Find the Best VPN Services
Compare Reviews for Top VPN Services
|Hotspot Shield||Read Reviews|
Hotspot Shield offers a free and a paid VPN service for individuals and has a division to serve business users. The company’s paid version includes malware protection and ad blocking. It is based in the United States.
|ExpressVPN||Read Author Review|
ExpressVPN is a VPN provider with private DNS on over 145 servers around the world. It works on both desktop and mobile devices. The company has been in business since 2009 and is based in the British Virgin Islands.
|Hide My Ass VPN||Read Author Review|
Hide My Ass (HMA) offers VPNs that connect to more than 850 servers in nearly 200 countries. The company was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in the United Kingdom. It offers individual and business plans.
|IPVanish VPN||Read Author Review|
IPVanish operates a VPN with more than 750 servers in a diverse group of countries around the world. It stands out for allowing unlimited P2P sharing. The company is based in the United States.
|IVPN||Read Author Review|
IVPN has dozens of servers around the world and supports VPN use on Macs, Linux and Windows computers and iOS and Android mobile devices. It is incorporated in Gibraltar and was founded in 2009.
|KeepSolid VPN Unlimited||Read Author Review|
KeepSolid offers a variety of software products and services, including standard and personal VPNs for individuals and businesses. Their standard VPN, VPN Unlimited, is supported by over 1000 servers around the world.
|NordVPN||Read Author Review|
NordVPN offers a VPN for users of iOS, Android, Windows and OS X and has plans for businesses and individuals. The company was founded in 2012 and now has more than 730 servers located around the world. NordVPN accepts Bitcoin.
|Private Internet Access VPN||Read Author Review|
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a VPN service with more than 3200 VPN servers. It offers several options for protecting your data and has ad-blocking features. PIA is headquartered in the United States.
|PureVPN||Read Author Review|
PureVPN provides VPNs to individual and business consumers. It has over 140 server locations around the world with more than 750 servers and over 80,000 IP addresses. PureVPN has a 99.99 percent uptime.
|Tiger VPN||Read Author Review|
TigerVPN was established in 2011 and currently has over 300 servers in more than 60 locations in 43 countries. The company’s annual VPN subscription comes with a free password manager and a VPN protocol manager.
Questions to consider when choosing a VPN
Do VPNs limit any activities?
Some VPNs limit certain activities on their servers or limit your bandwidth. Select a provider that doesn’t block the activities you want to do. Also, make sure your VPN provides you with the bandwidth you need.
- P2P: Peer-to-Peer (P2P) sharing and BitTorrent file sharing let you send digital media files like movies, books and music without using a lot of bandwidth. Some VPNs don’t allow P2P sharing because it takes up a lot of the server’s processing power, and torrents are often used to share pirated content.
- Bandwidth: VPNs either offer unlimited bandwidth or have a data cap. Even if you choose a provider with a limit, you’ll typically get unlimited bandwidth if you pay for a full year of service at once.
- Devices: Nearly all VPN providers limit the number of devices you can connect to the VPN at the same time. Choose a provider that allows access for all the devices you plan to use.
- Server switches: If a specific server has slow speeds, you may want to switch to another one. Look for a VPN company that offers unlimited switches so you can always get the highest speeds.
Do VPN servers matter?
VPN companies have many servers in a lot of locations. The number of servers they have and their locations can impact your online experience.
- Number: The more servers a VPN has, the less likely you’ll be forced to use a crowded, slow server. Look for a VPN provider with a high number of servers, especially if you use a streaming service or a lot of data.
- Locations: The more VPN server locations, the more likely you’ll be able to connect to one close by. The closer the server is to you, the better speeds you’ll get. Nearly all companies post a list of their server locations.
How do you pay for a VPN?
If you’re buying a VPN for privacy, you want to keep your payment information safe. VPN companies offer many payment methods to give you maximum control when paying for the service.
- Traditional: All companies accept major credit and debit cards.
- Bitcoin: Many providers allow you to pay with Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency.
