialist malware protection services, such as a ransomware immunizer, which all customers get for free.

VPN protocols

The user can select the service’s VPN protocol within the settings of the app. The options are:

  • OpenVPN over UDP
  • OpenVPN over TCP
  • WireGuard
  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • L2TP/IPSec

Of these, OpenVPN is the leading protocol in the VPN industry. WireGuard is the new kid on the block and is expected to overtake OpenVPN as the protocol of choice in the business. However, it is new and most VPN services are still trying to get it to work properly. CyberGhost seems to have got ahead of the pack and has its WireGuard implementation running smoothly.

Customer support

There is a live chat support facility available at the CyberGhost website. The operators of that customer support team are very good at answering account queries or general app usage questions. However, they don’t have deep technical knowledge.

Most users can solve their own problems by looking through the knowledge base at the CyberGhost website. However, for the few occasions where a technical problem isn’t covered in the help pages, you need to contact the technical support team by email and they don’t get back to you very quickly.

User experience

The VPN app for CyberGhost is very, very good. In fact, it is one of the top three apps in the business. Some VPNs were created by geeks and have excellent facilities but you have to have a degree in networking technology in order to figure out how to make them work. Other VPN apps look good but don’t work very well. CyberGhost has it all. It has excellent technical capabilities, it is very easy to use, plus, it is a very stylish bit of kit.

From its inception, CyberGhost has had the look and feel of a fashion brand. Pictures on the website of the CyberGhost offices show that it is a hip place to work. The branding of CyberGhost is second-to-none and you would want people to look over your shoulder to see you using the app because it looks good.

Pros

  • More than 6,300 servers in 90 countries
  • Dedicated servers for P2P traffic
  • Very fast speeds
  • Excellent user interface
  • The strongest encryption standards available
  • DNS and IP leak protection
  • Kill switch
  • Adblocker
  • Malware protection
  • Account anonymity and the option to pay with Bitcoin
  • Compatible with Vuze, Deluge, uTorrent, BitTorrent, qBittorent, Popcorn Time, and BitLord
  • VPN apps for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, set-top boxes, Chrome, and Firefox

Cons

  • The technical support team can take a while to respond

Private Internet Access

A kill switch in all VPN apps

Denver-based Private Internet Access (PIA) was founded by US-born Andrew Lee who has since been named heir to the (defunct) throne of Korea. PIA is now owned by Kape Technologies, which also bought CyberGhost and Zenmate.

The VPN company advertises itself as a privacy protection solution for torrenters. It also provides a SOCKS5 proxy that is specifically for use with torrent clients.

PIA is one of the few VPN services that have managed to get a workable implementation of the WireGuard protocol. Until recently, OpenVPN was seen as the leading VPN protocol. However, WireGuard provides results that are just as good as OpenVPN, but with more efficient code, so it works faster. Therefore, WireGuard has become the protocol to look for.

Pricing

The monthly plan of PIA is cheaper than the month-by-month subscription price of CyberGhost. It is $9.95 per month. The cheapest option available with PIA, when calculated as a per-month cost, is the two-year plan, which works out at $2.85 per month. Remember, though, you have to pay for the entire subscription period upfront.

Each account holder gets an allowance of 10 simultaneous connections and all plans other than the monthly subscription service includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Security

PIA includes all of the standard VPN security features: IP leak protection, wi-fi network security, a private DNS system, and a kill switch in the app. This VPN also includes an ad, tracker, and malware blocking service. The service can be taken out completely anonymously by paying with a cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin.

Encryption for the data channel uses the AES 128-bit or AES 256-bit cipher. The 128-bit version is the default setting. Session establishment protection is performed by 2048-bit RSA – that puts PIA in the second division for encryption strength. It is not in the same league as ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.

VPN protocols

PIA offers the following protocols:

  • OpenVPN over TCP
  • OpenVPN over UDP
  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • WireGuard
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • PPTP
  • SOCKS5

Most VPN experts will tell you not to bother with PPTP. However, it can be useful in some cases – where top-level security is not a priority. The PPTP, L2TP, and SOCKS5 protocols are not included in the VPN. They are optional features that users would need to set up in the operating system as separate network connection types if they wanted to use them.

