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The 10 Best VPN for torrenting (2023 Update)

By Tibor Moes / November 2022

Why do you need a VPN? A Virtual Private Network (VPN) hides your IP address and makes you anonymous. Here are some of the reasons why you need a VPN:

  • Your anonymity will be restored. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP), Google, and Facebook track whatever you search and download. VPNs prevent them from tracking your data and sending you targeted advertisements.
  • Your internet connection will be secure. A VPN protects you from identity theft, hackers, criminals, malicious sites, and other cyber threats. It also keeps sensitive information, like your passwords and credit card details, safe.
  • Geo-restrictions won’t be a problem anymore. By logging into a foreign VPN server, you’ll be able to access geo-blocked content anywhere in the world. Foreign apps, websites, and streaming services will all be accessible.

With the best VPN for torrenting, you’ll be able to browse the web anonymously, keep your online data safe, and access geo-blocked content.

CyberGhost VPN - The best VPN

CyberGhost VPN

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  • Security and Privacy 100% 100%
  • Speed 100% 100%

CyberGhost is the best affordable VPN of 2023. It’s ultra-fast, private, and secure. And it temporarily offers deep discounts.

✓ Stream: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and more
✓ Torrent: Optimized P2P servers
✓ Return: 45-day money-back guarantee
✓ Privacy: Maximum (no logs)
✓ Servers: 91 countries
✓ Protect: 7 devices

Try it risk-free, thanks to its 45-day return policy.

NordVPN - The most advanced VPN

NordVPN

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  • Security and Privacy 100% 100%
  • Speed 100% 100%

NordVPN is the most advanced VPN of 2023. It has the best privacy technology (RAM-Servers and Double VPN) and a beautiful design.

✓ Stream: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and more
✓ Torrent: Optimized P2P servers
✓ Return: 30-day money-back guarantee
✓ Privacy: Maximum (no logs)
✓ Servers: 59 countries
✓ Protect: 6 devices

Try it risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

Ranking of the best VPN services of 2023

We have tested cybersecurity software since 2014. Below, we have selected the top 4 from 30 paid and free VPN services (Virtual Private Networks).

Click the links or scroll down for more.

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN Review

Ranked #1 out of 30 VPNs

CyberGhost VPN Review

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CyberGhost VPN Review

CyberGhost is the fastest VPN in our test. It also has the lowest price and the biggest server network. It's one of the best VPN services you can buy.

Specifications

  • Streaming: Works with Netflix US, Disney, Amazon, HBO Max, and more
  • Torrenting: Allowed on P2P servers
  • Logging: No Logs
  • Servers & Countries: 9,000 Servers in 91 countries
  • Connections: 7
  • 1-Year Price: € 47.64
  • Money-Back Guarantee: 45 days

Streaming

CyberGhost has dedicated streaming servers for Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, and more.

Torrenting

CyberGhost has optimized P2P servers. It is an excellent VPN for torrenting, thanks to its kill switch, IP- and DNS-leak protection, and no logs policy.

Privacy

CyberGhost has a strict no-logs policy: It does not monitor or record what you do online, and it does not store your IP address. Therefore, you are completely anonymous when using CyberGhost.

Ownership

CyberGhost is owned and operated by CyberGhost S.A. from Romania. Its parent company is Kape Technologies from the UK, which also owns ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and ZenMate.

Speed

We test all VPN services on a 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) internet connection, with the VPN set to the WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest. These are the test results of the best VPN services:

VPN WireGuard
CyberGhost 825-850 Mbps
NordVPN 725-800 Mbps
Surfshark 700-800 Mbps
IPVanish 700-725 Mbps

Security

CyberGhost applies the most important security and privacy features:

  • AES-256 encryption
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling (on Windows and Android)
  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker
  • Dedicated IP

But it lacks RAM-only servers and Double VPN, which NordVPN does offer.

Censorship

CyberGhost does not use obfuscation technology, which hides your VPN usage. Therefore, it is not the right VPN for high-censorship countries like China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, or the UAE.

Servers

CyberGhost has a huge number of servers: 9,000 in 91 countries.

60 Countries have physical servers within their borders, while the other 31 are virtual servers. Although virtual servers are not located within the indicated country, they will give you a local IP address from that country.

