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8 Best (REALLY FREE) VPNs for Torrenting and P2P in 2021
Finding a free, safe VPN that allows torrenting is a real challenge!
Which ones protect from malware? Which ones ensure your ISP can’t see your activity? Which ones keep you safe and let you torrent?
I’ve spent months testing free VPNs to answer these questions, checking their speeds, and reading their legal terms, and testing their ability to support torrenting. In that time, I’ve only found seven that I can recommend. Many of the others either allow torrenting or they track and sell your data, while others are simply dangerous.
Every VPN you’ll see here has passed numerous tests, can accommodate safe torrenting, and is free from any hidden costs or dangers.
Short on Time? Here’s Are The Best Free VPNs for Torrenting
ExpressVPN – Blazing-fast speeds to download torrents in no time. It’s backed by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee so you can buy it with confidence.
Cyberghost: Torrenting optimized servers for ultra-fast download speeds. Offering a 24-hour free trial, followed by a 45-day money-back guarantee for plenty of time to test it out.
Windscribe: This free VPN has servers that support torrenting. Its 10GB/month data allowance might restrict your downloads, though.
Unlimited bandwidth and unrestricted speeds are on offer from this free VPN.
TunnelBear: A strict no-logs policy, military-grade encryption, and servers in 20+ countries make up for limited free bandwidth.
Plus three more free VPNs for torrenting | How We Tested and Ranked These VPNs | The Best Premium VPNs for Torrenting | FAQs
Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Today!
The Best Free VPNs for Torrenting – Full Analysis (Updated October 2021)
There are many dangerous free VPNs out there. That’s why I ran extensive tests and only picked 7 free VPNs for torrenting, based on speed, security, and P2P compatibility. Every VPN listed here will keep you safe, guaranteed.
While each recommendation will keep you safe and let you torrent for free, apart from ExpressVPN, they all have some limitations.
1. ExpressVPN – Try Risk-Free With a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Superfast download speeds
3, 000 servers in 90 countries
30-day money-back guarantee
Military-grade encryption and a strict no-logs policy
P2P support on every server
Works with: uTorrent, BitTorrent,, Vuze, Deluge
Streaming: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, HBO Max, Vudu, Hulu, and more
Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Chrome, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
It’s super-fast, too. During my tests, both my download and upload speeds were excellent – averaging at over 43 Mbps consistently. You’ll be able to torrent quickly and easily with no interruptions or delays.
There are 3, 000 P2P-friendly ExpressVPN servers around the world – fully optimized for torrenting. I could easily unblock torrenting platforms without any problems. It also guarantees fast connections to nearby servers, even if you’re traveling across continents. You’ll never experience any issues downloading torrents from anywhere.
While you torrent, ExpressVPN protects your privacy with numerous industry-leading features: 256-bit AES encryption, an automatic kill switch, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, and much more. They all ensure your IP address and torrenting activity are never exposed.
Its TrustedServer feature wipes your data clean after every server reboot, as they run on RAM only. This keeps you safe online, without blocking harmless torrents, risking your data being sold, or worse.
Lastly, ExpressVPN has a strict no-logs policy. This means it can be trusted never to store or pass on any of your information. Only a very simple set of data is stored, such as the date you logged in, and server location. Your browsing history, IP, and DNS queries will be kept anonymous.
Want to know more? Explore our ExpressVPN review to see the full results of our research and testing.
Start Risk-Free With ExpressVPN Today!
2. Cyberghost — Optimized Servers For Superfast Downloads
Lightning-fast speeds for P2P file sharing and downloading
7, 290 servers in 90 countries, including several torrenting optimized servers
24-hour free trial, followed by a 45-day money-back guarantee
Military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and an ad/malware blocker to protect you and your device while torrenting
Streaming: Netflix, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, YouTube TV, and more
Compatible with: macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Linux, and more
Cyberghost provides you a list of torrenting optimized servers. I tested its US specialty server (New York) while downloading a copyright-free file called “Astronomy Picture of the Day” from Legit Torrents. My speeds remained consistent, around 33 Mbps. The file was quite large (2. 62 GB) but it only took 23 minutes to download. You won’t have to search for the fastest server to download torrents.
It uses strong security features to keep you safe. This includes 256-bit encryption, IP/DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. The kill switch ensures that even if you temporarily lose connection, it won’t expose your data. I tested this by switching from London to its Miami server. During this time, I attempted to load uTorrent — however, it blocked this action until I reestablished a connection. Your personal data will always be safeguarded while torrenting.
Your privacy is protected by its NoSpy servers and a strict no-logs policy. The NoSpy servers are located in privacy-friendly Romania, where Cyberghost is based. This is outside the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes jurisdiction — meaning, agencies can’t demand user data. Only Cyberghost employees have access to these servers. No one will have a chance of intercepting your personal information.
The apps include an ad, tracker, and malware blocking feature. This keeps your device protected while preventing annoying popups from slowing you down. During my tests, I could enable or disable it with just one click within the app’s privacy settings. While it was turned on, I never encountered any ads. You can enjoy safe, uninterrupted torrenting.
