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Today I would like to introduce you to some great VPN providers. If you’re pretty tech savvy, you should probably go ahead and skip the intro. If you’re not too sure what a VPN is or why it’s important, then you should consider reading the intro. Without further ado, let’s get started!
What is a VPN?
VPN is short for virtual private network. A VPN basically allows you to send and receive data across public networks without having to worry about hackers. It protects your privacy and sometimes gives you the option to be anonymous (this depends on the provider).
The biggest selling point for most VPN providers is that you can access country specific services like Spotify, Netflix, Pandora, Hulu, etc. Because of copyright agreements, these services cannot broadcast all content outside of the US.
With a VPN you can obtain a different IP address to make it look like you’re within the USA. This is all made possible because VPN providers usually have servers across the globe.
Why do I need a VPN?
If you’re a frequent traveler or simply want to kill some time at Starbucks or Panera, you should strongly consider using a VPN. Whenever you connect to public Wi-Fi there is a chance of you getting you data stolen. I don’t want to sound like a fear monger, but this is a legit issue.
Many wireless hotspots are completely unencrypted, leaving you vulnerable and unprotected against malicious users. So if you’re planning to check your bank account, buy something online, check your email, etc. then you should probably consider using a VPN.
You can also use a VPN to break out of home, school, and work networks that restrict your access. So if your parents blocked some website, you can still access it. If your boss blocked Reddit, you can still access it. If your school blocks Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or any other website, you can still access it.
How does a VPN Work?
Let’s cut to the chase… It’s basically a condom. It reduces the probability of your data getting into the wrong hands. It keeps your connection encrypted and secure. If you want to get technical, check out this Wiki page.
Is it 100% secure?
The short answer is no. If somebody is very intelligent and knows what he or she is doing, then they can get access to your data regardless of how secure you make your connection. Nothing is hack-proof.
Keeping that in mind, it’s much better to have some safeguards in place in case somebody is trying to go after your data. A smart hacker isn’t going to waste their time on you if they can prey on an easier target.
It’s common sense. When you use a VPN you’re essentially giving the middle finger to anybody who was going to mess with you.
What should I look for in a VPN Provider?
Like anything else, choosing the right one can be tricky. Without boring or confusing you, I’ll go over some basic things you should look for in a VPN provider.
- Do they keep logs? Yes = bad, no = good.
- How is the customer support? (Do they offer 24 hour support or make you wait a few days?)
- Price. (This one depends on how you justify value.)
- Do they go out of their way to keep you anonymous? Yes = good, no = bad.
- Is P2P torrent downloading permitted? Yes = bad, no = good.
- Do they have servers in locations that are useful to you? (You want to go with a company that has servers across the globe.)
- How easy is the service to use? (Is it a headache to get it rolling?)
- Do they share your information with a 3rd party?
- VPN speed. (Your internet speed will be reduced while using a VPN. Speeds over 15 Mbps are excellent.)
- Encryption used (PPTP bad, OpenVPN good)
ExpressVPN offers a wide range of services ensuring that you’re going to be able to have access to what you need, when you need it, no matter how far away from home you are.
They offer their services to Windows, iOS, OSX, Linux, and Android users. They currently offer a 30-day money back promise, ensuring that you’ll love the service. The best part? They don’t log anything, so you can browse freely and privately.
I don’t like to play favorites right off the bat, however ExpressVPN is one of the top dogs. Their speeds are great, they care about your privacy, and they have apps for almost every device.
VyprVPN is a wonderful service that gives you access to anything you need in thirty eight different nations around the globe. This is great news for those who like to travel.
They offer their services to Windows, OSX, Android, Linux, and iOS, which gives you the best bang for your buck. The best part about this particular service is that you can have it on up to three devices.
That means you can have your phone, tablet, and laptop all hooked up to the same service for the same price. They offer a seven day money back guarantee, which should give you enough time to decide if this service is right for you.
This company is based in Italy, so technically they don’t have to comply with the PATRIOT Act. They don’t monitor your activity, collect your logs, limit your traffic, or limit your time. They also allow P2P sharing, so torrent away.
They are focused mostly on Europe, but they also serve North America and Singapore. They use shared IP addresses, which gives you an added level of privacy while you browse or make purchases online.
If it doesn’t bother you that this company is based in the United States, you should consider doing business with Private Internet Access (PIA). They say that there are no logs kept, but the NSA can always budge in where they are not wanted. PIA offers a variety of services that you can use for a very low monthly price.
They accept BitCoin, which is becoming increasingly popular around the world. Although this service isn’t completely anonymous, they do offer an added level of protection. With Private Internet Access you’re going to be able to share P2P and have three devices connected at the same time.
There are two downsides to PIA. First, they do not offer a very user friendly interface and second they have no free trial for their users.
If you’re in China or any other nation considered to be part of the Far East, then this company might be your best bet to get through barriers and be able to do what you want online. They don’t keep any logs and offer you two connections at once.
At this point and time they only offer their service for Windows and OSX users. They also offer cloaked routers for those who are a little more on the tech-savvy side. A major downside to BolehVPN is that their encryption is only 128-bit, which means they’re slacking…
Since Mullvad is based in Sweden, you don’t need to worry about DRD and other potential security lapses. They accept BitCoin and you can even send them cash in the mail, making it a little more untraceable.
As with most VPNs, Mullvad does allow P2P file transfers. The only issue with Mullvad is speed, but with any VPN the speed of downloads is going to be dramatically slower than expected.
What separates NordVPN from everybody else on the list is that they do double encryption, meaning their method encrypts data between you and the Internet two separate times before being sent out. This is pretty huge.
Many people have claimed that this service has a very slow connection, but that would make sense since they are encrypting your data twice. They also never log anything, and promise to stick by that. If you desire ultimate privacy, this might be the best choice for you.
SurfEasy allows their VPN service to be used on up to five devices. This can ensure that your entire family is secure every time they get online. This tool is completely log-free.
At such a low price, you can’t really beat this service. If you want to keep your entire family secure at all times, then you should probably consider it. SurfEasy is available on Windows, OSX, iOS, and Android.
Privacy.io is a leader in online privacy. They don’t keep any logs, their service is fast, they don’t hit you with hidden fees, and they actually care about your privacy. They give you IP addresses from either Sweden or the Netherlands.
This service isn’t really aimed at Netflix users. It’s more for people who like to torrent anonymously. They might have a steep price, but you’re going to be a lot more secure with Privacy.io on your side than you would without it.
UnoTelly’s main goal is to unlock geographically locked content for you. It’s very simple, and pretty straight forward. You can access all of your favorite streaming services like Netflix while you’re out of the country. Their pricing is very affordable.
PureVPN is very simple to use. It’s for those of us who aren’t all there when it comes to technology. They have servers in nineteen different nations.
They do keep logs for five days at a time, to make sure you’re not going over your bandwidth, but after that, the information collected from you is gone forever (allegedly).
PureVPN also offers something special; they serve BlackBerry customers. If you haven’t given up your old BlackBerry yet and want a secure VPN service, this is just about your only option, but it’s not a terrible choice either way.
I wanted to keep this post 100% honest and unbiased. All the links in this article are non-affiliate. I hope this article has helped you narrow down your choices. Good luck!