What Is a VPN?
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. This is a server that provides an encrypted network connection providing security. Originally used for business communication between different branch offices, it has now become a common tool for consumers around the world looking to secure and protect their information.
In addition to security, a VPN allows you to connect your device to a VPN server in a different country. This provides another level of privacy by masking your IP address. Another benefit of this is that it grants access to servers and content that would otherwise be blocked based on location.
VPNs are designed such that the connected devices are more secure and easier to manage. Data exchanged through a VPN is also less susceptible to censorship.
When to use a VPN?
Most of the users choose VPN to enhance their privacy however to be more specific, VPN is often used for the following reasons:
- When you wish to access information that is not accessible in your country.
- When you want to prevent being logged whenever you torrent.
- When you want to access online streaming media such as Amazon Prime or iPlayer.
- When you want to hide your IP address.
- To secure your device from snoopers.
- When you want to transfer (download or upload) P2P Files in Privacy.
- When you want to break out of the restrictive network connection, e.g., at school or work.
- When you want to use search engines and avoid your searches being logged.
Tips for a reliable VPN
This one is offered by ExpressVPN International Ltd. The company is based in the British Virgin Islands. It has a no logging policy. Basically, this means your data is safe with it as they do not store your data when you use it. All your personal data is encrypted and protected from hackers.
ExpressVPN has 1500 servers in 93 countries. It is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Chromebook computer devices and Android, iOS, Amazon Kindle Fire, and Barnes & Noble Nook HD mobile devices. It is also compatible with Apple TV, WD TV Live, Boxee Box, PlayStation 3, Roku, Xbox 360, Amazon, Xbox One, Fire TV, Chromecast and PlayStation 4 streaming media consoles and Netduma, Asus, Linksys, Netgear, Sabai, DD-WRT, D-Link, Tomato and TP-Link wireless routers.
ExpressVPN is quite expensive and not advisable for users on a limited budget. It ranges between $10 – $13 per month.
Advantages of ExpressVPN
- Plan pricing – they offer different pricing based on the period you are willing to pay for. You’ll pay $12.95/month if you’re paying monthly and as low as $8.32/month if you’re paying yearly.
- It is highly compatible with a range of platforms as listed above.
- It is headquartered in the Virgin Islands which protects it from law enforcement agencies such as NSA.
- It features OpenVPN AES 256-BIT Encryption with RSA-4096 and SHA-512 HMAC authentication whose safety is top notch.
- Its performance is very high.
Disadvantages of ExpressVPN
- It is one of the more expensive VPNs on the list.
NordVPN is based in Panama. It has 3350 servers in 64 countries concentrated in Germany, the USA, Canada, the UK, Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, and France.
It is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux computer devices. It is also compatible with mobile devices such as Android and iOS. It can also be used on Android TV. The VPN is also compatible with an array of wireless routers such as NAS and many others.
NordVPN is comparatively cheap with prices as low as $2.99/month.
Advantages of NordVPN
- It comes with strong features such as Netflix access, IP hiding, killswitch, etc.
- It offers DoubleData protection.
- It has a strict no logging policy.
- It has lots of servers hence is excellent for torrenting and Netflix.
- It’s cheap yet fast.
- It’s based in Panama hence protected from law enforcing agencies.
Disadvantages of NordVPN
- Offers no refunds for bitcoin payment (might not be an issue for most of the users)
TunnelBear VPN is based in Toronto, Canada. It was founded in 2011 and was acquired by McAfee in 2018. It’s compatible with Mac OS, iOS, Windows and Android and Linux.
It has 350 servers in 20 countries. Its speed is average. It is quite cheap though, just over $4 per month.
TunnelBear VPN Advantages
- It has a no logging policy
- Uses OpenVPN and AES-256 encryption which is hard to crack hence no leakages detected.
- It also offers a free plan
- It comes with awesome features such as killswitch (vigilant bear), Anonymous IP and 5 simultaneous connections.
- It is user-friendly.
- It is independently audited for security.
- Torrenting is allowed on it.
- Excellent customer care.
- Slow speed.
- Does not support Netflix
- Does not support routers
Perfect-Privacy is another VPN that lives up to its name. It is however relatively expensive. It is known for building the first self-configurable multi-hop VPN chain – this is a tool that helps to maximize online anonymity by involving multiple servers, also called hops.
Perfect-Privacy has 55 servers in 23 countries. It works well on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux computer devices as well as Android and iOS mobile devices. The VPN is also compatible with an array of wireless routers such as NAS and many others.
Pricing ranges from $12.99 to $15.26 per month.
Advantages of Perfect-Privacy VPN
- It offers multiple hop chains of up to 4 servers for maximum security and privacy.
- It has a no logging policy with an unlimited number of connections.
- It has a customizable firewall.
- It has a truck stop filter to filter out advertisements and phishing sites.
- It has pretty good customer care.
Disadvantages of Perfect-Privacy
- It is very expensive.
- It isn’t very good with subscription-based streaming such as Netflix.
- The speed is just average.
IPVanish is headquartered in the USA. IPVanish provides a decoy IP address to users connected to it hence helping ‘vanish’ the user’s real address.
The compatibility of IPVanish is good. It can be used on Windows, Chromebook, Linux and Mac OS computer devices. It is also compatible with mobile devices such as Android and iOS. It also has apps for FireTV.