One downfall is that Cyberghost doesn’t work consistently in some strictly censored countries. This includes the UAE, China, North Korea, and parts of the Middle East. This may or may not affect you, depending on your travel plans or country of residence.
You can test its full-featured service when you use Cyberghost’s 24-hour free trial. If you need more time, it also offers a risk-free 45-day money-back guarantee. When I finished testing (after 28 days), I used the live chat option to request my refund. The agent asked me a couple of quick questions regarding my experience. After just 2 minutes, she approved the return. I had the money back in my account within 3 days.
Start Free With Cyberghost Today!
3. Windscribe – Up to 10GB of Free Data Per Month
P2P-friendly servers in 10 countries
10GB of data per month
Streaming: YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Kodi, and HBO GO
Compatible with: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and routers
Windscribe is a completely free service that limits data and server access. As a free user, you get 2GB of data per month. If you tweet Windscribe, you do get the option to extend this allowance by 5GB.
You can increase your data allowance to 10GB per month, but will need to provide an email address to do so. If you wish to remain completely anonymous using Windscribe, you’ll be restricted to the original 2GB limit.
You can access servers in 10 countries: the UK, Hong Kong, the US, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, and Switzerland. You can’t access censored torrenting sites and geo-restricted sites that aren’t available in these countries.
Many of these servers are P2P-friendly. During my tests, I quickly connected to several Windscribe servers that were fast enough for torrenting. However, I did find that they became overloaded during busy periods. This slowed my connection, but I was still able to torrent. My speeds increased once the peak period ended.
Windscribe takes care of your privacy with some high-end security measures. 256-bit AES encryption protects your data, while a built-in ad blocker, DNS leak protection, and IP masking keep your activity and IP address secret.
Windscribe is based in Canada, which is in the Five Eyes Alliance. However, it follows a strict no-logs policy and never stores your data, so it is not able to pass any information on to the authorities.
Want to know more? Explore our Windscribe review to see the full results of our research and testing.
Start FREE With Windscribe!
4. – P2P-Friendly Servers Around the World
2GB free data per month
P2P friendly servers in all free locations except the US
Unlimited bandwidth and speeds
256-bit AES encryption
Streaming: Hulu, iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO GO
Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Linux, and routers
is a completely free VPN that allows torrenting. You don’t need to input any personal or financial details to sign up, which gives you the added security of complete anonymity. Not only will your online activity be protected, but also your identity.
You’re limited to five server locations on the free account: the US East, US West, Canada, the Netherlands, and Singapore. This could mean slow speeds if you’re connecting to from outside North America and Europe.
All of ’s servers allow torrenting except its US locations. If you want to download from an index that’s only available in the US, there’s an extra step involved. You’ll need to connect to a US-based server to download the torrent file, and then switch to a P2P-friendly server before you open your client.
offers just 2GB of data per month to free users, enough to share a few minutes of video with your friends and maybe a couple of hundred photos.
However, there are no restrictions on speeds or bandwidth. During my tests, I found both upload and download speeds to be decent, and I was able to torrent smoothly for a while.
Unfortunately, while testing, I discovered that reconnecting to servers can take a long time. If you’re using an unreliable internet connection, you need to search through the network for a new server when you reconnect, which is time-consuming.
Thankfully does include an automatic kill switch and IP leak protection. Your IP address and online activity won’t be exposed even if you’re disconnected from the VPN.
It also uses 256-bit AES encryption so no one can monitor or track your online activity.
is headquartered in Malaysia, so it’s not based within the Fourteen Eyes Alliance. That means you can trust its strict no-logs policy. It does not log, store, or pass on any of your sensitive information or usage data.
Want to know more? Explore our review to see the full results of our research and testing.
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5. TunnelBear – Best for Low-Volume Users
22+ worldwide servers
500MB of data per month
Strict no-logs policy
Streaming: HBO GO, YouTube, Spotify, Kodi
Compatible with: Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera
TunnelBear is an incredibly user-friendly VPN and a great choice for beginners. You get a wide choice of P2P-friendly servers around the world.
I was able to torrent using this free service during my tests. After some digging around, I found out that it recommends using its servers in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Romania, or the Netherlands for torrenting.
However, if you live far away from these countries or use servers located elsewhere, you might find that speeds become too slow for P2P traffic.
TunnelBear’s data allowance might be too restrictive for you, too. You only get 500MB of data per month. That won’t be much good for sharing high definition (HD) video files, but it’s ideal if you just want to download photos and documents.
If you tweet the company, you can get an additional 1GB of free data. Unfortunately, that still won’t allow much more than browsing and streaming videos on Youtube. You’ll also need to tweet TunnelBear every time you need a top up.
These limitations aside, TunnelBear offers great security. It has been independently audited by cybersecurity experts, who verified the reliability of its military-grade encryption, strict no-logs policy, and other security features.
TunnelBear’s speeds have also impressed us in many different tests. While it can’t compete with premium providers, for a free VPN, it does very well.
Want to know more? Explore our TunnelBear review to see the full results of our research and testing.
