There are many, many VPN providers, and Mozilla can’t recommend any specific service. PC World, however, has reviewed a ton of VPN services and ranked them all. The winner? Currently it’s Sweden-based Mullvad, which doesn’t even keep your email address. Instead, it auto-generates an anonymous account number when you create an account. The service is reportedly fast and ultra secure. Speedy services CyberGhost and TunnelBear also ranked highly, and NordVPN was called out as a great way to watch blocked U.S. Netflix shows and other services while abroad. FoxyProxy, by Mozillian Eric Jung, offers VPN service in more than 68 countries.
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.
BitTorrent's dubious distinction as the pirate's tool of choice has led to indiscriminate crackdowns from ISPs on the use of BitTorrent. With a virtual private network, or VPN, your traffic is encrypted and secured to ensure that no one can see what you're up to—even when you're torrenting. The catch is, not every VPN service allows BitTorrent on its servers.
In conjunction with information security experts at The New York Times (parent company of Wirecutter), we reached out to our finalists with questions about their internal security practices. We asked how they handled internal security access, how they communicated securely with customers, in what ways they collected reports on security bugs, and of course whether their statements on logging policies matched their marketing and privacy policies. We also considered which companies had public-facing leadership or ownership, and which ones openly supported projects and organizations that promoted Internet security and privacy. (For a full breakdown of trust and VPNs, check out the section above.)
How much will it cost? If price is important to you, then you may think that a free VPN is the best option. Remember, however, that some VPN services may not cost you money, but you might “pay” in other ways, such as being served frequent advertisements or having your personal information collected and sold to third parties. If you compare paid vs. free options, you may find that free VPNs:
Nevertheless, the point of a VPN is to remain private and to have your internet activity kept as private as possible. For that reason, we’re choosing Mullvad as the best overall VPN (see our full review of Mullvad). The company recently released an overhauled desktop client, and the VPN does a great job at privacy. Mullvad doesn’t ask for your email address, and you can mail your payment in cash if you want to. Like many other VPNs, Mullvad has a no-logging policy and doesn’t even collect any identifying metadata from your usage.
Corporate and Exit Locations: Depending on what you’re using a VPN for, your service’s location—and the exit locations you can choose—are important to consider. If you want to get around a location restriction and watch live TV in the UK, for example, you want to make sure your VPN service provider has servers in the UK. If you’re concerned about privacy or state-sponsored snooping, you may want to pick a service operated outside of your home country. Similarly, if the service is based on the US, they’re subject to US laws, and may be forced to turn over usage data to the authorities upon request. Many people make more of this than they should (we’ve seen overseas services turn over their data to friendly governments without any hesitation repeatedly), but it’s important to make sure a VPN has servers in multiple locations—or at least the location you’re interested in—when shopping.
The popularity of video games continues to increase as connected play makes for truly immersive and unique experiences for gamers. With that popularity comes more risk, however, and more and more gamers are choosing to play using a masked connection. Some wonder if the threat of online gameplay is overblown, but there are several reasons why you should consider a VPN if you are a gamer.
SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol) is a suitable alternative to standard protocols in areas where VPNs are restricted because it can bypass most firewalls. SSTP is quite similar to OpenVPN but, unlike OpenVPN, it is owned by Microsoft, which means it is not available for independent auditing. Microsoft’s history of cooperating with the NSA does not inspire confidence in this standard.
VPNs work by routing your web traffic through an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a server operated by the VPN company. Anyone snooping on your activities, even if they are the ones running the network, won't be able to see what you're up to. Even the ISPs will be blind. Advertisers and others on the web will have a harder time tracking your movements because your true IP address is hidden behind that of the VPN server and your traffic is mixed in with everyone else on that server. It all boils down to this: You need a VPN.
Despite Proton’s strong reputation for privacy with both its VPN and Mail services, we previously dismissed ProtonVPN without testing because it didn’t offer native applications for major operating systems. Instead, the service relied on third-party applications that could be clumsy to set up and lacked important features. Now that ProtonVPN apps are fully supported on Windows, Mac, and Android, we’re looking forward to testing the service for the next update.
No company came closer to being a pick than ExpressVPN. It has a huge server network that performed well in our tests, plus easy-to-use applications on tons of platforms, and strong security technologies in place. A representative answered all our questions about company operations at length—except one. As noted in a PCWorld review of the service, ExpressVPN chooses not to disclose the company’s leadership or ownership. The company representative told us that this policy enabled ExpressVPN to build a private and secure product without compromise. “We think that this approach has been effective until now and that coupled with a stellar VPN product, we have succeeded in gaining a solid reputation in our industry. We are fortunate to be trusted by the many users worldwide who choose ExpressVPN.”
