However, this ability to virtually hop around the globe is most widely used to watch streaming video services from other regions or, while you’re travelling, to avoid missing your favourite TV programmes from home. This is frowned upon by international media rights holders, and streaming services such as Netflix have undertaken increasingly effective efforts to block proxy and VPN services. While every service worked with US-only YouTube content, only a handful enabled us to view US Netflix or UK iPlayer content from overseas.
When you surf the web, your internet traffic isn't necessarily secure. Someone could be lurking on the same network as you, monitoring your activities. That's especially true when you're using a public Wi-Fi network. Clever attackers can even create bogus Wi-Fi networks that impersonate legit ones, tricking you into connecting and exposing your personal information.
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.
As we previously noted, we don't recommend relying on our picks to get around geographic restrictions on copyrighted content. The practice is likely illegal, and it violates the terms of service of your ISP, VPN, and content provider. On top of that, it often doesn't work—we couldn't access Netflix over any of the services we tried, and of the four streams we loaded on BBC iPlayer, only two worked a few days later.
Torrentz2 is a popular torrent search engine that sprang up in 2016 when Torrentz shut down. Torrentz2 combines results from other search engines to provide one of the biggest databases of torrents. The torrent search engine boasts of having over 61 million torrents and our research shows that it has more movie torrents than other types of torrents.
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.
There are also those countries where certain websites, apps, and content is strictly banned. In China, for example, Facebook, Youtube, Google, certain news outlets and many other websites are strictly out of reach. China is also known for closely monitoring its population’s internet activities. For anyone who wants to access these banned sites and steer clear of governmental watchdogs, then a VPN is the only way to go.
However, you've got no choice but to run TunnelBear's client software (unless you use Linux), which may concern some privacy-minded users, and there's no option to set up TunnelBear connections on routers or other devices. Last but not least, this tiny Canadian firm is now owned by U.S. antivirus giant McAfee, which may mean TunnelBear is subject to U.S. search warrants.
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:
Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) can tunnel an entire network's traffic (as it does in the OpenVPN project and SoftEther VPN project) or secure an individual connection. A number of vendors provide remote-access VPN capabilities through SSL. An SSL VPN can connect from locations where IPsec runs into trouble with Network Address Translation and firewall rules.
Christian Cawley is a Deputy Editor at MakeUseOf, covering security, Linux, DIY and programming, with extensive experience in desktop and software support. Christian is a regular contributor to Linux User & Developer magazine, as well as specials including Raspberry Pi for Beginners, and Raspberry Pi for Kids. He's a Raspberry Pi tinkerer, Android user, podcaster and foodie.
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.
Even TunnelBear's network performance and pricing are just about average compared to other services we've reviewed, except that you can pay anonymously with cash. The company takes security and privacy seriously, explaining its policies and protocols in plain English, and you can read the results of two third-party security audits on the company website.
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.
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.
ExpressVPN is both the best all-round VPN and our pick for torrenting, due to its rock solid reliability for both speed and privacy. No other VPN offers such consistently fast speeds across its entire network – up to 201Mbps down and 163Mbps up with very low latency on local connections is ideal for P2P activity. If you also like to stream then uninterrupted access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other popular services is another big selling point.
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.
"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
Connecting to a VPN is fairly simple. In Windows, press the Windows key, type VPN, and click the Set up a virtual private network (VPN) connection option. (If you use Windows 8, you’ll have to click the Settings category after searching.) Use the wizard to enter the address and login credentials of the VPN service you want to use. You can then connect to and disconnect from VPNs using the network icon in the system tray – the same one where you manage the Wi-Fi networks you’re connected to.
Several issues I have had...two services did not work consistently with Outlook smtp email and I had to cancel the subscription. One of them all of a sudden no longer supported Netgear routers - which I had been using !!! I had to flash the router with DDWRT firmware and am still in the process of implementing. So be careful out there. Use the free trial time to check everything out.
CyberGhost has one of the best server networks for Europe: it covers every single country on the continent with several locations and servers. Outside of Europe it falls a little short sometimes, though the North American network is still better than that of most competitors. Still, it made it to the top three in our list of the best VPN for Netflix for its versatility.
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.
I had to know why Goose VPN was so named. My first order of business was to reach out to the company's co-founder and ask. Geese, I was told, make excellent guard animals. There are records of guard geese giving the alarm in ancient Rome when the Gauls attacked. Geese have been used to guard a US Air Defense Command base in Germany and a brewery in Scotland.
Privacy aside, speed is a huge factor when finding the right VPN for you. You will never use a VPN if your internet speed is more of a crawl than a sprint. Find a VPN with a lot of local servers and check to see what speeds they are guaranteeing. Do your research, read reviews, and test it out for yourself. Most VPN services have money-back policies, so give those a spin.
ExpressVPN is incredibly fast and super secure, and it can unblock just about any site or service on the internet - including Netflix, Hulu, BBC, and more - with impressive streaming capabilities. It offers servers in over 90 countries, and the 24/7 live chat support is one of the friendliest and most professional. ExpressVPN gives a strong fight to NordVPN, while other VPNs lag behind.
When you're using a public Wi-Fi network, even a password-protected one, a VPN is your best friend. That’s because using public hotspots can be rife with hazards. From man-in-the-middle attacks to Wi-Fi sniffing, there are many different hacking methods that snoopers use to intercept your Internet traffic and steal your social media or banking passwords, files and photos.
What you're going to need is some increased privacy to get a boost in anonymity, so you can do what you do without prying eyes. If you think the answer to that conundrum is “get a VPN, any VPN” you're on the right track, but still not considering all the angles. How good is that “no log” policy being sold to you? Does the service actually support torrenting in the first place – or does the VPN say it supports it publicly but throttles your traffic on the sly?