It also offers specialized servers:

  • Servers optimized for P2P
  • Servers optimized for streaming
  • Servers with static IP addresses
  • Servers with dedicated IP addresses
  • Fully owned NoSpy servers

Devices

You can install CyberGhost on 7 devices at the same time. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and a range of routers. It also has browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Prices

CyberGhost has the lowest 1-year price in the industry.

VPN 1-Year Price
CyberGhost € 47.64
Surfshark € 47.88
IPVanish $ 47.89
NordVPN € 52.68
ExpressVPN € 99.84

Is CyberGhost VPN the best VPN software of 2023?

CyberGhost is the fastest VPN in our test and has the most affordable 1-year contract. On top of that, it is secure, private, and has one of the largest server networks. It's excellent.

You can try CyberGhost risk-free, thanks to its 45-day return policy.

NordVPN

NordVPN Review

Ranked #2 out of 30 VPNs

NordVPN Review

NordVPN Review

NordVPN is the most advanced VPN service you can buy. It uses the latest privacy technology, like RAM servers and double VPN, and works in China. It's one of the best VPN providers you can buy.

Specifications

  • Streaming: Works with Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and more
  • Torrenting: Allowed on 80% of its servers
  • Logging: No Logs
  • Servers & Countries: 5,600 Servers in 59 countries
  • Connections: 6
  • 1-Year Price: € 52.68
  • Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

Streaming

NordVPN unblocks Netflix in 10 countries, including the United States. It also works with Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.

Torrenting

NordVPN allows torrenting on most of its servers. On top of that, it has optimized P2P servers for extra high download speeds.

Thanks to its no-logs policy, kill switch, DNS- and IP-leak blocking, it is a safe choice for torrenting.

Privacy

NordVPN has a strict no-log policy. So it does not record your IP address or online activities. It was the first VPN company to subject its privacy policy to an independent audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ownership

NordVPN is owned and operated by NordVPN S.A. from Panama. Its parent company, Nord Security, merged with the parent company of SurfShark to form Cyberspace BV in the Netherlands.

Speed

We test all VPN services on a 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) internet connection, with the VPN set to the WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest. These are the test results of the best VPN providers:

VPN WireGuard
CyberGhost 825-850 Mbps
NordVPN 725-800 Mbps
Surfshark 700-800 Mbps
IPVanish 700-725 Mbps

Security

NordVPN is the most advanced VPN in our comparison. It includes both the mainstream security features and the highly advanced ones:

  • AES-256 encryption
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling
  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker
  • Dedicated IP
  • RAM-only servers
  • Double VPN
  • Onion over VPN
  • Obfuscated servers
  • Meshnet (on Windows and Linux)

NordVPN is also available in a bundle, including NordLocker (encrypted cloud storage) and NordPass (password manager and data breach scanner).

Censorship

NordVPN is one of the few VPNs that work in highly censored countries like China, the UAE, Iran, Russia, and Turkey. This is thanks to its obfuscation technology that hides your VPN traffic.

Servers

NordVPN has an extensive VPN server network, with 5,600 servers in 59 countries. They are all physical servers, meaning every server is located within the country's borders.

It also offers specialty servers:

  • P2P servers
  • Streaming servers
  • Static IP address servers
  • Double VPN servers
  • Onion over VPN servers
  • Obfuscated servers

Devices

You can install NordVPN on 6 devices at the same time. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and some routers. It also has browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Prices

Considering that NordVPN is the most advanced VPN, it is a bargain.

VPN 1-Year Price
CyberGhost € 47.64
Surfshark € 47.88
IPVanish $ 47.89
NordVPN € 52.68
ExpressVPN € 99.84

Is NordVPN the best VPN service of 2023?

NordVPN is the most advanced VPN software you can buy, thanks to its RAM servers, double VPN, Onion over VPN, and obfuscated servers.

You can try NordVPN risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

SurfShark VPN

Surfshark VPN Review

Ranked #3 out of 30 VPNs

SurfShark VPN Review

Surfshark VPN Review

Surfshark offers the best value for money. It is fast, secure, and affordable. And it allows you to install it on an unlimited number of devices. It's one of the best VPN programs you can buy.

Specifications

  • Streaming: Works with Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and more
  • Torrenting: Allowed on all of its servers
  • Logging: No Logs
  • Servers & Countries: 3,200 Servers in 95 countries
  • Connections: Unlimited
  • 1-Year Price: € 47.88
  • Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

Streaming

Surfshark can stream Netflix in 10 countries, including the United States. It also works with Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.

