Keep Your Internet Traffic Away From Spying Eyes With the Best VPNs
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The newsroom or editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content.
Getting Yourself a VPN: A Buying Guide
Benefits of Using A VPN
Data protectionThe most obvious benefit of using a VPN is how it protects your data and privacy. All your internet traffic gets encrypted so no one can access it other than you and the VPN provider. A VPN provides a secure network to safeguard the data you are sending over the internet. This can be really valuable for organizations that need to keep their information safe, especially on new projects or sensitive business plans.But if you just want to use the VPN for personal use, there are tons of privacy benefits there too. A VPN can prevent those pesky trackers at bay that keep pushing ads out to you. This way, ad agencies cannot sniff out your activities and interests to run targeted ads.Plus, VPNs help safeguard your more sensitive information, such as credit card information, that hackers try to steal during transactions made over the internet. Since the hackers don’t get your personal information, they cannot impersonate you and access your bank account either. All the information you send online will just appear to be nonsensical text to anyone trying to get unauthorized access to it. All this and more make VPNs the perfect tool for safeguarding your data and privacy.
Prevention of data and bandwidth throttlingIt is not uncommon for your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to throttle your bandwidth speed and slow down the service if you have used up a certain amount of data. The bandwidth may also be restricted if you access certain websites or activities that the ISP doesn’t want you to access. This can be really problematic for people who use the internet a lot.But by using a VPN, you can bypass the whole bandwidth throttling entirely. This is done by two features of VPNS. First is that a VPN hides your data from your ISP and everyone else. So the ISP cannot determine exactly how much data you are using. This way, they cannot put a data cap to slow down your connection.Secondly, the VPN prevents the ISP from seeing what sites or internet activities you access. Without knowing if you are accessing a website that the ISP wants to throttle the bandwidth on, you can enjoy your internet running at full speed without worry.
What to Look for When Choosing a VPN
SecurityWhen selecting a VPN, security should always be at the top of your list. Make sure to look for an option with robust encryption protocols and secure connections to prevent unauthorized access to your data. You can also look for other security features like anti-malware protection, ad-blocking, and remote management to further bolster data protection. Most VPNs also have options for split tunneling and kill switches to protect your online data traffic.You can usually find the security features of a VPN in its product description. It is better to look for VPNs suited for your specific security needs. For instance, if you need to send very important and sensitive data, you should use a VPN with top-of-the-line encryption. If you want to use proxy servers, then you can also go for VPNs with proxy features built in. Most popular VPNs provide all these features and more, so going for a well-known and trusted brand is optimal.
PrivacyWhen looking for a VPN, it’s important to make sure the provider does not track or store your browsing activity or log any of your activities. Most VPN providers that offer this type of service will have a strict no-logging policy. It’s also important to check what type of privacy features the provider offers, such as double-hop encryption, multi-hop servers, and DNS leak protection.All these will help keep your privacy well-protected. Even if the VPN has a logging policy due to one reason or another, ensure they do not share the data with any third party. If they do, then you shouldn’t get that VPN at all since your data being logged and shared defeats the whole purpose of having a VPN. Also, make sure the VPN service you choose isn’t affiliated with any data-gathering organization as well.
Streaming and torrenting capabilitiesIf streaming online or downloading torrents is important for you, then make sure the provider offers support for these functions. Not all VPNs are optimized for streaming or torrenting, so it’s important to check this before making a purchase decision. Otherwise, you may get too much lag when streaming or experience network difficulties when torrenting.
Some Important Tips for Purchasing a Good VPN
Go for reliabilityReliability is a key factor to consider when choosing a VPN. Make sure the VPN provider hasn’t had any recent outages or other issues that may affect the VPN’s performance. You should also check to see if there are any reports of slow connection speeds or reliability problems. All this data can easily be found online. Or you can look at the reviews of customers about the reliability of the VPN providers.
Prioritize ease of useAnother feature you should look for in a VPN is ease-of-use. Check if the software package is easy to install and use so you don’t have any trouble further down the line. Also, make sure the user interface is straightforward and user-friendly. This way, you don’t have to waste time learning how to use a complicated user interface.Instead, you should be able to click on a button, and the VPN should kick into action. Even better, the VPN could start with your phone or computer to provide security from the get-go if possible.
