The best VPNs offer a solid balance of features, server location, connectivity protocols, and price. Some are great for occasional use, others are geared towards getting around the location restrictions companies put on their apps and services, and others are targeted at people who do heavy downloading and want a little privacy while they do it. Here’s what you should look for.
Borders still exist on the web, in the form of geographic restrictions for streaming content. The BBC iPlayer, for example, lets UK residents watch the Beeb to their heart's content. The rest of the world, not so much. But if you were to select a VPN server in the UK, your computer's IP address would appear to be the same as the server, allowing you to view the content.
Copyright holders are often large media companies that outsource piracy litigation to shifty law firms dubbed “copyright trolls”. Copyright trolls monitor popular torrents for the unique IP addresses of devices that connect to the swarm to upload or download files. They then match those IP addresses to the internet service providers that assigned them to customers. The copyright troll goes through the ISP to send a settlement letter or a copyright violation notice to each torrenter. Settlement letters demand money and threaten legal action if the users don’t pay.
You can use HMA for torrents, but only on selected servers. As a result they are not the fastest VPN service if you want to use it primarily for torrenting. That said, torrenting is allowed, and you can ensure that you download with complete security and anonymity. Don’t let AVG’s HideMyAss VPN, with its trendy and colorful flat design, fool you. With over 880 VPN servers in over 190 countries, the service is anything but flat, allowing you to hide your e-tracks speedily and consistently, all
This means that copyright holders can identify you without lifting a finger. All they need to do is sit back, wait for you to start downloading a file and decide whether or not they want to take action. Your internet service provider can also quickly identify your activity and may throttle your internet connection, or hand your details over to a ‘copyright troll’.

Everything you do on the Internet has to pass through your own ISP before reaching the destination. So, when you request Google, for example, the information is sent, unencrypted, to your ISP and then passes through some other channels before reaching the server that holds Google’s website. Basically, VPN services privatize information that can be read by ISPs or any other agency that inspects your traffic.
VPN services can also be defined as connections between specific computers, typically servers in separate data centers, when security requirements for their exchanges exceed what the enterprise network can deliver. Increasingly, enterprises also use VPN connections in either remote access mode or site-to-site mode to connect -- or connect to -- resources in a public infrastructure-as-a-service environment.
Trust and transparency issues are the foremost concerns in choosing a great VPN, and if a service doesn’t have enough locations to be useful to you, all the security features won’t make a difference. But after those concerns have been satisfied, we recommend that most people use connections based on the OpenVPN protocol, because of security flaws and disadvantages in the PPTP and L2TP/IPsec protocols. (Experienced users may consider IKEv2, but because it has its own debated pros and cons, we ruled it out.) Though AES 128-bit encryption is fine for most purposes, we prefer services that default to the more-secure 256-bit encryption and still offer good performance.
NordVPN is envied for its impressive security ensured by the support for all the usual security protocols, an automatic kill switch, 256-bit encryption, as well as double data encryption. This particular feature makes sure that your data goes through two separate VPN servers, thus adding another layer of security. If you’re worried about your privacy, don’t be. NordVPN has a clear no-logs policy.
For one thing, it prevents anyone lurking on your local network from monitoring or intercepting your activity. While the airport or coffee shop Wi-Fi network looks safe (it might even be password-protected) it's not really safe unless you're using a VPN. For another thing, a VPN can prevent your Internet Service Provider (ISP) from gathering information about your online activities so it can sell anonymized user data to the highest bidder.
Torrenting is one of the lovable activities I prefer during weekends. But due to strict copyright laws in Connecticut, I was unable to visit torrent sites. Not to forget, ISPs over here send notices even when a flagged site is visited. Considering the situation, this article helped me a lot into bypassing the imposed geo-restrictions and downloading torrents anonymously from within Connecticut.
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.