Torrenting

Surfshark allows P2P file-sharing on all of its servers and offers optimized P2P servers for higher download speeds. Due to its kill-switch, no-logs policy, and leak-blocking, Surfshark is a safe choice for torrenting.

Privacy

Surfshark has a clear no-logs policy. It does not track what you do online and does not store your IP address. In 2021, Surfshark underwent an independent server audit by Cure53, a German cybersecurity firm.

Ownership

Surfshark BV from the Netherlands owns Surfshark. In 2022, its parent company merged with Nord Security, creating the holding company Cyberspace BV, also located in the Netherlands.

Speed

We test all VPN services on a 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) internet connection, with the VPN set to the WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest. These are the test results of the best VPN programs:

VPN WireGuard
CyberGhost 825-850 Mbps
NordVPN 725-800 Mbps
Surfshark 700-800 Mbps
IPVanish 700-725 Mbps

Security

After NordVPN, Surfshark is the most advanced VPN in our comparison. It covers all mainstream and advanced features:

  • AES-256 encryption
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling
  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker
  • Dedicated IP
  • RAM-only servers
  • Double VPN
  • Onion over VPN
  • Obfuscated servers
  • Rotating IP
  • Override GPS Location on Android

Next to its VPN service, Surfshark also offers antivirus software, personal data breach alert, and a private search engine. These features are sold separately or together with the VPN in SurfShark One.

Censorship

Thanks to its Camouflage and NoBorders Mode, Surfshark works well in censored countries like Russia, the UAE, Turkey, and Iran. However, it does not consistently work in China.

Servers

Surfshark has an extensive network, with 3,200 servers in 95 countries. However, some of these servers are virtual. That means that although you get a local IP address from the country of your choice, the physical server is located in a different country.

Surfshark also offers specialized servers, including:

  • P2P servers
  • Static IP address servers
  • Double VPN servers (Multihop servers)

Devices

Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and some routers. It also has browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Prices

Surfshark's price is excellent. Especially considering that you can install it on an unlimited number of devices.

VPN 1-Year Price
CyberGhost € 47.64
Surfshark € 47.88
IPVanish $ 47.89
NordVPN € 52.68
ExpressVPN € 99.84

Is Surfshark the best VPN service of 2023?

Surfshark offers the best value for money in the VPN industry. It is advanced, affordable, and allows you to protect an unlimited number of devices. It is one of the best VPN deals out there.

You can try Surfshark risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

IPVanish VPN

IPVanish Review

Ranked #4 out of 30 VPNs

IPVanish VPN Review

IPVanish: Temporarily get 61% OFF  🔥

IPVanish VPN Review

IPVanish is an excellent VPN. It's fast, secure, and affordable. And it allows you to install it on an unlimited number of devices. However, it's not as advanced as the others in this list and has a smaller server network.

Specifications

  • Streaming: Works with Netflix USA, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu
  • Torrenting: Allowed on all of its servers
  • Logging: No Logs
  • Servers & Countries: 2,000 Servers in 50 countries
  • Connections: Unlimited
  • 1-Year Price: $ 47.89
  • Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

Streaming

IPVanish is not the best VPN service for streaming. Although it works with Netflix in the United States, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, it has problems with streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max.

Torrenting

IPVanish allows torrenting on all its servers. And thanks to its no-log policy, kill switch, and no DNS leaks, it is a safe option to do so. The kill switch is necessary because it will block the internet traffic if the VPN connection drops.

Privacy

IPVanish has a clear no-logs policy. However, in 2018, it handed user data to the US government. Data it wasn't supposed to have, according to its log policy. Since then, it has changed owners twice, but the reputation remains.

Speed

We test every VPN service on a 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) internet connection, with the VPN connection set to the WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest. These are the test results of the fastest VPN connections:

VPN WireGuard
CyberGhost 825-850 Mbps
NordVPN 725-800 Mbps
Surfshark 700-800 Mbps
IPVanish 700-725 Mbps

Security

IPVanish is the only VPN in our comparison that owns all of its servers and doesn't rely on third-party server parks, which is excellent. That said, it is not the most advanced VPN in our test.

It includes the following mainstream features:

  • AES-256 encryption
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling

But it misses many of the advanced features:

  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker
  • Dedicated IP
  • RAM-only servers
  • Double VPN
  • Onion over VPN
  • Obfuscated servers

Censorship

IPVanish does not work in censored countries like China, the UAE, Iran, Turkey, or Russia.

