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What Is a VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a technology that allows you to create a secure connection over a less-secure network between your computer and the internet. It protects your privacy by allowing you to anonymously appear to be anywhere you choose.
A VPN is beneficial because it guarantees an appropriate level of security and privacy to the connected systems. This is extremely useful when the existing network infrastructure alone cannot support it.
For example, when your computer is connected to a VPN, the computer acts as if it’s also on the same network as the VPN. All of your online traffic is transferred over a secure connection to the VPN. The computer will then behave as if it’s on that network, allowing you to securely gain access to local network resources. Regardless of your location, you’ll be given permission to use the internet as if you were present at the VPN’s location. This can be extremely beneficial for individuals using a public Wi-Fi.
Therefore, when you browse the internet while on a VPN, your computer will contact the website through an encrypted VPN connection. The VPN will then forward the request for you and forward the response from the website back through a secure connection.
VPNs are really easy to use, and they’re considered to be highly effective tools. They can be used to do a wide range of things. The most popular types of VPNs are remote-access VPNs and site-to-site VPNs.
Who needs a VPN?
The protection provided by a VPN offers users many advantages. First and foremost, it prevents anyone on the same network access point (or anywhere else) from intercepting your web traffic in a man-in-the-middle attack. This is especially handy for travelers and for those using public Wi-Fi networks, such as web surfers at hotels, airports, and coffee shops. VPNs also cloak your computer’s actual IP address, making it harder for advertisers (or spies, or hackers) to track you online.
Many VPN services also provide their own DNS resolution system. Think of DNS as a phone book that turns a text-based URL like “pcmag.com” into an IP address that computers can understand. Savvy snoops can monitor DNS requests and track your movements online. Greedy attackers can also use DNS poisoning to direct you to bogus phishing pages designed to steal your data. When you use a VPN’s DNS system, it’s another layer of protection.
This is just common-sense security, but there are also people for whom a VPN is essential for personal and professional safety. Journalists and activists rely on VPN services to circumvent government censorship so they can safely communicate with the outside world. Of course, doing so may be against the law, depending on the country in which they’re located.
What about using a VPN for BitTorrent? Some services, such as TorGuard and NordVPN, allow peer-to-peer file sharing and the use of BitTorrent sharing. Others cancel your subscription if you use their servers for file sharing. Be smart: Learn the company’s terms of service—and the local laws on the subject. That way you can’t complain if you get caught.
What to look for in a VPN
Before anything else, understand that if you want to use a VPN you should be paying for it. Free VPNs are either selling your browsing data in aggregated form to researchers and marketers, or giving you a paltry amount of data transfer every month. Either way, a basic rule of thumb is that a free VPN will not protect your privacy in any meaningful way.
The next thing to consider is a VPN’s logging policies. In other words, what kind of data is a service collecting about you and your VPN activity, and how long is that data saved?
Privacy is the basic principle of a VPN, and what good is it to avoid passive government surveillance only to have a VPN provider record all your website visits?
Ideally, a VPN will say it only keeps logs for the briefest of periods. Some providers, for example, only log activity in RAM during a session or automatically send all records to oblivion once they’re created. Other providers may keep records for a few hours, days, weeks, or even months.
VPN policies also vary when it comes to personal information. Some VPNs want to know very little about you, preferring users sign on with a pseudonym and pay with Bitcoin. That’s a little exotic for most people, which is why many services also accept PayPal.
Paying this way isn’t ideal for privacy, but it means the VPN doesn’t have your payment information on record—though it would be available from PayPal.
After the logging policies, you want to know how many servers the VPN offers and how many country connections it has. The number of servers provides an idea of how much load a VPN can take before slowing to a crawl due to overwhelming traffic.
The country connections, meanwhile, matter most to those who want to spoof their location; however, non-spoofers should also make sure there are connections in their home country. If you live in Los Angeles, for example, and want access to American content, then you’ll need a VPN that provides U.S. connections. It won’t work to try and watch Amazon Prime Video over a Dutch VPN connection, because as far as Hulu’s concerned your computer is in the Netherlands.
Some users will also want to research a VPN provider’s peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing policies. There are VPNs that block torrents. Others turn a blind eye to them, but will sell you out in a heartbeat should you be up to no good. P2P is not our main focus here, but we will note in each review whether a particular provider allows file sharing or not.
