Downloading has become a permanent fixture inmodern life. Whether you’re torrenting, P2P sharing, or installing software, this simple action can be hazardous for your online security. Cybercriminals often lurk on file-sharing websites, and local governments continue to crack down on downloading media. If you want to stay safe, you have to take steps to protect yourself. Using a VPN for downloading will encrypt your data and keep your traffic anonymous. We recommend ExpressVPN as the best VPN for downloading movies, music and other files.
For the best protection from hackers and government tracking, get ExpressVPN now.
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Why is Your Information at Risk When You Download?
Every time you connect to a website, your personal data becomes a target. If it’s not cybercriminals hovering to gain bank account access, it’s local government authorities honing in on menial activities like downloading torrented files.
By intercepting simple information, such as your IP address, log-in details, and online activity, it’s possible to create a detailed profile in the time it takes for you to download music or a film.
These profiles are then used for identify theft, or as evidence for prosecution by the local government.
Fortunately, you don’t have to cut your downloading habits to keep your information safe. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) will encrypt your data and keep your online activities secure from pryings eyes.
Selecting Which VPNs to Test for Download
Criteria #1: 14 Eyes Program
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. IPPredator and ChillGlobal were therefore ruled out of our list.
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:
Criteria #2: 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.
Criteria #3: 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.
Criteria #4: 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.
Criteria #5: 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.
Criteria #4: 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.
Criteria #5: OpenVPN Support
There are different VPN 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 #6: 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 #7: 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 #8: 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 #9: 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 #10: 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 #11: 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.
Best VPN for Downloading
After performing a thorough elimination process, we dwindled the original list of VPN services down to three remaining services that are eligible to receive a recommendation. Here is our list of providers to keep you anonymous and secure while you’re downloading large files.
#1 ExpressVPN – 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.
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.
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.
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. Currently on offer, you can get an extra 3 months free for the price of $6.67/mo (15 months). All pricing packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
To protect yourself while downloading, sign up with ExpressVPN.
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NordVPN is another high-quality provider. Although its test results could not shift the reigning champion, the unique extra features make this provider a worthy competitor.
The monthly price breakdown is similar to our leading provider. The basic plan will cost you $11.95 per month, although it’s possible to reduce this fee by 52% by committing to an annual subscription. If you have the money to splurge, the exclusive two-year plan provides all the premium features for $29.03 per month. If you don’t want to commit to a payment, NordVPN offers a 30-day free trial with a full refund.
The NordVPN set-up is quick and easy. Simply install the file, launch and connect. You can choose your server, and there are even bandwidth meters to ensure the fastest service. The VPN provides top speeds, with minimum slow-down to your system. We tested our download time with/without the VPN service, and the difference was a mere 2.5 Mbps.
By far the most exciting elements of NordVPN are its enhanced security features. What it lacks in pure protection power, it makes up for in several ways:
- Optimized servers for P2P. You can pick and save specific servers to prioritize speed or privacy.
- Kill Switch. Contingency feature shuts off the internet if VPN connection drops out.
- Double VPN. Bypass your traffic through two proxy servers for added security.
Although NordVPN is not our top recommendation, its elaborate security set-up makes it a good VPN for downloading movies.
PrivateVPN made our list of best VPNs for downloading. The service is available on all major operating systems. Although it not as popular as its competitors, being a lesser-known provider is great for remaining undetected by data monitoring agencies.
The company is currently offering a discount on all their price plans. Buy now for 25% off the monthly payment, at just $8.21. If you opt for an annual subscription then you are eligible for further savings. The monthly fee reduces to $4.15, plus you receive an extra month completely free. You can trial the service for 30 days with full money-back guarantee.
While PrivateVPN offers a comprehensive support documentation, accessing human, technical help is much more difficult. The only contact outlet is an online form that promises a response ‘as soon as possible.’ However, their remote installation feature allows a third-party technician to take over your computer and set-up your VPN – an excellent option for beginners.
Regarding speed, PrivateVPN provider came up somewhat lacking. Testing their Dallas server, the download speed dropped from 39.66 Mbps to just 1.5 Mbps. Although some of their other locations performed better, this was the most significant reduction recorded on any VPN.
What gives PrivateVPN its high-rating is the complexity of their security features. With a wide range of VPN protocols, it’s possible to create bespoke protection. The service also provides a kill switch and IPv6 and DNS leak protection.
Download Movies and Large Files Risk-Free
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 the best VPN services, we’ve concluded that ExpressVPN is the best VPN service available to download files.