A VPN should prevent you from getting caught torrenting. However, you may still get caught if you don’t use a reliable torrenting VPN, use a free VPN, or don’t set up your VPN correctly for torrenting.
Thus, I developed this guide to explain how you can get caught while torrenting, what happens if you get caught, and my top (and tested) VPN providers to prevent that.
So, continue reading to learn everything about torrenting safely and securely with a VPN.
How Can You Get Caught Torrenting With a VPN?
Here are some of the ways your ISP and copyright trolls can find out you’re downloading torrents:
IP Address Leaks
A VPN assigns you a new IP address different from your actual IP address whenever you connect to any of its remote servers. This new IP makes it challenging to deanonymize you on the internet.
Thus, you’ll be caught torrenting if your VPN doesn’t protect your IP address adequately and leaks the actual address to servers you’re communicating with.
Poor VPN Setup
Most users have the torrent program running before connecting to a VPN.
Even though you’re not downloading files before connecting to the VPN, your internet service provider (ISP) can see your traffic going into the torrent client.
Thus, it can infer you’ve been torrenting on its network.
Also, you need to shut the VPN service and torrent client down properly when you’re done downloading so you don’t get caught that way either.
The right startup sequence to use a VPN for torrenting is:
Connect to VPN > Start Torrent Program > Download Torrents
Likewise, when you’re done torrenting, follow this sequence:
Close torrent program > Disconnect from VPN
VPNs that keep logs record your real IP address and the VPN-assigned IP address. This means they can hand that data over to your ISP or copyright trolls, which can then be used to find you and apply sanctions.
So, even if your ISP can’t identify you on the network, a data-logging VPN can help them discover who you are.
Poor VPN Encryption
Reliable VPNs use strong encryption to make decrypting your live traffic impossible. Otherwise, copyright trolls, your ISPs, or other interested parties can see what you’re doing over the VPN.
Thus, always choose VPN services with reliable encryption protocols.
At least ensure the VPN supports 256-bit encryption on all protocols and servers.
Torrent Client Startup
Permanently disable your torrent clients (such as uTorrent or BitTorrent client) from starting with your PC.
Even if your VPN app is also set to automatically connect on startup, don’t take the chance that the torrent app starts first. Otherwise, your ISP can see your IP address and associate it with that torrent app activity. That’s enough to catch you in the act.
No Torrenting Support
Some VPNs are great at security and unblocking content but aren’t optimized for torrenting.
For this, you’ll need fast servers in torrent-friendly countries with P2P support as a base. You can get extras like port forwarding, but that’s not an essential requirement for the best torrenting VPNs.
Also, some Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) may be good for downloading torrents but not suitable for seeding.
So, using a VPN not suited to torrenting may still expose you to the authorities.
Using Free VPNs
Free VPNs are everything wrong on this list.
For example, free VPNs don’t offer strong enough encryption on your live traffic, have poor IP/DNS leak protection, and will log your data.
Likewise, they’re slow and don’t offer P2P support, making them even worse for torrenting.
Looking at that alone, it’s no wonder you’ll be caught when torrenting with these.
What Happens if You Get Caught Torrenting?
You can get away with torrenting in countries where there aren’t any laws against downloading/uploading torrents.
However, in the regions where there are such laws, you can expect any of the following:
Your ISP may send you a warning letter asking you to desist from downloading torrents on its network. Such letters may also be accompanied by threats of a lawsuit or other legal action.
Some notable legal actions taken against torrent site users include:
- Chan Nai-Ming paid HK$5,000 (approx. $636) to secure bail in a Hong Kong court after getting charged for torrenting.
- Singapore torrent users were sued by Odex and had to pay $2,000 each in fines.
- Co-founders of The Pirate Bay were sentenced to one year in prison in Sweden, also paying 30 million SEK (approx. $2.96 million) in fines.
- TorrentSpy was ordered to log its users and submit their IP addresses to US authorities. It refused and got slapped with a $111 million fine.
