The Best VPN Service
Ultimate Buyers Guide
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The Best VPN Services

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In an increasingly connected world where computers, smartphones, and other devices have become a large part of our day-to-day lives, online privacy is becoming more and more of a concern. The VPN connection has flourished as a result.

After all, one way to secure your online presence is to find the best virtual private network to communicate securely. In my review, I've found the best VPN services on the market.

Take a look at the top VPN services.

The Best VPN Services

Our Top Picks

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  • Monthly Price: $5.19

IP Vanish VPN Review

  • Pros
  • Large company with abundant resources
  • Many servers around the world
  • Fast connection speeds
  • Unique IP sharing approach
  • Many protocol types
  • Cons
  • Live chat not available 24/7

IPVanish is a top VPN software provider with the big company resources to back it up. They have more than 100 servers around the globe in over 40 different countries which go a long way in connecting your network all over the world. You receive a variety of choices with this cheap VPN service, which means you are more likely to get exactly what you want.

You can choose where you connect, meaning you can bypass location restrictions by choosing to use servers near the area you wish to connect to. You can also select from one of the several different protocols that they offer which can help you find one that works the best for your needs.

Additional benefits of IPVanish are unlimited bandwidth, the ability to file share, and P2P sharing. If you're looking for a VPN for torrenting, want military-grade encryption, and desire top-notch customer service, then you should seriously consider this Editor Choice.

2nd
  • Monthly Price: $5.75

PureVPN Review

  • Pros
  • Easy to use website
  • Many protocol types
  • Many servers around the world
  • 24 hour support
  • Live chat available
  • Cons
  • Installation may seem long or complicated

PureVPN delivers exceptional privacy and freedom when you browse online. It has more servers than any other virtual private network provider and boasts the fastest network, thanks to its self-managed network.

Moreover, it works with many operating systems on Windows, Mac, and Android to make it a great option for your computer, smartphone, laptop or tablet. It is also an excellent consideration when you are looking for the best VPN for Mac computers and devices.

Overall, it has over 500 servers in 141 countries which give you the opportunity to stretch your private network in a variety of places.

Better yet, the VPN user will have access to 24/7 live chat. Additionally, the pricing is incredible if you purchase in bulk, and it is backed by a seven-day money back guarantee. For instance, you could purchase a two-year plan for only a couple of dollars per month, making PureVPN a cheap VPN service.

3rd
  • Monthly Price: $6.55

HideMyAss VPN Review

  • Pros
  • Easy sign up process
  • 30-day money back guarantee on its services
  • It has privacy tools available that many banks, law firms and other businesses use
  • Great educational resources online that includes troubleshooting guides and articles on how to set the V
  • Cons
  • It doesn't have a U.S. phone number, so it's only means of contact is through online options

The HideMyAss VPN lives up to its name as a top-rated VPN company that has the ability to protect your data when you surf online.

It has a vast global network, consisting of 880 VPN servers in 210 countries, which is substantially more than other providers offer. This, coupled with its excellent customer service and affordability, makes HideMyAss is a great provider to consider.

Unfortunately, the Hidemyass VPN is not the greatest VPN for torrents. After all, your account may be suspended or canceled without warning. So if you're looking for VPN access with torrent-friendly capabilities, you may want to turn your attention elsewhere.

Key Considerations Before Choosing a VPN Service

When you are looking for a VPN service consider the following criteria:

1. Company Reputation

There are so many VPN services out there, and a few low-quality services are bound to show up as you search for one. With this in mind, there are easy ways for you to find reputable VPN providers. For instance, some reputable router providers, such as Cisco, offer VPN clients.

The Cisco AnyConnect VPN client provides remote VPN users with secure connections to the Cisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance using the Secure Socket Layer protocol and the Datagram TLS protocol.

2. Customer Service

Customer service, along with a provider's reputation are the most important factors to consider before subscribing for services.

