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Proxy vs VPN for Torrenting: Which Tool is Right for You?

Last updated: March 23, 2023

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Proxy vs VPN for torrenting

Proxies and VPNs both offer anonymity for users while torrenting, so which one is best for you?

It comes down to your priority. Do you prioritize speed, cost, security, privacy, or ease of use.

While both proxies and VPNs can mask your IP address, proxies are much faster than VPNs.

A quality VPN is slower, but that’s because a quality VPN offers a higher level of security by encrypting all of your data and adding extra layers of protection (like leak protection and a Kill Switch), so you can feel secure that everything you do remains private and secure on the web at all times.

Keep reading to learn which providers excel in which categories, and you will hopefully have a clearer idea of which VPN is right for you by the end!

In a Hurry? Here's a Quick Overview of using a Proxy Server compared to a VPN Server for Torrenting.

What are Proxy Servers?

A proxy server serves as the intermediary between the user and the web. It passes on the user’s request to the web destination they choose, and then returns the results to the user when they are done, and only the Proxy server’s IP address assigned is logged.

There are two types of Proxy servers. The most common are HTTP proxies, which are used for accessing websites, and, by default, do not hide your traffic. An HTTP proxy isn’t relevant if you want a proxy for a torrent file as it will not protect you sufficiently.

For users who want a torrent proxy, you want to use SOCKS5, a proxy server that allows you to access all types of Internet traffic, including torrent sites.

When you use a SOCKS5 proxy server to torrent, it masks your IP location, since it looks like the Internet traffic is coming from the SOCKS5 proxy server, giving you a certain degree of anonymity for torrenting.


Advantages of Torrent Proxy

A proxy server completes a task for a user and then returns the results to you when they are done. That means the only IP address logged belongs to the proxy server, keeping your actual IP address hidden.

While a VPN also has added safety features in case your secure connection drops, your BitTorrent client is set up to only access the Internet through the proxy server, so your BitTorrent client won’t reveal your actual IP address.

Using torrent proxy servers like SOCKS5 supports much faster torrenting activity since it doesn’t take the time to encrypt all of your data.

When choosing a proxy server, SOCKS5 can be set up so only authorized users can access it, making it more secure than other proxies.


Disadvantages of proxy

Proxy servers don’t offer the same level of privacy and security that a VPN offers, since none of your traffic is encrypted.

Also, a proxy can’t reliably get past the proxy blocks that Netflix and other popular streaming services use, so it’s not an effective tool for bypassing geo-blocks.

A proxy server is harder to set up and harder to monitor than a VPN server. The proxy requires manual configuration in the settings of your preferred torrent client.

You need a different proxy for web traffic and torrent traffic.

How to Use a Proxy for Torrenting

Set up will be a little different for every proxy service. Here is how to set up the SOCKS5 proxy with the uTorrent torrent client, as it requires manual configuration win the BitTorrent client.

  1. Subscribe to a trusted SOCKS5 proxy service. (Keep in mind free proxies don’t offer the best infrastructure and may risk your privacy and security.)
  2. You will receive your login information, including the server address, port number, username, and password.
  3. Open uTorrent and go to the menu, then options, then Preferences, then connection to get to the proxy settings.
  4. In proxy settings, enter the server address, port number, and logging information you received when you subscribed to the SOCKS5 proxy server. The correct setting is as follows:
    1. Type: SOCKS5
    2. Proxy: enter proxy address
    3. Port: enter provider port number
    4. Authentication: check
    5. Username: provided in step 2
    6. Password: provided in step 2
    7. Use Proxy for hostname lookups: check
    8. Use proxy for peer-to-peer connections: check
  5. Set up the privacy setting
    1. Disable DNS lookups
    2. Disable features that leak identifying info
    3. Disable all connections that the SOCKS5 proxy does not support

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a virtual private network that encrypts all of the data passing through the VPN tunnel so your ISP knows you are using a VPN server, but can’t decipher anything that you are doing on it.

In addition, a VPN provider routes your Internet traffic through a remote server, providing you with a new IP address so your actual server location is hidden. as is your identity online.


Advantages of a VPN

When it comes to torrenting files, VPNs have the upper hand over proxy servers when it comes to security features, privacy protection, and ease of use.

Not only does a VPN fully encrypt all of your traffic, but good VPN services also offer extra security features, like a Kill Switch, IP and DNS leak prevention, a no-logs policy, and obfuscation. They are also compatible with most torrent clients.


Disadvantages of a VPN

In the area of download speed and cost, a proxy connection comes out ahead of the VPN providers.

The process of encryption is great, but it will slow you a bit, because it is like making a pit-stop on your way to your destination.

How to Use a VPN for Torrenting

Here is how you want to set up your VPN to ensure your torrent privacy online:

  1. Select a torrent client and download it from the official torrent client website.
  2. Select and subscribe to a high-quality VPN for torrenting, like ExpressVPN.
  3. Download the VPN app onto your device.
  4. Select your preferred protocol for torrenting. On ExpressVPN, do this by clicking on the menu at the top left, select Options, then Protocol, and change the protocol to OpenVPN or TCP.
  5. Activate the VPN kill switch. On ExpressVPN select the General tab and go to the Network Lock section and check both boxes.
  6. Activate leak protection. For ExpressVPN, navigate to the Advanced tab then IPv6 leak protection and DNS and check all boxes.
  7. Select a P2P-enabled server location. With ExpressVPN, all servers are P2P enabled and you can choose the Smart Location Feature to be automatically connected to the fastest server locations.
  8. Verify that your real IP address is hidden and there are no DNS leaks via the ipleaks.net website by going to the torrent address detection section. Select Activate a Magnet Link, then click on it to open the default torrent client.
  9. You are all set for downloading torrents privately and securely.

