Ivacy offers apps for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. There are also instructions to run Ivacy on Linux, a router, Kodi home theater software, and to connect consoles like the Xbox to the VPN via another device. An Xbox over a VPN is a nice option if you happen to play games with online competitors that like to DDoS your connection to mess with your ability to play.
BitTorrent's dubious distinction as the pirate's tool of choice has led to indiscriminate crackdowns from ISPs on the use of BitTorrent. With a virtual private network, or VPN, your traffic is encrypted and secured to ensure that no one can see what you're up to—even when you're torrenting. The catch is, not every VPN service allows BitTorrent on its servers.
As with the best VPN services, Ivacy tells me that it strives to retain as little usable information as possible in order to protect customers even when presented with a legal subpoena. A representative told me, "Our servers, processes and systems do not keep any personal and sensitive information. By design, Ivacy VPN has no sensitive data to share, even when legally bound to do so."
As with other VPN services, if you select a longer-term subscription, the cost per month is significantly reduced. A one-year plan with Ivacy costs $36.00, and a two-year plan costs $48.00. As with most VPN services, Ivacy does not require you to purchase more expensive plans to get access to everything the company has to offer. ProtonVPN is a noteable exception to this trend, offering a low-cost Basic plan with just a few servers, and a more expensive Plus plan that adds more servers and features.
While there are quite a few free VPNs on the market, many have location restrictions and speed or bandwidth limitations. And many can actually be dangerous to use. You can read more about the risks of using free VPNs here. And if you decide the drawbacks just aren’t worth it, and you’re willing to spend a few bucks, we have a list of the best VPNs for torrenting.
Using a free VPN for anonymous torrenting is generally a no-no. Due to the large amount of bandwidth required, many free VPN services prohibit P2P activity. Others aren’t secure, and many have data caps. The common adage that comes with free services is that if you don’t buy the product, then you are the product. This is especially true because a VPN isn’t just a piece of software, it’s an ongoing service that requires continuous resources and maintenance.
PrivateVPN unblocks Netflix in more countries than any other provider—no small feat for a young VPN with only a hundred or so servers. The servers that work best for streaming are clearly labelled in the app, which is simple and novice-friendly. PrivateVPN scored well in our speed tests, meaning you can continue to stream your favorite Netflix shows in high definition.
CyberGhost adheres to a no-logs policy, uses 256-bit AES encryption with perfect forward secrecy, and has a kill switch on its desktop clients. An app-specific kill switch is buried in the settings, dubbed “app protection,” which will only cut off internet to specified programs, e.g. a torrent client. CyberGhost Pro scored well in our speed tests and can even unblock US Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Besides your ISP, you also need to worry about copyright monitors. There are agencies that monitor P2P networks. When they detect that users are sharing copyrighted content, they track the users based on their IP addresses. After that, the agencies often send emails threatening legal action. Some of these agencies work for major content producers, such as movie studios, while others are simply trolls trying to extort money. Using a reliable VPN to download torrents will protect you against these agencies and extortionists.
These VPNs work with Netflix, but for one reason or another, they don’t make the top seven cutoff. This may be due to inconsistent service, privacy concerns, speed, or inability to unblock Netflix on mobile devices. Netflix frequently blocks VPNs, so we also favor those with a proven track record of bypassing the proxy error. Erring on the side of caution, we don’t want to recommend VPNs that work today but not tomorrow.
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An account with Ivacy VPN costs $8.95 per month, making it one of the most affordable VPNs I've yet reviewed. The average cost of a month-to-month VPN service is currently at around $10.50, well above what Ivacy charges. Ivacy is still pricier than Private Internet Access, however, as that Editors' Choice-winning service runs a mere $6.95 per month.
Ivacy's domestic download performance was also lackluster, reducing download speeds by 19.1 percent. That's just shy of the third-worst score and a far cry from TorGuard VPN, which only eroded download speeds by 3.7 percent. Ivacy again fared far better in the international tests. Here, it only lowered download speed results by 58.3 percent. That's far from the worst score, but still far from that of AnchorFree Hotspot Shield, which has the best score and only reduced speed test results by 39.9 percent.
We often receive emails asking about the interplay between VPNs and BitTorrent. Some of them have included admissions of piracy, and even justifications for it. One reader bemoaned the difficulty in finding legal avenues for material that is out of print or just hard to obtain or not available for sale in a given locale. We sympathize. The state of the public domain has been woefully neglected, and market forces and regional distribution deals often keep worthy art and materials out of the hands of those who want it, even if they are willing to pay for it. But no matter how just the reasoning, the law (however problematic) is the law. ISPs and, yes, other web companies, are often compelled to answer when rights holders come with a list of offenses carried out on their data infrastructure.
Windscribe VPN for Chrome is a very powerful online security and privacy solution for the Chrome browser. It encrypts data sent and received over the Internet while protecting your personal information like passwords, emails, instant messages and downloads. Running Windscribe VPN for Chrome on your computer gives you much better security and privacy, where no hacker, advertiser and ISP can intercept your web activities.
ExpressVPN unblocks Netflix on every platform tested, including Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Linux, and certain wifi routers. ExpressVPN lets you connect up to three devices at a time. Plus, every ExpressVPN subscription comes with the MediaStreamer smart DNS proxy. MediaStreamer can unblock Netflix on devices that don’t normally support VPNs, such as Apple TV, PS4, and Xbox One.
Netflix’s VPN ban is a blunt instrument put in place to appease copyright holders. It blocks VPN users no matter where they are located so long as a proxy is detected. This is not a fair policy to paying subscribers. Forcing users to turn off their VPNs could sacrifice privacy, especially those connected on unsecured public wi-fi networks or traveling abroad to surveillance-heavy countries.
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But wait, can’t the piracy groups then go to the anonymizer service and requisition their logs to figure out what you’re downloading? Theoretically, yes, but if you’re using a truly good anonymizer, they don’t keep logs, so there’s no paper trail of activity leading back to you. All the piracy monitors see is a proxy service sharing a file, and all your ISP sees is you connecting to a proxy service. If you encrypt your BitTorrent traffic (which we recommend), your ISP won’t even be able to see that you’re using BitTorrent.
If you plan on using a VPN while torrenting, consider the ramifications of the Kill Switch. This feature, found in most VPN services, prevents apps from sending data via the internet when the VPN is disconnected. The idea is that it prevents any information from being transmitted in the clear. The avid BitTorrent downloader needs to decide if they want total and complete protection, or would rather not have their download interrupted.
The practical upshot is that no one can intercept your web traffic as it moves from your computer to the VPN server. And if you're connecting to websites via HTTPS (which you should), your data remains encrypted for its entire journey, even after it leaves the VPN server. This is why you need a VPN. VPNs are particularly important when you're using public Wi-Fi or unfamiliar networks. In these situations, hackers may be lurking on the network or even running the network themselves, hoping to snag your personal information.