What methods are available to you to contact a provider's customer support? Does it offer customer service available 24/7? What is its response time to emails or live chat? What support tools does it have on its website? Is there a support section that lists user guides and addresses common support questions? The answers to these questions will indicate if the provider takes its customer service seriously.

3. Protocols

Look at the pros and cons of each protocol that services offer. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses, choose one that is the best for what you do. One of the best ways to find the strengths and weaknesses of each service is to use our informative reviews.

For instance, some VPN providers offer unlimited bandwidth. Additionally, many paid VPN services offer unlimited access. Some VPN services are SSL VPNs, or Secure Sockets Layer. An SSL VPN allows you to use a standard web browser with its service.

Furthermore, you want to take into account speed and ping, especially if you're a gamer. The fastest VPN service should also help with a lower ping when performing activities such as gaming.

Learn More: When it comes to Internet service, a lot of factors can alter your online gaming experience. For more information, consult our guide to online gaming.

4. VPN Server Location

The VPN server locations matter. A VPN server in a specific location can help you get around location restrictions in your area. This means when you examine a provider's offerings, it's important to find out how many servers it has and how many countries it has servers in.

Not only can this help you get around local restrictions, but it might also allow you to access blocked websites that your government won't allow you to access. In turn, this will give you unrivaled freedom when you browse online.

5. Check Provider Policies

Check the policies of the provider. Remember, they may protect you from outside eavesdropping but they can also access your data when they want to. Moreover, how does it handle your data? Does it provide a transfer option to allow you control your data? And if so, how it will ensure it can transfer your data safely? A reputable provider should be able to answer these questions in a quick and professional manner to allay your concerns.

6. Malware and Virus Protection

Look for high-quality malware and virus protection from the provider. Sometimes, they might offer featured add-ons like firewall protection. What's great about these add-ons is it provides you with added layers of security, so you receive the best protection for your data. In addition, it's important when searching for extras that the provider can meet your needs by offering phone apps for your use and software that runs on a broad range of operating systems. This ensures you will receive the full benefit of its services for your devices.

7. Free VPN Services

Look for free VPN services first, such as CyberGhost VPN, if you have very basic needs. Although they are no substitute for paid services, they can help you save. However, some paid services also have free trials so you can try it out before you buy. Other paid services offer a money-back guarantee. The money-back guarantee ensures that you can still try a VPN client before you commit to it.

However, you should be extremely careful with these particular proxy services. A free proxy service, as reported by Wired, can be tied to deceptive business practices. Take, for example, Hola, an Israeli VPN service that has been widely criticized for selling its free tier users' idle bandwidth. What does that mean? Well, the users were unknowingly transformed into a botnet, which engaged in criminal activities, such as DDoS attacks against particular message boards.

8. Availability of VPN

Many VPN clients offer protection not only for your PC or Mac OS but also for Android and iOS. In other words, VPN clients are also featured as VPN apps. The OpenVPN client is one such VPN app that offers open-source access to PC, Mac OS, Android, and iOS users. This same OpenVPN client also implements VPN tech for "creating secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in routed or bridged configurations and remote access facilities."

You should consider a secure VPN client not only for your PC and Mac OS, but you should also decide whether or not you should adopt a VPN mobile app for your Android or iOS device.

Related: Android vs iOS: Which Is the Best Operating System?

Why Might You Need a VPN Service?

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, offer a heightened level of privacy while you're connected to the internet. The major benefit to having serious privacy online with a VPN is how much it protects your identity. With the growing sense that everyone, from advertisers to government to criminals, is looking over your shoulder, the security that a VPN offer goes a long way for relieving any worries you have about privacy.

The other major benefit of a personal VPN is that it gives you access to parts of the internet you might not otherwise have, depending on where you are and what restrictions might exist.

Benefits of Using VPN Services

1. Make Public WiFi Safe

When you connect to hotspots that are available to anyone within range, the odds are extremely high that the connection isn't secure. With a VPN, you're able to use wifi in places like coffee shops, hotels, airports, and even public network areas without opening up your computer or mobile device to prying eyes and identity thieves. For more information on how to secure WiFi, and step-by-step instructions, you can check out our How-To guide. Hopefully, with this guide, you'll feel more secure with a public network.

