Top 3 VPNs
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Today, more and more Internet users are turning to VPN services to provide online security and protect their privacy. With the wide range of VPN products that are emerging to meet this demand, the consumer faces a dizzying variety of choices in choosing the best service. The choice becomes more complex when some basic research shows that each different VPN will vary based on subscription plans, bottom line performance, best regions of access, and security features.
The best way to narrow down your choices is to first determine what types of security and performance needs you require, based on your most common Internet activities. For the user looking to use a VPN while torrenting to download programs and files, some VPNs rise above the others as the best options.
Torrenting brings some specific requirements of a VPN. The shared nature of the activity means that security is of high importance. At the same time, speed is a concern – use of any VPN service will compromise download speed, so the torrenting user should shop for a product that maintains performance.
The good news is that, even though there are a dizzying number of options, the user looking to purchase a VPN will be able to find the best service to suit there needs. Here, we will go over some of the factors to take into account while shopping around, and then recommend some of the best VPNs for torrenting specifically.
A Priority on Security
Torrenting enables very fast download speeds for large files by connecting with several other users. An obvious downside of torrenting, then, is the privacy and security concerns that come with the territory of connecting to several other Internet users at once, allowing all of them to share pieces of files and see your IP address. This makes it imperative to choose a VPN with great security features for the user looking to download torrented files.
The first factor when determining the privacy of user information over a VPN is where the service is based. Each country comes with its own set of regulations, some requiring user data to be stored for a certain number of days. A VPN based in a country like Switzerland, with great privacy laws and no invasive government agencies, will provide some advantages on this front.
Additionally, most VPNs will explain what types of logs they store and for how long. Very few keep any user logs past 30 days (typically for three days or less), but it pays to make sure and read the fine print. Also, different types of logs may be kept. Usually, these logs only consist of some small portion of your activity, however.
Aside from these privacy considerations, VPNs provide security in the form of data encryption and authentication systems. This aspect of a VPN is extremely important, especially for torrenting. For each product listed below, we will review and evaluate security system strength.
Maintain High Download Speeds
Since the aim of torrenting is to quickly download large media files, it is also important to choose a VPN that doesn’t create a drastic decrease in speed and performance. While any test of download speed will be high variance, general observation shows a decrease in speed anywhere from 15% to 40%, or even more.
It is also important to note that a further distance from the VPN server location will decrease performance. All of the major VPNs now have dozens or even hundreds of server locations to allow users around the world to access the best possible connection.
The best way to evaluate VPNs along this axis is through user tests, as well as making note of server locations.
Other Factors to Consider
Security and performance are the two main pillars that are used to evaluate the strength of a VPN service, but there are other factors that may be more or less important to different users. These include ease of use and crispness of the UI, quality of customer service, browser extensions, and more. Additionally, the cost of a VPN subscription can vary from one provider to the next, often with discounts for longer contracts. These other considerations should play a part in weighing the different VPN options.
Balancing Your Torrenting Needs
Torrenting media files creates several demands on the VPN being used. Due to large file sizes, maintaining speed is very important. At the same time, however, the nature of file sharing means that there are more security concerns than with casual Internet use, as well. It can be tough to balance these needs with other factors such as price, customer support, and access to deeper features. These 7 VPNs are all great products that will give you a great torrenting experience – the challenge is finding the one that suits your specific needs.
Express VPN is positioned as a safe bet for the torrenting Internet user. Being based in the Virgin Islands, and having been in business since 2009, the company has great policies on privacy and has a track record that highlights its devotion to online privacy. They store no user logs that track online activity back to a specific IP; however, they do say that they “may collect” information on total daily data usage, times connected to their service, and choice of server location.
According to user reviews, Express VPN also has great performance qualities. Downloads will be fast, and connectivity to the service has 99.9% uptime. The established company also has server locations in over 90 countries, making it great for traveling as well as for international users who are limited on nearby VPN servers.
Coming in at $12.95/month, or $8.50/month purchased annually, ExpressVPN is one of the more costly options. While it doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles of other VPN providers (only 2 devices may be connected simultaneously, for example), it is a proven service with a great reputation for privacy, security, and speed.
- Virgin Islands based and no logs kept, for great privacy
- Top of the line security and encryption
- Live customer support available at all hours
- One of the faster options
- Depending on subscription plan, quite a bit more expensive than other options
- Limited configuration options
- Limited to 1 other mobile device simultaneously
IPVanish differs in the types of users that will appreciate it the most. It has a lot of special features, like IP address cycling and a Kill Switch, but these come at the expense of a clunky and unattractive user interface. This makes it less friendly for beginners or users who want something simple and effective, but can provide more options and configurations for the truly technical user. It also allows connection from up to 5 devices simultaneously, adding to its appeal as a robust product.