Check for subscriptionsMost VPN providers offer handy subscription services for you to benefit from. These subscription services help you lower the per-month rate of the VPN significantly so you can save up. They also make it less of a hassle to resubscribe to the service every month. Many providers offer monthly subscriptions as well as one-time purchases, so you can find one that best fits your budget and needs. You should also check to see if there are discounts available for long-term plans or multiple-device plans.
What We Looked for When Picking the Top VPNs
Good speedSpeed is an important factor when it comes to selecting a VPN. A good VPN shouldn’t limit your internet speeds significantly and should provide good download times. This is why we only chose the VPNs that offered great speeds and little to no impact on downloads. Some providers also offer additional speed boost features such as server location predictions and traffic prioritization, which you can opt for if you prefer.It is important to note a VPN will always have an impact on the internet speed. But good VPNs only have an unnoticeable impact, so your user experience isn’t affected.
Number of ServersWhen selecting a VPN provider, it’s essential to make sure they have multiple servers located in different geographical locations to maximize privacy and speed. The more servers available, the better, since this will enable you to access more websites from around the world without compromising your security or speed performance. This is the reason we only picked VPNs for our list that had various servers located around the globe for your convenience.This way, you can even bypass regional restrictions. Also, if you use a server closer to your location, you will be able to get much better speeds than you would by accessing a far-located server. With more servers being available, you will have a higher chance of getting a server close by.
Express VPN offers unbeatable features with innovations that take your privacy and security to the next level. It provides users peace of mind with a 30-day money-back guarantee that allows for a risk-free trial for potential customers. Offering connectivity from anywhere to everywhere, be it in your own home or traveling to a cafe, ExpressVPN’s network of high-speed servers across 94 countries puts you in control. It provides the highest level of online privacy and security. Its best-in-class encryption ensures the protection of your data. It also allows users to be connected across multiple devices simultaneously on one subscription —- whether it be computers, tablets, phones, or routers. Connectivity is lightning-quick as the VPN network is built for speed. When it comes to VPNs, Express VPN stands out for its range of advanced features. Take split tunneling, for example —- this lets you send some of your device traffic through a VPN tunnel while the rest accesses the internet directly. It’s a handy feature, allowing you to control how different applications and websites are routed on both open and secure networks. On top of that, they use their TrustedServer technology, ensuring no data is ever written to a hard drive; this helps keep your information private and secure. Moreover, Network Lock keeps your data safe if your VPN connection drops abruptly; this switch blocks all online traffic until the protection is restored. They have a Threat Manager feature that blocks malicious third parties from tracking and communicating with users and apps. ExpressVPN also has the Trust Center, which ensures any attacker cannot stay undetected or cause harm to user systems. Also, ExpressVPN has a Speed Test feature built in so users can choose the fastest server location for their network without hassle. Finally, users will benefit significantly from Public Wi-Fi Safety which protects against rogue networks, giving complete protection and peace of mind when using public Wi-Fi networks. You can bypass ISP throttling by using Express VPN, allowing faster streaming speeds and higher data integrity than without a VPN. Plus, it’s unlimited bandwidth: no matter how much you download or stream, you never have to worry about your ISP or VPN capping certain types of traffic. If gaming is your thing, Express VPN’s lower ping and lag will give you an edge in any cloud or game console experience. Worried about revealing your accurate IP address or location? Easily mask it by changing it through one of Express VPN’s secure virtual private network (VPN) servers — no need to worry anymore! And lastly, they have 24-hour live chat support available via email and phone — friendly help right when you need it most. ExpressVPN runs its own private, encrypted DNS on every server, making connections faster and safer. Moreover, every one of their servers implements best-in-class encryption technology to protect your data while browsing or streaming. All these features have made ExpressVPN one of the most trusted providers today —- one reason why even tech experts recommend its service regularly!