Servers

IPVanish has 2,000 VPN servers in 50 countries. All servers are physically located within the country and entirely owned by IPVanish. Because it doesn't rely on third-party server providers, it has complete control over the hardware and software, which theoretically should increase its security.

Devices

IPVanish allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and some routers. But it has no browser extensions.

Prices

IPVanish has a very attractive price, especially as you can install it on an unlimited number of devices.

VPN 1-Year Price
CyberGhost € 47.64
Surfshark € 47.88
IPVanish $ 47.89
NordVPN € 52.68
ExpressVPN € 99.84

Is IPVanish the best VPN provider of 2023?

IPVanish is fast, secure, and affordable. It owns its entire server network and allows you to install the software on unlimited devices. But it's not the most advanced VPN in our test and not the best option for streaming.

You can try IPVanish risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

Comparison table of the best VPN services 

CyberGhost
NordVPN
Surfshark
IPVanish
Icon
CyberGhost VPN Icon
NordVPN Icon
Surfshark VPN Icon
IPVanish VPN Icon
Ranking
#1 / 30
#2 / 30
#3 / 30
#4 / 30
Logging Policy
No Logs
No Logs
No Logs
No Logs
Operating Company
CyberGhost S.A. (Romania)
NordVPN S.A. (Panama)
Surfshark BV (Netherlands)
Ziff Davis, Inc (USA)
Holding Company
Kape Technologies PLC (UK)
Cyberspace BV (Netherlands)
Cyberspace BV (Netherlands)
Ziff Davis, Inc (USA)
VPN Protocols
IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, WireGuard
IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, NordLynx (WireGuard)
IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, WireGuard
IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, WireGuard
Encryption
AES-256
AES-256
AES-256
AES-256
US Netflix




Torrenting




VPN Kill Switch




Split Tunneling




Ad & Tracker Blocker



No
Smart DNS



No
First-Party DNS


No

Dedicated IP


No
No
Double VPN
No


No
RAM Servers
No


No
Works in China
No


No
Countries
91
59
95
50
Servers
9,000+
5,600+
3,200+
2,000+
Speed on WireGuard or proprietary protocol
825-850 Mbps
725-800 Mbps
700-800 Mbps
700-725 Mbps
Comptatible Devices
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Router
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Router
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Router
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Router
Number of Connections
7
6
Unlimited
Unlimited
1-Month Price
€ 12.65
€ 10.49
€ 12.95
$ 10.99
1-Year Price
€ 47.64
€ 52.68
€ 47.88
$ 47.89
2-Year Price
€ 74.88
€ 69.36
€ 59.76
-
3-Year Price
€ 82.29
-
-
-
Customer Support
24/7 Live Chat & Email
24/7 Live Chat & Email
24/7 Live Chat & Email
24/7 Live Chat & Email
Free Trial
1 Day
7 Days
7 Days
No
Money Back Guarantee
45 Days
30 Days
30 Days
30 Days

How we test the best VPN for torrenting

A total of 30 VPNs, both free and paid, went through our extensive tests on different operating systems, which include Windows 10, Windows 11, Android, macOS, and iOS.

> Test 1: Logging policy

What is a logging policy?

When you start using a VPN, you can rest assured knowing that websites and apps won’t be tracking your online activity. However, will your data be safe from the VPN itself? Every time you connect your device to a VPN app, all your internet traffic goes through an encrypted tunnel, provided by the VPN server. But since the VPN routes your internet connection, it gains access to your online activity.

Consequently, it can see your browsing history, the files you download, the websites you visit, etc. Even more importantly, your VPN can use your public IP address to detect your current location. This is usually the case with free VPNs, like Hola VPN, which tracks your online activity and sells that data to advertisers. This is how free VPNs earn a profit since they don’t charge for subscriptions.

Our research suggests that 5% of all VPNs monitor your browsing activity, while even 30% of them store your originating IP address. If a VPN is tracking your online behavior, it will be written in its logging policy.

What do we test for?

We review each VPN provider’s logging policy to see whether they track their users’ online activity. Logging policies tend to be deliberately written in confusing and complicated language, so VPN users won’t be able to figure out whether their data is being collected or not.

Some type of data logging, which doesn’t reveal any information about the user, is acceptable. This includes aggregated bandwidth usage and server load data. However, if the VPN is tracking your browsing activity and your originating IP address, they automatically fail this test. Even if the VPN tracks your online activity and immediately deletes this information when you end the VPN session, it still eliminates the VPN from our list.