It has over 1000 servers in 60 countries.
Its costs range from $6.49 – $10 with plan pricing with pretty fast speed.
Advantages of IPVanish
- It has very fast speeds.
- Its military grade 256 bit AES encryption ensures maximum security.
- It has a no logging policy for improved privacy.
- It has interrupted geo-targeting that helps to reduce unwanted advertisements.
- Plan pricing – they offer different pricing based on the period you are willing to pay for.
- It also offers a 7-day money back policy which enables you to test the VPN for 7 days and only take it if you’re satisfied.
Disadvantages of IPVanish
- It’s headquartered in the USA hence subject to wiretapping by the US law enforcing agencies.
- Old fashioned customer care without live chats.
- Not very good for torrenting
Mullvad VPN is based in Gothenburg, Sweden. It was found in 2009 by Daniel Berntsson and Fredrik Strömberg.
Mullvad VPN uses the Wireguard VPN and OpenVPN protocols. They allow the anonymous purchase of the software and also accept cryptocurrencies. It can run on Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows Operating Sytems.
It has 166 servers in 29 countries. The pricing is about 5 Euros per month.
Advantages of Mullvad VPN.
- It uses the OpenVPN and Wireguard Protocol. The Wireguard protocol, though pretty new, is a very promising and secure networking tunnel.
- It uses the AES-256 Encryption which is very secure and ensures no leaks.
- It provides protection against DNS leaks.
- Its speeds are quite fast – faster than the average.
- Allows torrenting
- It can unblock Netflix
- It is based in Sweden hence subject to the strict Swedish jurisdictions.
- No live chat for their customer care.
- The app is not very user-friendly hence not recommended for the less tech-savvy people.
- Not many devices are supported, and it takes some long process to set it up on mobile devices.
Cyberghost VPN was found in 2011 in Romania but currently based in Israel.
It is supported on Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS, an array of configured routers, Raspberry Pi, etc. It is generally a highly compatible VPN.
It has planned pricing that varies greatly from a monthly payment of $11.99 per month to a yearly payment of just $2.75 per month.
Advantages of Cyberghost VPN
- Offers a friendly plan pricing that can see you pay very low prices.
- Offers a free version that may not be as good as the paid version but provides fair services in comparison to other free VPNs available.
- Setting up of the account is easy.
- It is based in Israel where there are no data retention laws.
- It uses the AES-256 Encryption which is very secure and ensures no leaks.
- Offers a great, user-friendly user interface.
- It is fast.
Disadvantages of Cyberghost VPN
- Poor customer care that is never 24/7 available.
- Lack of diversification of server’s causes overloading and slowdown of services.
- Lack of additional encryption features makes it not suitable for use on data with a very high degree security concern.
AvastSecureline VPN is a virtual private network developed by Czech based AvastSoftwares.
It is compatible with Mac OS, iOS, Android and Windows operating systems.
Pricing varies with the number of connections and type of device you connect to. Access to five devices costs about $6.67 per month paid yearly. Access to a single PC costs $5 per month, paid yearly while access to a mobile device costs $1.67 per month, paid yearly. They also offer a 7-day trial.
Advantages of AvastSecureline VPN
- It offers very high speed. It is among the top 10 fastest VPN.
- It uses AES-256 encryption which is highly secure.
- Has killswitch and DNS leak protection features.
- Torrenting is allowed
- It has the no logging policy.
- Excellent customer care with 24/7 call center and online chat and a forum
- Very user-friendly.
Disadvantages of AvastSecureline VPN
- It offers no router support
- Strange pricing
- It doesn’t work with Netflix
- Being based in the Czech Republic, it is subject to the strict Czech jurisdictions.
HMA! VPN, also known as HideMyAss VPN was created by a 16-year-old boy to break out of the restrictive network of his school. It was acquired by AVG in 2015, and now it’s part of Avast.
HMA has 760 servers in 190 countries. It is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Chromebook computer devices and Android, iOS, Amazon Kindle Fire, and Barnes & Noble Nook HD mobile devices. It, however, can only connect to two devices a time.
It has plans ranging from a monthly payment of $11.99 per month to a yearly payment of $6.99 per monthly.
- It is simple and user-friendly
- It is available in many countries with over 800 servers
- It has consistent speeds that are pretty fast
- It has a 30-day money back plan
- The download speeds are good.
Disadvantages of HMA!
- It is blocked in some countries such as China
- There have been complaints of keeping logs.
- It is not good for use on online streaming media such as Netflix.
- Being based in the UK, it is subject to the strict British jurisdictions.
We just reviewed six of the best available VPNs. We discussed the pros and cons, features, compatibility, pricing and even a little bit of the companies themselves and where they are located. Choosing the best VPN for yourself, however, has no straightforward formula. We advise on the following as the main considerations to be taken when selecting the right VPN for yourself.
- Why you need it – Generally, people use VPNs for security. However, other uses such as streaming Netflix (that is not readily available outside the US and the UK) may come into play. Streaming services continuously block VPNs, a VPN’s capacity to beat the blocking becomes a good selling point to customers whose main reason for having it is streaming.
- Cost – Choose a VPN that is both friendly to the pocket and still offers satisfactory services.
- Connection to multiple devices – If there are several of you in the house wanting to use the VPN, it is important to choose a VPN that can connect to multiple devices at once.