- Great reputation, with servers in over 60 countries
- True zero-log policy provides maximum privacy
- Allows connection from 5 devices simultaneously
- Many configurations and customization options
- More expensive than other VPNs
- UI can be difficult to navigate and unintuitive
- Customer service has only middle-of-the-road reviews
3. Private Internet Access
For torrenting purposes, Private Internet Access is an established competitor that provides a great balance between security, performance, and price. It also has additional features like DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and multiple device support. For subscription plans of a year or more, Private Internet Access comes in at an impressive $3.33/month.
The downside is a noticeable drop in performance compared to the more expensive options. Depending on how much you plan to torrent, this may not justify the lower price point. At the same time, consistency and uptime remain high – while there are not as many international server locations (only being in about 30 countries right now), in these regions there are thousands of servers to choose from.
Because of the regional variance in performance, it is recommended to take advantage of the 7-day money back guarantee to see how it works for you.
- Great value on any subscription plan
- Access to a few configurations and features
- Consistent connectivity due to high amount of servers
- Poor performance compared to other market leaders
- Weak and unattractive UI
- Ticket-based customer support system means longer wait time.
NordVPN is a trustworthy company that comes in at a reasonable price point, which gets better the longer you sign up for. It is widely regarded as the most secure VPN available – not only do they have a no-log policy, but also feature automatic double-encryption. Since security is a major concern when it comes to the world of torrenting, Nord is a popular choice among users who anticipate downloading a lot of media and files.
As far as performance, NordVPN is above average as well. With ample international server locations, it is a reliable and consistent service for uninterrupted torrenting. While it doesn’t blow away all the competition on speed tests, it is definitely no slouch in that department.
The product is well rounded, with an attractive client and a choice of different security protocols. Users are able to connect multiple devices, but can only one for each security protocol, which can be prohibitive.
- Great security features and double encryption
- The best speed among similarly priced VPNs
- 2-year subscription option makes it one of the most economical options ($3.33/month)
- Difficulty connecting multiple devices
- Customer service has slower response times
AirVPN is one of the smaller VPN providers, but has great credentials and has built a loyal following. The company has a genuine focus on user privacy, delivers excellent performance, and is well priced.
For torrenting, Air VPN delivers some of the fastest and most consistent results on different speed tests. Additionally, they have no monitoring in place and keep no users logs, so you can rest assured that your privacy is being protected. The technical pedigree of its founding group also means that you can rely on great security and encryption.
Since the company is smaller than some of the other ones on this list, it does not have as geographically diverse servers, which are located in only 16 countries right now. It also caters more to power users, and the less technically savvy or less patient may want to look elsewhere.
- Great security and privacy
- One of the fastest available options for torrenting
- Cheaper than other options that have comparable security and speed ($5/month for 1 year)
- Does not have servers in as many regions – may not be the best for all users
- Poor ease-of-use and customer service compared to larger VPN providers
Buffered is a newer player on the VPN scene, and its strengths play well to the Internet user that regularly torrents. On top of their secure and high-speed network, they already have servers in almost 40 countries, support 5 simultaneous devices, and have a responsive customer service system.
Right now, their cheapest plan is an annual subscription that comes out to around $8/month. This puts it firmly on the high end of VPN prices. In exchange, the user gets custom clients for different operating systems and great configuration guides for mobile devices. This places Buffered as more of a niche product for customers who want to get a lot of mileage out of deeper VPN features, but would like to do so with the aid of tutorial videos and documentation.
- Total package of speed and OpenVPN security
- Compatibility with Windows, Mac, and Linux – plus smart TVs
- Although customer service is not live chat, still very responsive and helpful
- One of the most expensive VPNs
- Minimal logs are kept (login times and connection durations)
The last product on our list, VPNArea is known for its fast and easy setup, appealing UI, and support for multiple devices – all at an appealing price point.
While not the fastest-performing VPN, it has more than ample speed for the casual or occasional torrent user. Remember, this list is the best of the best, so VPNArea is not truly a ‘slow’ VPN service. Additionally, VPNArea has all of the best security features and total privacy with a no-log system. The company’s headquarters being in Bulgaria adds an extra layer of comfort due to the country’s privacy-friendly legal system.
VPNArea currently has servers in over 60 countries. Some users report occasional loss of connection or performance drop, so it would help to research how many servers are available in your region.
- Live customer support and ticket system available 24/7
- Support across multiple devices and easy mobile setup
- Top tier privacy and security
- Middle of the road speed
- Performance and connectivity can vary based on region (the 7-day free trial may help you decide)
- Less configuration options than the bigger VPNs