> Test 2: Ownership

What do we mean by ownership?

When you start using a VPN, you may not realize that there is someone working behind the scenes. All VPN providers are owned by companies, which are usually owned by bigger companies, also known as corporate holding structures. One major company can even be in charge of multiple VPN providers at the same time.

The reason a VPN provider’s ownership is important is that both the smaller and bigger company can access your data. Whether or not they have the jurisdiction to access and track your data depends on where they are registered. Each country has its unique data retention laws.

These are the five companies that own most VPN providers:

  • Aura or Pango (based in the U.S.) owns Hotspot Shield, TouchVPN, and JustVPN.
  • Ziff Davis (based in the U.S.) owns StrongVPN, Buffered VPN, IPVanish, Perimeter 81, Encrypt.me, SaferVPN, and others.
  • Kape Technologies (based in the UK) owns ExpressVPN, ZenMate, CyberGhost VPN, and Private Internet Access.
  • Gaditek (based in Pakistan) owns PureVPN, Unblock VPN, and Ivacy VPN.
  • CyberSpace (based in the Netherlands) owns Atlas VPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN.

What do we test for?

Each of the VPNs we assessed went through an ownership test, where we checked which company is the end owner and where it’s based. We also looked at the data retention laws of that country, which tells us the scope of the company’s jurisdiction. Checking the company’s history for scandals and significant events is also a part of the test.

One of the tests we did on IPVanish revealed that this VPN provider had been involved in a huge scandal because it was tracking its users’ online activity, even though its logging and privacy policies prohibited this practice. As a result, the company had to hand over all its data to Homeland Security in 2016. Since then, two companies bought IPVanish, but this incident ruined its reputation.

> Test 3: Independent audit

What is an independent audit?

Unlike other tests, independent audits are conducted following a VPN provider’s request. To prove they’re credible and trustworthy, VPN providers hire independent auditors to evaluate a specific element, like the VPN’s infrastructure, operation, or privacy policy. If a VPN provider is making a claim about their service, an independent audit will make sure it’s correct.

Here are some independent audit examples:

  • PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) was hired by NordVPN in 2020 to evaluate the VPN server’s infrastructure, configuration, and technical logs. The audit included interviewing NordVPN’s employees.
  • ExpressVPN also hired PwC to conduct an audit of their TrustedServer technology. Their objective was to prove that their servers deleted all user data once they were rebooted.
  • Private Internet Access (PIA) hired Deloitte in 2022 for an independent audit to review the privacy policy and assess the server environment.
  • Surfshark hired Cure53 in 2021 to investigate whether its server infrastructure had flaws.

What do we test for?

We test whether each VPN went through an independent audit, and we look at the results. We’re especially interested in whether the audit uncovered any flaws.

> Test 4: Available VPN protocols

What is a VPN protocol?

A VPN protocol is like a special language that’s used to establish a connection between the VPN server and the VPN app. The type of protocol the VPN provider uses directly influences how the server and the app identify each other and how they transmit data. VPNs that use the best protocols offer speedy downloads, secure connections, and data transmission control.

The most used VPN protocols include:

  • OpenVPN: This open-source VPN protocol is used by most VPN providers because it uses advanced security measures to keep your online data safe. It’s versatile, customizable, and can be used with almost all operating systems.
  • WireGuard: The new and improved version of OpenVPN. It’s also an open-source protocol, which comes with state-of-the-art security features. It offers a much faster download speed than OpenVPN.
  • IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange volume 2): Developed by Cisco and Microsoft, this VPN protocol is extremely secure and offers fewer lines of code. However, it’s much slower than OpenVPN and WireGuard.
  • PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol): One of the oldest VPN protocols ever designed, PPTP is an outdated model with a lot of safety flaws.
  • L2TP/IPSec (Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol): The improved version of PPTP, which is also too old and slow to be used for modern VPN providers.

Here are some VPN protocols designed by VPN providers and used solely by them:

  • The Lightway protocol, which was designed by ExpressVPN, is the only open-source protocol of the three.
  • NordLynx was developed by NordVPN and based on WireGuard.
  • Catapult Hydra was created by HotSpot Shield.

OpenVPN is the most popular VPN protocol and is used by default by most VPN providers. Some VPN providers also offer WireGuard or IKEv2 as secondary options.

What do we test for?

