µTorrent, more commonly spelled uTorrent, is the world’s most popular BitTorrent client made outside of China. It’s the official client created by the people who invented the BitTorrent P2P protocol.
Both uTorrent and BitTorrent are still being maintained today under a legal company. The underlying technology and network that creates the BitTorrent ecosystem is not illegal. It is, however, a medium over which many illegal activities take place. Chief among them: copyright violations via the unsanctioned distribution of media–movies, TV shows, video games, software, music, and more.
Torrenting has become so closely associated with illegal downloads that many ISPs penalize P2P filesharers in broad strokes, whether the content they download is legal or not. Such actions could include throttling bandwidth to torrenters or even handing over your IP address to copyright trolls, who will send settlement letters to extort cash from victims.
Torrenting can risk your privacy as well. Because it is a network built for both uploading and downloading files, the protocol requires an IP address from each user. These IP addresses are visible to peers on the network who are seeding or leeching (uploading or downloading, respectively) the same files. Your exposed IP address could be used to target you with anything from advertisements to malware to settlement letters.
For these reasons, it is highly recommended that all torrenters, legal or not, invest in a VPN. A VPN absolves the aforementioned threats in two key ways. First, it encrypts internet traffic traveling to and from your computer, which prevents your ISP and other entities from snooping on your online activity. Secondly, it routes all that traffic through a server in a location of your choosing. This both prevents your ISP from knowing the final destination of your internet traffic, and gives you a new IP address from which you can connect to the BitTorrent network.
The best VPNs for uTorrent
Each of the VPNs is covered in detail, but if you are short of time, here is a summary list of the best VPNs for uTorrent:
- NordVPN Our #1 choice. Best in speed tests and a vast network of servers. Strong privacy and no logs policy. 30-day money back guarantee has you covered.
- Surfshark A low-cost, security-focused provider, fast enough for lag-free streaming, and offers no connection limit.
- ExpressVPN Strong encryption and privacy standards, along with fast servers in plenty of locations.
- IPVanish Torrent-friendly VPN service. Speedy, keeps no logs, and strong default encryption.
- CyberGhost A good all-rounder. Won’t let you down on speed and security. Works well for torrenting.
So which VPN is best for uTorrent users? We’ve narrowed down the following list based on a handful of important criteria:
- Strong encryption on the OpenVPN protocol
- No activity logs stored
- Servers in the Netherlands, where torrenting is largely still legal
- Good download speed and unlimited bandwidth
- Windows, Mac, and Android apps
- Built-in VPN kill switch to prevent IP leaks
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our first choice for a uTorrent VPN. It outperforms all competitors in our speed tests and is one of the most powerful VPNs available when it comes to security. Among its huge list of servers are nearly two dozen in the Netherlands. These include two “double-hop” servers, which tunnel one VPN through another VPN. This will slow down downloads slightly but make you next to impossible to track down. Servers are very fast and you’ve plenty to choose from. A kill switch can be enabled in the settings. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
- Incredible speeds for torrenting and streaming – works well with uTorrent
- Easily bypasses restrictions on major geo-locked platforms
- Strong security and privacy features
- Personal data is protected as it keeps no logs
- Support is 24/7 and staff are well trained
- Desktop apps have a learning curve
BEST VPN FOR UTORRENT:NordVPN is our #1 pick. It pegs superfast speeds and works tirelessly with torrenting & P2P. Connects up to 6 devices simultaneously. Also works well with most popular streaming services. A 30-day money back guarantee makes it risk-free.
Read our full NordVPN review here.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is low-cost provider but doesn’t hold back when it comes to security and privacy. It’s based in the British Virgin Islands, a location with no mandatory data-retention laws. It secures your traffic using 256-bit encryption, protection against WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leaks, and a kill switch, but more importantly, Surfshark doesn’t log any information that could identify you. You can pay in one of three different cryptocurrencies for an additional layer of anonymity. 24/7 support is available over live chat.
Surfshark offers apps for MacOS, iOS, Windows, Android, and Linux. Manual configuration is required for use with wireless routers.
- Strong security and privacy protections
- Solid speeds
- Great at unblocking
- Unlimited number of connections
- Fewer servers than some of its rivals
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark offers unlimited connections and doesn’t restrict bandwidth so you can torrent on as many devices as you like. Best of all, this VPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of Surfshark here.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN’s default OpenVPN protocol is 256-bit encrypted which is extremely strong. No user activity is recorded, although the company does keep some metadata logs. It has several server locations in the Netherlands. Bandwidth is unlimited and speeds are among the most consistent we’ve ever recorded. Windows, Mac, and Android apps are all available, along with iOS and Linux. The company recently added a network lock to its software, which prevents any traffic from leaking over your default IP address if the connection drops.
