Summary: More and more people are using the internet every day to check email, watch movies and download software. This means that more people than ever are at risk of being hacked.
Hackers are taking advantage of people connecting to the internet without giving a thought to their personal security and downloading files from unsecured websites.
If you want to keep yourself safe from hackers and download files without worrying about the government spying on you, or potentially being prosecuted, you need to protect your connection.
The best way to stay anonymous and secure while you’re downloading files is to connect through a Virtual Private Network service.
VPN services encrypt the information that you’re sending and receiving and hide your original location so that hackers and your local government are kept in the dark about your online activities.
For the best protection from hackers and government tracking, get ExpressVPN now.
Table of Contents
1. Why You Should Trust Us
2. Testing Methodology
3. How We Tested Each VPN Service
4. VPN Services You Should Avoid
5. VPNs Disqualified Due to Missing Features
6. VPNs Eliminated Due to Poor Reviews
7. Top Three VPNs for Downloading
8. Wrapping It Up
If you’re trying to remain anonymous while you use file sharing and Peer2Peer networks, connecting through a Virtual Private Network service is an excellent way to do it.
Hackers are always looking for ways to take advantage of unsecured networks and local governments are ramping up their efforts to prosecute people downloading files illegally.
VPN services help keep you safe by encrypting the information you send and receive online and hiding your original location so you remain anonymous.
At SecureThoughts, our writers and researchers have devoted years to staying at the forefront of internet security and helping our readers keep themselves protected.
We’ve also spent hundreds of hours testing different VPN services to find out which services can keep you protected while you are downloading files online.
You may be tempted to subscribe to the first VPN service you come across that promises to keep you safe, but that could cause problems. There are countless unscrupulous VPN providers.
Some VPNs provide a much better network and customer service experience, while some charge more and deliver fewer features. That’s why we devoted so much time to finding the best VPN.
To ensure that you’re protected while you are downloading files via file sharing networks, we’ve reviewed more than 170 different VPN services using a three-part process.
To skip the methodology and go straight to our recommendations, click here now.
We started by eliminating VPN services that participate in the “14 Eyes” program or are based in countries that can be forced to turn over your activity to the local government.
If you aren’t familiar with the 14 Eyes program, it’s an agreement between different governments that allows them to spy on their citizen’s internet usage.
They can force internet service providers and VPN services to turn over your activity logs and use the information obtained to prosecute you in a court of law.
Next, we reviewed the remaining services to eliminate any that do not provide a basic set of features that we consider essential for keeping yourself safe online.
Finally, any remaining services were compared against each other using five criteria that allowed us to find the best possible VPN service for downloading files online.
Those criteria are:
Price – With so many services currently available, paying too much for a VPN subscription isn’t necessary, so excessively expensive services were eliminated from our review.
Setup Process – We verified that subscribing to each VPN service is easy and straightforward, and that there weren’t any hiccups getting connected to their servers.
Ease of Use – We tested each service to verify that the software they provide is easy to use and compatible with our devices without requiring constant help from customer service.
Speed – We then verified each service’s connection speeds by running speed tests through services based out of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Customer Service – To verify that you can receive help if you need it, we submitted multiple messages to each service’s customer support team to determine how quickly they respond.
Below are the results of the tests that we performed.
To begin our review process, we needed a method to easily eliminate some of the 173 different services that are currently available.
We started by eliminating services that participate in the 14 Eyes program, of which there were 123 VPN providers that will turn over your usage history to your local government.
IPPredator and ChillGlobal are two of the many different services that were eliminated due to their participation in the 14 Eyes and other government surveillance programs.
After immediately removing services that put you at risk, we tested the remaining services to ensure they have a basic set of features to keep you safe while you’re downloading online.
Each of the different criteria is listed below and broken down so you understand why we used them, and why we eliminated services that did not provide them as part of your basic subscription.
Criteria #1: OpenVPN Support
VPN services use a variety of different protocols to manage your connection to their network, ranging from IPSec, PPTP and OpenVPN. Some services offer multiple different protocols.
When it comes to keeping you anonymous and secure, OpenVPN is the best protocol currently available, so services that use it, at least as an option, were ranked higher during our review.
Betternet and AnonVPN are two services that have been eliminated due to failing to provide OpenVPN support.
Criteria #2: Unlimited Bandwidth and Data Transfer
If you’re downloading large files on a regular basis, you’re going to need a VPN service that does not throttle your connection speeds or become unreliable.
Services that limit your connection speeds due to excessive bandwidth consumption and those that experience reliability issues were eliminated from our review.
Cloak and Celo are just two of the many VPN services that have been eliminated due to their bandwidth consumption policies.
Criteria #3: No Data Logging Policies
Some VPN services use your activity logs to help them diagnose problems that you may experience while you are connected to their network.
Unfortunately, VPN services can be forced to give this information to local law enforcement agencies, which is why companies with data logging policies were eliminated.
Seed4Me and Hola!VPN are two services that we’ve eliminated due to tracking your activity while you are connected to their servers.
Criteria #4: Support for Multiple Operating Systems
You may use more than one device to download files, which means you’re going to need a VPN service that supports multiple different operating systems.
VPN services that are not compatible with multiple different operating systems were eliminated from our review process to ensure that you can connect with every device you own.
IntelliVPN and SunVPN are two of the services that were removed from our review due to their compatibility issues.
Criteria #5: Support Multiple Concurrent Connections
You will likely want to keep every device you own secure, which means that you will be connecting to your VPN service with multiple devices at the same time.
Some VPN services will limit your connection speeds or your account access for connecting with too many devices, which caused them to be eliminated from our review.