We test each VPN to see which VPN protocol they use and offer. In addition, we look at their availability on different devices and operating systems.

> Test 5: Supported encryption standard

What is an encryption standard?

In order to keep your data and online activity hidden from data thieves and malicious sites, VPNs route your data through an encrypted tunnel. This is otherwise known as data encryption, which is based on certain encryption standards.

Encryption standards started with the development of the Data Encryption Standard (DES) in 1977. The DES is an outdated symmetric key method of data encryption, which is no longer used due to numerous safety issues and other flaws.

It was replaced by the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) by the United States government in 2002. This newer encryption standard is based on the Rijndael block cipher, which is made up of a block size of 128 bits and key sizes of 128, 192, or 256 bits.

The majority of VPN protocols use the Advanced Encryption Standard with key sizes of 128 and 256 bits. The GMC and CBC versions are both used, but the GMC version is preferred because it’s faster and can be written in parallel.

What do we test for?

We look into what encryption standard each VPN provider uses and whether they offer any alternatives. We prefer the Advanced Encryption Standard version with 256 bits.

> Test 6: Basic security features

What are basic security features?

These are some of the most important basic security features every VPN should offer:

  • AES-256 encryption: This encryption standard offers the best security with a key length of 256 bits. VPNs with AES-256 encryption are impossible to hack.
  • OpenVPN and WireGuard: Both of these open-source VPN protocols offer advanced security features and fast connections. OpenVPN takes first place, but WireGuard is a close second.
  • Split tunneling: With this feature, you’ll be able to choose specific internet traffic to go through a separate tunnel on the open network, bypassing the encrypted VPN tunnel.
  • Kill switch: If the encrypted VPN tunnel fails for some reason, the kill switch will automatically cut off your connection.

What do we test for?

We make sure that each VPN provider offers these basic features, and we check if they work.

> Test 7: Advanced security features

What are advanced security features?

A VPN should also be equipped with advanced security features to protect your privacy. Here are some of the most important:

  • Ad trackers and malicious website blockers: These two advanced security features put an end to targeted ads, cookies that track your online behavior, and malicious websites.
  • Dedicated IP address: VPNs provide you with a unique, dedicated IP address that gives you access to restricted servers and helps you overcome online blocks and captchas. You can also use it to get around websites for which you would need an authorized IP address.
  • Double VPN: Instead of one, your internet traffic will be routed through two VPN servers. This feature is otherwise known as multi-hop servers or VPN server chaining. When your online traffic goes through a double encryption, your online safety and privacy are increased.
  • Obfuscated servers: These special servers hide your VPN activity, so no one will know you’re browsing through a VPN tunnel. It can be extremely useful in countries where you’re not allowed to use VPNs, like China or the UAE.
  • Override GPS Location: VPNs allow for GPS spoofing, which refers to changing your online location and replacing it with the VPN server’s location. This feature is handy when you want to conceal your whereabouts from apps like Google Maps and Facebook.
  • RAM-only servers: These types of servers aren’t equipped with hard drives, so it’s not possible for them to keep your data. Each time the server you’re using is restarted, your data is automatically wiped.

What do we test for?

We check if each VPN provider offers advanced security features, and we make sure they’re functioning properly.

> Test 8: IP leak

What is an IP leak?

All your devices connected to the internet are assigned a public IP address by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The public IP address can either be an IPv4 address or an IPv6 address. On the other hand, devices on the same network use a private IP address to communicate.

Since your public IP address is used for communication on an open network, it’s at risk of major privacy issues. Due to the fact that your public IP address can be traced back to your ISP, it can reveal where you live. It won’t be able to reveal your exact location, but hackers would be able to narrow the search down to your neighborhood.

Your public IP address can also reveal your browsing history, which someone could use to find out your surfing habits. However, if you use a VPN to hide your IP address, the following will happen:

  • Your ISP will be able to see that you’re using a VPN, but it won’t be able to track your online activity.
  • The VPN will provide you with a different IP address, so the websites and apps you’re using will only be able to trace your location to the VPN’s server.

If an IP leak occurs, your originating IP address becomes visible to websites, apps, and your ISP.

What do we test for?

To make sure there is no IP leak, we start using a VPN and then run an IP address lookup. If it reveals the VPN server’s address, there is no IP leak.

> Test 9: DNS leak

What is a DNS leak?