Start FREE With TunnelBear!
6. Speedify – Fast Speeds All Day Long
2GB of free data per month
Channel bonding technology for faster speeds
128 GCM encryption
Streaming: Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Kodi
Compatible with: Android, Windows, macOS, iOS
Speedify uses innovative channel bonding technology to boost your connection speed while you’re torrenting.
Channel bonding works by bundling all possible connections on your device together and combining them to transmit data. Your online activity is then split between these connections, like fast and slow lanes on a highway.
This technology has cemented Speedify’s legacy in the VPN world, as it means faster and more reliable connections than most free VPNs can offer.
Unfortunately, it also means that using Speedify can double your data usage, which is costly if you’re on a limited cell or WiFi plan.
Faster speeds mean faster torrenting, though, and I did find Speedify fast enough outside of peak hours. However, with a data limit of 2GB per month, the most you’ll be able to share are a few munites of video or some photos.
Want to know more? Explore our Speedify review to see the full results of our research and testing.
Start FREE With Speedify!
7. Betternet – Torrent-Friendly With No Registration Requirements
500MB of free data per day
Free service with no registration
Streaming: YouTube, Kodi, and Spotify
Compatible with: Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Chrome
Betternet is a completely free service that doesn’t require you to register. It doesn’t record or access any private information like your name, email address, or payment details.
But is Betternet good for torrenting? Yes, but it has limits.
Betternet gives you 500MB of free data a day, which is more than many other free services. You can use it to share a few minutes of video every day, upload your photos to the cloud, or spread large downloads out across a few days.
It also supports P2P traffic. Sadly, as a free user, you’ll only get access to Betternet’s US server. You can’t manually select a server, and you can’t unblock sites that aren’t available in the US.
If you’re torrenting through Betternet from outside the US, you might experience slow speeds and difficulty connecting to your torrent client, due to distance and connection speeds. Also, the US is notoriously unfriendly to torrent platforms and their users. This could create issues in the future if your favorite torrent site gets censored.
Want to know more? Explore our Betternet review.
Start FREE With Betternet!
8. PrivateVPN – Try It Out With the 7-Day Trial
Premium VPN with a 7-day free trial
Unlimited speeds, bandwidth, and data
Military-grade security with a zero-logs policy
Streaming: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu
Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and some routers
PrivateVPN is a top premium VPN that you can try out on a 7-day free trial.
You don’t even need to make an initial payment or give any payment details to sign up. You do need to register for an account, but PrivateVPN only asks for basic personal details that can’t be used to trace your online activity, IP address, or any private data.
PrivateVPN supports unlimited P2P file sharing across 150+ server locations in 60+ countries. During my tests, I found PrivateVPN to be extremely fast. My connection was quick enough for smooth, uninterrupted torrenting, even when I downloaded large files.
PrivateVPN’s security measures are also world-class. 256-bit AES encryption conceals your data, while a range of security protocols ensure your IP address is never exposed. In the background, IPv6 leak protection ensures your real location can’t be exposed.
The VPN is based in Sweden, which is a member of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance. However, Sweden is still a very privacy-friendly country, and PrivateVPN has a strict no-logs policy. So, even if it were asked to hand over any records, it would be unable to do so.
Want to know more? Explore our PrivateVPN review to see the full results of our research and testing.
Start FREE With PrivateVPN!
How We Tested and Ranked These Free VPNs
I looked for free VPNs with high-speed, P2P-friendly servers, unlimited bandwidth, generous data allowances, and excellent privacy policies. After focusing on these areas first, I then looked at everything else each VPN offers.
These criteria immediately excluded the majority of free VPNs. Most don’t support P2P filesharing.
Next, I tested the speed of each VPN. I connected to as many servers as possible, as far away from me as possible. Using ’s tools, I measured upload and download speeds on each server and compared this to my local internet connection. Only free VPNs that provide consistently fast connection speeds are included here.
Bandwidth and data are crucial for torrenting. I’ve only selected free VPNs that offer enough data and bandwidth for torrenting. I torrented with each VPN to see how much you can do within their limits.
Finally, I carefully read the terms of every VPN I tested to ensure they hadn’t included any loopholes that put you at risk. I also factored in where the VPNs are based, and whether they are part of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance.
What’s The Catch With Free VPNs?
Although the VPNs on this list are safe to use, many free VPNs are slow and unreliable. They can also be dangerous.
Most free VPNs don’t support torrenting, and many block P2P traffic. They often can’t compete with the military-grade encryption and other security features that premium VPNs offer. Because of this, there’s often no guarantee you’re truly anonymous while torrenting. This is why I’ve only listed seven VPNs out of the thousands on offer.
Finally, free VPNs nearly always limit your data and bandwidth. Some even deliberately reduce your connection speed. For unlimited data and super-fast download and upload speeds, you need a low-cost premium VPN instead.
How do free VPNs make money?
Premium VPNs charge a small subscription fee, but free providers rely on other monetization tactics. At best, these are annoying. At worst, they can actually put you in more danger.
