The Best VPN Services

About VPN (Virtual Private Network).

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Torrenting is limited, though. Their VPN apps come fully loaded with a kill switch. Zone server speeds clocked in just behind NordVPN 2 on our list in 15th place overall. And customer service was also a little spotty, too. The internet is a vast wealth of information which should be readily available without restrictions. It's an easy way to double your bandwidth each month.

What Is a VPN?

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There were a few drawbacks, though. Not as fast as the first two options. They are under Switzerland jurisdiction which is generally good for privacy and logs.

However, they are known to cooperate with countries under the five eyes jurisdiction. Although, it does look a lot better when you can connect dozens of devices. While the kill switch also gives you a perfect plan B in case anything happened to your connection.

But on the downside, not all servers are torrenting friendly. One out of five servers streamed Netflix content successfully. The only other drawbacks we noticed were average server speeds tested on two chosen at random.

And customer service was also a little spotty, too. Especially among the other top competitors at the top of this list.

The parent company is based in the privacy-haven and stunningly-beautiful Seychelles. Australia, or any other country for that matter. Each native app also comes fully loaded with a kill switch. If we had to gripe about a few things, it would be the slow-ish customer service no live chat available.

And the server count is pretty low in 31 countries — especially compared to the first few behemoths on this list. Unfortunately, the app was slightly confusing to use. And there was no live chat to get fast answers from customer support. Their Swedish homebase also puts them under the extended 14 Eyes intelligence community. Their servers are locked-down with AES encryption. Our customer service experience was excellent. Their combined server speeds were only good enough for 46th place out of 74 reviews.

Firmly middle of the park. Torrenting is limited to only a few servers. So not ideal if downloading massive files is a priority. They support all major protocols with bank-grade AES encryption. Netflix worked on one of the four servers we tested. Their customer service was unreliable during our tests.

Their combined server score was actually the fastest out of all the other competitors ranking here in our top ten, too. PIA is also one of your cheaper options on this list. Visit Private Internet Access. Two of the tested five servers worked perfectly to stream Netflix content. Torrenting is limited, though. We also found that speeds were on the slow side, coming in towards the bottom at number 51 out of One potential reason for this slow down could be that not all servers are active.

The other problem is that Windscribe is located in Canada, another card-carrying member of the Five Eyes agreement. Hides your IP address, encrypts your traffic and allows you to remain anonymous. It also helps journalists and privacy activists under authoritarian regimes escape backlash, jail time, or worse. What is a VPN? However, we fact-checked VPN country laws to confirm that some countries control VPN use, while others ban them outright.

Beware when in these countries, though. Every VPN we reviewed says their service will work with Netflix. But not every VPN actually does work. Those numbers are pretty good, considering Netflix has aggressively gone after VPN connections and proxy servers in the last few years. And it means you can count on them working successfully in the future, too.

Torrenting connects you to peer-to-peer P2P file sharing to download massive files at lightning speeds. Without a VPN, you leave yourself exposed from the other people on that same connection.

The problem is that torrenting is most well known for bypassing copyright laws to illegally download content. After going through , we found that 26 will collect three or more important log files that would easily reveal your personal actions. For example, pretty much all of them will track aggregate bandwidth usage so they can monitor their own server performance. That stuff is no problem. It starts to get a little tricky when they track when you log in or out of their service.

To make matters worse, a lot of them use overly-complicated legal mumbo-jumbo to confuse the issues. IF the VPN supports those devices. Setting up a VPN connection at your Internet source means you can lock-down your entire connection. If you do need to do a little more manual labor, click here to read our full guide on setting up a router VPN. Once your traffic exits the VPN server, it can be monitored and perhaps intercepted. It's also possible to use complicated timing algorithms to predict when and where you leave the encrypted tunnel.

There are other services, such as Tor , that can provide greater levels of anonymity. And if you're exchanging sensitive information, consider using encryption software to secure it first or using an encrypted messaging service such as Signal for iPhone and Android. There's quite a bit of talk right now about whether a VPN to protect neutrality. The idea is that, if you tunnel through your ISP, it won't be able to throttle your connection or charge you to access specific online services.

That makes sense on paper, but it actually works out that way depends on what the ISPs decide to do. They could simply throttle all VPN traffic, for example.

To me, the issue of net neutrality is a matter that should be decided on by Congress, and not one to be left up to individuals to solve, ad hoc. Activists rely on VPN services to change their IP addresses and spoof their online activity to get around government censors. Regular people can use VPN services to encrypt sensitive online activity while connected to unknown Wi-Fi networks to foil ad tracking and to spoof their location.

This last point means that, in some cases, you can enjoy region-locked content. What do I mean by region-locked? The Netflix we know here in the US isn't the same Netflix that people in other countries see. Overseas, Netflix subscribers can see HBO shows, and major hit films on the streaming service that don't show up within these United States.

That's because Netflix has specific deals to distribute this content in different areas. Netflix isn't the only service that can be tricked. There are numerous others. It's certainly fun to feel like you're getting away with something when using a VPN to gain access to restricted content, but don't complain if you get caught violating a company's terms of service in the process.

Just because you have a Netflix account does not mean you have a legal right to access Netflix content in another country.

In fact, using a VPN to watch Netflix has become much harder as of late, because many VPN services render region-locked streaming sites inaccessible, and because the streaming services are fighting back against the VPN services that don't.

Let me say two things upfront: I am very well aware that there is nothing inherently immoral or illegal about downloading files through BitTorrent or peer-to-peer P2P services. That said, I also acknowledge that like it or not exchanging copyrighted material over these services is generally a breach of copyright law.

For one thing, these services can put a strain on the company's resources. For another, it can put them into awkward legal situations. But people are attracted to the idea because of the privacy protections and location-spoofing VPNs can provide.

Before using a VPN for torrenting , it's a good idea to look through the VPN company's terms of service or FAQ to discover what its policy is for this kind of downloading activity. Be sure to read carefully, because violating the VPN company's terms of service may result in you being banned from its use.

Free VPN services generally fall into one of two camps: Hotspot Shield uses ads to make its free version pay, but it also restricts the number of servers you can access with a free account. That's not a deal breaker if you don't need a VPN to spoof a specific location. Others, such as Steganos Online Shield, place a monthly cap on network bandwidth. Steganos has a limit of MB of traffic per month, which is not unusual for services that use bandwidth caps.

It's an easy way to double your bandwidth each month. Heavy downloaders and video streamers will likely struggle with these plans. Performance is an important consideration when choosing your VPN service, especially when you're looking at free tools. CyberGhost , for example, has a free version which is ad supported and also restricts performance.

Other services may restrict how many devices you can connect at a time on the free version, as is the case for TorVPN. Also, be sure to note the difference between money-back guarantees, free trials, and truly free software.

NordVPN also offers a free trial of its product, but it lasts for only three days and is rather difficult to find and activate. VPN technology has become far more accessible in recent years, but there are still some products that will appeal primarily to geeks and those comfortable with less-than-user-friendly experiences.

VPNBook , for example, is a free service quite different from the competition. It simply lists available VPN servers, leaving you to figure out the rest. It is completely free, but likely to be a challenge for new users.

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