Domain Name System (DNS) refers to an internet protocol that converts website addresses we can understand into IP addresses. An IP address is a string of numbers, for example, “192.158.1.38,” and it’s necessary for your device to communicate with another device. DNS servers are mostly run by your ISP, which means that your browsing history is at risk of being revealed in the process.

To combat this type of data tracking, VPNs use their own DNS servers. But sometimes, a DNS leak can occur. This typically happens if there is an issue with the VPN tunnel, which results in your internet traffic going directly through your ISP’s DNS server. Another way this can happen is if you accidentally make a mistake while adjusting the VPN’s settings manually.

What do we test for?

We run a DNS server lookup for every VPN we tested. If the VPN provider doesn’t appear to own the DNS servers, this means it’s a DNS leak.

> Test 10: WebRTC leak

What is a WebRTC leak?

WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is used by popular browsers, including Chrome, Edge, and Firefox, when they communicate with websites in real time. With WebRTC, browsers don’t need to use additional software for audio, video, and streaming functionalities.

Every time your browser uses this real-time communication channel, it reveals your local and public IP address. Fixing this issue quickly isn’t possible. Instead, you would attempt to block WebRTC data exchanging requests, which is a complicated process.

A VPN can help you with this problem by making its server send its own IP address, so your IP address will remain hidden. But sometimes, the VPN can fail, which leads to a WebRTC leak.

What do we test for?

We run a WebRTC lookup for every VPN to see if it will reveal your IP address or the IP address of the VPN server.

> Test 11: Download speed via OpenVPN

What is OpenVPN?

Introduced in 2001, OpenVPN is an open-source VPN protocol that offers safe and fast connections. It’s considered the most secure VPN protocol, which is why it’s used by most VPN providers. There are two versions of OpenVPN:

  • OpenVPN UDP (User Datagram Protocol): Since it offers a fast download speed, this version of OpenVPN is the default protocol for many VPN providers.
  • OpenVPN TCP (Transmission Control Protocol): This OpenVPN version gives you more control over data transmission, but its download speed is much slower.

OpenVPN is the most popular VPN protocol and is used by the majority of VPN providers by default. Even VPN protocols that use WireGuard as the primary protocol offer OpenVPN as an alternative.

What do we test for?

Each VPN service goes through a download speed test on a 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps) internet connection. We do this by setting the Windows app to the OpenVPN protocol.

> Test 12: Supported speed via WireGuard

What is WireGuard?

Another open-source VPN protocol, WireGuard is currently OpenVPN’s biggest competitor. In fact, WireGuard was developed as an improved version of OpenVPN and IPsec. WireGuard has only 4,000 lines of code, making it much faster than OpenVPN, which, in comparison, has almost 500,000 lines of code.

Even though WireGuard was developed for Linux Kernel, all major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, are now compatible with this VPN protocol. According to our research, WireGuard is 60% faster than OpenVPN.

What do we test for?

We check the download speed of all VPN providers that use WireGuard with an internet connection speed of 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps).

> Test 13: (Virtual) VPN servers and locations

What are (virtual) VPN servers?

To operate and create encrypted end-to-end connections with clients, a VPN needs to host its specialized software on some kind of server. These are usually physical servers, which must be located in the same country the user chooses on the VPN app. To simplify, if you want to use an American IP address with your VPN app, you would be linked to a server located in the state you selected.

The problem occurs when a country doesn’t have a physical server. For example, if you want a local IP address from Andorra, you won’t be connected to a physical server because there are none. Instead, you would be linked to a virtual VPN server.

Virtual VPN servers provide you with a local IP address even though they aren’t situated at that location. You’ll find that most VPN providers offer up to 60 physical servers. If there are more servers and locations available on your VPN app, those are all virtual servers.

What do we test for?

We start by analyzing how many servers and locations a VPN provider has to offer. The next step is to determine whether each server is physical or virtual, after which we see if the servers can be chosen on a country level or city level.

> Test 14: Streaming compatibility

What is compatibility with a streaming service?

VPNs are commonly used to access content that’s not available in a particular country or region. This usually occurs when you want to watch a movie on a streaming platform like Netflix, only to find out it’s not available in your country. A lot of other streaming platforms, like HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney+, have geo-blocks that prevent you from accessing their content.

The good news is that you can watch whatever you want with a good VPN. For example, if you wanted to watch a geo-restricted movie on Netflix, you would need to use a VPN to change your IP address and connect it to a server in the U.S.