2. Travel Abroad Without Hiccups or Concerns

Travel, especially global travel, can introduce curveballs in your internet connection usage. Some must-have internet services, like Netflix and other streaming services, don't operate outside of the U.S. Having a private VPN allows you to appear as though you're in the U.S., letting you access these services no matter where you are. The same applies to location-specific streaming for things like ballgames.

Convenience aside, having a VPN when you're traveling abroad can be very valuable if you're traveling in an area that employs internet surveillance and censorship. The VPN offers a secure "tunnel" out of the restrictions.

3. Search Without Being Tracked, Logged or Traced

No matter where in the world you are, there are outside entities that will attempt to track, log, or trace your online activity. It's not uncommon for workplaces to monitor their employees' computer activities, and using a VPN could help you bypass that (if you're ok with potentially violating company policies, that is).

Search engines log any search activity, but a VPN encrypts your online activity and prevents your searches from being tracked and analyzed, meaning you've got significant privacy. Similarly, VPNs block advertisers' attempts to track your movement through the internet. If you want your computer to be untraceable for any reason at all, a VPN can make it happen.

On the topic of privacy and tracking, you can purchase a VPN service with Bitcoin payments, the herald of the private cryptocurrency revolution. With Bitcoin, you will have near anonymity when making purchases, unlike a credit card or debit card purchase (both a credit card and a debit card would reveal your billing address, for instance).

So with Bitcoin payments for a VPN, you will be able to make almost total anonymous payments for a VPN's service. ExpressVPN and IPVanish are two such VPNs that accept Bitcoin payments.

Disadvantages of a VPN Service

You should know that there are vulnerabilities to a VPN. Unfortunately, not everything is perfect, VPNs included:

1. Man-in-the-Middle Attack

According to ComputerWeekly, the Achilles Heel of VPNs is the man-in-the-middle-attack. Here's a good example of a man-in-the-middle-attack, illustrated by the same article:

One person, Bob, sends Jim a letter through a postal service. On the letter is Jim's address on the front and Bob's return address on the back. Some intruder happens to intercept the letter and changes the return address to the intruder's return address and then pushes it forward to Jim. So when Jim receives the letter, he instead replies to the intruder and ships it to the intruder's address.

Furthermore, the return address is now Jim's and the intruder's address is plastered on the front of the letter. The intruder once again intercepts, but this time removes his own destination address and replaces it with Bob's address. Both parties, in the end, assume that they sent and received untampered letters.

However, another way to illustrate the man-in-the-middle attack is if the intruder also opens the letters between Bob and Jim and alter any information inside the letter. Both Bob and Jim will continue to believe that nothing in the letters has been altered.

This is the issue with VPN - the authentication of the users.

2. DNS Leaks

Another threat, besides a man-in-the-middle attack, is a DNS leak. If you use a VPN service, even if the security is top-notch, you are risking a DNS leak (otherwise known as Dynamic Name System, which changes domain names into IP addresses; this is typically done by the ISP with its own DNS servers), which may result in your ISP being able to view and monitor your online activity, even if you're protected by an encrypted VPN tunnel.

With a VPN service, a DNS request should go through a VPN tunnel to the provider's DNS servers instead of the ISP. However, Windows may instead send the DNS request to the ISP's DNS server instead of properly through the VPN tunnel. This is a DNS leak.

You can always use tests, such as DNS Leak Test, to find out if there is a DNS leak. If you do have a leak, then you will need DNS leak protection. Many VPN clients come with DNS leak protection, such as TorGuard. Of course, you can also rely on other programs, such as VPNCheck.

3. VPN Connection Failure

Sometimes, a VPN client connection drop may occur, resulting in a disconnection between you and the VPN server. When this occurs, your data will be rerouted to the ISP, compromising your identity and exposing your web activity. For instance, if you're downloading specific torrent files, you may find yourself in trouble with an ISP. However, it will depend on the torrent file you are downloading or seeding.

