A virtual private network, otherwise known as a VPN, is a great tool to help keep your data secure while connected to the internet. But there are different types of VPNs that you can use.

One increasingly popular option is a peer-to-peer or P2P VPN — a secure network that offers support for peer-to-peer network connections.

Below, we’ll explain:

  • What a P2P VPN is
  • How it works
  • Why you may want to consider using one

What Is a P2P VPN?

A P2P VPN is a virtual private network that’s compatible with a peer-to-peer network. Every person who is a part of a peer-to-peer network serves as a potential point of connection, allowing users to send and receive data across the network through multiple nodes rather than a single location. This allows for the transfer of data from many sources, which provides faster and more efficient downloads.

setup image
Source: ExpressVPN

A P2P VPN supports these types of connections, which allows for downloading large files quickly. There are several features that a P2P VPN should have, including no bandwidth restrictions, a no-logs policy, and a killswitch.

What Does P2P Mean?

P2P means peer-to-peer. In a peer-to-peer network, your device is communicating with many different users, all of whom are connected via the network. All of these users serve as hosts of information, allowing a user to download it.

Typically, this allows for much faster connections as there are multiple sources providing the data rather than a single location that may be communicating with many people at the same time.

How Does a VPN Work?

A VPN works by creating a secure and encrypted tunnel that connects a device to a server. Any data that’s sent to or from this device is sent through this tunnel, which effectively scrambles the data until it reaches its specified destination. Anyone who tries to intercept this data receives an incoherent collection of encrypted information.

vpn illustration
Source: NordVPN

A VPN protects a user from their data being viewed by hackers as well as by internet service providers (ISPs) and apps or websites that may be tracking their activity. The VPN server serves as a middle man, receiving data sent through the tunnel and sending information back through it. This ensures the data is protected and encrypted.

How Do P2P VPNs Work?

A P2P VPN works similarly to a standard VPN. It also creates an encrypted tunnel through which data is sent, keeping it secure and essentially unable to be intercepted by malicious actors who may be on the same wireless network.

Why Is a P2P VPN Different Than a VPN?

What is different, though, is this: a P2P VPN supports access to peer-to-peer networks. This allows you to download large files from many sources at once, providing fast download speeds compared to static servers. This also allows for the download of torrents, which sometimes are associated with riskier downloads like films, music, and other media.

A P2P VPN typically does not restrict your bandwidth. This allows for download speeds that are sufficient to benefit from the many sources hosting the file that you’re downloading from the P2P network.

A P2P VPN Should Have a No-log Policy

Also, a P2P VPN should have a no-log policy, meaning that it doesn’t keep a record of your online activity. This means that if an ISP or law enforcement were to contact your VPN provider for any reason, they wouldn’t be able to provide a record of your activity, meaning there would be no way to trace your internet activity to you.

killswitch
Source: ProtonVPN

Make Sure Your P2P VPN Has a Killswitch

Finally, a P2P VPN should offer a killswitch feature. A killswitch is an automated feature that disconnects you from the internet if you lose connection to your VPN server. This switch ensures that you’ll not expose yourself or your online activity accidentally.

Without a killswitch, your data stops being sent and received through the encrypted tunnel created between you and your VPN server and instead be transmitted without protection over your wireless network, running the risk of exposing your activity to third parties.

Are P2P VPNs safe?

A P2P VPN offers additional protection for your online activities and ensures that your data won’t be exposed to malicious sources or your ISP, apps, websites, or government agencies.

If you’re downloading files from a peer-to-peer network, using a VPN provides a layer of security that protects your identity and activity. This should guarantee that no one can track this download to you.

That said, a P2P VPN can only keep you safe from having your data exposed. It cannot protect you from malicious files. Because a peer-to-peer network relies on data that’s hosted by many different devices, there’s a risk that there may be a malicious actor within the network.

Likewise, if you download a file that is intentionally mislabeled or contains a virus or other harmful software that could be executed on your device, your VPN won’t be able to protect you from this. Your VPN keeps your data safe, but it’ll not keep you safe from bad data.

What Are the Best P2P VPNs?

There are several great VPN providers who offer a P2P VPN or support connections on peer-to-peer networks. Many VPN providers advertise this as it’s a commonly sought-after feature.

It’s also worth noting that, just because a VPN doesn’t advertise support for peer-to-peer connections, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to download files from P2P networks. It means that the servers aren’t optimized to support them and may not offer the type of necessary protection typically associated with P2P VPNs.

Many of the best VPN services available now offer support for peer-to-peer networks. If you’re already using a VPN, check with your service provider to see if P2P connections are supported.

Here are some of the best P2P VPNs currently available:

NordVPN
  • Next-generation encryption
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Uninterrupted streaming
Visit NordVPN
Surfshark
  • No-log policy
  • Unlimited devices
  • Killswitch
Visit Surfshark
ExpressVPN
  • 24/7 Live chat customer support
  • No-log policy
  • Allows torrenting
Visit ExpressVPN
CyberGhost
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Can connect up to seven devices
  • Killswitch available
Visit CyberGhost
ProtonVPN
  • AES-256 encryption
  • Supports multiple secure VPN protocols (IKEv2 and OpenVPN)
  • Strict no-logs policy
Visit ProtonVPN

A P2P VPN is a great tool for anyone looking to connect to a peer-to-peer network. If you’re downloading large files, a P2P network provides a faster and more efficient way to access that information than by downloading it from a static server. It also provides access to files and media that may otherwise not be available.

A P2P VPN offers the necessary features to best use a peer-to-peer network. That includes unlimited bandwidth that will not slow down your download speeds and undermine the connections to multiple different sources that have made the data available.

It also includes a no-log policy so your activity isn’t stored and cannot be sold or provided to anyone who may request it, including governments.

Finally, it should have a killswitch that’ll stop your activity if you lose connection to your VPN server, ensuring your privacy and making sure none of your information leaks online for others to access.

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