Customer support

The customer support service of PIA is not so hot. There is a live chat support service on the PIA website, but it is not always manned. In most cases, users need to email the user support team and wait for a response, which can take a while. The knowledge base on the PIA website is good, but not up to the standards of ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or CyberGhost.

User experience

The VPN app for Private internet Access installs itself automatically from a download taken from the PIA website or an app store. The interface is very easy to use and is dominated by two features: a big On/Off button and a map of the world. The map of the world shows your current detected location and the color of the power button shows your connection status.

The user needs to select a server location by clicking on a right arrow next to the map of the world. This slides in the location list and clicking on one of these queues that server up ready for a connection when the power button is pressed. Disconnecting from the VPN just required a click on the power button. The interface is very easy to use.

Pros

  • More than 3,200 servers in 46 countries
  • Supports P2P file sharing
  • Simultaneous connection allowance of 10 devices
  • No traffic logs
  • WireGuard protocol option
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Adblocker included
  • Malware protection
  • Port forwarding
  • Compatible with Vuze, Deluge, eMule, BitTorrent, qBittorent, BitLord, and Popcorn Time
  • VPN apps for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, Chrome, Opera, and Firefox
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Based in the USA
  • Can be slow at peak times

Windscribe

Has a strict no-logs policy that is perfect for torrenters

Canada-based Windscribe was one of the first providers to realize the potential of a VPN service set up as a browser extension – it didn’t just copy the functions of a desktop app, but interacted with it. The browser extension has functionality that isn’t in the desktop app. However, the app offers stronger security than the extension. So, by using both, the user gets maximum protection.

There are Windscribe servers in 63 countries but the company doesn’t publish exactly how many servers it has. Torrenting is allowed on all servers except for its servers in Japan and India. The service has specialist servers that can get past the regional restrictions on Netflix and it doesn’t want customers using those servers for P2P activities.

Pricing

The monthly plan for Windscribe costs $9 per month. The yearly plan costs a lot less per month — $4.08. An innovative subscription offer from Windscribe is its “Build a plan” scheme. This charges $1 per month per selected location. This is an example of how Winscribe tends to break the mold and the rest of the industry could well follow behind.  The money-back-guarantee period is only for 3 days. However, you can use a free version of the app to try it out before you buy it. There is no limit on the number of devices that you can connect to the service at the same time.

Security

Windscribe includes a private DNS system, IP leak protection, and a kill switch in the app. Windscribe calls its kill switch a firewall. It is possible to block ads, trackers, and social media widgets from web pages with the browser extension. Windscribe was one of the first cybersecurity operations to spot the tracking potential of those social media buttons on websites.

The split tunneling function of Windscribe is a split-exclude function that is very easy to manage – the whitelisting feature is one of the few utilities shown on the drop-down browser extension interface so you don’t need to go searching through back pages to find it.

It is possible to set the VPN location and turn on the desktop app from the browser extension then pick another location in the extension and turn that on as well to create a double-hop VPN path.

Other innovative features in the browser extension include a browser fingerprint scrambler. This sends out fake identifiers for different features running on the protected computer. A time coordinator will respond to time queries from external sources to coordinate with the timezone of the VPN server. These features cover the tell-tale signs of VPN activity that detection systems started to use. Windscribe leads the pack on these protection methods and many other VPN services still haven’t made any attempt to challenge Windscribe’s leading position in these fields.

Windscribe uses AES 256-bit encryption for the data channel a 4096-bit RSA key for session establishment. This is very strong security.

VPN protocols

Windscribe gives users a number of VPN protocols to choose from in the desktop app:

  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • Open VPN over UDP
  • Open VPN over TCP
  • Stunnel
  • Wstunnel 

The app defaults to the IKEv2 system. Stunnel is a method of using SSL to create a secure tunnel. SSL is the security system built into the HTTPS scheme for secure websites and few authorities would be willing to interfere with this traffic because it is the main support for eCommerce. Therefore, a Stunnel mode would be advisable in places like China where VPNs are actively sought out by government agencies. The Wstunnel system uses Web sockets to create protection instead of SSL. It is also a good option for those in China.

