Private Internet Access, or PIA, is one of the most visible, privacy-focused VPNs available. Because of its reputation and advocacy concerning online privacy and security, it has also been a Wirecutter staff pick. But whether you prioritize speed and performance or trust and transparency, our top pick is a better bet. If you find PIA attractive because of its low price, note that spending just a little more on TorGuard will buy you much better performance.
If you are a privacy-focused user, NordVPN has many features you may be interested in. These include double-hop VPN configurations, VPN-over-Tor servers, and a well-designed ad-blocking feature that is built into the VPN apps. Whether you are using NordVPN for torrenting, accessing Netflix, or just basic internet browsing, it remains a great all-around VPN at a very affordable price.
We have often said that having to choose between security and convenience is a false dichotomy, but it is at least somewhat true in the case of VPN services. When a VPN is active, your web traffic is taking a more circuitous route than usual, often resulting in sluggish download and upload speeds as well as increased latency. The good news is that using a VPN probably isn't going to remind you of the dial-up days of yore.
Using a VPN, all data traffic is confined to a private, encrypted tunnel until they reach the public Internet. Destinations cannot be accessed until after the end of the VPN tunnel is reached. VPN services are quite useful in workplaces, especially for those who use mobile devices in accessing data from a work server. However, the most common use of VPN software is to remain anonymous to ISPs, websites or governments. This is true for users who download files illegally, such as in the case of copyrighted torrent files.
HideMyAss! offers a 1, 6, and 12-month programs, with big savings the longer you choose to subscribe. The 1-year subscription fee, at $6.99/month, nearly cuts the 1-month trial subscription fee in half, making it the most value-for-money offering. Safe, SSL protected payments can be made via Visa and MasterCard through the online registration platform, and are recurring.
CyberGhost gives Mullvad some stiff competition in the speed department, especially for locations in North America and Europe. It does a good job protecting user anonymity, too—requiring no identifying information and using a third-party service for payment processing—albeit not to the same degree as Mullvad. Add to that CyberGhost’s unique, easy-to-use interface, good price, and streaming unblocking (although not for Netflix), and this VPN is a solid choice. (See our full review of CyberGhost.)
Secure Shell (SSH): SSH creates both the VPN tunnel and the encryption that protects it. This allows users to transfer information unsecured data by routing the traffic from remote fileservers through an encrypted channel. The data itself isn't encrypted but the channel its moving through is. SSH connections are created by the SSH client, which forwards traffic from a local port one on the remote server. All data between the two ends of the tunnel flow through these specified ports.
Torrents get a bad rap, and if we’re honest, that’s for good reason. Using torrents is the number one way to download pirated material including movies, TV shows, music, and games. But that’s not all there is to torrenting. It’s a very efficient way to download legitimate software such as Linux distributions and authorized content from sites such as BitTorrent Now.
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.
Although it’s often mentioned in one breath with many other torrenting-friendly VPNs, the glory days of IPVanish are over, as you can read in our IPVanish review. The service made its mark in the early days of copyright tracking, but since then has made few improvements and at time of writing it’s unclear whether it does, in fact, make your IP vanish. Take care when using this service.
One of today’s leading VPN providers and another worthy mention on our list of top 20 VPN services, PureVPN is known for its service quality and customer support. The service has 450 servers in 101 countries, allowing users to surf the Internet and use any online solution without having to reveal their IP address. This is very useful to those who want to bypass Internet censorship.
Despite some of the drawbacks, ZorroVPN is an interesting service if you are looking for advanced online anonymity. With their OpenVPN file config generator, you can create unique VPN chains with the Tor network and proxies (up to four hops). Unlike with Perfect Privacy, however, these multi-hop configurations cannot be dynamically changed within the VPN client.
That said, using a VPN service may help keep your data from being captured by some types of passive data collection, and in countries with less sophisticated and less well-funded intelligence agencies, a trustworthy VPN service is better than nothing. We asked Kalia if the standards that most VPNs use are secure against government intrusion. He outlined three ways that VPN traffic could be vulnerable:
Windscribe's network performance was once about average in our tests, but a recent switch in VPN protocols put it on par with Private Internet Access in head-to-head tests. Windscribe is compatible with many platforms (including routers and Amazon Fire and Kodi TV set-top boxes), offers a wide variety of connection options, has a wide geographic reach with hundreds of servers, and presents an appealing, if minimal, user interface. It was also one of the best at connecting to Netflix U.K. and BBC iPlayer, if you're into that sort of thing.
HMA! works as promised: no frills install of their Windows app, and a good diversity of exit points. Linux setup is not as easy as they promise (outdated software on their official site), although they do offer .ovpn files for OpenVPN setup, for each of their exits (both TCP and UDP). Speed is however inconsistent: using a popular exit point as UK, they vary between 5 and 20 Mbps, depending on the day of the week.