This could mean constant pop up ads while you’re browsing or limiting your bandwidth until you have no choice but to pay for an upgrade. Over the years, we’ve seen free VPNs sell user data, overlook malicious software and viruses in their networks, and much worse.
Any time someone offers you a free VPN service, just know there will always be a catch.
Are VPNs legal?
In most countries, yes.
However, VPNs can be a legal grey area and the situation often changes. Several governments have banned VPN use because of its association with crime, while others allow them but stop you from downloading one within their borders.
Read our complete country-by-country guide to VPN legality to find out more about laws where you live.
What are the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes Alliances?
Throughout this guide, I’ve been talking about the various Eyes Alliances. This refers to a number of countries that have international information-sharing agreements.
If a VPN is based in one of these countries, it needs to have a strict no-logs policy. That’s the only way to guarantee that it won’t hand over any of your information should the government put in a legal request.
Our full guide to the Five, Nine, and Fourteen Eyes Countries tells you everything you need to know.
The Bottom Line
Finding a free VPN that allows torrenting can be difficult. Even if you do find a P2P-friendly no-cost service, many free VPNs are simply too slow or too restrictive for effective torrenting.
You also need to be sure that your free VPN won’t compromise your safety and anonymity.
To avoid any risk, I would always use a low-cost premium VPN instead.
Some of the best VPNs like ExpressVPN offer a money-back guarantee, so you can test it out risk-free and claim a refund within that period if you’re not fully happy with it.
Even if you do pay, there are plenty of VPN deals and coupon codes that can make your subscription very inexpensive.
Want to go ahead with a premium service? Check out our rundown of the 10 best premium VPNs for torrenting.
New to torrenting and want more information? Read our updated guide to torrenting safely and anonymously.
Top VPNs for torrenting that you can try risk-free with money-back guarantees…
Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!
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.
HTTP & SOCKS Rotating Residential Proxies
- 32 million IPs for all purposes
- Worldwide locations
- 3 day moneyback guarantee
Why you should NEVER use Free Proxy servers for Torrenting
All over the internet, I see forum threads recommending the use of free HTTP proxies for torrents and I cringe. At their best, free proxy servers are crowded and slow, and at worst they’re downright dangerous.
Because 99% of them don’t work to hide your IP address from Torrent Peers (which is how torrents are monitored).
Not only is it crazy to trust a total stranger (offering you free service) with your privacy, but most free proxy servers are technologically incompatible with BitTorrent protocol.
This article will teach you about the reality of ‘free’, the limitations of HTTP/HTTPS proxies, and the potential dangers of giving total strangers access to your data stream.
Instead do this: consider choosing a torrent-friendly VPN like NordVPN (which also includes torrent-compatible SOCKS5 proxy servers).
INTRODUCTION TO FREE PROXIES
There are numerous websites with lists of free proxy servers, often sorted by country or uptime. A few examples are,, and
These are public proxy servers, accessible by anyone who knows the address and port number (listed on the website).
What is a Proxy?
A proxy is a data tunnel that is routed from you computer to a 3rd party (proxy server) before reaching the internet. The proxy is the middleman, and if used properly can help hide your identity from whoever is on the other end of your connection.
A proxy is generally configured to work with a specific program, not your entire internet connection. Common programs configured with a proxy are:
A Web Browser – To get through firewalls are access geo-blocked sites like ttorrent Client Software – To prevent ip-based torrent monitoring
When used properly, a proxy allows you to do 2 things while torrenting:
Change your visible locationHide your real IP address from torrent peers and trackers
One notable thing a proxy lacks compared to a VPN, however, is encryption.
Types of Proxy Servers
There are a few different proxy ‘protocols’ that you’ll see in free proxy lists. Each one is designed to handle and transport different types of data (they are not created equal).
The most common proxy types are:
HTTP: Transports regular non-encrypted HTTP web traffic, such as web browser The encrypted version of an HTTP proxy, it wraps the proxied traffic in a layer of encryption making it difficult for a middleman (like your ISP) to read the traffic. SOCKS5: The all purpose proxy protocol. It can transport both UDP & TCP packets, and can hold any type of data, including HTTP, Video, Files, and p2p/torrent data.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Bittorrent traffic is not HTTP, so it’s not compatible with HTTP/S proxies. If you try to use an HTTP proxy with your torrent client, it will simply ignore the proxy rules for peer communications and expose your IP address (bad! )
Reasons your should Avoid ‘Free Proxy’ servers
There are tons of amazing free things on the internet. In our experience, proxy service is not one of them.
The reasons to avoid free proxy servers range from inconvenience to genuine risk.
Slow: Free proxy servers are overcrowded and have hundreds or thousands of users sharing the limited bandwidth. Speeds below 0. 1Mbps are Protocol: The fast majority of free servers available are HTTP or HTTPS. This doesn’t work with BitTorrent peer communications, so torrent peers (and monitoring firms) will still see your real IP address in swarms. What you need is a SOCKS5 Proxy. Unreliable: Free servers crash or go offline constantly. You’ll have frequent connection errors, and the proxy may even go down mid-torrent (which could leak your identity depending on your torrent client’s settings). Dangerous: Free proxies cost money to run, but give full access to users’ data-stream. This attracts unsavory characters some free servers may be BitTorrent honeypots, Hacker Honeypots, or data-mining operations.