Fortunately, many VPN clients, such as CyberGhost, Hide My Ass, MyVPN, and IPVanish, come with an internet kill switch if you find yourself in such a situation.

A kill switch will prevent all traffic that flows to and from the computer when a VPN connection drop occurs.

4. Control and Anonymity

Unfortunately, not all VPN services will appreciate your anonymity and privacy. In fact, some VPN services will keep track of your IP addresses for a certain period of time. You will need to do some research on VPN providers to learn who doesn't offer full anonymity.

Overall, you should have physical control over your VPN servers and the network. If you don't have physical control over the services, which are instead hosted by or accessible to a third party, then your privacy may be at stake. Think about this: if you are in trouble with authorities, you may be facing a court order to examine your website activity. In that case, due to the court order, authorities could access the logs a VPN provider may have, compromising your identity and web activity. So when you're seeking a privacy VPN, be sure that it is a privacy VPN service with full anonymity.

5. Speed Slowdowns

With a VPN, you may experience slower download speeds and upload speeds. A myriad of factors revolving around the VPN client can influence the internet connection speed.

Factors that negatively influence the download speeds and upload speeds are the distance to the VPN server, the VPN protocols, the VPN server load (and web traffic), your ISP's speed, the reliability of the VPN client, the firewall settings, and more.

A quick note on the web traffic load: this factor occurs most often with free VPN providers.

6. Affected Google Analytics

Google Analytics, the tracker for web traffic, may be affected when it comes to users relying on VPN clients. Those who use a VPN connection and accepts cookies (as Google Analytics are affected by cookies) will be tracked normally. With that being said, if the VPN throws your IP into another country, the geolocation will be inaccurate, affecting some statistics.

Features

VPN service providers are always jockeying to be ranked as one of the top VPN services. With so much competition, it's important to look beyond price when choosing a VPN service. Other factors to consider include the company's reputation and the type of encryption it offers, transparency, ease of use, and support.

Whether you're looking for private internet access for convenience, protection, or simply because you value privacy, the virtual private network is a good solution. If you do decide you need a VPN service, consider your privacy requirements, research your options, and move forward with the confidence that your internet activity will remain secure.

Of course, you could always setup your very own VPN with a PPTP VPN - or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol, but a PPTP VPN is less secure than OpenVPN. However, the PPTP VPN is faster and uses fewer CPU resources. Digital Ocean has a guide on how to set up your own PPTP VPN. Furthermore, you can create your own encrypted tunnel system. PC World has a guide that details the creation of an encrypted tunnel.

Online Privacy & Security

In the past few years especially, the issue of online privacy has come to the forefront of the minds of individuals and businesses that do a lot of their work online. This problem has been particularly existent in countries such as China.

VPN access will ensure that your data is encrypted and your IP address remains obscure, overall providing you with a safe and secure environment. We have a guide that offers a more comprehensive definition of the VPN service if you're interested.

Some good VPNs, such as Hotspot Shield Elite VPN, let the VPN user connect with blocked or censored websites. This makes Hotspot Shield Elite VPN a good encrypted tunnel service. Additionally, this is why China VPN services, such as Express VPN (with a money back guarantee), Ivacy VPN, and Wasel Pro are popular against the Great Firewall of China.

As a note, the Great Firewall of China is a combination of legislative and technological actions held in mainstream China to restrict and regulate internet traffic. However, not all China VPN protocols work against the Great Firewall.

One way to secure your files and data is to set up a private network in an office or home in which users of different computers can communicate with one another in a closed network.

However, when you want to communicate with other computers, people, and networks that are outside your home or office you will have to take to your internet connection and make use of a virtual private network against internet traffic.

The security that a VPN offer goes a long way for relieving any worries you have about privacy.

With a VPN service provider, you can extend your private network across the internet, which allows you to connect to any computer as if they were in your own private network. For instance, this would allow traveling employees and separate branches of a business to communicate with the home office securely.