IBVPN and HotVPN are two of the many services that were eliminated because they do not allow multiple active connections.
Criteria #6: No Peer2Peer Blocking
Many VPN services block your access to file sharing and Peer2Peer networks, making it impossible for you to download the files you’re looking for.
It’s impossible to protect yourself if the VPN service you’re subscribed to does not allow you to access your favorite file sharing networks.
UnoTelly and LibertyVPN are two of the many services that have been eliminated from our review due blocking Peer2Peer networks.
Criteria #7: Free-Trials, Refunds and Money-Back Guarantee
Even though we’ve put each of our recommendations through intense scrutiny and thorough testing, your experience may be different than ours.
That’s why we have eliminated services that do not provide a free trial period or at least a money-back guarantee to allow you to receive a refund on your subscription.
VPNBaron and VPN Shield are two of many services we eliminated due to their lack of money-back guarantees and free trial periods.
Even after putting our list of VPN services through rigorous testing using the criteria listed above, we were still left with many services remaining.
To continue the elimination process, we checked reviews from more than 100 different websites and eliminated services that consistently received negative reviews from other customers.
After performing a thorough elimination process, we dwindled the original list of 173 VPN services down to three remaining services that are eligible to receive a recommendation.
Each of the remaining three services will be reviewed based on five criteria:
- Setup Process
- Ease of Use
- Customer Service
After applying our criteria in another round of intensive testing, we uncovered one clear winner that can keep you anonymous and secure while you’re downloading large files.
#1 ExpressVPN – (9.5 / 10) – The Best VPN Service for Downloading Large Files
If you’re looking for the absolute best VPN service currently available, we could not find a service that performed better than ExpressVPN.
They fall in the middle of the pack in pricing, charging $12.95 for a single-month subscription, and $8.32 per month when 12 months are paid in advance.
Getting connected to the ExpressVPN network was simple, and the software they provide is compatible with most common operating systems.
We were connected to their network within a few minutes of subscribing and did not experience any connectivity or speed issues while downloading large files.
During testing, ExpressVPN provided the fastest download and upload speeds, and did not show signs of throttling our connection speeds due to excessive bandwidth usage.
We submitted multiple messages to their customer support team, and in most cases, they responded to each message within three hours or less.
The only area of concern was during the speed tests. They ranked #1 in tests based out of the United States and the United Kingdom, and #2 in tests based out of Australia.
The results of the speed tests that were performed in Australia may have more to do with the time of day and the location of the server than they did with the service that ExpressVPN provides.
We would also like to see their customer support team respond faster to the requests sent to them. Three hours is acceptable, but responding quicker would take their service to another level.
Summary: ExpressVPN is, by far, the best VPN service currently available for keeping you safe and secure while you’re downloading via file sharing and Peer2Peer networks.
After running their service through rigorous testing, we did not experience many problems with their network strength, customer service or connection reliability.
To protect yourself while downloading, click here to get ExpressVPN now.
#2 IPVanish – (7.5 / 10) – Suitable if ExpressVPN isn’t Available for You
There may be times that you find ExpressVPN isn’t available, but still need a service to keep you protected and safe from government surveillance programs or hackers.
IPVanish was one of the cheapest VPN services we tested, charging only $7.50 for a single month’s subscription and $4.87 when 12 months are paid up front.
Downloading their software, installing it and getting connected to their network was easy and intuitive. We were connected within a few minutes of making our payment.
They offered a comparable customer service experience to ExpressVPN, though it did take them longer to respond to our requests than the team at ExpressVPN.
IPVanish ranked #2 when we performed speed tests based out of the United States and the United Kingdom, and ranked #3 in tests that were run from servers based out of Australia.
The customer support team at IPVanish responded quickly before the sale was completed, but once we submitted technical issues and faux billing issues, they took substantially longer to respond.
Summary: Even though IPVanish provides similar features and network strength to ExpressVPN, the customer support team wasn’t nearly as helpful once we were already subscribed.
For times that you’re unable to create an account through ExpressVPN, IPVanish may prove to be a suitable alternative for keeping you safe while downloading files.
If you would like to know more about IPVanish, you can visit their site by clicking here.
#3 HideMyAss – (5.5 / 10) – Not Recommended
HideMyAss managed to rank third in our review process, but that is partially due to so many other services having been eliminated early on during testing.
Signing up for their service, downloading their software and connecting to their network didn’t present many problems, but the problems did begin once we started downloading files.
We experienced multiple disconnections from their network, as well as poor connection speeds once we started downloading multiple files at the same time.
They are also one of the most expensive VPN services that we’ve tested, charging $16.99 for a single month’s subscription and $9.29 if you pay for 12 months in advance.
During speed tests, HideMyAss ranked #3 in tests based out of the United Kingdom and the United States, and #2 in tests based out of Australia.
The customer support team at HideMyAss took far too long to respond to our requests, forcing us to wait more than 24 hours to receive a response in most cases.
Summary: While HideMyAss did rank #2 in speed tests based out of Australia, the problems we experienced with their service make it hard to recommend them to our readers.
ExpressVPN is a much better option for keeping yourself anonymous and secure while you are downloading files via file sharing and Peer2Peer networks.
If you want to learn more about HideMyAss, you can do your own research by clicking here.
Downloading files through file sharing networks can cause problems for you if hackers intercept your sensitive information or governments want to prosecute your activity.
The best way to ensure that you don’t have your personal information stolen by hackers, or end up in a government surveillance program, is to connect through a VPN.
After extensive testing of more than 170 different VPN services, we’ve concluded that ExpressVPN is the best VPN service available when you’re downloading files.
To learn more about keeping yourself safe while downloading files online, click here to get ExpressVPN now.