- Gets around torrent tracker sites blocks without compromising privacy – works great with uTorrent
- Fast servers are great for high-quality streaming and downloading
- Best-in-class encryption makes for solid security and privacy
- Complete privacy – no logs of personal data kept
- Allows fewer simultaneous connections than rivals
GOOD ALL-ROUNDER:ExpressVPN is suitable for beginners and advanced users alike. It has a vast server network that is optimized for fast connections. Subscriptions include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Check out our full ExpressVPN review here.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish is known for its huge selection of servers, a few in the Netherlands among them. Traffic is encrypted with 256-bit AES, and no activity logs are stored. While not all the servers are as reliable as ExpressVPN, you’re sure to find a quick one with a bit of trial and error. Apps are available for Windows, Mac, and Android, among others. The OSX and Windows clients have kill switches, but not the Android version.
- Torrenting is allowed and they keep no internet traffic logs
- Impressive speeds and reliable connections
- Connections, communications and traffic remain encrypted and private at all times
- DNS leak protection and kill switch enabled by default
- No live customer support
UP TO 10 DEVICES:IPVanish has a large network of servers. Generally solid for torrenters, Kodi users, and folks who need the highest standard of privacy, but look elsewhere if you want to unblock Netflix. 7-day money back guarantee.
Read our full IPVanish review here.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost offers over 5,900 servers in 89+ countries. Apps are available for both Android, Linux and iOS as well as desktop support for Windows and MacOS. Encryption standards are stringent. CyberGhost Pro uses 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default along with 2,048-bit RSA keys and MD5 HMAC authentication. This means it’s in the top-tier of VPNs when based on sturdy encryption.
There’s also an internet kill switch included, which means web traffic will be halted if the connection drops unexpectedly.
- Works fine with uTorrent
- Impressive streaming speeds
- Minimal configuration required
- Good security and they don’t store user activity logs
- Less advanced settings than some VPNs
BEGINNER'S CHOICE:CyberGhost is a great beginners' choice Good on privacy. Streams HD video reliably with most streaming services. 45-day money back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost review here.
How to bind your VPN IP to uTorrent
The uTorrent Windows client includes a built-in function to limit downloads to a specific IP address. This means you can set uTorrent to only download torrents while connected to a certain VPN server. If the connection to the VPN drops or you disconnect, the downloads stop. This prevents any torrent traffic from traveling over your default IP address, linking your device to your downloads.
Here’s how to IP bind uTorrent to a VPN server:
- Connect to your preferred VPN server for torrenting, probably one in the Netherlands.
- Go to Google and type the question, “What’s my IP?” Copy the numbers and decimals that appear in the info graph to your clipboard.
- In uTorrent, go to Options > Preferences > Advanced
- In the Filter field, type “ip”
- Click net.bind_ip in the results. In the Value field, paste your IP address and click Set.
- Do the same for net.outgoing_ip
- Press OK and restart the uTorrent client
Unfortunately, the IP bind feature is not yet built into the Mac and Android versions of uTorrent. Some users have reported success on Macs using a workaround with either Tunnelblick or Viscosity, which replace the VPN provider’s app. Azureus Vuze, an alternative to uTorrent, supports this function for Mac.
If you don’t want to use a different app or BitTorrent client, make sure to turn on the VPN kill switch (sometimes called a “network lock”) included in your provider’s app.
Port forwarding is a contentious topic among uTorrent users. Some say it improves their download speeds by allowing their torrent client to connect to more peers outside the normal range of the VPN. Others argue it is unnecessary and, when using a VPN, only serves to make torrenting more difficult and can even degrade user privacy.
This is because all users sharing the same VPN IP address will all be limited to the same ports except for the one who chooses to port forward. That can make P2P activity more easy to trace back to a single user.
Most commercial VPN clients don’t support port forwarding and work fine without it. For those that do, enter the forwarded port into the uTorrent settings by doing the following:
- In uTorrent, go to Options > Preferences > Connections
- Enter the port number set in your VPN client
- Uncheck Randomize port each time uTorrent[Bittorrent] starts
- Uncheck Enable UPnP port mapping
- Uncheck Enable NAT-PMP port mapping
Port forwarding in a VPN does not require forwarding ports in your router. You may need to disable NAT-PMP and/or uPNP mapping in the torrent client.
Comparitech does not condone or encourage any violation of copyright restrictions. Please consider the law, victims, and risks of piracy before downloading copyrighted material without permission.