After careful analysis, reading several case studies, and extensive experimentation, we’re ready to announce the best VPN for Torrenting in 2023:
Now, that might be confusing to some people. We’re certainly not suggesting that it’s wise to Torrent without security and privacy protection. However, our findings have concluded that VPNs aren’t the right answer for most Torrent users.
So why is the best VPN for Torrenting ‘None’, and what are you supposed to use instead? Read on.
IP Leaking, Fingerprinting, and Throttling
Let’s talk about the problem with some VPNs, with all VPNs, and with those pesky ISPs.
First of all, IP leaking is a serious concern for cheaper VPNs. That’s when the service in question somehow shares your real IP address with the world. You might think that this is a solved problem… only the most fly-by-night VPNs have an IP leaking problem, right?
You’d be surprised.
Many VPN providers still don’t support Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). They only support the old, legacy IPv4. So when they see IPv6 traffic, they just… let it pass right through. These requests can compromise your IPv4 address as well.
Another common leak is via WebRTC. WebRTC is an HTML5 standard that allows services to dig for the best possible routing information when streaming something like voice, video, or peer-to-peer services. All it takes is one leak, and anything else you do on the established connection will be traceable to that leaked IP address.
Finally, there are link disruption leaks. This is what happens when the VPN goes down briefly for any reason, but doesn’t stop you from transmitting data. That data will simply default to a vanilla connection without using your VPN at all.
Here’s a breakdown of typical IP leaking scenarios and test results in the wild. Spoiler: It’s not good news.
But even if you have the best VPN in the world and everything is working perfectly, you can still be easily caught if you’re Torrenting anything remotely suspect. VPNs do not stop browser or device fingerprinting. Browser fingerprinting, a method of narrowing down your unique ID by comparing your system’s vital statistics to a database of known systems, is rapidly becoming the most common way to be tracked online.
This is because the old method, third-party cookies, is being phased out. Governments and advertisers needed an alternative way to pin down individual users, so they began collecting as much data as the browser would allow… which turned out to be a massive amount.
And it works for more than just traditional web browsers. Anything that uses a browser as a shell, including all manner of web apps, are vulnerable to fingerprinting. It just depends on the nature of the app and who can really be trusted on the far end of the connection.
Device fingerprinting is similar but uses different indicators and protocols. This can happen with any kind of ISP authentication, guest networking, bandwidth sharing, wireless hotspots, or even some Bluetooth connections. This will hammer down a source profile, quite possibly with a set of hardware, software, and firmware versions that are completely unique in that combination. Then any post-exit-node correlation on the far side of the VPN would be enough to fingerprint the user.
Finally, some people think that VPNs will protect them against all bandwidth throttling. This only works in countries that are already violating Net Neutrality, first of all. But assuming that’s the case, ISPs can simply look at raw data transfer amounts, bandwidth cap patterns, and other raw bitflow data. They don’t need to see what’s inside the packets. They can throttle you and claim ‘fair use’, which is likely a clause in your contract with them. Nothing can prevent ISP throttling based on bandwidth metrics – they always know how many bits are flowing through to you, and can rate limit you no matter what the content of those packets might be.
If The Best VPN For Torrenting Doesn’t Exist, What Do I Use?
Dedicated privacy apps.
VPNs were never designed with privacy in mind. They were designed to allow remote workers to tunnel into their corporate networks. The ‘privacy’ tag came around when people thought that changing their IP address would protect them from all the consequences of whatever they were doing online.
Browser fingerprinting in particular was a rude awakening, especially for those who were caught doing something that was against local law or in violation of international law. Law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges are all being taught about the implications of browser fingerprinting. The discussion of how much of a privacy violation this kind of fingerprinting poses goes back nearly a decade. And even if they don’t have the right corroborating evidence – don’t worry, they can fake it.
Governments have been using these methods for years, but only recently has it been filtering down to common law enforcement levels. This is the next frontier of online identification. Shifting around your IP address is meaningless in this context. And VPNs can’t stop it.
One example of a privacy app that can circumvent IP leakage and browser fingerprinting is Hoody. Because Hoody creates a new mini virtual machine for each browser tab and web app, the fingerprint information is generated by the VM, not your own system. Tabs each have their own context and are only correlated if you allow them to be.
Similarly, the Hoody app not only hides your IP address – fully and without leakage – but it looks for the fastest, uncensored content available by firing off multiple regional requests and only accepting the best results.
Best of all, Hoody has a Torrent-specific feature that allows you to find hard-to-populate files one at a time. It uses the fully encrypted, private network to create a secure, anonymous WebSocket tunnel. It then caches relevant trackers for you, searching for extra seeders as needed. It can even look for the file in static caches online, thus downloading the Torrent using multiple protocols from multiple sources simultaneously.
Ditching traditional VPNs for a superior privacy app is inevitable. When DNA evidence came along, court cases were changed forever. And that’s happening again with browser fingerprints on the digital surveillance side of things. Don’t use yesterday’s protection against the digital forensics of tomorrow. Dump your VPN for a real privacy app.