Now if that list isn’t enough to convince you, I’m not sure what is.
But if you’re ready to join our community of informed (and secure) BitTorrent fans, read on…
Free Proxy Alternatives: a Zero-Log VPN or SOCKS5 Proxy
By far the best tool for anonymizing your torrent downloads is a non-logging, torrent-friendly VPN service.
A VPN has all the benefits of a proxy service, plus additional security features:
Strong Torrent Encryption: Encrypt your torrents and browsing so your Internet provider has not idea what you’re doing Leak ProtectionZero-log Privacy: No logs or record of your online activity or IP address historyEasy-to-use Software
VPNs are hugely popular within the torrent community, thanks to the peace of mind and privacy they provide. They even allow you to get around torrent-blockades if your country (or firewall) has them.
And all 3 of our recommended VPNs actually include zero-log SOCKS5 proxy service at no additional charge.
1. NordVPN (Includes SOCKS5 proxy in 10 p2p-enabled locations) | from $2. 99/month
NordVPN is now the fastest zero-log VPN in the world, thanks in large part to their insane $2. 99/month offer, which is 70% off the normal monthly price.
Based in Panama, NordVPN has less exposure to the governmental pressures of companies located in the Five Eyes countries, like the USA, Canada, UK and Australia.
And NordVPN is quite torrent-friendly. They have p2p-optimized servers in more than 10 countries, a dual-mode kill-switch for security, and included SOCKS5 Proxy service.
Oh, and NordVPN isn’t blocked by Netflix or Hulu (unlock most VPNs).
2. Other great options (that also include a FREE Proxy)
There are two other VPN services that we highly recommend, both of which include a Netherlands-based logless SOCKS5 proxy (in addition to full VPN service).
1: IPVanish – They’re the leaders in speed, and have excellent software for Windows/Mac/iOS/Android and even a Firestick app (for Kodi).
Related: Read our IPVanish review
2: Private Internet Access – PIA is the gold standard and the godfather of the zero-logging movement. They’ve beaten the FBI in court and take customer privacy incredibly seriously. Bonus: PIA is one of the only VPNs with built-in port forwarding.
Related: Read our Private Internet Access review
David started torrenting before it was cool. He enjoys hiking, strategy games and eats watermelon year round. He still rocks his Napster t-shirt once a month.
Torrent Proxy: How to set up a proxy for your torrents? (2021 …
A torrent proxy allows you to share torrents anonymously. For instance, proxies like the popular SOCKS5 can be more cost-efficient than VPNs and yet provide a similar security level.
In this torrent proxy guide, you’ll learn the advantages, use cases, and configuration of proxies. You’ll also learn the why and when of using a proxy vs a VPN for torrenting. Plus, we’ll also go through the step-by-step proxy setup in torrent clients, such as uTorrent, qBittorrent, and Deluge.
This guide intends to help you maximize your anonymity and privacy while torrenting with proxy servers.
In a nutshell, a SOCKS5 proxy server should be enough to provide you with adequate anonymity and speed. All it takes is configuring your torrent client with the optimal settings and that your proxy server comes from a reliable provider.
Table of Contents.
The benefits of using a proxy for would a proxy do for your torrent client? What type of proxy to use for torrenting? Configuring proxy in a torrent client. uTorrent proxy up a proxy for up a proxy in to set up proxy in to set up proxy in up SOCKS5 proxy in to configure proxy settings on other torrent clients? Final Words
1. The benefits of using a proxy for torrenting.
Proxy servers were designed to simplify complex distributed networks by centralizing requests and responses. There are many types of proxies used for different use cases, but the two most common are HTTP and SOCKS5 proxies. These two proxies provide a different degree of anonymity and functionality.
Obviously, using free proxies or VPNs will not give you an advantage. There are many reasons to get a paid proxy service, but the most important is that service providers will protect your identity, provide support, and provide you with more resources (dedicated or regulated).
a. Benefits of a proxy for torrenting.
Hide your true identity behind the proxy’s identity. So, when you are participating in a torrent swarm and using a torrent tracker, the IP address visible to your peers will be the anonymous proxy’s, and not yours. With the adequate proxy, tracing your torrenting activity back to you (source IP) can be extremely rare and difficult to achieve.
b. Mask your identity (IP).
When you route the traffic of your torrent client, including uTorrent, BitTorrent, Vuze, or qBittorrent, via an anonymous proxy server, your torrent traffic gets a new identity. The P2P and torrent tracker communications are handled by the proxy, and not by your client’s source IP. Having this flexibility, allows you to use segregate your Internet traffic based on application. For example, you could use your normal IP for web browsing and the proxy’s IP for torrenting.
c. Faster torrent transfer.
A proxy server can be an extremely efficient way to hide your identity within torrent swarms and trackers and still get decent download speeds. Proxies lack encryption overhead, so they are generally faster than VPNs, but less secure. For more on this comparison and more, check our deep VPNs vs proxies comparison.
d. Won’t keep logs.