There’s more, but that shows you can get fined, jailed, or even both for downloading or uploading torrents.
Some internet service providers like T-Mobile may terminate your internet service and account if you’re caught torrenting.
Note that this usually comes after multiple warning letters (discussed above).
Likewise, there’s a high chance the ISP keeps your record on file to report you to the authorities. That removes the liability from itself and places the legal burden on you.
So, you can’t resolve to simply open a new account every time one is terminated.
After all, the first termination will likely come with more problems.
3 Best VPNs to Never Get Caught Torrenting
I spent time reviewing the best VPNs for torrenting.
Besides stellar upload and download speeds, I focused on features that protect you from getting caught while torrenting.
So, let’s discuss my top 3 VPN providers for torrenting.
NordVPN – Securely Download Torrents From Specialty P2P Servers
NordVPN is a no-logs VPN provider based in Panama. So, it neither has your data to hand over to authorities nor is it based in a data sharing-alliance region.
Likewise, NordVPN offers P2P support on all its servers for safer and faster torrenting. In fact, it also provides specialty P2P-optimized servers for the best torrenting results.
On top of that, NordVPN uses AES 256-bit grade encryption on all its servers across all protocols to prevent IP/DNS/WebRTC leaks.
I tested this by connecting to P2P servers, and my IP or DNS never leaked.
Also, you get a kill switch to protect your IP address whenever you lose connection to the VPN server.
You can even set up the app kill switch to target your web browsers and torrent client. That way, you’re extra sure they don’t leak your IP/DNS if the VPN connection drops while downloading torrents.
However, NordVPN doesn’t offer port forwarding, which could have helped with faster torrenting. Still, it’s fast and secure to ensure you never get caught.
Likewise, NordVPN doesn’t allow seeding, so you might get caught in that case.
Thus, I recommend you check ExpressVPN for seeding torrents.
Still, you can download torrent files legally on up to six devices simultaneously protected by NordVPN.
On top of that, enjoy these NordVPN discounts to help you save more.
ExpressVPN – Secure Torrenting VPN for Fast Seeding and Downloads
ExpressVPN is also a no-logs provider that’s been audited twice.
On top of that, it’s based in the data privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands.
Thus, it’s not obligated to share your data with your ISP, government, or copyright claims company.
Likewise, ExpressVPN offers an optimized P2P support experience on all servers. You also get obfuscation on all these servers, making it easier to bypass VPN traffic blocks on torrent sites set by your ISP.
Furthermore, ExpressVPN provides port forwarding, though only on the router app. However, it supports torrent seeding on all devices, including PC (Mac, Windows, Chromebook, and Linux), which you’ll most likely be torrenting on.
I double-checked with ExpressVPN’s support, though, just to be sure.
This VPN provider also uses the industry-standard AES 256-bit technology for encryption, so your live data can’t be accessed by governments, your ISP, or copyright firms.
I tested how secure the encryption was from a few ExpressVPN servers and never got any IP or DNS leaks.
In fact, you can test for these leaks inside the ExpressVPN app.
Still, ExpressVPN provides its Network Lock kill switch against IP address leaks to your ISP whenever you lose connection to a remote server.
On the downside, ExpressVPN is expensive, even though it offers torrent download protection on five simultaneous devices.
Luckily, you can save more with these ExpressVPN discounts.
Surfshark – Download Torrents Securely on Unlimited Devices
Surfshark may be based in the Netherlands, a Fourteen Eyes country, but it’s been audited for its no-logs claims.
I was concerned that Surfshark didn’t indicate its P2P-optimized servers on the app. So, I asked Surfshark support.
However, even though Surfshark claims it has P2P servers for seeding, the VPN provider DOES NOT support seeding torrents.
Also, the support staff I asked about seeding volunteered a series of optimized torrenting server locations I could try.
So, if in doubt, you can always check with support (via live chat), and you’ll get a quick response on which servers to use.
