Through years of reporting and the Snowden leaks, we now know that the NSA's surveillance apparatus is enormous in scope. At one point, the agency had the ability to intercept and analyze just about every transmission being sent over the web. There are jaw-dropping stories about secret rooms inside data infrastructure hubs, from which the agency had direct access to the beating heart of the internet. With a VPN, you can rest assured that your data is encrypted and less directly traceable back to you. Given the mass surveillance efforts by the NSA and others, having more ways to encrypt your data is a good thing.
Additionally, Hide My Ass makes it impossible for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to track or exchange your private browsing data with others for financial gain. Since all data is encrypted in the VPN network connecting your PC to the internet, this means zero access to your private browsing data and web history so that ISPs can’t possibly track, store or sell it.

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.

A popular VPN service, TorGuard has servers in over 50 countries and enables users to unblock websites and get around censorship. This ensures that wherever you are in the world, there is bound to be a TorGuard server near you. By default, the service enables users to make five simultaneous connections. This lets users run the service on all their devices. To better protect users, the service has a kill switch. However, this feature is not available on mobile devices. Likewise, a Domain Name System leak protection works on Windows and OS X.
With TorGuard, anonymity is the name of the game, so copyright pirates as well as Usenet fans and deep web visitors have nothing to worry about using the service. The downside is that TorGuard’s best servers need to be subscribed to separately, which will set you back a few extra dollars per month on top of the subscription fee. Then again, that could be worth it.
Some consumers might be concerned about a VPN company's use of virtual servers. These are software-defined servers that make a single physical server effectively operate as several servers. Virtual servers can also be configured to behave as if they are in one country when they're really in another, which is a problem if you're worried about where your data is traveling.

We asked TorGuard detailed questions about the company’s internal policies and standards, just as we did with five other top-performing services. TorGuard CEO Benjamin Van Pelt answered all our questions, as he has done for other outlets multiple times since the company launched in 2012. Though TorGuard’s answers weren’t as in-depth as some other companies’ responses, Van Pelt is a public figure who has been willing to talk about TorGuard’s operations at length. In 2013, ArsTechnica got a close look at TorGuard’s engineering and network management skills as the company rebuffed repeated attacks on its servers. Even though the company’s marketing is wrought with overreaching claims about being “anonymous”—an inaccurate boast that makes some experts cringe—the technical and operational standards of the company are focused on protecting customer privacy. In one interview with Freedom Hacker, Van Pelt notes that if there were problems on a server, such as someone using it for spamming, the company couldn’t restrict a single user. “Rules would be implemented in that specific server which would limit actions for everyone connected, not just one user. Since we have an obligation to provide fast, abuse free services, our team handles abuse reports per server – not per single user.”
With hide.me VPN, you become anonymous & safe on the internet reclaiming your online freedom for free. This app allows you to avoid all kind of surveillance from government agencies, ISPs, and cybercriminals. By encrypting your connection hide.me VPN protects your online identity. But that's not it; you can also use it to unblock any website or app which is blocked in your country.
"Following an audit by Leon Juranic of Defense Code Ltd., hide.me are now certified completely log-free. Even free users are no longer subject to data transfer logs. What’s more, hide.me has recently begun publishing a transparency report of requests by authorities for information on users of their service; as they say on their website, their standard response to such requests is to state that, as they keep no logs, they are unable to provide any such information." Jan 8, 2015 BestVPN.com
I have used Hide.me VPN (Both free and Premium Plan). According to my practical experience, I must state that Hide.me's client is one of the easiest and most user-friendly software/app in industry. Speeds of different VPN-server-networks are very stable and good than many other competitors. I found Its client capable of hiding my real IP assigned by my local ISP, of preventing WebRTC IP leak and DNS leak. Its Kill switch works perfectly. I am not sure about its capability of preventing IPv6 leak because my ISP does not support IPv6 traffic. Note that if you randomly install and use many VPN services on your same operating system (for example: Windows 8) of your PC and if your operating system manages to configure firewall to partially disable any proper functionality, you may experience DNS leak, disorder of IPv6 leak protection several times, even your OS may block you from figure it out manually. In this case, if you set up a fresh OS, then might not get such leak or disorder of configuration until your OS causes same thing mentioned above.
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.
I definitely agree with your list, tried few of your picks and really liked them. Though, I myself got the best results with Surfshark so I have a subscription with them now. I guess it’s because their servers are not crowded at all yet so speed is really surprising and stable. I’m just hoping they add a server in Canada soon though I’m all set and ok using New York servers until then.
However, the law states that fines cannot be artificially high, so damages that copyright holders can exact are capped. Early in 2018, Netherlands’ privacy watchdog, Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens (AP), gave permission to Dutch Filmworks to collect IP addresses of anyone illegally downloading content. The company can hand out fines to users and have decided on a fee of 150 Euros per film.
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.
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.
To verify that each service effectively hid our true IP address, we looked at a geolocation tool, DNS leaks, and IPv6 leaks. When connected to each service's UK servers, we noted if we could watch videos on BBC iPlayer, and using US servers we noted if we could stream Netflix. We also visited the sites of Target, Yelp, Cloudflare, and Akamai to check if our VPN IP addresses prevented us from accessing common sites that sometimes blacklist suspicious IP addresses.