NordVPN is a popular no logs VPN service based in Panama. It performed well in testing for the latest update to the NordVPN review and offers very competitive prices. While the speeds can be somewhat variable, the latest speed test results were good with the servers I tested. To improve speeds, NordVPN has added hundreds of servers to their network, so there is more available bandwidth for users.
I tried Froot VPN for about 8 months, hoping that the service would improve. It never did. They are extremely disorganized. I would get slow responses to my ticket from a couple of different people, with no help other than the stock responses. I tried leaving a message on their Facebook page, which got a faster response, but again, no help other than the usual responses. I finally told them that I wanted to close my account and that I wanted my money back. I was told that I had gone beyond their 30 day money back policy. I posted on Facebook saying that their service and support was awful. We went back and forth, the guy said there was no record of my previous complaints that he could find, made disparaging remarks about me and my promise to recommend people avoid Froot VPN. I told him to keep the money, that his response was illustrative of an obviously very big problem, and that I would happily continue to not recommend Froot VPN to anyone.
So in other words.... they keep logs. If they're tracking server access, they could be tracking IP's, connection times, bandwidth utilization, etc. And a log is subpoena-able in most jurisdictions. If that matters to you and you want a zero-log provider, VPN Unlimited is not the right choice for you. If you simply don't care (eg Harry), then VPN Unlimited would be just fine.
The Center for Democracy & Technology brought just such a complaint against one VPN provider last year, though no enforcement action has been announced. Many privacy sites suggest finding a VPN service outside the prying eyes of US intelligence agencies and their allies, but FTC protections could be an argument for finding one in the US so that there’s a penalty if it deceives its customers.
VPNs can make your browsing private, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re anonymous. VPN services can and do log traffic (even the ones that say they don’t log do need to log some information, or they wouldn’t be able to function properly), and those logs can be requested by the authorities. Think of a VPN as being like curtains: people can’t peek through your curtains if you’ve got them closed, but curtains won’t hide your house.
That attitude to the safety and privacy of personal data creates an enormous risk when it comes to online security. Public Wi-Fi networks, which are ubiquitous and convenient, are unfortunately also highly convenient for attackers looking to compromise your personal information. How do you know, for example, that "starbucks_wifi_real" is actually the Wi-Fi network for the coffee shop? Anyone could have created that network, and they may have done so in order to lure victims into disclosing personal information over it. In fact, a popular security researcher prank is to create a network with the same name as a free, popular service and see how many devices will automatically connect because it appears safe.
IPVanish’s virtual private network is one of the best available. The service offers one of the most streamlined and efficient experiences around, no matter what their location. Users can log in from anywhere around the world and experience the same fast speeds and quality servers. IPVanish offers subscriptions at a very low price, with options to personalize IP locations and secure your Wi-Fi connection from hackers.
Due to licensing restrictions, iOS developers previously couldn’t implement OpenVPN connections directly inside their applications. Since that changed in mid-2018, a few providers, including IVPN and PrivateInternetAccess, have added native OpenVPN support to their apps. This makes a secure connection on any Apple device much easier than the old method that required a clunky third-party application and complicated connection profiles. Though we haven’t done performance tests on any updated iOS apps yet, our limited use of the updated IVPN app worked without any problems. Going forward, we wouldn’t consider a VPN provider that doesn’t include native OpenVPN support on iOS.
There are about 3,000 CyberGhost connection points in about 60 countries worldwide. You don't need to provide your real name, just a working email address, and you can pay in Bitcoin to remain nearly anonymous. As with most full-fledged VPN services, you can connect directly from your operating system's network settings or use third-party OpenVPN software to do so. You can also select from among VPN protocols and set up a home Wi-Fi router to use CyberGhost all the time.
Windows remains the default computing platform, and is by far the well-supported platform by VPN services. Windows users always enjoy the full range of features on offer, and all but the most fledgling VPN company offers a custom Windows VPN client. Unsurprisingly, our pick of BestVPN services on this page exactly mirrors that on our best VPNs for Windows page.
Another major concern with VPNs is speed. In general, using a VPN is going to increase your latency (or your "ping"), and decrease the speed at which you upload or download data. It's very difficult to say definitively which VPN will have the least impact on your browsing, but extensive testing can give you some idea which service is the fastest VPN.
Another often-overlooked security feature is a killswitch, which is essential for torrenters. If for any reason your VPN server stops working, a killswitch will sever your internet connection altogether so you’re not caught with your digital pants down. If a VPN provider doesn’t have a killswitch, using it for P2P is a terrible idea; all our picks have one that works.