- Comes with a VPN split tunneling feature
- Threat manager and top-in-class encryption
- Server locations in over 90 countries
- More expensive than competitors
NordVPN stands out from other services with its focus on user security, privacy, anonymity, and cutting-edge technology – enabling users to experience an online presence like no other. Its Threat Protection feature is a must-have for those seeking to beef up their cyber defense. With this service, users don’t have to worry about downloading malicious software or being exposed to trackers and intrusive ads – Threat Protection will find and neutralize these threats before they can cause any harm or jeopardize personal data. The VPN provider also utilizes robust encryption protocols, ensuring all connections through the tunnel are secure and any third parties cannot access sensitive information. In addition, NordVPN can mask a user’s IP address, hide their location and keep internet activities anonymous – making it perfect for when out and about on public Wi-Fi networks. NordVPN offers an unparalleled experience of online privacy and security with applications for every platform you have ever heard of. They have your back covered, from Windows to macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux – not to mention the encrypted proxy extensions available for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Even more impressive? With one single account, you can secure up to 6 devices simultaneously. No more frustration with buffered streaming or painfully slow downloading —- Nord VPN is your relaxed way into that smoother internet connection you’ve awaited so desperately. It takes user experience to a completely different level with its unbeatable combination of user-friendly apps and high-end performance. You can browse faster, be safe from cyber threats whenever you go online, keep prying eyes away from your personal information, and block annoying ads wherever you are – this makes Express VPN valuable for its customers. Once you launch the application on your device (it can be a smartphone or a computer), there’s an automatically assigned feature profile connected to it which will immediately scan for server availability and ensure no malicious software sneaks onto your system in any case. Not only this, but Express VPN also provides Super Speed servers located around the world which let you access websites from various locations with just one click. And if that doesn’t help, they even provide 24/7 customer service through live chat as well as by phone support in case of any difficulties – proof of how committed Express VPN is when it comes to managing customer satisfaction!
- Over 5400 servers in 60 countries
- Dedicated IP and a prompt dark web monitor
- Double VPN feature for added privacy
- Slow server connections at times
Surf Shark VPN offers its customers various valuable features to ensure their internet activity is secure and private. One such feature is the ability to keep your browsing activity encrypted so nobody can track or steal it. Also, using a different IP address increases privacy and prevents potential tracking. Also, Surf Shark VPN gives users digital freedom and security even when connected to unprotected networks during trips. The plan includes unlimited devices, a no-logs policy that ensures user data won’t be stored anywhere, high-speed content delivery for an enjoyable streaming experience, and all the advanced security features you would expect from a premium provider —- making Surf SharkVPN super safe for users. To complete the package, Surf Shark also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee policy in case customers aren’t delighted with the service. Compared to other providers, one defining characteristic of Surf Shark that sets it apart from its competitors is allowing access to streaming services from anywhere in the world without location restrictions or censorship limits —- giving users unparalleled levels of privacy & freedom online!With their encrypted data transfers, Surf Shark ensures that no one can track or steal any information you send over the internet. Also, they provide ”CleanWeb,” which blocks malicious ads and protects against possible attacks while browsing. You can also expect accurate, unbiased search results so no one can customize searches for their benefit. Thanks to its unlimited device setup feature, you can use Surfshark VPN on as many devices as you need concurrently —– perfect for a connected family living under one roof! With Surf shark’s streaming mode, you can unlock all forms of media from any destination around the world, with your data and browsing activity kept securely hidden from prying eyes. If you’re after some great IPTV content, the Security IPTV feature grants secure access to blocked or restricted material —- perfect for watching the big game without interruption. And don’t forget about Surf shark’s uncensored internet access: browse the web with no worries about censorship or limits on content. Surfshark VPN provides customers with a comprehensive suite of features that enhance their online experience by allowing them to surf, stream and shop securely in total privacy and freedom.Their advanced features, such as CleanWeb, guard against ads and other unwanted content while improving users’ network speeds. CleanWeb benefits users by blocking ads and trackers, reducing data consumption and ultimately speeding up the browsing experience. In addition to safely blocking malicious websites, CleanWeb also includes malware protection, protecting the user from any dangerous infections or attacks. On top of all these features, Surf Sharks offers customers the convenience of password protection on their email accounts and quarterly personal data security reports and notifications if any of their data is leaked somewhere online. All this makes Surf Shark VPN a valuable addition to an individual’s internet security options portfolio providing thorough safety and peace of mind when accessing the web.