Finally, how many devices does a VPN support from a single account? In this age of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs, a VPN’s cost should include licensing for at least five devices. Also, a provider should have Android and iOS apps to make it easy to connect a smartphone or tablet to the service.
How We Tested
One basic test for a VPN service is to see how long a VPN client takes to connect to a VPN server and get online. We installed each vendor’s VPN client software on a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga notebook, an Apple MacBook Air, an iPad mini and an Android-based Samsung Galaxy S6 phone. We used all four devices with all VPN services.
- Using Wi-Fi on the X1 Yoga, we timed how long it took to connect to websites, measured latency times (how long it took a server to respond), and recorded upload and download speeds with Ookla’s Speedtest meter, both with and without the VPN activated. We also saw how long it took to download a 428MB file of a 4K video shot by NASA about the International Space Station, both with and without VPN activation.
- We measured how quickly a VPN service connected after we clicked the activation button. These readings, and those of the data speed and latency — how long it took to get a response from a destination server — were repeated three times and averaged.
- During each test run, we noted how many times (if any) we needed to re-establish the VPN link.
- We also used each VPN for a variety of more mundane things, such as receiving and sending email; retrieving, updating and saving Google Docs files; and playing a few online games.
What VPNs Do and Don’t Do
Using a VPN can make it look like you’re someplace else. It’s a well-worn practice to evade online censorship, as in China, or to tap into U.S. streaming services while in Europe or Asia. We’ve used VPNs to read the New York morning paper in Beijing and watch American TV in England.
But there are some caveats. A VPN will give you more privacy, but not more security. If you end up on a website harboring malware, the VPN can’t prevent you from being infected. (A couple of the full-fledged VPN services have started blocking known malicious sites.)
Also, although your data is encrypted as it travels between you and the far-off VPN server, it won’t necessarily be encrypted once it leaves the VPN server to get to its final destination. If it isn’t encrypted — and whether it is depends on the website you’re connecting to — then the traffic might be intercepted and read. (One well-known VPN provider that we haven’t yet reviewed was recently accused of inserting ads in users’ web browsers, which would violate users’ security and privacy.)
If you just want to evade geographical restrictions on streaming content, such as BBC iPlayer or Hulu, you don’t need a VPN to do so. You just need a proxy service that will make it look like you’re in the right country. There are many free proxy services available, but do your homework before choosing one — some of them are a bit dodgy.
Finally, Netflix is cracking down on both VPNs and proxy services. There’s no guarantee that a particular service will evade Netflix’s geographical restrictions on a particular day.
Know Your VPN Types
All of the VPN services we reviewed use the AES-256 encryption standard, which would take a well-equipped hacker with a powerful computer many years to crack. Anyone eavesdropping on your Wi-Fi traffic in a café would see gibberish without the encryption key.
Six of the VPN services we tested — CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, IPVanish, NordVPN, Private Internet Access and PureVPN — are what we call “full featured.” If you plan on running all your home internet traffic through a VPN, or you travel frequently, these are the services you should consider.
These services offer many ways to connect; support operating systems and devices beyond just the “big four” operating systems (Windows, Mac, Android and iOS); have hundreds, or even thousands, of servers in dozens of countries; and generally let the user sign up and pay anonymously.
The flip side is that a few of these full-featured services are pretty anonymous themselves, operating behind shell companies in offshore tax havens. If you’re trying to avoid government scrutiny, that’s great, but you might have a hard time getting your money (or bitcoin) back in the event of a dispute with the VPN provider.
Two other services — Avast SecureLine and Avira Phantom VPN — are run by antivirus companies as complements to their primary business. These VPN services offer fewer features; are limited to Windows, Mac, iOS and Android; don’t work without client software; have a couple of dozen servers at most; and don’t let you pay anonymously. But the companies are known quantities, and the services are handy for occasional travelers.
Finally, there’s Opera VPN, which is completely free. The desktop version works only within the Opera web browser. But the mobile apps, which are made by a different company, encrypt all the internet traffic to and from an iOS or Android device. However, both the desktop and mobile versions of Opera VPN have servers in only five countries.
There are several different VPN protocols, not all of which are used by all of the VPN services we reviewed. Most operating systems have built-in support for at least one of these protocols, which means you can use it — and a VPN service that supports it — without client software. Most of the full-fledged VPN services have online instructions for how to do this, as well as how to set up routers to connect directly to the services.