IPVanish wasn't the top performer in our 2017 round of testing, falling in about the middle of the pack. But it was one of the most reliable VPN services, connecting smoothly and staying connected every time we used it. IPVanish has excellent client software, although you can connect to the company's servers manually, and a decent array of about 850 connection points in 50 countries. However, its subscription price is kind of high, and its U.S. base may be a negative for some potential customers.
Torrenting is a common name for a specific protocol used to transfer data and files over the web, but not the actual types of files. Although it gets a lot of bad press overall, it is perfectly okay and legal if you’re transferring files that you have the rights to. Piracy, on the other hand, is completely illegal regardless of the tools that you use to do it.
TorGuard is incorporated in St. Kitts and Nevis, and operates out of offices mostly in the US. But most people shouldn’t be worried about the legal jurisdiction of their VPN’s offices—we detail the reach of government surveillance above. In short, we think a privacy-focused VPN with public leadership that can be trusted not to collect information about their customers is a better choice in any country, rather than an opaque company run from the most liberty-ensuring country on the planet.
With endpoints in 18 countries, Kaspersky Secure Connection can be set up so that it connects automatically, connects to an endpoint in a certain country by default, or seeks to establish a connection whenever you connect to an insecure Wi-Fi hotspot. You don’t, however get an automatic killswitch, so if your VPN connection goes south, you won’t be automatically disconnected.
A VPN masks your IP address so that other devices in the swarm only see the IP address of the P2P VPN server. The best VPNs for torrenting typically use shared IP addresses, meaning dozens and even hundreds of users are assigned the same IP address. This large pool of users makes it next to impossible to trace torrenting activity back to a single person. Furthermore, if you use one of the logless VPNs on this list, the VPN provider won’t have any user information to hand over when hit with a DMCA notice or settlement letter.
Central America isn’t the first place you’d think of when it comes to cutting edge technology, but NordVPN is up there with the best VPN services in 2018. It has 1015 servers in 59 countries, supports up to six devices simultaneously, runs 2048-bit encryption and has a feature list including an automatic kill switch, dedicated IP addresses, strong DNS leak protection and the ability to pay in Bitcoin. For relatively short connections performance was superb, although we did notice a little latency creeping in from time to time for very long distance connections. However, browsing remained snappy and performance wasn’t degraded significantly. We’d recommend hunting the site for its free trial and if you like it, signing up for the 3-year plan which is currently going for just $99!
If your connection to the VPN server drops for some reason then the killswitch will immediately sever your internet connection, so it’s best to keep an eye on your torrents. There’s a few different types of killswitch, such as those that a firewall-based, either using your device’s built-in firewall (if it has one) or via their own rules. Make sure you understand how your killswitch works to avoid being caught out if your app crashes for example.
Since we last tested VPNs, we've given special attention to the privacy practices of VPN companies and not just the technology they provide. In our testing, we read through the privacy policies and discuss company practices with VPN service representatives. What we look for is a commitment to protect user information, and to take a hands-off approach to gathering user data.
These VPNs offer solutions that will mask your online presence to keep you safe. But remember, VPNs might not be as private as you think 5 Ways Your VPN Is Not as Private as You Think It Is 5 Ways Your VPN Is Not as Private as You Think It Is Your VPN is not as secure or private as you think it is. We explain why you and your browsing history might not be anonymous after all. Read More .
Given the aggressive pricing and marketing of other services that don’t measure up to our picks, IVPN’s most obvious downside may look like its price: At the time of this writing, the regular price for an annual IVPN subscription is $100 (about $8 per month). Promotions regularly bringing that down to $70 to $80 per year, but some services have regular pricing of half that. But you shouldn’t pay for a VPN you can’t trust, or one so slow or confusing that you avoid using it at all. We think IVPN’s combination of trust, security, and performance is worth the price. But if it’s too expensive for your needs, consider our budget pick instead.
With so many activities to take part in online – from visiting your favorite websites, sharing your opinions in comment sections and forums, keeping in touch with your family, watching movies and streaming videos – the last thing on your mind may be your privacy. As mentioned above, companies, organizations, and data harvesting tools will be desperate to obtain your information.
UK FTP and HTTP performance with CyberGhost hovered just under 5MB/s (40Mbit/s). Testing endpoints in the Netherlands yielded around 7MB/s (56Mbit/s), while in the United States, we managed just 2MB/s (16Mbit/s). This is passable for standard web browsing and video streaming but could be a bottleneck if you have a fast internet connection and want to download large files while connected to your VPN. These scores are slightly slower than they were earlier in the year – remember that any speed test only provides a snapshot of a brief period of time.
Firefox private browsing with tracking protection is great at protecting you from invasive trackers and keeping your browser history secret, but when you surf the web, you leave footprints that Firefox can’t erase — your IP address is logged at the sites you visit and your ISP may keep records. That usually isn’t an issue, but the sites you visit could expose you to unwanted attention from government agencies or even hackers. A VPN can hide those footprints from prying eyes and add an extra layer of security against hackers.