- Provides secure and reliable IPTV access
- Option to browse privately & hide location
- Protects your privacy while using public wifi
- Does not offers phone support
Cyber Ghost VPN provides a unique way to stay safe and secure on the internet, with features that make it a stand out in the industry. It encrypts user’s online traffic and hides their real IP address, protecting them from hackers, advertisers, ISPs and governments. Every Cyber Ghost account can connect up to 7 devices at once, making it the perfect fit for any family! Also, installation of their service is simple and easy —- one subscription covers an array of devices such as Windows PC, macOS, Android, iOS and Linux machines. Users are also given exclusive access to over 9000 servers located worldwide – each promising fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth. Cyber Ghost VPN has a strong Differentiator: it doesn’t track, share, or sell any data when customers are connected to its servers. The HQ in Romania also provides an extra layer of privacy for better security and this is enabled with legally binding terms under their Strong Encryption policy. With the industry leading 256-bit AES encryption, users can be sure all their online activities from streaming live sports to downloading large files or playing online games will not be compromised. It provides 24/7 customer support and guarantees fast response times in multiple languages. Plus, with their wide selection of servers located all over the world, you can change your virtual location quickly and securely. By doing so, you can unblock social media platforms, stream content easily, bypass network restrictions at your office or school, and even shop online as safely as if you were physically present. On top of that, CyberGhost’s encryption protocol ensures maximum privacy and security while browsing the internet. With a single click on the app or via browser extension, you are able to secure yourself both on public and private Wi-Fi networks. Once connected to their VPN server, your data is encrypted and secured from malicious actors like hackers or government authorities. This way you have full confidence that your personal information remains fully protected while traveling or when working remotely. The additional benefit of this is having complete freedom to access any digital resource without limitation or censorship.Moreover, Cyber Ghost VPN’s fast speeds assure a reliable connection to enjoy these services near lag-free speeds as promised by the provider. Should there be issues one faces while using Cyber Ghost VPN after 45 days, they are guaranteed a hassle-free return or refund. All these features combined make Cyber Ghost VPN worth every penny —- because it looks after your digital wellbeing as much as you do.
- Equipped with a no logs policy
- Protects and connects with up to 7 devices
- More than 9000 servers & fast VPN speed
- Ad blocker might be ineffective at times
Your data security is of the utmost importance, and with Private Internet Access VPN, that’s exactly what you are getting. Your IP address and browsing are kept safe from surveillance, with the VPN never keeping logs of usage. Data is encrypted for extra protection so nobody can access your emails, pictures or banking information. Also, you get to access all of your favorite content free from ISP throttling or geographical restrictions and enjoy a fast connection speed. This can be tailored to different usage needs as well, making it ideal for both individuals and businesses alike. You also benefit from world class servers located in 82 countries across numerous regions around the globe meaning there’s always one nearby no matter where you may be. The premium add-ons include their Privacy-First Antivirus, which is a state-of-the-art antivirus software scan that removes malware from a Windows PC without tracking user activity or logging connection data – making it stand out from the crowd and giving users full control. Another great feature is their Dedicated IP Address, which gives users a unique IP address only they can use with all the privacy and security benefits of a VPN, something that is beneficial for those who want to access restricted content and hide online activity. PIA takes great pride in their customized “MACE” feature which combats advertisements, online trackers, and malicious websites. The encryption standards utilized by PIA are extremely modern and robust such as WireGuard – designed for those seeking an optimum level of security to keep all data traveling out of their devices completely anonymous. The setup process for seamless installation is extremely effortless and straightforward. After purchasing your plan from PIA, you can download the app to your device in mere minutes once you verify your account information on the website. If there’s ever an issue they have incredibly knowledgeable customer service representatives who are eager to help based in their customer service hub. Private Internet Access VPN truly understands the need for privacy and keeps your data secure at all times so you don’t have to worry about anything else other than enjoying seamless browsing across an array of countries around the world.
- Instant setup and unlimited bandwith
- Comes with a 30 day money-back guarantee
- Blocks malware, ads and trackers
- Provides round the clock customer support
- Might not boast a quick speed
People Also Asked
Does a VPN keep me fully anonymous online?
The extent to which a VPN will keep you anonymous online depends on various factors. Yes, a VPN does keep your activities online private, but this doesn’t mean you become fully anonymous when using a VPN. There are many other ways you may end up revealing your identity, even when using a VPN.For instance, when you log into a website, you give information to the website. This information can be your username or email address that the website can identify you with, so you are no longer anonymous. Also, a VPN cannot prevent you from intentionally leaking information about yourself. If you share personal information online on forums, social media, or anywhere else, you no longer stay anonymous because you voluntarily revealed the information about yourself. There are also other innocuous digital footprints you leave behind which are not in your control at all. For instance, your browser may share the software version, screen resolution, and other such information that could potentially help track you. But these are all privacy problems that a VPN cannot feasibly protect against. A VPN does help you make tracking harder. Still, you need to be very careful about what you share online. What a VPN can do is hide your activities, provide encryption, provide a secure network for file sharing, and prevent trackers. Not revealing your identity in other ways depends entirely on your own actions. VPNs are your number one tool for protecting your data and privacy, so you should use one at all times since it can go a long way in deterring malicious handling of your information.