OpenVPN: OpenVPN is very secure, open-source and widely used. Most VPN services support it, but except for Chrome OS, few operating systems do. It can be used in either TCP (web) or UDP (streaming) mode; the latter is sloppier but faster. You’ll need either the VPN service’s client software or one of the many free alternatives. (Either way, you’ll still need to pay for the VPN service.)
L2TP/IPsec (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol with Internet Protocol Security): L2TP is not secure itself, so it’s generally paired with the IPsec secure-networking standard. If properly implemented, the combination of the two is very secure. It has native support in Windows, OS X/macOS, Android, Chrome OS and iOS. Most VPN services support it.
IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2, generally with IPsec): This is a newish standard that is very secure when properly implemented. It has native support in Windows, iOS and recent versions of OS X/macOS.
SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol): SSTP is a Microsoft protocol with native support on Windows Vista and later versions. It’s thought to be quite secure, but only Microsoft knows for sure.
PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol):This standard is largely obsolete, with many known security flaws, but it’s fast. It has native support built into Windows, Android and older versions of Mac OS X and iOS; Apple dropped support with macOS Sierra and iOS 10. Use PPTP only for streaming content, as it won’t protect your data.
How to choose a VPN Service?
There’s a vast range of VPN servers on the internet. Some are free, but the best ones require a monthly subscription. Before you decide to download a VPN, make sure you consider these factors for understanding a VPN:
Cost – VPNs aren’t too pricey, but they vary from vendor to vendor. If your main concern is price, then go with something inexpensive, or free – like Spotflux Premium VPN or AnchorFree HotSpot Shield Elite. By all means, try a free server but they do have a few drawbacks since they attract a lot of users. Free servers are often slower, and since most are ad-supported, they place adverts on the online pages you access. Others can even limit the speed of your connection, as well as your online time or amount of data transferred.
It’s also important to note that leading VPN providers such as NordVPN and Privacy Internet Access offer stronger security features to ensure you’re digitally safe. When selecting a paid VPN service, always be sure to check which countries it operates servers in.
Reliability – Select a VPN that is reliable and read the reviews to make sure that it’s capable of protecting you by providing you with sufficient online privacy.
High security – An effective VPN will have the following security features: 128-bit encryption, anonymous DNS servers and an absence of connection logs.
Are there any bandwidth limits? This can often be linked to price; paying more will generally provide more bandwidth with faster internet access.
Are apps for Android, iOS phones and tablets available? Apps for Android and iOS devices are also vulnerable, so make sure your VPN server can support them.
To ensure privacy, you want to make sure you have a VPN that doesn’t store online logs. Some servers provide virus and spyware protection, and features like that can significantly increase your online safety.
Using a no-logs VPN service will provide you with a higher degree of security. It can protect you from blanket government surveillance and prevent your internet service provider from knowing your online activity.
What is a remote-access VPN?
A remote-access VPN uses public infrastructure like the internet to provide remote users secure access to their network. This is particularly important for organizations and their corporate networks. It’s crucial when employees connect to a public hotspot and use the internet for sending work-related emails. A VPN client, on the user’s computer or mobile device connects to a VPN gateway on the company’s network. This gateway will typically require the device to authenticate its identity. It will then create a network link back to the device that allows it to reach internal network resources such as file servers, printers and intranets, as if it were on the same local network.
It usually relies on either Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to secure the connection. However, SSL VPNs can also be used to supply secure access to a single application, rather than an entire internal network. Some VPNs also provide Layer 2 access to the target network; these will require a tunneling protocol like PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) or L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) running across the base IPsec connection.
What is a site-to-site VPN?
This is when the VPN uses a gateway device to connect to the entire network in one location to a network in another location. The majority of site-to-site VPNs that connect over the internet use IPsec. Rather than using the public internet, it is also normal to use career multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) clouds as the main transport for site-to-site VPNs.
VPNs are often defined between specific computers, and in most cases, they are servers in separate data centers. However, new hybrid-access situations have now transformed the VPN gateway in the cloud, typically with a secure link from the cloud service provider into the internal network.
What is a mobile VPN?