Not all mobile VPN apps are created equal. In fact, most VPN providers offer different services (and sometimes, different servers) for their mobile offerings than they do for their desktop counterparts. We're pleased to see that NordVPN and Private Internet Access provide the same excellent selection of servers regardless of platform. These apps received an Editors' Choice nod both for desktop VPN apps and Android VPN apps.
Using a VPN is a little trickier for ChromeOS users, however. While Google has worked to make it easier to use a VPN with a Chromebook or Chromebox, it's not always a walk in the park. Our guide to how to set up a VPN on a Chromebook can make the task a bit easier, however. In these cases, you might find it easier to install a VPN plug-in for the Chrome browser. This will only secure some of your traffic, but it's better than nothing.
I am not sure VPNs really do as advertised. The "modem" provided by your ISP is preset to go to the servers of the ISP. Correct? Usually, the ISP will not give you access to the settings within the "modem". Correct? So, if traffic is still going thru your ISP, are we actually bypassing data caps? And wouldn't this also apply to DNS servers? "Modem" still has to go thru ISP. I understand how the web site being addressed is fooled, but none of this does anything to/for the ISP.

ExpressVPN is also one of the best VPN services available for streaming. Whether you are using a VPN with Kodi or streaming Netflix with a VPN, ExpressVPN offers great apps for streaming devices and high-speed bandwidth for HD videos and downloads. Their customer service is also top-notch, with 24/7 live chat support and a 30 day money-back guarantee with all subscription plans. [Learn more >]
For features, they offer multi-hop VPN cascades, advanced firewall configuration options (DNS and IP leak protection), port forwarding, NeuroRouting, Socks5 and Squid proxies, obfuscation features to defeat VPN blocking (Stealth VPN), and a customizable TrackStop feature to block tracking, malware, advertising and social media domains. They also give you an unlimited number of device connections and offer full IPv6 support across their server network.

Any devices that accesses the internet is assigned an IP address. For us, that means our Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigned an IP address to your router. If you’re on WiFi, your individual devices have their own assigned IP addresses. Since your IP address comes from your ISP, it has your name, location, and all your web activity attached to it. If your ISP was ever hacked, that data could fall in the hands of a bad actor. And if compelled, your ISP could hand over your data, say, in compliance with a warrant. It could also issue warnings on behalf of copyright holders if you were engaging in piracy.


Hide.me VPN takes your security seriously, giving you advanced protection by encrypting your data so you can use the web safely, wherever you are. It masks your IP address to keep you hidden and stop internet service providers and hackers from spying on you or tracking your activity online. Hide.me VPN even adopts a zero logs policy, which means they don't store any logs of your online activity.
IP Address Settings: From here you can manage your assigned IP address. You can either change it manually or schedule a change. You can decide, for instance, to change your IP address at regular intervals automatically. It is a feature that will greatly enhance your security and will make you totally untraceable. You will experience a short period disconnection every time the software changes your IP address. The IP checker instead is a handy tool to make sure your real IP is hidden, and you are not the victim of an IP leak.
Borders still exist on the web, in the form of geographic restrictions for streaming content. The BBC iPlayer, for example, lets UK residents watch the Beeb to their heart's content. The rest of the world, not so much. But if you were to select a VPN server in the UK, your computer's IP address would appear to be the same as the server, allowing you to view the content.
Speed is pretty much the necessity of every torrenter, so much so that without proper download and upload speeds torrenting would be nothing more than a headache. Another thing worth mentioning is that even though you might be getting adequate speeds, it is important to make sure it remains that way. This is because; not only ISPs but also VPN providers can throttle bandwidth depending on your usage. Therefore, it is important to consider only the best torrent VPN service that does not include speed caps in their service.
An internet kill switch is a must have feature in any safe torrenting VPN. It ensures that a user’s IP address is never disclosed on the internet, in case the VPN connection drops (disconnects). To ensure identity protection, it immediately kills the internet connection when your VPN accidentally disconnects, allowing no traffic to flow through your network.