The VPN software can extend your network to all of the individuals that you would like to share with.

Related: How to Encrypt Your Email

Advice for Finding a Good VPN Service

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, offer a heightened level of privacy while you're connected to the internet. The major benefit to having serious privacy online with a VPN is how much it protects your identity. With the growing sense that everyone, from advertisers to government to criminals, is looking over your shoulder, the security that a VPN offer goes a long way for relieving any worries you have about privacy.

The other major benefit of a personal VPN is that it gives you access to parts of the internet you might not otherwise have, depending on where you are and what restrictions might exist. Is a VPN service right for you? Our guide on why you might need a VPN service answers this and many other questions.

In today's digital world, it's more important than ever to keep your information safe. In the wake of digital security breaches such as the Heartbleed bug, as well as data leaks, consumers need to take proactive, rather than reactive steps to keep their information safe. Our guide on how to keep your information safe gives you simple tips you can employ such as using stronger passwords and limiting the information you post online, especially on social media. By using the practical tips in this helpful guide, you adopt smart online behaviors that can keep your information safer.

A VPN, or a virtual private network, is a way for companies to communicate with employees both in their own offices and in different locations in a way that is secure and not open to the prying eyes of competitors or hackers. When companies share information, like private contracts, notable contacts, and financial information especially, the goal is to always transmit it in a way where third parties can't intercept it. This is a consistent and ongoing challenge, especially in the financial industry, which is why many people have turned to installing VPN networks.

There are numerous reasons why VPN networks are so important, and any company large or small should consider investing in one to protect their private information from third parties. Of course, there are several things to consider when choosing between the wide varieties of VPN protocols. Our guide on VPN an important consideration for business owners identifies the protocols available, which can aid you in your choice.

Recap

A quality VPN service can give you plenty of benefits including high security and the ability to get around location restrictions when you travel. Choose one that offers features that are ideal for you or your business. It's important to remember that not all service providers are alike. Some offer more responsive tools, easy setup processes, abundant online resources and exceptional support thereby making them more enticing options.

Along with this, a provider's reputation and support offerings are arguably the two most important factors in determining if it's the right fit for you. When you do find the right provider, you can have confidence in knowing you are accessing the internet securely.

If you are worried about your own personal security online, you may want to look into identity theft protection services. These services can monitor the use of your identity online and notify you if they catch someone using it.

For an in-depth exploration of Internet Safety & Online Privacy, you can check out our guide here for great strategies and tips.

VPN Services FAQs

Q How much does it cost to setup a VPN?

A

These top inexpensive VPN providers offer data security and privacy, as well as reliability, good connection speeds and decent customer support.

  • NordVPN $4.00 per month.
  • ibVPN (Invisible Browsing VPN) $4.08 per month.
  • PIA (Private Internet Access) $3.33 per month.
  • Le VPN $4.95 per month.
  • Cactus VPN $6.99 per month.

Each provider offers a free trial.

Q What is the VPN provider?

A

A secure network connection over a private network administered by an internet service provider is called a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Users are authenticated with a user name and password to gain access to a VPN. Additionally, a PIN (personal identification number) may be needed to gain access to the VPN.

Q Are there any free VPN services?

A

VPN technology creates a secure, encrypted connection between your computer and servers operated by the VPN service. Top free VPN providers:

  • HotSpot Shield Free, supported by annoying ads.
  • Private Tunnel, 100 MB free, then pay as you go.
  • OkayFreedom VPN, 500 MB free per month.
  • CyberGhost, 1950 GB free monthly.
  • JustFreeVPN, Limited connection country choices.

Q What is virtual private network and how does it work?

A

A private, secure connection between two computers over the internet is called a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. You can load a VPN client on your computer and connect to a VPN server computer that uses sophisticated encryption. It's like a virtual private tunnel to keep your web connection secure and private.

Q What kind of internet service do I need and will my speed be affected?

