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Anonymous BitTorrent Through a VPN - the Speed Tests

To successfully bypass a BitTorrent-blocking university or the evil throttling of a bad ISP, the use of a seedbox is more than adequate. Another solution is to incorporate a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service, and tunnel all of your Internet traffic through a new IP address. Not only will your ISP be unable to “see” what you’re sending & receiving, but your home IP is kept out of the torrent; or anything else for that matter. Essentially, a VPN anonymizes all of your traffic.

We’ve touched on the subject of VPNs here at FSF before, but never actually ran any conclusive testing to prove that not only does it work; but more importantly, to verify BitTorrent transfer speeds. For this, we purchased a month of VPN service, anonymized the PC and ran some speed tests on both public and private trackers. As expected, the results were unsurprisingly very good.

The VPN Provider

We opted for BlackLogic as our VPN provider, and to make this a “fair” assessment of their service, we did not contact them for this article. We purchased it via PayPal as any other customer would, so this is very much an unbiased evaluation.

It took just over one day for us to get our login information via email, which we found was an acceptable amount of time. The ‘wait’ is imposed for them to be able to properly prevent any fraudulent accounts. We opted for the $15 ”PPTP Unlimited Traffic VPN” package.

DISCLAIMER / TOS: Be advised that most VPN providers have a disclaimer or clause in their TOS which excludes the use of their services for “P2P” traffic of an illegal nature, and BlackLogic is no exception. Familiarize yourself with the TOS, and use at your own risk. Undoubtedly, the VPN provider is the only one that is able to see your actual traffic. Then again, we don’t see much point in a VPN if you can’t tunnel whatever you want. Getting that out of the way, let’s take a look at some speed tests:

Speed Tests at Speedtest.net

To confirm that we were connected to the VPN (and not directly to our ISP) we visited What’sMyIP.org. Certainly, we were now running through the VPN, as our IP address is now replaced with BlackLogic’s Canadian server IP number:

Obviously, a VPN provider cannot increase your ISP account’s line capacity, as it’s only as good as your connection. As expected, we experienced a slowdown due to the tunneling in our speed tests conducted at SpeedTest.net. Before installing the VPN, we shut down all programs that use Internet traffic as to generate genuine results.

Speedtest results BEFORE

adding the VPN:

Speedtest results AFTER

adding the VPN:

The Results: We conducted the VPN speed test 5 different times at alternate server locations - all with very similar results. According to the speed tests, we lost nearly half of our download speed on the VPN, but our upload speed actually increased. So how accurate was the speed test? Not very, as you’ll see below we quite easily blew away the 3847 kbps download speed (which, when divided by a factor of 8 is 481 KB/s) when running torrents from private trackers.

BitTorrent Speed Testing on a VPN Connection

For these tests, there was no point in trying to download the exact same torrents and run them on both our VPN, and then on our ISP (without the VPN). First, it would be impossible to conduct a clinical study in this manner, as the seed/peer list (swarm) for a torrent would change by the time we got around to testing both methods. Second, we’re already familiar with what speeds we normally can expect to achieve when downloading on our regular Internet connection.

VPN Torrent Testing - Public Trackers

Public trackers are typically much slower than private ones, thus we assumed to achieve some pretty dismal results; but we were pleasantly surprised by the VPN. To generate the best DL/UL speeds, we added 10 different popular torrents, each of them from the categories on mininova’s Top Ten list (the main page).

The Results: We let µTorrent run for about 15 minutes before the speed noticeably began to stabilize at around 400 KB/s download, and ~100 KB/s upload. These are decent results, as we’d be lucky to get these DL speeds with or without the VPN. But just one torrent from a fast private tracker easily eclipsed these numbers:

VPN Torrent Testing - Private Trackers

To test our VPN on private trackers, we needn’t bother adding 10 different torrents. We used one popular torrent from RevolutionTT.net - a very underrated tracker in terms of download speeds. RevoTT is truly one of the quickest trackers, something of which we were already cognizant of. On our home ISP, we’re normally able to maximize our entire connection (1 MB/s DL) on just one popular RevoTT torrent, so the results were not all that startling.

The Results: Again, we let µTorrent run the 1.38 GB torrent for until about the halfway point of DL, and speeds were steadily increasing by the time we took the above screenshot. At that point we achieved a download speed of 812 KB/s with an upload of 62.6 KB/s. Very impressive numbers for a $15/month unlimited VPN account, which quickly erraticated the false stats from the speedtest results.

