Know that not all kill switches are created equal. A simple dropped connection is fairly easy to plan for, but the kill switch might not be equipped to handle other types of network disruptions, crashes, and configuration changes. You can read more about leaks that occur in these scenarios in our VPN leak testing analysis, which we will extend to more VPNs as time goes on. The two types of leaks most pertinent to torrenters are IP address and IP traffic leaks.
It seems like every two or three weeks I log into the VPN, I connect with no problem but cannot connect to any server. The resolution the first few times was to update the software. It has recently devolved into updating the software AND changing the protocol. If that were consistent I could live with it but I have to contact support and find out the latest combination steps to take to fix the problem. Each instance sucks 24 hours out of my life.
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.
Panama-based NordVPN keeps neither connection nor traffic logs. 256-bit AES encryption with perfect forward secrecy is the default, along with optional double-hop encryption and Tor over VPN features. Speeds are great, but can be a bit volatile. DNS leak protection and a kill switch can both be toggled on in the settings. The traditional all-or-nothing kill switch is one option, or you can specify which programs get cut off from the internet if the VPN connection drops, such as a BitTorrent client.
This is another VPN that features a built-in killswitch, so even if leaks were detected, your torrenting security would still be protected. The problem with leaks is that they often go undetected. So an oblivious user would carry on, thinking that they were safe and secure, all the while their ISP is watching every move they make. A killswitch counteracts this vulnerability.
Using a VPN almost certainly means losing some internet speed because your data is taking a longer, more circuitous path than usual. With a VPN you can expect an increase in latency, as well as a reduction in download and upload speeds. When I review VPNs, I first run a series of tests using Ookla's internet speed test tool. (Note that Ookla is owned by Ziff Davis, which also owns PCMag.) Ookla tests latency, upload speed, and download speed, so those are the figures I look at as well.
For each test, our staff connected to the VPN, opened Netflix in a browser or in the Netflix app (depending on the OS), and played a video. If the video played normally, the VPN scored a positive result. If it wasn’t clear which server to connect to for a given VPN, we contacted the VPN’s customer support team to ask which servers work with Netflix.
These attacks are the culprits in some of the most common you hear about every single day on the news. For example, brute force attacks are one of the leading ways people gain access to WordPress websites (which is the single biggest platform on the internet). They’re also the method that’s commonly used to hack into celebrity iCloud accounts and leak… well, private, photos and videos.