Are you into torrenting and looking for information on how to stay safe while doing so? If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably visited some of the most popular torrent sites on the Internet such as The Pirate Bay and Torrent Downloads. You may have noticed that most of these torrent sites all recommend the same thing — people should use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when downloading torrents — and for a good reason. This notice may have left you wondering, “Can I use a free VPN for torrenting?”
In this article, we will learn about the significance of using a VPN when torrenting and a few of your best options for a free VPN service. We will cover the following:
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Without a VPN, torrenting can be very risky as the said activity will be visible to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and the government. If you’re using a torrent service to download copyrighted material over the Internet, then it’s easy to see how you can get into trouble for doing so. That’s precisely what happened in 2011 when more than 23,000 Bittorrent users got sued for illegally downloading a copy of the movie “The Expendables.” Each offender faced a fine of up to $150,000 although most of them ended up settling for around $3000.
If you want to avoid problems like the one mentioned above, then VPNs are a must-have when using any torrent service. Unfortunately, such services can be reasonably expensive with some VPN service providers charging monthly fees that are as high as $12.99 per month. After all, most people resort to torrenting to save money, and it doesn’t make much sense paying for a VPN to do so. This is where the use of free VPN services come in!
Characteristics of a Good Free VPN for Torrenting
Indeed, there are free VPN services out there that will let you download torrents without charging a cent. That said, not all of them are suitable for torrenting, and it’s important to know what to look out for when choosing a free VPN service. Consider the following qualities before selecting a free VPN for torrenting:
Free or not, you must be able to rely on your VPN service provider to protect your online activities from prying eyes. Hence your chosen VPN service must implement secure data encryption protocols and a host of other security features. This includes DNS leak protection, and an Internet Kill Switch to ensure that no personally identifiable information can be traced back to your device.
No Data Logging Policy
An excellent VPN service must not keep records of their users’ activity to prevent getting hacked or coerced into giving up said records by interested third-parties.
Internet Speed and Bandwidth
Torrenting can take up a significant amount of data speed and bandwidth. Unfortunately, some VPN services implement limitations like data caps and bandwidth throttling, which makes them unsuitable for torrenting.
As an additional security feature, many VPN services provide a pool of IP addresses that are shared by thousands of users. This makes it impossible (if not very difficult) to trace a certain activity to specific users.
Best Free VPN for Torrenting
Having mentioned the risks of using a free VPN, you might be anxious to know what are the best options out there. Well, if you must use a free VPN for torrenting, then we recommend that you start your search with any of the following:
Hotspot Shield is one of the more popular free VPN services on the market today and for a good reason. Their VPN servers are incredibly fast, although free users are limited to just 500 MB of torrent data per day. Still, it’s free, and you can always resume your downloads the next day.
While Windscribe isn’t as fast as the other free VPN services mentioned in this list, they do offer more in terms of server options and bandwidth limit. Free users can connect to any of the 11 servers on their VPN network and download up to 10GB of data per month. This makes it perfect for downloading large files such as videos and software over a torrent client. It also helps that Windscribe is accessible in all major platforms such as PC, Mac, Android, and iOS.
Like most free VPN services, ProXPN also offers a paid plan in exchange for premium features. Free users only have access to one VPN server and are limited to just 300 kbps, which is painfully slow. Still, if you’re not too concerned about torrent speeds and want a free VPN service from a reputable company, then ProXPN is as good a choice as any.
If you want a free VPN service that’s fast and accessible via iOS and Android, then Hide.me might be for you. While the free plan only gives you access to 3 VPN servers, you do get to download up to 2GB of data per month at full speed. This makes it perfect for occasionally downloading large amounts of torrent data. There are no other restrictions save for the bandwidth limit and server options.
Security Kiss is one of the few free VPN services out there that offer OpenVPN (only on PC and Mac) which is one of the most reliable VPN protocols out there. This makes it an excellent choice for people who are not only into torrenting but are also concerned about their data privacy as well. That said, free users are limited to just four server locations and 300 MB of torrent data per day, which isn’t too bad for a few audio tracks and some apps.
The Risks of Using a Free VPN for Torrenting
Many might argue that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and they would be right. Using a free VPN service is not without its share of risks. After all, running VPN servers costs money which includes the wages of support staff and cybersecurity experts that maintain these servers. It’s prudent to think that free VPN companies are aiming to get some of it back by some other means.
In many cases, the reason why a VPN company might offer its services for free is that they’re hoping to convince free users to upgrade to a paid plan in the future. VPN companies can also make money by selling ads. In some cases, however, the reasons can be much more nefarious, which highlights the following risks:
Selling User Data
Many free VPN services collect and sell user information to interested parties which include advertisers and even the government.
It Could Be a Trap
The free VPN service can be a front by hackers looking to steal a user’s identity and other sensitive information.
Malware in Disguise
A free VPN service may have serious security flaws or even turn out to be malware itself. One good example is the free VPN service called HolaVPN, which turned out to be a malware supporting botnet attacks.
In case you'd like to consider a paid option for torrenting VPN, try using Avast VPN for Torrenting.
So there you have it — a look at some of your best choices for a free VPN service and why you should use one when torrenting. As you may have already realized, there is no reason to leave yourself unprotected when using a torrent service. With the free VPNs mentioned above, not only will you be able to avoid any legal repercussions from your torrenting activity, but also keep your data safe from third-parties.