Traffic logs could be the only way to link a proxy’s IP activity to your IP, and the proxy server provider is the only one with access to these logs. However, the advantage of paid proxy service providers is that they do not keep those logs. On the other hand, free proxy servers might even be free due to the fact that they sell data logs to third-party marketing, advertising, or law firms.
e. Support and allow torrent traffic.
The majority of proxy providers do allow torrent traffic. As long as you are using a SOCKS5 proxy, all your torrent traffic can be routed towards the proxy server.
2. What would a proxy do for your torrent client?
As mentioned earlier, without a proxy, peers sharing a singular torrent file will be able to see the identity (public IP address) of every other peer within a torrent swarm. Obviously, this isn’t a bad thing. After all, giving your IP is how P2P operates and shares information. But having your public IP address exposed in this way isn’t a good thing when torrent swarms (especially in public trackers) are filled up with ill-intentioned hackers or copyright trolls.
Without a proxy, any IP disclosed in the swarm, can be easily logged and then ran through IP traceback technology.
With those popular geolocation services or IP traceback technology, most IP addresses can be traced to their country of origin, town, ISP, and sometimes even to a home address.
With a Proxy?
Your participation in the torrent swarm and communications with the tracker server will happen through the proxy’s IP. Your uTorrent or BitTorrent client will forward their traffic to the proxy so that it uses its identity to talk to the torrent swarm and tracker.
What wouldn’t a proxy do?
A proxy does not encrypt traffic in the same way a VPN does. Obviously, this has its disadvantages and advantages. First, not using encryption makes your traffic “potentially visible” to the eyes of any middle-man, which includes your ISP, hackers, or government. Anyone could identify your torrent traffic via port numbers and throttle its bandwidth simply by setting up a packet sniffer or a Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) device at the first or middle mile.
For example, my Vuze torrent client is using a listening port, 25849 UDP. Someone could set a Wireshark packet trace to a set of network interfaces and then filter for that specific could read my interface IP (public or private) and the destination IP (a peer in the torrent swarm). This shows that someone within the network is using a P2P application. A proxy does not encrypt the contents of this traffic, especially port information and data.
The advantage of not using encryption is simply the lower overhead. Compared to VPNs, proxy servers are much faster and efficient for those bandwidth-intensive traffic applications, like P2P and torrenting.
3. What type of proxy to use for torrenting?
There are different types of proxies out there. The most frequent and available are HTTP and SOCKS5, which can be used for a wide variety of applications. But when it comes to torrenting, SOCKS5 can be a much better option.
SOCKS5 vs HTTP proxies for torrenting.
Technically, you could use HTTP/HTTPS proxies for torrenting, but these are designed for anonymous HTTP web browsing (port 80 or 443). You’ll have to configure your torrent client to use these web browsing ports, which can be good because they are generally not blocked by ISPs, but they will likely leak torrent data easily. Plus, HTTP proxies transport the entire hypertext data, which makes it slower.
SOCKS5 proxy servers are recommended over the HTTP proxies for torrenting.
SOCKS5 works at the session (layer 5 of the OSI model) level, which means they don’t rewrite requests or responses, and they are not forced to use a specific protocol, as layer 7 proxies do (HTTP). SOCKS5 can be used for web browsing, torrenting, gaming, file transferring, etc. The SOCKS5 may be used with authentication. SOCKS5 proxies are the only type of proxy that provides optional authentication. With this feature, only authorized users may access the SOCKS5 proxy server. User/password authentication mechanisms for SOCKS5 are defined in RFC1929.
4. Configuring proxy in a torrent client.
So now, you know why you need to mask your identity and the benefits of using a SOCKS 5 proxy. It is time to configure the proxy information in your torrent client.
To configure a proxy, you’ll need the IP address (or hostname) of the proxy, port number, and in some cases, authentication. But bear in mind that not all torrent clients allow proxy configuration.
The popular torrent clients with build-in proxy settings include:
Some of these torrent clients provide a great degree of flexibility and added security when configuring a proxy. For example, you can configure your client to use the proxy only for peer connections. This option will ensure that your home IP address does not leak peer connections. In addition, you can also only choose your client to use the proxy for tracker communications.
Some torrent clients allow you to disable connections not supported by proxies. For example, when a peer connection does not support the proxy, it will likely drop the connection, making your ISP or anyone in between notice. Instead, disabling all these connections that do not support proxy will help avoid leaks.
5. uTorrent proxy setup.
uTorrent is a multiplatform torrent client, supported by Microsoft Windows, Linux (server version only), macOS, and Android. You can get uTorrent through different consoles, including uTorrent Web, uTorrent mobile, uTorrent Remote, and uTorrent Desktop classic and Pro.
Some of these uTorrent clients do allow changing the proxy settings, but not all.
uTorrent Web and uTorrent Mobile won’t let you modify the proxy settings. uTorrent Desktop classic and uTorrent Pro do support proxy configuration.
How to set up SOCKS5 proxy in uTorrent for Windows?
