VPN Providers Compared
There are many great VPN options available, so we will help guide you.
When choosing a VPN solution, there are a few things to keep in mind: Personal use vs business use, security and privacy needs, costs, apps and integrations. Many VPNs don't work for popular streaming services, so it's important to understand the differences.
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VPN stands for ‘virtual private network' and is a piece of software that that helps to make you more anonymous online, encrypts your internet use, and lets you effectively trick your laptop or mobile device into thinking it's in another location.
That means by choosing the best VPN service out there, you equip your laptop, PC, mobile – even your games console – with a game-changing bit of software.
For many, downloading a VPN service will be all about privacy. You may want to make use of those encrypted tunnels to keep your online life completely safe from hackers – especially now that so many of us are working or being educated at home. Maybe you’re a keen torrenter and you don’t want your ISP to know. Or perhaps its the prying eyes of your government that you want to avoid
But because the best VPNs also let you effectively ‘spoof’ your IP address to one in a completely different city or country, these services have taken on a much wider use. VPNs are fantastic for streamers, for example, who want to have access to a whole world of shows and films on Netflix and more. While if you’re on holiday and find your favorite app is banned (think about some of the internet censorship in Cuba, Turkey, China and more), an online VPN will let you use the internet in the way you’ve become accustomed. And that’s just for starters…
The first thing we’ll show you in this article is our definitive list of the best VPNs in the world. But keep scrolling and you’ll also discover more top tips to help you make the most of your new bit of kit.
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How to Choose a VPN?
1- Figure out what you need a VPN for
You’re not going to enter an Apple store and buy the first laptop you see. The same applies to VPNs. If you want a VPN for your entire household, a router-based VPN – or one that allows for multiple simultaneous connections – is what you should look for. If you’re planning on streaming movies online, you need a VPN with high speed, reliable connections, and unlimited bandwidth.
2- Look at the VPN’s qualities
Every VPN company prioritizes something. It could be speed, it could be encryption, it could be anonymity – you need to make sure your priorities match theirs. If you want to watch content that is geographically blocked, a VPN that has a reputation to unlock content is a priority. For example, many VPNs have trouble bypassing Netflix’s VPN block, but NordVPN and ExpressVPN continuously succeed in negotiating those obstacles.
3- Which devices do you need?
Although most VPNs support the main platforms of Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, and iOS, some VPNs are not available on all platforms. If you have a Windows computer but use an iPhone, then you want to ensure your VPN has a platform and app for both. It’s also a good idea to see how many devices you can connect to at once. Some VPNs allow unlimited devices, while others only let you connect up to three.
How a VPN does and doesn't protect you
VPN software sits on your computer (or phone) and makes a secure, encrypted, trusted link to the VPN company's servers. Then, it fetches whatever you want from the web.
While that does is make it very hard for someone to tap into the communications between you and the VPN server, the VPN company itself can keep logs of your activity the same way your ISP could were you not using a VPN. Most promise not to—privacy, after all, is ostensibly the reason they exist in the first place—but carefully check the small print for details.
A Good VPN Costs Money
That said, there are good VPN services out there, and you can find them with a little detective work. Put together a shortlist based on reputable reviews in the tech press, user feedback, and how long these VPNs have been around. Perhaps most importantly, a good VPN costs money, full stop. Any service that operates “for free” needs to be monetizing somewhere, and it's probably through the sale of your data.
The Best VPN Services
- Express VPN
- HotSpot Shield
Sources: zdnet.com, techradar.com, vpnmentor.com, popularmechanics.com