The Surfshark VPN might not have a speed-optimized in-house protocol like ExpressVPN (Lightway protocol) and NordVPN (NordLynx protocol).
Still, it uses the same AES 256-bit encryption on all servers.
Of course, I tested this claim across multiple servers and didn’t suffer any IP or DNS leaks.
Also, you get a kill switch with Surfshark. So, you never have to worry about your ISP or copyright trolls deanonymizing you if you ever lose connection to the VPN’s remote server.
Sadly, Surfshark doesn’t offer port forwarding. But that’s not a serious dealbreaker.
In fact, this VPN provider more than makes up for that by offering unlimited simultaneous device connections with unlimited bandwidth to secure as many torrent downloading computers as you want.
Still, grab these Surfshark deals to get even better value on your purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Get Caught Torrenting With NordVPN?
You can get caught torrenting with NordVPN IF you don’t connect to a remote VPN server before launching your torrent download client.
You can also get caught if you don’t close down the torrent app before disconnecting from NordVPN or you don’t enable the NordVPN kill switch.
So, always connect to NordVPN before your torrent client, close the torrent client before disconnecting NordVPN, and always enable the kill switch.
Can You Get Caught Downloading Movies With a VPN?
You can get caught downloading movies over a VPN with poorly encrypted protocols when you don’t activate the VPN kill switch or use a free VPN.
You can also get caught if you don’t activate the VPN kill switch before downloading or start the torrent client before connecting to your VPN.
Thus, always use reliable VPN providers like NordVPN, activate your VPN kill switch, and startup/exit the torrent client after/before connecting/disconnecting the VPN (respectively).
Is It Safe to Use BitTorrent With a VPN?
BitTorrent is banned in the US, Netherlands, and other regions.
Still, you can torrent safely on BitTorrent with reliable VPNs like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark.
These VPN providers offer robust encryption so your live internet traffic can’t be seen by your ISP/copyright trolls, a kill switch to protect you when the VPN connection drops, and a new IP address to keep you anonymous.
How Safe Is ExpressVPN for Torrenting?
ExpressVPN allows torrent downloading and seeding on its 3000+ P2P-supported servers in 94 countries. It also offers obfuscation on all servers to bypass VPN traffic blocks to torrent websites without losing the faster download speed.
On top of that, ExpressVPN’s Network Lock protects your actual IP address from leaking if the VPN connection drops. Finally, you get AES 256-bit encryption with ExpressVPN. Thus, your government, ISP, and copyright trolls don’t see what you’re doing on the internet.
Will a VPN Provider Stop DMCA Notices?
DMCA notices are sent to the IP address provider, now your VPN provider, and it can ignore such warnings. So, pick a no-logs VPN since it won’t be able to disclose any information on you, including your actual IP address or other personally-identifying data.
Still, ensure the VPN you use supports torrenting (downloading and seeding, depending on what you do), and you’re not breaking its terms of service. Otherwise, it may cooperate with the authorities since you first violated its ToS.
Can an Internet Service Provider (ISP) Tell if You’re Torrenting?
Your ISP can tell if you’re torrenting since it sees the websites you access and what data you’re transmitting. Thus, you need a VPN to encrypt your internet connection traffic to prevent your ISP from seeing and analyzing your traffic data.
On top of that, the chosen VPN provider must use reliable encryption like AES 256-bit technology which is currently impossible to crack.
Otherwise, your ISP may still get past the poor encryption, see your torrenting activity and deanonymize you.
Start Torrenting Safely Today
While you can get caught while using a free VPN, the chances are significantly reduced when downloading torrents over a secure VPN like NordVPN.
If you like seed torrents (upload files), you’re better off with ExpressVPN for downloading and seeding.
Featuring AES 256-bit encryption with P2P-optimized servers, NordVPN is fast enough to download files speedily and securely from anywhere.
Get started with these NordVPN discounts and continue to avoid copyright trolls.