A traditional VPN can affect the user experience when applied to wireless devices. It’s best to use a mobile VPN to avoid slower speeds and data loss. A mobile VPN offers you a high level of security for the challenges of wireless communication. It can provide mobile devices with secure access to network resources and software applications on their wireless networks. It’s good to use when you’re facing coverage gaps, inter-network roaming, bandwidth issues, or limited battery life, memory or processing power.
Since we’re living in a connected world, security and privacy are critical to ensure our personal safety from nefarious hacks. From online banking to communicating with coworkers on a daily basis, we’re now frequently transferring data on our computers and smartphones. It’s extremely important to find ways of securing our digital life and for this reason, VPNs have become increasingly common.
Best VPN: Reviews
Have a special set of needs, or looking to investigate the other options? Below is a list of all the VPNs we’ve reviewed. We’ll keep evaluating new ones and reevaluating services we’ve already tried on a regular basis, so be sure to come back to see what else we’ve put through their paces.
VPNs Keep You Safe Online
We have become so comfortable with our data traveling over Wi-Fi that most of us have simply stopped worrying about the safety of said data—not to mention just who else might be seeing it. Public Wi-Fi networks, which are commonplace and convenient, are unfortunately also extremely convenient avenues for attackers looking to seize your personal information. When even your ISP is allowed to sell your browsing history it’s well past time to start thinking about protecting your data from snoops.
Enter virtual private networks (VPNs). These online services use simple software to secure your internet connection, and they give you greater control over how you appear online, too. While you might never have heard of VPN services, they are valuable tools that you should understand and use. So who needs a VPN? The short answer is that everyone does. Even Mac users can benefit from a VPN.
Which VPN Is Right For You?
Computer and software providers work hard to make sure that the devices you buy are safe right out of the box. But they don’t provide everything you’ll need. Antivirus software, for example, consistently outperforms the built-in protections. In the same vein, VPN software lets you use the web and Wi-Fi with confidence that your information will remain secure. It’s critically important and often overlooked.
Click through the review links of the best VPN services below for detailed analysis and performance results, and feel free to chime in on the comments section below them.
# IPVanish VPN
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IPVanish is a Top Tier VPN service with over 750 servers across every habitable continent. Unlike most VPN service providers who use 3rd parties, IPVanish owns and operates 100 percent of its hardware, software, and network. This service also provides some of the most highly-sought app features, such as a network kill switch and a SOCKS5 proxy, with every VPN plan.
While IPVanish does promise not to log any of its customers’ data or online activity, the company is based in the USA, making them open to PATRIOT Act investigations. Even so, the USA does not impose mandatory data collection laws. So, as long as IPVanish truly collects zero data, they’re well-prepared to protect users in the face of the law.
IPVanish has a massive international presence with servers in over 60 countries. You can switch between these servers as many times as you want and even use some of them for torrenting. IPVanish supports connections via the OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP protocols. The service also allows for up to 5 simultaneous VPN connections, so you’ll never have to sacrifice the privacy of one device for another.
Cost: You have three pricing options depending on how often you want to pay. The cheapest IPVanish plan is to buy a full year at once for $77.99, making the monthly rate $6.49/month. If you pay for three months at once for $26.99, the monthly cost comes down to $8.99/month. However, to subscribe on a monthly basis with no commitment, it will cost $10/month.
Exclusive Offer for Lifewire Readers: Save an additional 25 percent off any plan with the special promotion code LFWR. Combine this promotion with their Annual Plan and save up to 60 percent over the regular monthly price.
There are plenty of ways you can pay: major credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, Alipay, POLi, EPS, iDEAL, Giropay, SOFORT Banking, and more.
# The best VPN for U.S. Netflix
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If you live outside the U.S. (or are a U.S. resident and traveling abroad), a VPN is the only way to access Netflix’s US library. But ever since Netflix began blocking VPNs, few services even bother to do battle with the streaming behemoth.
Fortunately, there are some brave companies that are still trying to stay one step ahead of Netflix’s VPN catchers. Currently, NordVPN is our top choice. This service delivers good speeds and has a very easy-to-use interface, and has figured out the magical voodoo that makes it possible to view the American version of Netflix outside of the country.
This could change at any moment because of Netflix’s vigilance, but right now NordVPN is one step ahead of the streaming giant’s crackdown.
