A peer-to-peer virtual private network is one that’s been specifically designed for usage with P2P applications. Alternatively, this can also be how a provider calls your regular VPN on the simple grounds of it not blocking or throttling torrent traffic.
The latter understanding of the term used to be a rarity but is now gaining in popularity as the VPN niche continues to grow, thus producing an ever-increasing number of power users.
These days, most VPN providers offer dedicated P2P servers, and it’s not uncommon to see P2P traffic be outright banned by at least some parts of their networks. In both cases, their official reasoning for doing so should be something along the lines of “it allows us to deliver a better service to end users”. And they’re kind of right; with how competitive the field of VPNs has gotten these days, it’s no wonder there’s not a lot of room for eroding profit margins just so that your users can also enjoy unconditional access to anonymous P2P applications – torrents, most notably.
That’s because torrenting eats a LOT of bandwidth compared to pretty much anything else. These days, you have providers like Hola VPN which don’t even work with usually less taxing streaming platforms, let alone torrents, making the subject of torrents and P2P usage in general even touchier.
How to find out if you’re connected to a P2P VPN server
In almost every case, VPN providers won’t own the entirety of their infrastructure and will have some of their partners who manage the actual hardware dictate what traffic they can and cannot handle. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure you’re torrenting over a VPN server that actually supports P2P traffic and doesn’t throttle its speeds in any way.
Those servers will usually be clearly marked by your provider, but if they aren’t, contact their customer support for clarification. Never fret about doing so because remember: VPNs are perfectly legal.
If anything, the only ones that should be made illegal would be the P2P throttlers who boggle down torrent speeds yet act like they’re not actively trying to cripple your experience (looking at you, CyberGhost).
“What is a P2P VPN?” was written by Dominik Bosnjak, a long-time VPN-user-turned-advocate who spends more time scrutinizing VPN Providers on a daily basis than he’d like to admit. When he isn’t writing VPN Guides and covering general Tech News, he’s probably spending time with his dog, video games, or both. Fun fact: the Shih Tzu in question is the only remaining creature in Dominik’s life who hasn’t told him they’re sick of him talking about Best VPN practices and government-sponsored erosion of digital privacy which made using the Internet less convenient over the years. He occasionally dabbles in video editing, Wall Street memes, and demonstrating a remarkable lack of guitar-playing ability.
If you want more tidbit-sized rants about any of those things, you can find him on Twitter @dddominikk.