VPN vs. Proxy for Torrenting

Every single one of the SOCKS5 proxy providers listed above is:

Proxy vs VPN for torrenting ONLY

It tried to research this as much as possible from this forum and other sources, but basically this is my situation:

I would only want protection from people (ISP, movie publishers, RIAA, etc) seeing the things i download via torrents. I don’t have much of a use for needing a different location or even hiding my browser data in the least.

My question: is having a proxy all I need or am I more at risk than if i had VPN?

I feel like (based on what I’ve read) a VPN would be unnecessary and slower than a proxy and wouldn’t offer me more protection based on the activity i want shielded.

VPN vs. Proxy for Torrenting

The two most best (and most powerful) tools for keeping your torrent activity a secret are:

  1. Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  2. Torrent Proxy (usually SOCKS5)

But the differences between them aren’t always clear to new users. And frankly, they can do similar things. But they aren’t the same.

Each has it’s own advantages…

But one is vastly superior for most torrent-privacy uses

And this guide will explain why, as well as help you choose the best tool (and service) for the job

VPN Proxy
Encryption Strong Encryption No encryption or weaker encryption
Impacted Apps Encrypts/Routes traffic for your entire device Routes traffic for 1 program or app
Changes your IP address Yes (entire device) Yes (for the program using the proxy)
Setup/Ease of Use Standalone VPN App with extra features. Can be set up manually too. Manual setup only
Speed Slightly slower than proxy (encryption overhead) Slightly faster
Torrent Client Compatibility 100% Some torrent clients ignore proxy settings (route traffic insecurely)

Proxy: an overview

A proxy is like VPN-lite. It’s a simple tool that may get the job done, depending on your needs.

But proxies come with several tradeoffs, especially regarding security and ease of use.

It’s also extremely important to make sure you use the right type of proxy (as p2p clients only support SOCKS5 proxies for peers connections).

Advantages & Disadvantages of using a proxy


  • Will disguise the public IP address shown to torrent peers
  • No encryption overhead (faster speeds)
  • Possible to find free servers (though not recommended)


  • Doesn’t encrypt your traffic
  • Some torrent software (like Tixati) may ignore proxy settings
  • Harder to set up and harder to monitor than a VPN
  • Some proxies make it hard to use Magnet Links
  • Need 2 separate proxies to disguise web & torrent traffic

How to use a proxy for torrenting

Unlike a VPN, a proxy server needs to be manually configured in the settings of your preferred torrent client. Most major BitTorrent clients do support proxying of peer connections.

Clients that fully support proxy usage:

  • BitTorrent/uTorrent
  • Vuze (Azureus)
  • Deluge
  • QBittorrent

Clients that don’t:

  • Frostwire
  • Transmission
  • Tixati (flawed implementation)
  • Web-based clients

Setting up the proxy in your torrent client

Once you have a subscription to a reputable SOCKS proxy service, you’ll be given the login information which includes:

  • The server address
  • The port #
  • Your username and password

Then all you need to do is open the settings/options menu of your compatible torrent client and plug in the information. Most torrent-friendly proxy services to offer setup guides in their help documentation….

But we have more detailed setup guides for the 4 most popular clients:

Check out these examples of a SOCKS5 proxy configured in popular torrent clients: BitTorrent (uTorrent) & QBittorrent.

We used NordVPN and Private Internet Access’s proxy servers for the screenshots.

SOCKS5 proxy setup in BitTorrent client

NordVPN SOCKS5 Proxy (Switzerland p2p Server) in BitTorrent/uTorrent client

PIA proxy settings in QBittorrent torrent software

Private Internet Access’s Netherlands SOCKS5 proxy configured in QBittorrent

The Best Torrent Proxy Services

Don’t compromise your security by using a logging proxy service, or some free HTTP proxy that doesn’t even hide your IP address.

These are our FAVORITE, Torrent-Friendly proxy services:

And all of them are included with a VPN subscription. It’s basically like a free bonus.

Provider Includes VPN Type Server Location Best Offer
NordVPN Yes SOCKS/HTTPS 20+ Countries Try It
Private Internet Access Yes SOCKS Netherlands Try It
IPVanish Yes SOCKS Netherlands Try It

Every single one of the SOCKS5 proxy providers listed above is:

  • Torrent Friendly
  • Zero-Log
  • P2P-allowed server location
  • Proxy Included with any VPN subscription

But NordVPN is the cheapest (from $2.99/month) and has the most server locations, so they took our #1 ranking.

Using a VPN for Torrents

It’s way easier to secure your torrents using a VPN.

There’s no manual setup required (if you’re on Windows/Mac/iOS/Android).

And it secures your entire internet connection, so your ISP won’t see that you’re browsing torrent sites either!