To configure uTorrent proxy in your Windows machine:
Go to “Options > Preferences > Connection > Proxy Server. Here you’ll be able to select the type of Proxy Server (SOCKS5), the proxy IP or domain, port (SOCKS is usually 1080), and then authentication (if required). Check “use proxy for peer connections” and “disable connections not supported by proxies. ”
To improve your anonymity level when setting a uTorrent proxy:
The uTorrent proxy configuration can be improved with additional features. In addition to the previous selection, if you want to enhance your anonymity, you can also do the following:
In uTorrent’s Connection window, check the “Use proxy for hostname lookups” option. Rather than having your client resolve hostnames in plain text, make the client forward DNS queries to the SOCKS5 proxy. This option avoids potential DNS leaks. Check “Use proxy for peer-to-peer connections. ” Choose this option so the proxy’s IP is used on the peer-to-peer connection. Check everything under “Proxy Privacy. ” These settings below “Proxy privacy” will help you avoid potential IP leaks. Click on “Apply” > “Ok” > and restart your client.
6. How to set up a proxy for BitTorrent.
Although BitTorrent and uTorrent look alike, they do have some differences like size and number of releases. The BitTorrent client is supported by Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. Plus, BitTorrent has the following versions, Android, Classic, and Web. You can only modify the proxy settings in the BitTorrent Classic and Pro versions.
To configure a proxy for the BitTorrent classic client, follow these steps:
Go to “Options > Preferences > Connection > Proxy Server. Enter the BitTorrent proxy server information, including IP or hostname, port, and credentials (if required) the two options: “use proxy for peer connections” and “disable connections not supported by proxies. ”
Similar to uTorrent’s configuration, check the following options to avoid IP leaks. Improve the Bit torrent proxy configuration with the following features.
Check the “Use proxy for hostname lookups” and “Use proxy for peer-to-peer connections” options. Check everything under “Proxy Privacy. ”Click on “Apply” > “Ok” > and restart your client.
7. How to set up proxy in qBittorrent.
qBittorrent is a popular cross-platform torrent client supported by: FreeBSD, Linux, macOS, OS/2, and Windows. The current stable versions, as officially stated, are for the following platforms, Windows (7, 8, and 10), macOS (Mojave, Catalina, and Big Sur), and Linux (Source Tarball). Fortunately, you can configure your qBittorrent proxy in all these versions.
To set up the proxy on qBittorrent client for Windows:
Go to Tools > Options > Connection > Proxy Server. In the Proxy Server section, enter the type of proxy (HTTP or SOCKS5), the Host or IP address of the proxy server, and the port number. The proxy service provider should give you all this information. Check the “use proxy for peer connections. ” This option will ensure that your home IP address does not leak peer connections.
Setup qBitTorrent proxy for macOS?
Go to Preferences > Connection > Proxy Server. Enter the proxy’s information and check the “use proxy for peer connections”.
8. How to set up proxy in Deluge.
Deluge is another popular torrent client supported by FreeBSD, Linux, macOS, and Windows. Thankfully, you can configure Deluge proxy settings for any of these platforms. To optimize speed and improve anonymity, check this comprehensive guide to Deluge.
Configure the proxy on Deluge for Windows, using the following steps:
To open Deluge proxy settings, go to Preferences > Proxy.
As you notice, you’ll see four different sections to configure Proxy information in Deluge: Peer, Web Seed, Tracker, and DHT. A different approach on how to configure proxy settings compared to other torrent clients.
Side Note: Many experts in the area suggest that after libtorrent 0. 16, all the torrent traffic uses the proxy and not separate sections, as Deluge’s settings suggest. Libtorrent is an open-source implementation of the BitTorrent protocol. Its main features are the support for Mainline DHT, IPv6, HTTP seeds, and uTorrent’s peer exchange. Our recommendation is to update your Deluge torrent client and set your proxy information on all four sections. But, you can also update libtorrent for Deluge.
What is each of these Deluge proxy settings for? “Peer” to exchange torrent content with peers via proxy. “Web Seed” to share the contents of the torrent with a server. “Tracker” to exchange IP information with a tracker via proxy. “DHT” to share IPs with a Distributed Hash Table.
As suggested above, configure your Deluge Proxy settings on all four sections. Type your SOCKS5 username/password (if needed) and add the Host (Server IP) and port number.
9. How to set up proxy in Vuze.
Vuze is a fully-featured and robust BitTorrent client, supported by Linux, Windows, Android, and OS X. Thankfully, you can configure Vuze proxy in all of these platforms.
Set up a SOCKS5 proxy in Vuze for Windows:
To configure Vuze proxy, go to Tools > Options > Connection > Proxy. If you can’t access the “Proxy” option, you’ll need to enable the advanced configuration. Go to Options > Mode > and click on “Advanced” to unlock full access to all settings and features. Expand “Connection” settings again and choose Proxy.
Vuze divides the proxy configuration into two sections: Tracker Communications and Peer Communications.