Customer support

Windscribe invests a great deal in its automated systems. It relies on a knowledge base and a chatbot to provide customer support. Human support is available by email. However, the team is not very responsive and it can take a long time and several emails to resolve an issue.

User experience

The apps and browser extensions are very well designed and easy to use. Both install automatically and present simplified homer pages. Server selection options are presented as a list and extra security features can be activated or deactivated on preference pages.

Pros

  • Allows P2P file sharing
  • Servers in 63 countries
  • SOCKS5 proxy available
  • Zero logs policy
  • Split tunneling
  • Port forwarding
  • Innovative browser apps
  • On-demand double-hop connections
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • A free version is available
  • Compatible with uTorrent, BitTorrent, qBitTorrent, Vuze, Deluge, WebTorrent, and Transmission
  • VPN apps for, Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, smart TVs, and routers

Cons

  • Customer support is not very responsive

PrivateVPN 

Purposely built for torrenting

PrivateVPN was started by internet privacy advocates and protecting the identity of torrenters was one of the key aims of the service. The VPN company is based in Sweden and it has a range of uses, including getting past the regional restrictions of video streaming services. The VPN is good at getting past the proxy detection systems of Netflix.

Pricing

The monthly plan for PrivateVPN costs $7.67 per month. The cheapest monthly rate is available from the one-year plan, which includes one extra month for free, so it is really a 13-month plan and it costs $49.68. that works out at $3.82 per month. Each account gets an allowance of six simultaneous connections. The VPN company gives a 30-day money-back guarantee and it also offers a 7-day free trial of the full system.

Security

The PrivateVPN app uses AES 2456-bit key encryption for the data channel and a 2048-bit RSA system for session establishment. This isn’t the strongest encryption around because some VPNs use a 4096-bit RSA service for session establishment. However, AES encryption is uncrackable.

As well as encrypting all data transfers, PrivateVPN has IP leak protection and a private DNS system. There is a kill switch in the app to prevent unprotected connections.

VPN protocols

PrivateVPN allows the user to select the VPN protocol used in the app. This can be altered in the app’s settings page. The options are:

  • OpenVPN over TCP
  • OpenVPN over UDP
  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • PPTP

The app for desktop computers has more choices than mobile apps.

Customer support

Customer support is very good and it is available via email or a live chat support utility at the PrivateVPN website. The only problem is that the service is only live during Swedish business hours, so you would have to work out your time offset to those hours depending on where you are in the world. Apart from the time issue, the technical support team is very competent and they will use remote control software to access your computer, find the problem, and fix it for you.

User experience

The app downloads from the PrivateVPN website or the relevant app store for the device and then installs itself. Once the app is open, the user just needs to select a VPN server location from a drop-down list and then press a “Connect” button to get the VPN protection running.

Pros

  • Designed to protect torrenting
  • More than 150 servers in 60 countries.
  • Allowance of six simultaneous connections
  • AES 256-bit key encryption
  • 7-day free trial
  • Strong no logs policy
  • Account anonymity
  • Excellent technical support
  • Compatible with uTorrent, BitTorrent, qBitTorrent, Vuze, Deluge, WebTorrent, Transmission, and Popcorn Time
  • VPN apps for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • The smallest server network of the VPNs on this list

StrongVPN

Good leak protection and unlimited bandwidth allowance

StrongVPN is owned by NetProtect, which is part of J2 Global, which owns the digital magazines Mashable and PCMag, plus the online speed test service, Ookla. Other properties of NetProtect include IPVanish, SaferVPN, and secure cloud storage system, SugarSync. Like IPVanish, StrongVPN includes 250 GB of space with each of its subscriptions.

StrongVPN is based in South Lake Tahoe, California, and also has offices in France, Australia, Japan, and Malaysia.