While a VPN can aid privacy and anonymity, I wouldn’t recommend fomenting the next great political revolution by relying solely on a VPN. Some security experts argue that a commercial VPN is better than a free proxy such as the TOR network for political activity, but a VPN is only part of the solution. To become an internet phantom (or as close as you can realistically get to one), it takes a lot more than a $7 monthly subscription to a VPN.
VPNs also only do so much to anonymize your online activities. If you really want to browse the web anonymously, and access the dark web to boot, you'll want to use Tor. Unlike a VPN, Tor bounces your traffic through several server nodes, making it much harder to trace. It's also managed by a non-profit organization and distributed for free. Some VPN services will even connect to Tor via VPN, for additional security.
“Unlimited P2P traffic” is IPVanish's stance on torrenting. The network of 1,000+ VPN servers in 60+ countries offers impressive bandwidth and anonymity via 256-bit AES encryption. One year for US$6.49 a month is on the expensive side of things, but there's no arguing with being able to use your subscription on 10 devices (typically the standard offered by competing VPNs is 5-6).
The globetrotter. This person wants to watch the Olympics live as they happen, without dealing with their crummy local networks. They want to check out their favorite TV shows as they air instead of waiting for translations or re-broadcasts (or watch the versions aired in other countries,) listen to location-restricted streaming internet radio, or want to use a new web service or application that looks great but for some reason is limited to a specific country or region.

Like NordVPN, it also has all the must-have features for P2P traffic, but with one caveat: if you want more than the standard 256-bit encryption you’re going to have to mess with the configuration files yourself. Doing so can up your encryption as high as 4096 bits (that’s ridiculously secure), but it does require getting your hands a little dirty.


There are some limitations, of course. For one thing, using a VPN will sometimes mean that suspicious companies may block your acitvities. Watching Netflix over a VPN, for example, is particularly hard to do as the company actively blocks VPN services. For another, unless you're navigating to an HTTPS site, your data will no longer be encrypted once it leaves the VPN server.


A remote-access VPN uses public infrastructure like the internet to provide remote users secure access to their network. This is particularly important for organizations and their corporate networks. It's crucial when employees connect to a public hotspot and use the internet for sending work-related emails. A VPN client, on the user's computer or mobile device connects to a VPN gateway on the company's network. This gateway will typically require the device to authenticate its identity. It will then create a network link back to the device that allows it to reach internal network resources such as file servers, printers and intranets, as if it were on the same local network.

Though TorGuard’s support site offers in-depth information, finding specific info is harder, and the site is not as easy to follow as those for our top pick or ExpressVPN. TorGuard provides helpful video tutorials, but they’re two years old now and don’t show the latest versions of the company’s apps. As with most of the VPNs we contacted, TorGuard support staff responded to our help ticket quickly—the response to our query came less than half an hour after we submitted it on a weekday afternoon. Still, if you’re worried about getting lost in VPN settings or don’t like hunting for your own answers, IVPN is a better fit.


