Find the Best VPN Provider
A VPN is a service that encrypts your internet connection. Among many things, it helps protect your privacy, it keeps you anonymous, and it allows you to bypass internet censorship.
Every VPN is different in their own way. Some are reliable but too complicated. Others are easy to use, but are limited in some way. We’ve reviewed over 120+ VPN services in a search to find the best. A fair warning: The 5 Best VPN Providers are pretty awesome.
We’ll share our experiences, recommend providers that have actually delivered, and offer some helpful guides and tips.
Top 5 Best VPN Providers Overall
What is a VPN & Why You Need One
Yes, without a doubt! A VPN (virtual private network) is one of the best ways to protect your online identity, stay anonymous and bypass restrictions effortlessly.
They’re easy-to-use (one click to connect), it won’t slow down your internet or computer, and you can use it anywhere (Smartphone, Tablet, Router, etc.). We’ve used them for years because they work – whether we’re at home, the office, or traveling aboard.
Common Uses for a VPN
- Browse the Internet Anonymously and Worry-Free
- Encrypt Your Internet Connection to stop Hackers and Snoopers (Perfect for Public Hotspots)
- Bypass Online Blocks and Censorship (Hello, Freedom!)
- Access Geo-restricted Services when Traveling Aboard (YouTube, BBC iPlayer, etc.)
- Speed Up Your Internet! (Download Faster, No Lag, and Less Buffering)
How Does VPN Work?
It’s simple to understand. A VPN acts as a middle man between you and the internet. It encrypts all of the information that goes out, keeping you anonymous while you’re online. No one can see what you’re doing or who you are, and thus you gain the freedom of the truly open internet. Not only does this make your internet connection and activity secure, but you can virtually change your location, access censored websites, and bypass throttling restrictions (making your Internet faster). All for about 10-20 cents a day.
Frequently Asked Questions
VPNs are mostly used by people nowadays to access entertainment content, such as blocked videos and using torrents. However, they can do so much more than this:
- Improved security: The main feature of a VPN is that it encrypts all your network traffic. Therefore, nobody can see your online activities, not even your ISP or the government.
- Privacy and anonymity: When you connect to a VPN, you are prompted to connect to a server. That server will act as your middle-person, using its own IP address and credentials. Your IP address and identity are hidden, and you can browse the web anonymously.
- Remote access: A VPN allows employees to access their work computers remotely. Ever since VPNs were developed, global companies have been using VPNs to let their employees access remote files regardless of location.
These are the benefits of using a VPN, proving that VPNs are cost-effective and great investments.
In most countries, VPNs are not illegal. However, what you do after connecting to the VPN is another matter. Some countries have placed restrictions on VPN usage and only allow providers that are licensed by the government. Some of these countries are:
There are also countries that have imposed a total ban on VPNs, and these are:
- North Korea
The UAE, on the other hand, recognizes the importance of VPNs for corporations but do not allow individuals to use one.
There are suitable VPN services for every device:
- Media consoles
We have a list of the best VPNs for most devices which you can find under the “Best VPNs” tab above. Every VPN provider we listed in these pages were tested by our team of experts and ranked according to reliability, affordability, logging policy, warranties, and other important factors.
Most operating systems are compatible with VPNs, and we created dedicated pages for each OS. Under the “Best VPNs” tab, you can see our list of the best VPN service providers for macOS, Windows, Linux, and mobile operating systems like iOS and Android. Each VPN provider is proven and tested to work with the specific OS, and we also keep the lists updated.
Yes, you can. As a matter of fact, 43% of daily VPN users are on mobile, according to The State of VPN Usage. A VPN provides security when users connect to public Wifi hotspots in coffee shops, airports, and hotels. Free Wi-Fi hotspots are very convenient, but they also make users vulnerable to hackers because this type of connection is often open and unsecured. Even worse, some hackers open free Wifi with the express intent of stealing information. Some users may find their emails hacked and financial information stolen because they connected their phones to these free public Wifi hotspots. For security and privacy, it’s better to use a VPN on your phone, and other mobile devices, especially when you are on the go and rely mostly on public hotspots.
A simple search on the Internet will reveal hundreds of VPN providers claiming to be the best. As it will be difficult for you to prove each of them to be right or wrong, we did all the hard work for you. We tested numerous VPNs and listed the best providers just above. All these VPN providers have passed our standards in terms of:
- Security: These VPN providers use the latest encryption standard which is uncrackable. Most of them also have the Kill Switch feature which will shut off the network if the VPN connection is lost, thereby preventing IP leaks.
- Reliability: We also tested the uptime of each VPN provider, the upload and download speeds of multiple servers, and overall reliability. Customer support is also an important factor in their reliability as a company, and we included this in our reviews.
- Affordability: The prices offered by VPN providers should be at par with the quality of their services. The providers on our list have struck a fair balance between quality and price. You can get a VPN service within the range of $3.33 to $8.39 per month.
The best VPN provider should have these three general characteristics. Read our reviews to find out which VPN provider meets your needs.
It’s important to emphasize the importance of going for a paid VPN rather than free services. You should be wondering how these providers, that promise lifetime free VPN services, are earning money. According to a CSIRO study, most of these services (a scary 75% of them) log your usage and personal data. These providers can sell these details to data brokers and advertisers. Moreover, based on tests on 283 free VPN providers, the study found out the following:
- 38% contain malware.
- 19% lack encryption which leads to traffic leaks, despite the promise to use encrypted tunnelling.
- 84% do not tunnel IPv6 traffic, and 66% do not tunnel DNS traffic.
- 16% use non-transparent proxies to manipulate traffic.
These statistics are quite alarming. That’s why it’s better to sign up with a VPN provider that is reliable and proven to be secure, even if it means you have to shell out some money. You can get a VPN service like PIA for as low as $3.33 per month, and you can even get a discount if you sign up for a longer term.
Normally, when you open a website, your computer sends a request to the web server. The web server then responds to your computer either to allow you to access the website or not. However, when you use a VPN, it will act as a ‘middle-person’ between your device and the web server. Instead of your traffic going directly back and forth, it first passes through your VPN software where it gets encrypted, then to the VPN server, then to the web server you’re trying to access, back to the VPN, and finally back to your device where your VPN software decrypts it and displays it as normal. All these steps happen within fractions of a second, but a VPN does add a few extra moments into the process. Most of the time, the difference is unnoticeable to all but those who do frequent speed tests. Nonetheless, the difference in speed is a small tradeoff when compared to the security and privacy that you can get from using a VPN.
A VPN IP leak happens when a user’s real IP address becomes visible even while using a VPN service. This is usually due to browser plugins, DNS leaks, and even your device’s operating system. IP leak also happens if you lost your VPN connection while still connected to the network. Your IP address is leaked because, for a few moments, you aren’t protected by the VPN. The best VPN providers have developed ways to avoid IP leaks, and the most notable innovation is the Kill Switch feature. If a VPN provider has a Kill Switch and you turn that feature on, your network connection will automatically shut down whenever the VPN connection is lost. This is what prevents the IP leaks.