# Hide My Ass VPN
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Security begins at the network, where your computer touches the wilds of the internet. To protect your devices and your precious data, you need a virtual private network (VPN) like Hide My Ass. The name is direct and so is the service, with an excellent, straightforward interface. It’s a great service, but one that’s hampered by a stingy allotment of licenses and some concerning logging policies. We have four Editors’ Choice winners in this crowded category, but if you’re taken by Hide My Ass’s design, you’ll probably appreciate NordVPN’s similarly friendly experience and more generous offering.
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ExpressVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, and has impressive protocol support. While few will use PPTP (unless there are specific needs), the added support of SSTP and L2TP/IPSec may be welcome to some users.
We like the quality of their setup guides, and the detailed information in their FAQ. The company gained points from us for their support of Bitcoin as a payment method, and their reliable and easy-to-use connection kill switch feature.
The company has been in business since 2009, and has a substantial network of fast VPN servers spread across 94 countries. Their best plan is priced at just $6.67 per month for an annual package which includes 3 extra months free. ExpressVPN’s commitment to privacy is a standout feature.
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StrongVPN sets itself apart in the industry for not only offering a wide variety of available locations, but for actually working in these locations. Their servers allow users in dozens of countries to successfully get around blocks and stay private in locations where many VPNs don’t typically work. StrongVPN owns over 680 servers around the globe, operating in 45 cities and 24 countries. Offering PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN and IPSec protocols, StrongVPN is a good VPN for beginners, advanced users, and anyone in between who’s looking for straightforward online security.
With a StrongVPN account, customers have the ability to choose which server location they want, even down to the specific city. This type of personalized, user-friendly service is also seen with their unlimited server switching, as well as the ability to have up to six simultaneous connections on different devices. StrongVPN supports Mac, Windows, iOs, Android, and even multiple routers, which is a huge plus.
StrongVPN notably boasts fast connection speeds with the help of their StrongDNStechnology, an added bonus that’s included for free with all of their plans.
Cost: StrongVPN offers three plan options: one month, three-month, and annual. Their annual plan will give you the biggest bang for your buck, coming out to just $5.83 per month. Their monthly plan is $10, and their three-month plan is $8 per month. Luckily, each tier comes with the same set of features, so you won’t get cheated out of certain levels of encryption depending on which plan you subscribe to.
They offer a 7-day money-back guarantee and accept Bitcoin, Alipay, PayPal, and credit card.
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Like other VPN services, PureVPN supports unlimited server switching and access to every server available without reservation, regardless of the plan you’re paying for. It also has a kill switch so that the whole connection is dropped if the VPN disconnects.
You can also split the VPN tunneling, which is helpful for having encryption on specific parts of your web habits while still using your regular network connection for other things.
Something else unique that should be mentioned is their Virtual Router feature that lets you “convert” your Windows desktop or laptop into a virtual router so that up to 10 devices can connect to it for their VPN needs.
Cost: PureVPN is much more affordable than most providers and gives a myriad of payment options, like gift cards, Alipay, PayPal, Bitpay, and more. The cheapest payment plan is their two-year option for just $3.25/month (which is a one-time payment of around $78). Or, you can buy six months for what’s equal to $9/month, or pay monthly for $10.95/month
# TunnelBear VPN
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TunnelBear is an interesting Canadian VPN service for a couple of philosophical reasons. For one, they believe that “user logging is evil,” and that setup and daily use should be as easy and automated as possible.
To deliver on their first promise, TunnelBear employs a policy of no-logging for all their users, free and paid. They don’t collect IP addresses of people who visit their site nor do they store information on the applications, services, or websites that subscribers connect to through TunnelBear.
As for their second belief, Tunnelbear employs very simple interfaces and automated settings (decorated with cute bears, of course) that make installing and using their VPN software very easy and non-intimidating to the average user.
TunnelBear also offers some interesting tech features that users will find helpful for additional privacy protection:
- Vigilant Mode is a safeguard against those small windows of exposure when your Wi-Fi or VPN connection drops. The program can block traffic until the connection is restored.
- The closest VPN server will connect you to the TunnelBear service if you’re not sure which one to choose.
- You don’t have to worry about reconnected at startup because TunnelBear will start with your computer.
- Intellibear lets you selectively VPN into websites you want to be private while browsing with no-VPN on other sites
- Maul Trackers offers ongoing blacklisting of known trackers from ever seeing your signal.
TunnelBear’s speed performance is in the range of 6-9 Mbps, which is pretty good for a VPN service. It supports PPTP and has servers in more than 15 countries, and apps are available for both desktop and mobile devices.