IKEv2 (Internet key exchange version 2) is a tunneling protocol developed by Microsoft and Cisco, which is usually paired with IPSec for encryption. It offers a wide range of advantages, such as the capacity of automatically restoring VPN connection when Internet drops. It is also highly resilient to changing networks, which makes it a great choice for phone users who regularly switch between home WiFi and mobile connections or move between hotspots.
For those who are unaware, net neutrality is the much-discussed concept that ISPs treat web services and apps equally, and not create fast lanes for companies that pay more, or require consumers to sign up for specific plans in order to access services like Netflix or Twitter. Federal net neutrality rules would ensure that the internet effectively continues to operate the way it has for its entire existence.
“Hide.me has proven to be a very good option in the VPN market. During our review we've been impressed by its speed and many functionalities. Hide.me is a VPN provider highly concerned about its customers' privacy and security. The no-logs policy is a big plus for this VPN. Even though performances are great and functionalities are many, we still find the price to be high compared to the competition.” Dec 28, 2017 anonymster.com
Some consumers might be concerned about a VPN company's use of virtual servers. These are software-defined servers that make a single physical server effectively operate as several servers. Virtual servers can also be configured to behave as if they are in one country when they're really in another, which is a problem if you're worried about where your data is traveling.
The more locations a VPN provider houses servers, the more flexible it is when you want to choose a server in a less-congested part of the world or geoshift your location. And the more servers it has at each location, the less likely they are to be slow when lots of people are using the service at the same time. Of course, limited bandwidth in and out of an area may still cause connections to lag at peak times even on the most robust networks.
VPNs have long been used by journalists and political activists to circumvent censorship in countries with repressive internet policies. They're also handy if you're looking to circumvent geographic restrictions on streaming content. A VPN can spoof your current location, giving you access to geographically restricted content like BBC streaming or MLB TV. Some VPNs don't appreciate these activities (which may be in violation of terms of service or even local laws) and content providers such as Netflix are also cracking down on users who spoof their location and the VPN services they use to do it.
For the uninitiated, torrenting is a way of sharing files peer-to-peer (P2P). A single user uploads a file, which is broken up into smaller pieces called "packets". These packets are then distributed to everyone downloading the same file (leechers). Once the file download is complete on the downloader's end, the packet is then distributed among other leechers. This makes the transfer of big files faster and more secure as smaller packets are being transferred from various locations (rather than in one big chunk from a single server). It's like a huge network of little bricklayers anonymously working together to construct the file that ends up on your computer – which, if you're in Australia, is probably the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
Thank you for compling this list. awesome site, and great informative topic, one of which is always top of mind for me. I learned a good deal from the article and the kind folks who shared their uses. I was (and have been in other - though not as thorough, and well-written) surprised not to see more about (if anything about AirVPN) - thought as the previous poster as of this writing, notes it. I have been using it for years too. I needed absolute security, and legitimately based. Written by hackers in Spain after a conference, I feel comfortable using their services. Legally, they stand up, and anonymity are valued. They have solid legal backing pretty bullet proof from what I understand. I do feel that this is an excellent service and have never had any issues with it and in fact, feel it is just another excellent layer of steps to protect my right to privacy. Not that I need to hide anything -- well, everyone says that :) - I do feel that these guys know what they are doing. Service is excellent, and I certainly don't mind paying for it - great service. I like that I can - go anywhere in the world and pick and choose various servers. They don't keep log files, and what they do and how they do it is legit. They also have been recognized as the previous poster state been around for a few years indeed, and that is something that further is something, if I were newer to this to consider. Free VPN, I'm not knocking it - it is good, and I will check these other players out. This was a top contender for privacy in a security/'hacking' in a very 'paranoid' legit review of privacy/security services including VPN. SpiderOak was in that review, a while back as well for cloud based storage, which also is encrypted, and pretty damn secure- they don't know who I am ok with that. Better not lose your pw through, they won't help you - seriously.SImilarly to your discretion to a large degree is true with AirVPN, your privacy is valued at least I feel so, you can be as transparent as you wish or obscure as you wish. Thanks for a stimulating and informative article folks and author!!!! Great one to research for sure!
Torrents VPN are useful for helping you protecting your privacy and avoid getting fine for anti-piracy notice called “three strike” from your ISP. If you get caught while torrenting then you will need to pay the copyright holders a huge fine and your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will provide your personal information to law enforcement agency. VPN for torrent does two things – first it changes your IP address and location. So your identity remains anonymous. Secondly, VPN for torrent encrypts your browsing and downloading traffic through secure tunnel (Server) so that your ISP can’t track your online activity. So if you download torrents with secure VPN your ISP will not be able track it let alone sending notice and warning. Thirdly, some ISP cap your Internet speed for Bit-torrent protocol, makes it super slow while downloading torrent files. To avoid bandwidth throttling , you can use Torrents VPN.

What we liked most about TorGuard is their great customer service. You can use “LiveChat” features if you encounter any problem and they usually reply within 5 minutes in business hours. Apart from that, they give you 7 days money back guarantee so you can be rest assured of their premium service. TorGuard is becoming one of the best VPNs for torrenting with Quality servers, Comparably reasonable price with great customer support.
VPN services, while tremendously helpful, are not foolproof. There's no magic bullet (or magic armor) when it comes to security. A determined adversary can almost always breach your defenses in one way or another. Using a VPN can't help if you unwisely download ransomware on a visit to the Dark Web, or if you are tricked into giving up your data to a phishing attack.
That level of trust is easier to achieve depending on where the company is headquartered. If the VPN service is located in the U.S., you should be more cautious over any no-log claim. That’s because the U.S. has intelligence agreements with 14 other countries. The core group, known as the Five Eyes alliance, is an intelligence-sharing agreement between the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Other countries have joined this alliance with varying levels of membership. The full alliance, known as 14 Eyes, includes the five countries and Germany, France, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Spain, and Sweden. If a VPN is headquartered in one of these 14 countries, they may be sharing personal data. 
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