By now, you must have decided which VPN providers you want to go with, therefore I think it is about time we discuss VPN protocols as well. However, if you are new to VPNs and protocols, think of them as the fuel that drives the engine. In short, protocols are responsible for all the data transmission that takes place between you and the VPN server.
ExpressVPN has 148 locations in 94 different countries which means you can dial your IP address into 148 locations around the world. ExpressVPN delivers great performance - and it’s put the effort into its software too, with dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and BlackBerry as well as some Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV Sticks, Apple TV, PS4 and Xbox and even your router. Not only that but there are solid online tutorials too, so even if VPNs are dark magic to you they’ll have you up and running in no time. P2P is fully supported and it's super speedy so you can torrent using the maximum bandwidth of your broadband connection and there’s a kill switch that keeps your IP address hidden if anything goes wrong with the VPN or with your internet connection. ExpressVPN is reasonably priced, delivers a good service and has support for three simultaneous connections. There’s no free trial available but there is a no-fuss 30-day money back guarantee if the service doesn’t meet your requirements so that's a good way to test it out if you're unsure. We have used the 24/7 customer service a number of times and can vouch for its effectiveness - we had a couple of issues with using the service on a PC and were able to sort it within a few minutes using the instant online chat support.
With the service, user data cannot be intercepted as all traffic are encrypted. A split tunneling functionality allows users to route traffic from specific applications through the software. It likewise has a kill switch, which effectively cuts off Internet connection when the VPN connection fails. This prevents the accidental revelation of IP addresses.
YourBittorrent has a somewhat controversial history. While founded in 2009, it really began operation in its original form in 2003 as a collaboration between two partners — the product of which was myBittorrent; one of the partners wanted the website eventually shut down while the other partner wanted it to become bigger. This led to a split, the product of which is YourBittorrent.
Yes! The fact that using a VPN will protect you when torrenting is one of the most popular reasons to use a VPN. Anyone monitoring a torrent will only see the IP address of the VPN server – not your real IP address. And your ISP cannot see what you are downloading or block you from accessing torrent sites. The only thing to be aware of is that some VPN services do not permit torrenting (or only permit legal torrenting). And you may get into trouble for doing so. So if you want to torrent, then make sure the provider you choose is happy about it. Most are, although many only permit torrenting on selected servers located in places where they are less likely to be hassled by copyright holders. For an in-depth discussion on this subject, please see our Best VPNs for Torrenting article.
Consider a public Wi-Fi network, perhaps at a coffee shop or airport. Usually, you would connect without a second thought, but do you know who might be keeping tabs on the network traffic? Can you even be confident the hotspot is legitimate, or might it be operated by a criminal who's hunting for your personal data? Think about the passwords, banking details, credit card numbers, and just any private information that you send every time you go online.
Early this year, the U.S. Congress rolled back Internet privacy rules, giving service providers free reign to track, store and sell browsing data. In July, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) issued a warrant to DreamHost, asking for a list of everyone who visited DisruptJ20.org — a site used to plan protests at President Trump’s inauguration. Both events raise important questions about online privacy, and many consumers are turning to Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
Other VyprVPN features include automatic connection on startup, automatic reconnection, and a kill switch to stop traffic from being sent over unsecured connections. Premium users can also enabled Chameleon mode, which tries to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN at all, a cloud VPN server image that you can deploy to hosted servers on AWS, DigitalOcean and VirtualBox.
VPN technology was developed as a way to allow remote users and branch offices to securely access corporate applications and other resources. To ensure safety, data travels through secure tunnels, and VPN users must use authentication methods -- including passwords, tokens or other unique identification procedures -- to gain access to the VPN server.
NordVPN is a trustworthy company that comes in at a reasonable price point, which gets better the longer you sign up for. It is widely regarded as the most secure VPN available – not only do they have a no-log policy, but also feature automatic double-encryption. Since security is a major concern when it comes to the world of torrenting, Nord is a popular choice among users who anticipate downloading a lot of media and files.
The virtual router architecture, as opposed to BGP/MPLS techniques, requires no modification to existing routing protocols such as BGP. By the provisioning of logically independent routing domains, the customer operating a VPN is completely responsible for the address space. In the various MPLS tunnels, the different PPVPNs are disambiguated by their label, but do not need routing distinguishers.
When you download torrent, your IP address has been shared with all the other users who are downloading and seeding the torrent file. The same happened when you are uploading the torrent file. This IP address information can be used by hackers. This is also very common in case of P2P file sharing network because it is your IP address which has been used by torrent clients like uTorrent to provides you the torrent file.
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 a numeric 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.