What is Better for Torrenting – Proxy vs. VPN

You are much better off using a high-quality VPN service for torrenting activity over a proxy server.

Whatever you lose in download speed using a VPN is more than made up by the security and privacy you get for your entire Internet connection using a VPN service.

In addition, VPNs are easier to use for torrenting activity, and let you access geo-restricted sites and get past firewalls, something a torrent proxy won’t let you do!

A torrent proxy server only cloaks your torrent connections, while a VPN protects all of your web browsing traffic.

If you want, you can increase your security by combining the BitTorrent proxy with your VPN. In fact, some VPN providers offer a free proxy.

Best VPNs for Torrenting

While VPNs win out over proxies for torrenting, it’s important to choose the best VPN, since not all of them support torrenting.

It’s also best to stay away from free VPNs since they are generally not as fast or secure as a reliable subscription plan.

Here are the top 3 VPNs for use with torrent clients:

Devices compatible with ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the top-choice VPN for torrenting, providing the most secure and private Internet access at top speeds, plus all of their servers are optimized for P2P sharing.

ExpressVPN offers military-grade encryption, has a strict no-logs policy, an automatic Kill Switch, and IP and DNS leak protection, making sure IP addresses stay hidden and all of your web browsing is fully encrypted.

As a bonus feature, ExpressVPN offers split tunneling, so you can remain connected to your Internet service provider while using the VPN tunnel to torrent data fully encrypted.

ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN on the market and offers unlimited data and unlimited bandwidth, so you can enjoy unrestricted torrenting activity with great speed.


  • Lightening fast speed
  • All servers P2P optimized
  • Military-grade encryption
  • No-logs policy
  • Kill Switch
  • Leak protection
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • No data caps
  • Split tunneling


  • Costs more than competing VPNs

2. NordVPN

Devices compatible with NordVPN

NordVPN is fast, secure, and private, making it a top choice for torrenting with hundreds of P2P-optimized servers from which to choose.

NordVPN offers unlimited bandwidth and no limits on data to ensure good Internet speed while enjoying all the online content you want.

You won’t find better security features than those you get with NordVPN, including military-grade encryption, a Kill Switch, a strict no-logs policy, and protection from DNS and IP leaks.

Extra features with NordVPN include double encryption, malware protection, obfuscated servers, and split tunneling.


  • Great speed
  • Hundreds of P2P-optimized servers
  • Military-grade encryption
  • No logs policy
  • Kill Switch
  • Leak protection
  • Unlimited bandwidth and data
  • Malware protection
  • Split tunneling


  • Occasional glitches with the desktop app
  • Narrower server network

Devices compatible with Surfshark

Surfshark provides reliable service at a great price, and the unlimited simultaneous connections on the VPN make Surfshark a great choice for large families while still working great for torrenting.

With the exception of countries where torrenting is banned, all of Surfshark’s servers are P2P enabled for torrenting, and if you connect to another one accidentally, Surfshark will re-route you to one of its servers that works for torrenting.

Surfshark is a secure VPN with military-grade encryption, a strict no-logs policy, a Kill Switch, and DNS and IP leak protection. It also offers malware protection, double VPN, obfuscated servers, and split tunneling.

The speed on Surfshark isn’t as fast as Express, but it’s still fast enough for torrenting and it offers unlimited bandwidth and data.


  • Unlimited simultaneous connection
  • Low cost
  • P2P optimized servers
  • Military-grade encryption
  • No logs policy
  • Kill Switch
  • Leak protection
  • Unlimited bandwidth and data
  • Split tunneling


  • Slower than ExpressVPN and NordVPN

Why is Torrenting Without a VPN or Proxy Not Safe?

When you torrent on your ISP, nothing you do is private or secure. That means your torrent peers, cybercriminals, hackers, and even the government sees everything you do via your Internet provider.

A proxy and a VPN keep your torrenting and Internet activities private, though to different degrees.

Proxies serve as a third party that will complete your torrenting for you and then returns the results to you, so the only IP address logged is the one belonging to the proxy so the proxy acts as a buffer to mask your true IP address.

A VPN offers a higher level of protection than proxies since your torrent IP address is provided by your VPN and can’t be tracked back to you, while all of your Internet activity is fully encrypted so even your ISP can’t decipher your activities.


Should I use VPN while torrenting?

Definitely! An ISP doesn’t offer any privacy or security and the best way to get that protection while torrenting is through a reliable, quality VPN.

Does a VPN slow torrenting?

Yes, a VPN will be slower than your original Internet speed and when comparing a proxy vs a VPN, you will get better speed with proxies.

It takes a bit more time to encrypt data that is sent through a VPN tunnel, but the security it provides for torrenting is well worth the very short wait!


When comparing a Proxy vs. a VPN for downloading torrents, there’s no question that the right VPN will beat out the advantages of a Proxy every time.

The key difference between a proxy vs. a VPN is while proxies are faster and cheaper they don’t come close to providing the privacy, security, and ease of use that a high-quality VPN, like ExpressVPN provides.

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