Are there any free VPNs?
Yes, there are many free VPNs available on the market. But are they any good? The answer is a resounding no for almost every free VPN. The people who make good VPNs want to earn money for all their effort, which is pretty fair. After all, the upkeep of the servers, employee payments, and other such costs make it impossible to run a good VPN service for free. Still, as we said, there are free VPNs available online. These VPNs either work completely free or monetize their services using ads that they run on their websites. Some shady free VPNs and proxy services even sell your data to make some extra cash. Even the free VPNs that are reliable have other shortcomings that paid options do not. For instance, free VPNs usually provide very bad internet speeds. This is natural since they cannot run more servers as paid VPNs do. So they need to limit the internet connection speeds of the users. Free VPNs are also pretty limited in the features they provide and are somewhat unreliable. This is why it is ideal to go for a paid VPN if you want to use the service regularly. So you can get premium services without having to worry about slow internet connections and ad walls. You can probably get away with using a free VPN if you just intend to use it once or twice.
Can I use a VPN on multiple devices?
Yes, most reputable VPN services support multiple devices. But the number of devices you can use the VPN on can vary depending on the plan you have opted for. Generally, more premium plans mean more devices that you can use the VPN on. There are also special plans provided by most VPN providers aimed at organizations. This kind of plan allows the VPN to be used on a lot of devices simultaneously to ensure VPN availability to every member of the company. You can use VPNs on all kinds of devices, including desktop computers and mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. As long as the device is compatible, you can use VPNs on it.
How easy is it to set up a VPN?
Most reputable VPN services offer step-by-step tutorials and guides to help you set up your service in just a few minutes. You can also contact the provider’s customer support team if you have any issues or questions. Generally speaking, installing and using a VPN is super easy. You just need to download the installation file and run it on your computer. Then simply follow the installation instructions appearing on your screen, and the VPN will be installed. Finally, insert your credentials or VPN key you got from your purchase, and you are good to go.
Does a VPN slow down my internet connection?
As mentioned before, VPNs can slow down your connection as they add an extra layer of data encryption, which requires more processing power from your device. More processing power means a higher delay before data is sent or received, which in turn results in slower internet. But modern-day high-speed VPNs should not be too noticeable when it comes to speed decreases. They should be able to keep up with most web activities with minimal latency issues.
Can I use a VPN to get around geographical restrictions?
Yes, a reliable VPN with servers in different countries can be used to bypass geo-restrictions that are usually put in place by different services. Some services limit the availability of their features and content because of copyright laws in your country. But by using a VPN, you can appear to be a user using the service from an entirely different country where those features and content are not restricted.
What types of protocols are supported by VPN?
VPN tools use various encryptions and protocols to safeguard your data. The type of encryption and protocols used depend on the VPN brand you are using. VPN services generally support OpenVPN protocol as well as other protocols such as IKEv2/IPsec, Wireguard/UDP, PPTP/L2TP/IPsec, and SSTP protocols depending on the provider’s network infrastructure.The encryption level and strength also vary between providers, with most well-known providers offering high-end encryption services.
How to tell if a VPN is compatible with my device?
VPN compatibility is not very difficult to figure out. Most VPNs have compatible devices stated right in their product description. Keep in mind that VPNs are not resource intensive and can work on most hardware. But when it comes to software, it’s a different story. A VPN may work on Windows but not on Apple OS. Or it may be designed especially for other operating systems like Linux. Make sure that the VPN you pick can be installed on all of your devices so you can access the internet securely, no matter where you go. Look for providers that offer compatibility with Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android devices as well as gaming consoles such as Xbox or PlayStation in order to maximize connection coverage across multiple platforms and devices within your home or office network. This way, you can also future-proof your purchase, so if you get a new device in the future, the VPN will be usable on it as well. Good VPN providers offer compatibility with all commonly used devices.
Can I share my VPN with other people?
Yes, you can share your VPN with other people. But it isn’t really recommended to do so. The person you share the VPN with may change the settings that you want to be enabled or commit illegal activities that could potentially land you in hot waters. Instead, it is best to either use the VPN yourself only or share it with someone you can trust.
Are VPNs legal to use?
It is important to check the legality of VPNs in your country before using one. Some countries don’t allow the use of VPNs entirely. So using one could get you in trouble. This is why you should consult a professional or do your research before you buy and use a VPN on your devices.