Other Notes / Recap

The BlackLogic VPN really impressed us, as we were able to almost achieve our maximum line speed when running private torrents. Whether or not they’ll discover that torrents are being used on their VPN (and then cancel the service without notice), we really don’t know.

VPNs and Private Trackers — Most trackers probably won’t have a problem with members who use a VPN service, but we recommend you check their rules, or inquire about it first to be safe.

It should be noted that a VPN not only works to anonymize BitTorrent, but for any P2P application, such as uTorrent, Limewire, Shareaza, DC++, IRC, and anything else that connects through your Internet.

  1. Vision Says:

    another great review, thanks sharky, it looks like you can write you articles faster than i can reply to them ;)

    i’ve been using flashvpn.com for some while and it’s really great service which they provide, i usually use the VPN to be able to use hulu or pandora, both sites work fantastic without glitching and the speed test i get of on speedtest is the same as without it all of that for just 5$ !! and you get 7 days of free trial. if you would like me to write a proper review i will gladly do.

    i also used linkideo which was good (too bad it’s not US IP address) and the free services like relakks and the crappy hotspot shield

  2. Fikrat Says:

    Good review. Thank you.
    One small thing:
    * Please try to utilize the bandwidth fairly(our resources are limited).

  3. Fikrat Says:

    Please try to keep DL and UPL speeds moderate (our resources are limited)

  4. MPAA…lol Says:

    What about Torrent Freedom VPN?
    I’ve used it but it’s slow like hell….

  5. Frak Says:

    Nice, but how anonymous is it in fact ? If a justice decision orders to the VPN providers to reveals our identity, they will do that !

  6. someone Says:

    you got virus in your site !! HTML/Infected.WebPage.Gen

  7. a/s/l Says:

    ^ yeah this is true, NOD32 goes crazy when i view this page without noscript. it’s something to do with the domain abc801.cn

  8. a/s/l Says:

    the source of the virus appears to be http://91.203.92.136/exp/index.php which is contained within an iframe at the start of the html of the page.

  9. damn Says:

    so what is the best vpn for be use in p2p ?

  10. absolutor Says:

    the bandwidth is quite decent (depending on the time).
    BUT
    => SMTP doesn’t work (so you can not send any email)
    => Many websites are forbidden (included all .torrent pages …).

  11. Blacklogic Says:

    .torrent pages are blocked on the US servers due to numerous abuse letters from copyright vigilantes.
    smtp is blocked due to anti-spam policies, sorry

  12. patrick holm Says:

    Great review,
    Any updates of this review?
    Also try http://www.vpnmessenger.com, which is new out and has VOIP and messenger built into the VPN platform

  13. dfaskj Says:

    So instead of your ISP sending you a DCMA letter, your VPN will? The VPN still has your billing address don’t they? As far as getting sued by the copyright holder, you are still very liable for infringement.

  14. adde Says:

    I just bought a VPN tunnel från https://www.anonine.com
    I must say that it works superbly fast and good! They do not even require any name or address, just username and password! Also payment through paypal.
    I must say, good anonymousity.

  15. Hugh Jass Says:

    DFASKJ,

    You can just use a cash card (cards you purchase at a convenience store with cash and without having to disclose your identity that have a VISA #) to pay directly or sign up for PayPal with a fake address. You do have to fill in an address on the cash card when you activate it online, but you can use a fake address there and then just use the same address for PayPal and/or the VPN. Ta-da!

    There are also other VPN providers which at least claim to by anonymous (they don’t log IPs) and some which are even okay with torrents.

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  19. Sestren Says:

    I think Hotspot Shield is a good piece of free VPN software.

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  24. alex Says:

    Blacklogic does not allow torrents using on their vpn servers in his last revision terms of service.
    And they banned torrents ports on all his servers.

    I have found Torrent VPN service which specially created to download torrents and other p2p through vpn without any restrictions.

  25. FiFtHeLeMeNt Says:

    For torrent downloading by vpn I use http://www.torrentvpn.com and I am very happy with speed and support. they have been the best among the several companies I have tried.

  26. John Crenshaw Says:

    I have tried out a number of VPN services, and the speeds seem to pale during peak usage hours since most VPN providers tout unlimited bandwidth when, in fact, it is impossible to offer unlimited bandwidth. Even google can’t offer such a thing.

    So far, the fastest and most responsive VPN provider I’ve used up until now is privateinternetaccess.com (https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/). They have a much more reliable network and my speeds are always equal to or greater than the speeds I would get without a VPN.

    Hope this helps.

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