A

You don't necessarily need a new internet provider to connect to a VPN. A VPN service will work with your Internet service provider to hide your internet activity and protect your internet privacy. However, if you are already having trouble with internet speeds with your current ISP or if they are just barely at acceptable range a VPN will not help. In fact, a VPN service may even slow down your internet speeds because they will use up a good portion of the bandwidth.

When a VPN provider claims to be the fastest service or otherwise have incredible speeds, they are only as fast as your ISP can be. However, a service that has excellent speeds shouldn't noticeably slow down your typical speeds.

A VPN doesn't replace your ISP, it simply works to protect your activity on the internet from being intercepted by someone else. You would only need to change or upgrade your internet service if you are having trouble with speed.

Q Why do I need a Virtual Private Network?

A

The concern for internet privacy has become more and more relevant in recent years and a VPN service can greatly improve yours, which is why it is surprising that more people don't use them. A VPN extends your private network over the internet which gives you the opportunity to do many different safe internet practices:

  • You can send sensitive files and documents to others in your VPN without worrying that they might be intercepted or seen by a third party.
  • You can circumvent location based restrictions while traveling. For instance, services like Netflix that you enjoy at home are not available in every country. A service that has a server in the US can connect you to Netflix even while you are in countries that aren't supported.
  • You can also watch television and use internet services from foreign countries that aren't available in yours.
  • If you are worried about security or privacy, a VPN keeps your internet activity secure and private and shouldn't leave a trail for prying eyes to follow.

Q What is a VPN?

A

Picture your home and office computer as private networks. A Virtual Private Network allows your computers, as well as other devices, to securely connect with others in the internet as if they were part of the same private network. In the past, VPN's were used by companies to allow employees to access their offices remotely from other computers using a secure connection. Now, this technology is available to regular internet users.

Q How do VPN's work?

A

VPN's use virtual point-to-point connections through the use of secure connections and virtual tunneling proprieties that make streaming date anonymous, scrambled and secure from unwanted users.

Q What are the benefits of having a VPN?

A

VPN's allow people from all over the world to connect in a secure way. VPN's turn the user's internet data into encrypted and protected files that cannot be tampered with; also, VPN's give anonymity to the users that use them. VPN's keep the user's browsing history private and safe from hackers and government censorship. In addition, VPNs also give the user access to regionally blocked media content by tapping into available servers that carry the desired content.

Q What is the difference between an ISP and a VPN?

A

An Internet Service Provider supplies the internet while the Virtual Private Network is the means used to protect the internet usage by maintaining it private and away from undesired users.

Q What are some limitations of the VPN?

A

Older modems may not support newer VPN systems as efficiently as the more modern modems in the market today. Internet speeds may be affected, as the VPN uses a substantial amount of bandwidth and network capacity.

Q Are VPN's supported by the major operating systems?

A

Certainly! Mac, Linux and Windows operating systems can be paired up with VPN's to protect the user's computer and internet usage.

Q Does the VPN protect my other devices?

A

Once the VPN is installed any device that is connected to the internet enjoys the same protection as the main computer and laptop. Devices like PS4's, personal tablets and mobile devices, among others, will stay protected through the use of the VPN. VPN's give you security and peace of mind, in order to appreciate all your entertainment and work devices to the fullest of their capabilities while knowing your personal information will not be compromised.

Q Where can I buy and set up a VPN?

A

There are a myriad of software and internet communications companies that provide VPN services for a monthly subscription fee. The VPN package will provide the self-installation instructions that will guide the user through every step of the installation process.

Q Are VPN's hard to use?

A

VPN's are extremely user-friendly and easy to learn to use and maneuver. There is no need to download complicated software or install obscure applications to use the VPN's, and enjoy all the benefits that they provide.

Q Will my VPN provider help me with any unforeseen problems?

A

Of course! The VPN providers consider the client's protection and satisfaction to be essential to the business model. These companies have troubleshoot procedures that the user can try to fix and debug any problems occurring in their VPN. Also, many of these companies provide 24/7 user support through online chat and call-lines

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