However, Netflix and some other websites use special software to block this kind of activity. That’s why you need to choose a VPN provider that constantly improves its technology, so it can overcome the most advanced geo-restrictions.

What do we test for?

We check whether VPN providers can give you access to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO max, and BBC iPlayer in the U.S. When it comes to Netflix, we check for other countries as well, including Japan, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, the UK, and more.

> Test 15: Torrenting compatibility

What is compatibility with a torrent network?

You’ve probably heard about torrenting before. It involves downloading and uploading files through a peer-to-peer (P2P) connection. In other words, users upload files so other users can download them. This type of file sharing is achieved through programs like BitTorrent or uTorrent, and it doesn’t require a central server on either end.

Many people think that torrenting is illegal, associating it with piracy, but that’s actually not the case. It only becomes illegal when it includes copyrighted materials, like music or movies.

What do we test for?

We check each VPN provider to see whether they allow their users to download files through a peer-to-peer connection on their servers.

> Test 16: Annual price and price per device

What is the annual price and price per device?

When it comes to pricing, VPN providers usually offer a few plans with different durations. The one-month plan is the priciest option, while three-month and six-month plans are more affordable when you compare monthly fees. Therefore, the longest plans typically offer the best value for the money.

To assess the annual price and the price per device of a VPN provider, we looked at their one-year contracts. This revealed that most VPN providers offer similar payment plans. The VPN provider that has the most expensive plans is ExpressVPN.

A handful of VPN providers are free, but they’re usually not reliable. If you want to use a high-quality, trustworthy VPN, you’ll need to subscribe to a payment plan.

What do we test for?

To compare different VPN providers, we look at their annual prices based on their one-year contracts. To determine the price per connection, we divide the annual price by the number of connections allowed at the same time.

What VPNs for torrenting have we tested?

We have tested 30 paid and free VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). Proton VPN is the best free VPN service. But if you have the money, we recommend getting a paid VPN service.

In the best case, the free version allows you to protect only one device and doesn’t offer you unlimited bandwidth / unlimited data. And in the worst case, the free VPN providers show you ads or secretly sell your browsing history to advertisers and your internet service provider.

And should you be strapped for cash, don’t opt for an expensive VPN like ExpressVPN. Instead, get a cheap VPN, like Surfshark, that allows you to install it on an unlimited number of devices and share the cost with a friend.

  • Astrill VPN
  • Atlas VPN
  • Avast SecureLine VPN
  • Betternet VPN
  • Bitdefender VPN
  • CactusVPN
  • CyberGhost VPN
  • ExpressVPN
  • HideME VPN
  • HMA VPN (HideMyAss VPN)
  • Hola VPN
  • Hotspot Shield VPN
  • IPVanish VPN
  • Ivacy VPN
  • IVPN
  • Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection
  • McAfee Safe Connect VPN
  • Mozilla VPN
  • MullVad VPN
  • NordVPN
  • Norton Secure VPN
  • Private Internet Access VPN
  • PrivateVPN
  • Proton VPN
  • PureVPN
  • StrongVPN
  • Surfshark VPN
  • Tunnelbear VPN
  • VyprVPN
  • Windscribe VPN

The best are: CyberGhost, NordVPN, and Surfshark.

Frequently asked questions

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) protects your online privacy. It creates an encrypted VPN tunnel between your device and a VPN server. This tunnel hides your IP address, restores your anonymity online and makes you safe on public Wi-Fi networks.

Why do you need a VPN?

You need a VPN to restore your online privacy and security. Without a VPN, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and advertisers can track everything you read, watch and download online. On top of that, if you don’t use a VPN, hackers will be able to steal your data on public Wi-Fi networks, which can lead to identity theft.

How does a VPN work?

A VPN creates an encrypted connection, called a VPN tunnel, between your devices and a VPN server. This hides your IP address and what you do online. As a result, your ISP won’t be able to see what websites you visit, and advertisers won’t be able to know what your IP address is.

What is the best VPN?

CyberGhost, NordVPN, and Surfshark are the best VPN services of 2022. NordVPN is the most advanced VPN service. CyberGhost has the highest download speeds and the lowest one-year price. And Surfshark allows you to install the software on unlimited devices.

What is the fastest VPN?

CyberGhost, NordVPN, and Surfshark are the fastest VPN services of 2022. Although CyberGhost is slightly faster than the other two, the difference is not noticeable for most users.

About the author

Tibor Moes

Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.

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