Chromecast and other streaming protocols send data over your local network, but that's a problem when you're using a VPN. Those devices are looking for streaming data from phones and computers on the same network, not from a distant VPN server. Likewise, smart home devices may be gathering lots of data about you and your home that you'd rather not have intercepted. Unfortunately, these devices simply cannot run VPNs. The solution for both problems is to move the security up a level by installing a VPN on your router. This encrypts data as it leaves your safe home network for the wild web. Information sent within your network will be available, and any smart devices connected to your network will enjoy a secured connection.

Though Proxy.sh meets many of our basic requirements, in our tests the company’s Safejumper application had constant errors when trying to connect. Given that we were looking for a simple, reliable VPN, this was a dealbreaker. We also found a story from 2013 with bizarre statements from the company about monitoring traffic on a specific server due to concerns about unlawful behavior of a user on the network. Though the transparency is impressive, the decision to actively monitor traffic is disconcerting. In a response given to TorrentFreak at the time, the company stated, “The situation also shows that the only solution we have to help law enforcement agencies find problematic use across our network, is to clearly install a logging capacity on it. As a result, we are able to either comply or shut down the servers we have in a particular location (it happened to us in Czech Republic few months ago).”


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.


At least in that generalization, the leak accusation isn’t entirely fair towards the VPN providers in my option. The only leaks your example in the screenshot shows are IPv6 related ones and DNS, where the latter isn’t exactly great to have but on the other hand doesn’t really cause a threat either at least when it comes to “just not exposing one’s public IPv4 address to the torrent honeypots”. As for the IPv6 leak one can disable IPv6 when in doubt, problem solved with any VPN provider.
I am very disappointed with this turn of events. This is misguiding readers that are not savvy in vpn or security. Please add corrections or make an add article to cover the logging methods of these vpns providers. In some countries correct choice of vpn can make a big different in life or death. Vpns arent for downloading pirated soft games and movies or music.