ExpressVPN is another excellent option for torrenting and P2P downloads. This British Virgin Islands-based service has a great lineup of custom applications and it also performed very well in testing for the ExpressVPN review. ExpressVPN offers strong protections for customer data with a solid no logs policy, very secure applications, and offshore jurisdiction.
You'd be a fool to go with this company. They're based in China and China has already been found to be putting backdoors in routers made there etc. If PureVPN had been any less ethical than their pathetic show of it they have now, they could have kept my money and I would have had nothing I could have done about it. Can't go over to China and kick some idiots butt, unfortunately, so you'd be out that money.
While I appreciate the emphasis on real-world applications for VPNs, I think it's better to just have a button to quickly get a person online safely. Most people might not be familiar with the benefits of using a VPN, or understand what the distinction is among the three modes. (Truth be told, I'm not sure I do, either.) A big, simple button similar to NordVPN or TunnelBear, with other options under the hood, seems like the best approach. Still, it's far friendlier and easier to use than, say, Private Internet Access, which is little more than a window to start your connection.
Providers can also log less-specific data about when or how often you connect to your VPN service. In some cases, these logs are a routine part of server or account management, and can be responsibly separated and scrubbed. In other cases, VPN providers take note of every connection and use that information to actively police individual customers. Though it’s reasonable for companies to protect their networks from abuse, it becomes a dealbreaker when companies keep extensive connection data for a longer period of time. Some VPN companies we spoke with explained how a log might note your current connection for authentication purposes, but that log is deleted as soon as you disconnect. This kind of “live log” isn’t a concern, and even those culled every few hours—or as long as the end of each day—shouldn’t be confused with logs of your traffic and online destinations.
It might be possible that this information could be used to correlate a user's identity to specific activity online, but it would likely be very difficult. Even with this information, an observer would have to know which VPN server to watch and then compare that activity against Hide My Ass's logs, and be able to parse out the target's traffic from everyone else using the same server.
Most services provide perfectly adequate internet speed when in use, and can even handle streaming HD video. However, 4K video and other data-intensive tasks like gaming over a VPN are another story. Some VPN services, such as NordVPN, have started to roll out specialty servers for high-bandwidth activities. And nearly every service we have tested includes a tool to connect you with the fastest available network. Of course, you can always limit your VPN use to when you're not on a trusted network.
A quick example: You purchase a subscription to a popular VPN service and download an app for your Mac or PC. After setting up your account, you click on the connect button. You’re not doing anything at this moment, but the VPN is authenticating who you are and if you should have access to their servers. After confirming this, a tunnel between you and a server is created. All of your activity goes through this tunnel as you connect to a server that’s not owned by your ISP. A VPN will assign a new IP address from its server in, say, Atlanta, Georgia even though you’re in Westchester, New York.
Although HideMyAss!’s logging policy states that the network does, in fact, keep data logs, it is important to mention that these logs are for diagnostic purposes only, meaning they record your connect/disconnect activities as well as bandwidth usage – not the websites you’ve visited nor the data that’s been transferred! Without getting too technical, it simply means your internet service provider (ISP) won’t know what you’ve downloaded or streamed, nor whom you’ve emailed or the content of your correspondence.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides you with a direct, encrypted connection to a private network via the internet. In business, they’re widely used to allow remote workers to securely access their employer’s office network as though they were physically connected to it. However, the desire for online privacy has led to the rise of consumer-oriented VPN tunnelling services which, rather than connecting to a remote private network, route your internet connection via a remote server. These services provide both a way of encrypting and anonymising your internet use and of appearing to be located in another country.
Some VPNs offer great service or pricing but little to no insight into who exactly is handling them. We considered feedback from security experts, including the information security team at The New York Times (parent company of Wirecutter), about whether you could trust even the most appealing VPN if the company wasn’t willing to disclose who stood behind it. After careful consideration, we decided we’d rather give up other positives—like faster speeds or extra convenience features—if it meant knowing who led or owned the company providing our connections. Given the explosion of companies offering VPN services and the trivial nature of setting one up as a scam, having a public-facing leadership team—especially one with a long history of actively fighting for online privacy and security—is the most concrete way a company can build trust.
The GUI is mostly self-explanatory, but you do need to know a little about communications and what VPN is and does. After a brief amount of learning, you may start using HMA Pro VPN. It is laid out a little like the AVG malware checker. It has a similar guided user interface and very similar looking buttons. If you follow the instructions given to you by Hide My Ass, you may surf the internet anonymously where your internet service provider cannot track you.
In an overcrowded VPN market, ExpressVPN continues to stand out from the rest and remains the top recommendation at Restore Privacy. It is based in the British Virgin Islands and offers secure, user-friendly apps for all devices. Extensive testing for the ExpressVPN review found it to be very secure, with exceptional speeds and reliability throughout the server network.