Cost: The free plan gives you 500 MB of data each month while TunnelBear Giant and Grizzly offer unlimited data. The two plans are identical except that with Giant, you can pay on a monthly basis for $9.99/month while Grizzly comes out to be $4.99/month (but you have to pay a whole year in advance at $59.88).
Credit cards and Bitcoin are the supported payment options.
# Cryptostorm VPN
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Cryptostorm is absolutely the most preferred VPN for file sharers, privacy freaks, and people who surf the Dark Web.
This service is based in Iceland and Canada, and resists the reach of the US PATRIOT Act and other surveillance. Because Cryptostorm doesn’t keep a database or record of traffic, there isn’t anything to explain about you even if the company is forced to release user data.
The big differentiator is Cryptostorm’s plugging of DNS leaks. Most VPN’s do not go this extra mile to prevent authorities from tracking you. Cryptostorm employs a special DNS utility to ensure that there is no DNS hint of your source location while cloaked.
Visit Cryptostorm VPN
Cost: Token prices range from less than $4/month up to a little under $8/month, depending on the term length and how you choose to pay. For instance, if you pay for one week at a time ($1.86), for one month using Stripe, you’ll be charged a total of $7.44 for that month; paying for two years at once ($94) brings that monthly equivalent down to $3.92.
Cryptostorm VPN accepts Bitcoins, Stripe, and PayPal as payment, and grants access through the use of tokens instead of currency. This token-based payment approach adds more cloaking to the identity of its customers.
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ZenVPN can be purchased on a weekly basis and has servers that can be found in over 30 locations around the world, including Brazil, Denmark, the US, Romania, India, Norway, and the Netherlands.
According to ZenVPN: We don’t inspect your online activities and don’t maintain any record of them.
The setup is super easy to use because, after just a few clicks, you’re ready to start using the VPN to encrypt all your internet data.
This VPN service does not block or limit P2P traffic, which means you can torrent as much as you want and never be reprimanded for it. However, remember that torrenting copyrighted data is still illegal in most countries, regardless of whether you use a VPN.
Note: It’s important to be aware that unlike most VPN providers (and even ZenVPN’s Unlimited plan), the free and Standard ZenVPN plans limit your daily traffic to 5 GB. It’s been added to this list, however, because the weekly payment option might be preferred by some and VPN torrenting isn’t always so easily accepted by providers.
Cost: To be billed every 7 days, you can subscribe to ZenVPN on a weekly basis for $2.95, which is equivalent to around $11.80/month. Another option is to just buy it a month at a time for $5.95/month. A third option is to buy a whole year at once (for $49.95) for what comes out to be $4.16/month. The unlimited option is more expensive, at $9.95/month or $7.96/month if you pay $95.50 for the whole year.
Bitcoin, PayPal, and a credit card are the acceptable forms of payment.
# Kepard VPN
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Kepard is another VPN service that works with all the major phones and computers, and it’s awfully cheap at just $3.50 /month for the yearly option. With it, you can connect from two locations simultaneously, upload/download unlimited data, and even torrent through some of the servers.
Something nice about this service is that it automatically detects a disconnected VPN connection and immediately prompts you to reconnect it. Plus, it’s super easy to connect and disconnect from the VPN.
Kepard includes a NAT firewall, 256-bit encryption, and other common VPN features like support for OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP.
This VPN service keeps user logs for three days, including your email address, registration information, and timestamps.
Cost: Get Kepard for a whole year (for $42.00) and you’ll pay just $3.50 a month, which is much cheaper than paying every single month for $7.00. You can also pay $16.00 every three months for an equivalent of $5.33/month.
A credit card or PayPal account is required in order to buy Kepard.
# OverPlay VPN
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This UK-based service is definitely worth looking at. While OverPlay does not have the server pool size of some of the other services on this page, the performance is strong, it supports unlimited P2P traffic, and readers average over 6 Mbps download speeds.
With OverPlay, you can instantly access servers from over 50 countries around the world, either to access blocked websites or to browse the web anonymously. It works with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
You can also setup OverPlay manually with OpenVPN support, which is useful if you want your entire network to access the VPN through a router.
Here’s a quick summary of some of OverPlay’s most important features: no traffic logs, unlimited server switching, unlimited bandwidth, PPTP and L2TP support, and military-grade encryption.