Check on “I have a SOCKS5 proxy” and on “Enable proxying of tracker communications [restart required]. ” These two options ensure that the torrent tracker you are connecting to uses the proxy’s IP and not the SOCKS5 proxy’s configuration, including Host, port (1080), and authentication (if required).
Check on the “Enable proxying of peer communications (outgoing connections only)” box. Although not mandatory, “Check on “inform tracker of limitation. ” Choose the SOCKS version as “V5” on the dropdown menu. Check on the “Use same proxy settings for tracker and peer communications proxy” box. Leave the rest by default, and click on Save. Vuze has this great feature that allows you to test the SOCKS proxy connection right from the configuration panel. Go ahead and test your proxy connection!
Once connected to the SOCKS5 proxy, Vuze will show a small connectivity status icon on the bottom of the interface in the status area. You can also see the detailed SOCKS5 connection information in the statistics view.
Set up SOCKS5 proxy in Vuze, for macOS:
The Vuze macOS client uses a similar GUI to Windows.
To change your Vuze proxy settings for macOS: Go to Options > Preferences > Connection > Proxy. To unlock proxy settings, go to Mode, then click on Connection > Proxy, enable both Tracker and Peer Communications for maximum anonymity. Vuze separates these two types of torrent connections so that you can separate proxying for tracker proxying of peer your SOCKS5 proxy information, and choose V5 as the SOCKS version. At this point, you can Test your proxy connection.
If you tick on “Use the same proxy setting for tracker and peer communications proxy, ” you won’t have to enter the information again.
Leave the rest by default and restart your torrent back to your Vuze client and test the connection of your SOCKS5 proxy.
Once connected to the SOCKS5 proxy, Vuze will show a small connectivity status icon on the bottom of the interface. In addition, you can also see the detailed SOCKS5 connection information in the statistics view.
To see the connection details of your proxy.
Tools > Statistics > the top right, you’ll see the SOCKS panel. Click on “more. ”This window will show you the proxy’s connection stats.
10. Set up SOCKS5 proxy in Tixati.
Tixati is a Linux and Window BitTorrent client designed for light computer resources. Like all other torrent clients, Tixati has built-in proxy support. But there is a difference, Tixati only supports TCP connections going out through the proxy, which means that UDP traffic won’t be forwarded to the proxy. UDP is essential for P2P features, including DHT and Magnet links.
If you decide to use a proxy on Tixati, bear in mind that only TCP connections will be routed through the proxy. All non-supported UDP connections will not use the proxy tunnel, so there is the risk of getting your IP exposed.
To configure the Tixati proxy settings:
Disable DHT and UDP. Since Tixati does not route UDP-based peer-to-peer traffic through the proxy, you should disable DHT and UDP trackers to prevent IP leaks. Disabling UDP connections will not affect your torrenting experience, as long as your proxy provider provides good TCP to Settings > DHT > Disable DHTGo to Settings > Transfers > Disable UDP trackers.
Enter Tixati proxy information. Now, go to Settings > Network > Proxy. In addition, notice that Tixati proxy settings point out the lack of UDP support with “TCP Outgoing Connection Proxy” and the below IMPORTANT note. Select SOCKS5 proxy, and enter the proxy’s information. Tick on “Use proxy to resolve names, ” if you want the SOCKS5 proxy to resolve the hostname to IPs. The reason for this is that DNS uses either TCP or UDP, so even if you are using a proxy, UDP connections might leak your IP. If you enable this feature, the name resolution will be taken care of by the SOCKS5 proxy.
11. How to configure proxy settings on other torrent clients?
Not all popular clients support proxy configuration. In fact, some popular clients have deprecated its support due to data leaks, while others have maintained it. Below is a brief list of the current landscape of proxy support on popular torrent clients.
Transmission: A popular macOS client that used to support proxy configuration. Proxy support in Transmission was deprecated on version 1. 4. Unfortunately, there is no plan to implement proxy support in this client after version 1. Ticket 3688. rTorrent: No support for proxy configuration. tTorrent: Android torrent client that does support proxy configuration. Open tTorrent > Top left Menu > Settings > Network Settings > Proxy Settings. Tick the “Use Proxy” box > click on Proxy Settings > enter the Proxy information. BitComet: Supports HTTP/HTTPS and SOCKS5. To set up proxy on BitComet: From the BitComet client, go to Tools > Options > Proxy > Enter your proxy configuration. Leave the rest of the options unchecked, except for “DNS query using proxy server”. BitLord: Supports HTTP/HTTPS and SOCKS5. To set up proxy on BitLord: go to Options > Preferences > Connection > Proxy. Enter your proxy’s configuration.
Using a torrent proxy is the best idea if you want to remain anonymous without compromising torrent speed and performance. Using a VPN while torrenting obviously has the benefit of encryption and IP masking, but generally, if configured properly, a SOCKS5 proxy from a reliable provider (not free) should be as secure as a VPN (if not more).
The most popular torrent clients, like BitTorrent, uTorrent, Deluge, qBittorrent, Vuze, etc., come with built-in proxy setting support. You can, not only configure proxy settings for these clients but also set up additional options to lower the risk of a data leak.
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