What that means in practice is that VPNs are fine for bypassing geo-blocks, for protecting your online banking and for keeping business communications free from interception. However, if you’re using the internet to fight repressive regimes or to do anything else that could attract the attention of the authorities where you live, a VPN is not a magic wand that’ll make you invisible.
Before you decide which best home VPN network client you want to download and install on your device, take some time to ask yourself a few questions, the most important of them being “what exactly do you need the VPN for?” For example, do you want a VPN for your Windows computer? Regardless of the platform or firmware that your devices operate on, certain aspects of a VPN are critical and should be considered before making the purchase. Regardless of why you need a VPN, unlimited access to all the Internet has to offer is of top importance when making your decision. With a VPN like Express VPN or NordVPN, you will be able to surf securely and privately. There are a number of features you might want from a VPN - unlimited number of devices, fast surfing speeds, Android and iOS apps, major VPN protocols. All are important in choosing the right VPN for you. Check out our guide to choosing the right unlimited VPN for your needs to help you decide which of the best VPNs in 2018 is right for you.
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.
VPN technology was developed to allow remote users and branch offices to access corporate applications and resources. To ensure security, the private network connection is established using an encrypted layered tunneling protocol and VPN users use authentication methods, including passwords or certificates, to gain access to the VPN. In other applications, Internet users may secure their transactions with a VPN, to circumvent geo-restrictions and censorship, or to connect to proxy servers to protect personal identity and location to stay anonymous on the Internet. However, some Internet sites block access to known VPN technology to prevent the circumvention of their geo-restrictions, and many VPN providers have been developing strategies to get around these roadblocks.
Fortunately, there are some brave companies that are still trying to stay one step ahead of Netflix’s VPN catchers. Currently, Windscribe Pro is our top choice. The service delivers good speeds on its U.S. servers, and has a very simple approach to Netflix: Just select the “Windflix” connection from the desktop app or browser extension and you’re good to go. Windflix is still technically in beta, but it works well and there’s even a Windflix U.K. option if you’d like to experience Netflix from the other side of the pond.
Overplay is easy to install and even easier to use. Its simple user interface is suitable for those who do not want complex features. All one needs to do is run the app and choose the country you want to connect to. It offers a very good speed, with any speed reduction hardly noticeable. As the software has server locations in 48 countries and over 14,000 IP addresses, anonymity is assured.
What is a VPN? VPN or Virtual Private Network is a secure private network that helps you keep your online identity invisible by replacing your original IP with one of its own. When you connect to a VPN, it encrypts all your traffic and passed it through a secure tunnel created by a military-graded protocol. With VPN all your communication is secure from hackers and any third party intruders. Why hide.me VPN? hide.me VPN is the world’s fastest VPN that offers unmatched privacy with highly advanced security features. You can subscribe to hide.me’s Free VPN that works equally amazing on Windows 10. We offer the easiest Free VPN solution which doesn’t require any Signup or Registration. Just install and start using it. Free Trial Features for Windows 10 -No Subscription or Credit Card Information required -3 Locations including (Singapore, Netherlands and Canada) -Auto-connect server option -Auto-Reconnect option -VPN App is supported in 15 different languages Free accounts offer 500MB limit for 2 weeks, which can be renewed infinite times. Plus & Premium Features for Windows 10 All features of FREE Plan as well as some additional features including -Unlimited Bandwidth -Unlimited data transfer limit for Premium plan -5 simultaneous logins in Premium plan -45 different VPN locations What Can I Do Using hide.me VPN You can do a lot many things using hide.me VPN including -Protect your device at public WiFi -Secure your online identity -Protect all your online activities
Some unscrupulous free VPN providers could well be scraping users’ personal data and selling it to third parties. One such high-profile case was Hola, a free VPN provider based in Israel. Hola was caught selling users’ bandwidth, and it was criticized for being opaque about how each Hola user became a node on the network rather than hosting its own dedicated VPN servers.
The P2P servers (which you’ll need to access separately in a special menu) offer increased security and, more importantly, have a greater capacity to deal with the torrents of information passing through them. DoubleVPN servers aren’t as high-capacity, but route your connection through two different servers, giving it an extra layer of protection if you feel you need it.
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.
While these are handy features, perhaps the most important privacy concern centers on the company itself. You can quickly see strengths and weakness of a VPN service by reading their respective privacy policies. Many VPNs tout a “no log” policy, which means the only data they collect may be related to your purchase. This could include your email, but they collect no other data that could potentially expose you or your usage of a VPN. This is the best policy available and one should actively seek with any VPN service. That means having to trust the company that they are not actually collect any data.