Cost: Get OverPlay for $9.95/month or pay for a whole year at once for $99.95, which is like paying $8.33/month.
OverPlay can be purchased by credit card or PayPal.
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Boxpn yields some very fast speeds, especially when compared to other VPN’s. Readers report getting over 7 Mpbs. Servers are located in various locations like Paris, Sydney, Dublin, Montreal, and Panama.
Boxpn’s parent company is based out of Turkey, which helps keep it away from the reach of the US PATRIOT Act. The company also pledges not to log any client activities, which is particularly comforting to people who participate in P2P file sharing
Here’s what they have to say about data logging: We NEVER keep online activity logs or store private information about individual user activities on our network. Information regarding payments may be logged, as per payment processor regulations.
Boxpn is similar to some of the other services on this list in that they offer unlimited data transfers, a money-back guarantee, and unlimited server switching. They also support OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, 2048-bit encryption, three simultaneous connections per account, and mobile devices.
Cost: Boxpn is cheapest if it’s purchased for one year at once for $35.88; the monthly cost is just $2.99/month. If you buy it for three months at once, that monthly price goes up to $6.66/month, and it’s even higher for their month-to-month, $9.99 plan.
The payment options for buying Boxpn include PayPal, credit card, Bitcoin, Perfect Money and Global Payments.
# UnoTelly VPN
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UnoTelly VPN started in Greece and has grown into a large multinational organization, with servers in a number of countries. One of its most unique features is the built-in parental control options utilized in its UnoDNS service.
UnoTelly does log some information but it only includes your log-in and log-out time, and the amount of bandwidth you used during that time. However, since the VPN service uses shared IP addresses, they can not track the websites you visit.
You also get malware and ad blocking with UnoTelly’s UnoProtector feature. It works in your computer browser but also on iOS and Android.
Unlike some service that let you use your account with multiple devices at once, UnoTelly only supports simultaneous device use if they’re running under the same network at once.
Cost: There are two plans here; Premium and Gold, but only the latter supports VPN while the other is just their DNS service. UnoTelly Gold costs $7.95/month if you buy it every month, but there are three other options if you want to purchase it for three months, six months, or one year. Those prices, respectively, are $4.32/month, $4.16/month, and $3.94/month (each, of course, being paid for in one lump sum). You can try it free for eight days through this link.
Bitcoin and credit cards are the supported payment options for subscribing to UnoTelly.
# Norton WiFi Privacy VPN
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For starters, Norton WiFi Privacy doesn’t track or store your internet activity and provides bank-level encryption with their VPN to hide your traffic from prying eyes. This is available for as low as $3.33 /month if you buy a full year at once.
You can use Norton WiFi Privacy VPN as often as you like on one, five or ten devices simultaneously depending on how you choose to pay. macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS are supported.
Visit Norton WiFi Privacy VPN
Cost: To use Norton’s VPN service on just one device at once, is $4.99 every month or a payment of $39.99 to get it for a whole year (which makes the monthly cost $3.33). Prices are different if you want to pay for five or ten devices; $7.99/month for five and $9.99/month for ten. There isn’t a trial version available.
Norton WiFi Privacy can be purchased with a credit card or PayPal account.
# Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN
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Private Internet Access (PIA) is another awesome VPN service that is highly praised, especially for people who want to torrent anonymously or unlock region-restricted websites. PIA is also highly versatile, working on a number of platforms – up to five simultaneously.
One particularly interesting privacy feature of PIA is their shared IP addresses. Because multiple subscribers will be assigned the same IP addresses while they are logged onto PIA, it makes it impossible for authorities to match individual file transfers to any individual on the service.
There’s also a firewall included in the service so that unwanted connections are halted from infiltrating your phone or computer, plus the ability to auto-disconnect when the VPN goes offline, concealing DNS leaks from hackers and authorities, unlimited bandwidth, no traffic logs, fast setup, and simple server switching.
Visit Private Internet Access
Cost: PIA’s plans differ only based on how you want to pay. To pay for a whole year at once will make your monthly cost $3.33 (but you have to pay $39.95 up front). Alternatively, you can buy the VPN for $5.99/month for six months or on a monthly basis for $6.95/month.
You can check out with PayPal, Amazon Pay, Bitcoin, Mint, credit card, Shapeshift, CashU, or OKPAY.