- Gift cards: For increased privacy, some providers allow you to pay with a gift card from a major retailer. You can buy a gift card with cash, and then use the gift card to pay for your VPN.
- Cash: A few VPN companies process cash payments. Paying with cash offers similar privacy to paying with a gift card, but it might delay the start of your service.
Are VPNs reputable?
VPNs exist to protect your privacy, so it’s important to choose a provider that values your privacy as much as you do.
- Reviews: Look at online reviews, like those on ConsumerAffairs, to see what other consumers have to say about the company.
- Time in business: The growing demand for online privacy means new VPN companies open all the time. Look for a provider that’s been around for a few years to make sure it’s a legitimate and thriving business.
What security features are important for a VPN?
A few factors impact the security of your information when using a VPN.
- Encryption: Encryption makes data unreadable unless you have the decryption key. VPNs encrypt data as it leaves your computer and decrypt it when it gets to their server. Many providers use 256-bit AES encryption.
- Protocols: Internet protocols send packets of information back and forth between IP addresses. Most VPNs use an open source protocol called OpenVPN. Some VPN providers have developed their own protocols for extra security, but many experts still prefer OpenVPN because it is open source and widely used.
- Usage logs: Nearly all VPN providers say they don’t keep usage logs that track what you do online. However, most companies keep connection logs that show them when you were connected to the server.
- Headquarters: Some countries legally require companies to keep usage logs. If you’re concerned about the government spying on you, pay special attention to where VPN companies are incorporated and learn about those countries’ record-keeping laws.
- Shared IP addresses: To increase security, VPNs often assign more than one user to a single IP address. This mixes your data with data from other users. Even if the VPN provider recorded all the data, no one could link you to your data.
- Warrant canary: Governments can issue warrants to collect information from many companies, including VPNs, but the companies can't always disclose this fact. Therefore, many internet companies and VPNs post documents called warrant canaries on their website. These posts tell you that they haven’t received a warrant. When the company removes the warrant canary, you know they have been issued a warrant. If you’re highly concerned about government spying, look for a company with a warrant canary on its website.
What other VPN features should you consider?
Some VPNs offer extras to attract customers.
- Dedicated IP address: Having a dedicated IP address means you won't be held responsible for someone else's misuse of the address. However, having one IP address keeps your browsing habits in one place, potentially reducing your protection.
- Free tools: Some VPNs offer freebies like password managers and VPN managers. But don't let these perks sway you to pick a VPN with free tools over one with better security or better reviews.
- Ad blocking: A few VPNs incorporate ad blocking programs. This can make browsing less cluttered and decrease the chance you’ll end up on a scam site after clicking on an ad.
Different types of VPNs
Several free VPN options are available. These offer the same security as paid VPNs, but they’re usually slower because more people are using them. They sometimes increase the number of ads you see and make money from the extra ads. If you only want a VPN to use when you’re connecting to a public hotspot, a free VPN might be a good choice for you.
Most VPNs have a small subscription fee of about $4 to $10 a month. You’ll usually save money by paying annually instead of month-to-month. Paid VPNs are more likely to offer perks like ad blocking or password managers.
Who uses VPNs?
If you’re concerned about private corporations tracking and selling your data, you’ll like the privacy a VPN offers. You’ll also appreciate a VPN if you worry about the government invading your privacy.
If you frequently travel or use your computer in public places, a VPN can help you secure a public Wi-Fi connection. If you use a VPN when you’re traveling to a country with internet censorship, you’ll still be able to access the same sites you can when you’re at home.
High data users
Some internet providers throttle your data speeds when you’re using streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. A VPN helps mask your data usage and prevent throttling for better streaming and gaming experiences.
Connecting to a public internet connection on your phone may give you a faster connection than cellular data. Download a VPN for your mobile device to protect yourself when you’re on the go.
Your employer might require you to use a VPN to increase the security of off-site data if you work remotely.
If you work in sales, marketing or SEO, you can use a VPN to change the location of your IP address to do better market research.
Businesses may want all employees to use a VPN to protect proprietary data. VPNs can also help reassure clients that their data is safe with your company.
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Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
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