ZenMate For Torrenting – Is It Safe?

VPNs are essential for torrenting – is ZenMate a viable option?

Mark Neri
By Mark Neri Last update on October 31, 2018
ZenMate For Torrenting – Is It Safe?

ZenMate Torrenting Usage Review

ZenMate is one of the upcoming VPNs around today, based in Germany and run by ZenGuard. VPNs are useful for internet browsing and other online activities. They encrypt your traffic, obscure your true IP address, and allow you to get around geo-restricted content, too. All of this means you can be more secure, anonymous, and private in your online activities. This is why VPNs are becoming more and more popular for everyday use, and that includes ZenMate, which claims 43 million users as of this writing.

In terms of P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing, commonly known as torrenting, security from a VPN is more important than ever. By the nature of the BitTorrent protocol, anyone accessing files on your machine can see your IP, and you can see the IP of anyone whose files you are accessing. This opens up the potential for serious security breaches from bad actors, as well as litigation from copyright holders. So, it should be clear that using a VPN for torrenting is ideal – it obscures your IP and encrypts your traffic. Consequently, neither peers nor government or corporate lawyers or their agents can unearth what you’re doing.

Should You Use ZenMate for Torrenting?

When looking for a VPN to use for torrenting, your main concerns should be privacy and anonymity, with speed also near the top of the list. You want to ensure your IP is hidden, traffic robustly encrypted, and speed is high enough to justify the security precautions. After all, being super-secure doesn’t really matter if your downloads revert to dial-up speeds! So how does torrenting on ZenMate stack up? We’ll examine ZenMate’s torrenting features in four distinct categories below – safety and privacy, download speed, server count and locations, and user interface and compatibility.

  • Safety and Privacy

ZenMate recently upgraded to industry-standard AES-256 encryption, meaning network traffic is secure from brute-force attacks. They offer malware blocking and tracking protection, added security features when the VPN is in use, which is laudable. They also include a kill-switch, so that your IP and DNS information doesn’t get broadcast if your connection drops unexpectedly. On the logging front, however, their policy is a bit unclear. While they state they don’t keep any logs, their privacy policy points to a non-existent separate agreement related to the application(s), so it’s not possible to validate.

  • Download Speed

Torrenting can be a very intense user of bandwidth, meaning download speeds are important. VPNs often make a hit on your download speed, due to the extra hops and encryption processes. The best VPN providers add no more than 20-30 ms latency and only a 15 to 20% hit to total download speed. ZenMate for torrenting isn’t among the top in this regard, with a 30 to 40% speed hit and around 30 ms latency addition. Still, this puts it in the upper tier of providers overall and is serviceable for most torrent purposes.

  • Server Count and Locations

ZenMate is one of the smaller VPN providers, with only around 300 servers in 30 countries at this time. However, this provides a good basis for users to have geographic diversity, and possibly try different countries for their outbound servers, to get better download times from peers, and bypass geo-restricted content. They continue to add servers, however, and they seem to be fairly high capacity and reliable.

  • User Interface and Compatibility

The ZenMate user interface is very simple, which can be frustrating sometimes. You have little control over the settings or options, and more advanced, tech-savvy users may find themselves wishing for more configurability. They have also been reports of a lot of crashes and glitches in the client interface, though we didn’t experience that in our testing. In terms of compatibility, ZenMate has clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. One note, however – they only offer a limited selection of servers for the OpenVPN protocol (as opposed to other tunneling protocols), which may be a downside for some users.

ZenMate Torrenting – Does It Keep Logs?

Torrenting can be dicey, especially if you are sharing or downloading copyrighted material. For this reason, the best VPNs for torrenting have very clear no-logging policies. As mentioned above, while ZenMate claims in their promotional campaigns platforms and FAQs that there is no logging, their privacy policy and similar are a bit inconclusive. We are concerned that until this is clarified, it is not entirely a guarantee that they don’t keep logs.

Torrenting with ZenMate – Important Features

When torrenting with ZenMate, you want to know that you are safe and secure. There are several features of the service that can provide this peace of mind. For a start, the built-in kill switch offers a level of protection that is only common among high-tier VPNs. This protocol helps to ensure that if your connection drops, your IP, DNS, and other information remain hidden, and aren’t leaked to destination servers or monitors. The industry-standard encryption means your traffic is unbreakable. And the service offers no bandwidth throttling, meaning the only hits to your speed are from the base VPN and encryption – no artificial throttling of torrents or file sharing.

Torrenting with ZenMate – ZenMate Torrent Servers

ZenMate does not have individual, allocated servers optimized for torrenting. While they do allow P2P file sharing and it is listed as a feature and reason to use their VPN, there are some troubling elements here as well. For a start, they make it very clear in their terms of service that you are not to share or download copyrighted material, and that doing so can result in action taken against your account. This also calls into question what kind of logging may be going on, that this would be traceable to your account in the first place.

Torrenting with ZenMate – Prices and Plans

At present, ZenMate offers a 7-day free trial, as well as paid plans. The paid plans proffer the same features but just vary in cost and term length. This is a change of late, as they used to have tiered access plans. All plans offer connections for up to 5 devices.

Monthly Plan

$ 9.99

6 Month Plan

$ 53.99

$8.99/month

Yearly Plan

$ 71.99

5.99/month

This is comparable to most higher-tier VPN providers, with the monthly cost being a bit lower, and the yearly plan being a bit higher than major competitors like NordVPN or ExpressVPN.

So, Should You Use ZenMate for Torrenting?

If you intend to use ZenMate for torrenting, you should know you are getting a bit of a mixed bag. The logging policy needs some clarification to remove the ambiguity there. At the same time, the clear statements against copyrighted file sharing in terms of service give us pause. While the speed is not amazing, it’s not bad either, so certainly ZenMate can be used for torrenting. We would like to see some improvements and clarifications in regards to the first two points before we can fully endorse ZenMate for torrenting, however.

For more information on great VPN services, browser extensions, and related topics, you are welcomed to explore the rest of our site frequently.

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