Pricing

The month-to-month plan of StrongVPN costs $10 per month. The one-year plan costs $69.99, which works out at $5.83 per month. Both plans include the SugarSync storage space. Strong gives every customer a 30-day money-back guarantee, even on the one-month plan. Each account is allowed to connect 12 devices to the service at the same time.

Security

StrongVPN has an interesting security feature that is common in mobile device management systems but isn’t provided by any other VPN service. This is a remote device wiping utility. This is useful if a mobile device or laptop gets stolen or mislaid. The device owner can remove all data from the device to ensure confidentiality.

Within the VPN service, StrongVPN includes IP leak protection, a private DNS service, and a kill switch. Session establishment is facilitated by a 2048-bit key RSA cipher and transmissions are protected by the AES 256-bit key encryption.

VPN protocols

The StrongVPN apps give the option of a number of VPN protocols. These are:

  • OpenVPN
  • L2TP/IPSec,
  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • WireGuard 
  • SSTP

Of these, OpenVPN is the most widely used VPN protocol in the industry. However, WireGuard is a new protocol that is as effective as OpenVPN but quicker and uses less CPU time. Not many VPN services have managed to implement WireGuard yet.

SSTP is a replacement for PPTP developed by Microsoft. PPTP was a very early VPN protocol but is no longer considered to be secure.

Customer support

Customer support is available via email or by a live chat support facility at the StrongVPN website. The customer support team is staffed around the clock.

User experience

The app installs itself from the StrongVPN website or from the relevant app store. The main screen of the app shows your IP address and its location on a world map. A drop-down list beneath the map allows the user to select a VPN server location. Once this location has been set, the user clicks on a Connect button in order to start the VPN.

Pros

  • Allows torrenting
  • More than 950 servers in 30 countries
  • No logs policy
  • Choice of VPN protocols in the app
  • Secure cloud storage included
  • Remote device wiping command
  • Compatible with Vuze, Deluge, uTorrent, BitTorrent, qBittorent, Popcorn Time, and BitLord
  • VPN apps for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, routers, set-top boxes, Chrome, and Firefox
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • VPN apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android.

Cons

  • Based in the USA and so vulnerable to pressure from law enforcement agencies

SaferVPN

Offers specialist VPN servers for P2P file sharing

Based in Seattle, SaferVPN is another property of J2 Global. It provides a similar level of service to StrongVPN and is also OK about customers using the service for torrenting but it asks customers to limit these activities to servers based in Spain, Canada, and the Netherlands.

Pricing

The monthly rate for SaferVPN is one of the highest of all the VPNs on this list at $12,.95 per month. However, that price can be brought down by opting for a longer-term coverage period. The three-year plan costs $89.99, which works out at $2.50 per month. All customers get a 30-day money-back guarantee and an allowance of five simultaneous connections. SaferVPN also offers a 24-hour free trial.

Security

SaferVPN includes a private DNS system, IP leak protection, automatic protection when connected to wi-fi networks, and a kill switch in the app. Session security is facilitated by a 2048-bit RSA cipher and the data channel is covered by AES 256-bit key encryption. This is uncrackable.

VPN protocols

SaferVPN offers the following VPN protocols:

  • OpenVPN
  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • PPTP

OpenVPN and IKEv2 are available in the app. PPTP and L2TP can be set up manually within your device’s operating system.

Customer support

Customer support is available via email or by a 24/7 live chat support facility at the SaferVPN website.

User experience

The apps for SaferVPN can be downloaded from the service’s website or the relevant app store for the target device. A setup wizard will install the app. Once the app is running, the user just needs to select a VPN country from a side menu and click on a big green Connect button to get the service operating.

Pros

  • Allows P2P activities
  • More than 1,300 servers in 50 countries
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • 24-hour free trial
  • Strong no logs policy
  • Compatible with Vuze, Deluge, uTorrent, BitTorrent, qBittorent, Popcorn Time, and BitLord
  • VPN apps for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Chrome, and Firefox.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Its US base makes it very accessible to copyright lawyers