The IVPN app's default settings are great for most people, who should be happy just smashing the Connect button and not fiddling with settings. On a desktop or an Android device, the company supports only the OpenVPN protocol we recommend and uses AES 256-bit encryption (what we consider the standard at this point). Our budget pick, TorGuard, defaults to the weaker (but also acceptable) AES 128-bit encryption unless you manually change it.
Hotspot Shield VPN works in most countries, but that doesn’t mean it’s always legal to use a VPN in a specific country. If you have any doubts about the legality of using a VPN in a certain country, always consult a qualified lawyer because laws can change quickly. If you’re still unsure, then it’s best to play it safe and abide by the most conservative guidelines of a country.
In addition to blocking malicious sites and ads, some VPNs also claim to block malware. We don't test the efficacy of these network-based protections, but most appear to be blacklists of sites known to host malicious software. That's great, but don't assume it's anywhere near as good as standalone antivirus. Use this feature to complement, not replace, your antivirus.
With an ever-increasing crowd of competitors, many VPN companies have begun adding features outside of network protection. These can range from simple ad-blocking to TunnelBear's standalone password manager and ad-blocking apps. A representative from Hide.me tells me that the company doesn't currently offer additional features, and made the case that ad- and malware-blocking actually further diminishes speeds.
A traditional VPN can affect the user experience when applied to wireless devices. It's best to use a mobile VPN to avoid slower speeds and data loss. A mobile VPN offers you a high level of security for the challenges of wireless communication. It can provide mobile devices with secure access to network resources and software applications on their wireless networks. It's good to use when you're facing coverage gaps, inter-network roaming, bandwidth issues, or limited battery life, memory or processing power.
From a broader perspective, there are several factors that demand the use of a solid VPN while torrenting. First of all, you do not want your privacy to be compromised during torrenting. Specifics of your personal information, your IP address, your location, and even the browser you are using should stay with you only. Then, there is the question of speeds. Depending on the nature of the VPN you are using, you could feel like there is a rise or drop in the speed of downloads and uploads (learn more about this in our pros and cons to VPNs).
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.
Other actions from Washington, namely the FCC decision to roll back net neutrality rules, have sparked an interest in VPNs. For those who are unaware, net neutrality is the idea that ISPs must treat all web content equally. Without it, ISPs could charge companies or consumers an extra fee to get faster connections. They could potentially create a system where consumers must sign up for specific plans to access web services like Netflix or Twitter. VPNs may restore net neutrality somewhat, but it will depend on how ISPs respond to the latest stint of deregulation.
Like most well-known VPN companies, IVPN supports a variety of privacy groups and causes. Pestell told us he worked with the Center for Democracy & Technology to improve trust in VPNs with a handful of transparency initiatives before they were announced. Neena Kapur of The New York Times (parent company of Wirecutter) information security team noted that IVPN’s leadership transparency and its relationship with CDT were significant pluses that contributed to its trustworthiness. Pestell was also the only representative we spoke with to offer to arrange for one of our experts to audit the company’s server and no-logging policies.1 We cover trust issues with VPNs at length elsewhere in this guide, but we believe that IVPN takes an active role in protecting its customers’ privacy and is not a dude wearing a dolphin onesie.
Think about it this way: If your car pulls out of your driveway, someone can follow you and see where you are going, how long you are at your destination, and when you are coming back. They might even be able to peek inside your car and learn more about you. With a VPN service, you are essentially driving into a closed parking garage, switching to a different car, and driving out, so that no one who was originally following you knows where you went.
Though PIA doesn’t list its leadership on its website, that information isn’t hard to find. The founder, Andrew Lee, has been interviewed by Ars Technica; the CEO, Ted Kim, is also on the record; and privacy activist and Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge is listed as Head of Privacy on the company’s blog. PIA can also point to court records showing that when approached by law enforcement for detailed records, the company had nothing to provide. PIA boasts a huge network of servers and locations around the world, and though the PIA app isn’t as polished as those of some competitors, it is easy to use. Like our top pick, IVPN, its iOS app also added OpenVPN support in mid-2018. But in our speed tests, PIA was just okay, not great. When we averaged and ranked all of our speed tests, PIA came in fifth, behind our top picks as well as OVPN and ExpressVPN.
When we test VPNs, we generally start with the Windows client. This is often the most complete review, covering several different platforms as well as the service's features and pricing in depth. That's purely out of necessity, since most of our readers use Windows (although this writer is currently using a MacBook Air). We currently use a Lenovo ThinkPad T460s laptop running the latest version of Windows 10. We periodically upgrade to a newer machine, in order to simulate what most users experience.
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.
Romania-based CyberGhost allows P2P filesharing on any server that isn’t located in the US or Russia. Due to legal pressure, CyberGhost actively blocks BitTorrent traffic in those two countries (presumably by blocking popular ports used by BitTorrent clients, but we haven’t tested this). CyberGhost isn’t wholly adverse to torrenting, though, and even has a “Torrent Anonymously” profile that will connect you to the best torrenting VPN server available.

If you're using a service to route all your internet traffic through its servers, you have to be able to trust the provider. Established security companies, such as F-Secure, may have only recently come to the VPN market. It's easier to trust companies that have been around a little longer, simply because their reputation is likely to be known. But companies and products can change quickly. Today's slow VPN service that won't let you cancel your subscription could be tomorrow's poster child for excellence.
A Virtual Private Network is a connection method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks, like WiFi Hotspots and the Internet. Virtual Private Networks are most often used by corporations to protect sensitive data. However, using a personal VPN is increasingly becoming more popular as more interactions that were previously face-to-face transition to the Internet. Privacy is increased with a Virtual Private Network because the user's initial IP address is replaced with one from the Virtual Private Network provider. Subscribers can obtain an IP address from any gateway city the VPN service provides. For instance, you may live in San Francisco, but with a Virtual Private Network, you can appear to live in Amsterdam, New York, or any number of gateway cities.
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