VPNs are necessary for improving individual privacy, but there are also people for whom a VPN is essential for personal and professional safety. Some journalists and political activists rely on VPN services to circumvent government censorship and safely communicate with the outside world. Check the local laws before using a VPN in China, Russia, Turkey, or any country with with repressive internet policies.
We like that the company offers a connection kill switch feature and, for those who need it, there's an option to get a dedicated IP address. VyprVPN is a standout in their effort to provide privacy, and thwart censorship. When China began its program of deep packet VPN inspection, Golden Frog's VyperVPN service added scrambled OpenVPN packets to keep the traffic flowing.
IPVanish wins bonus points for its special proxy server protocol known as SOCKS or Socket Security. Basically, it lets you (the slightly more advanced user) enjoy the benefits of a VPN without having to download any software to any device. The only downside we can see to this entire package is that our experience with IPVanish's customer service has been less than optimal, but it was nothing worse than long response times.
The app likewise prevents websites from collecting users’ private data, allowing for safer and more secure web browsing. To make things even better, the solution automatically connects whenever an unsecure Wi-Fi connection is detected, ensuring constant protection. It connects to the nearest server, resulting in optimum speeds. But one can also connect manually and be able to choose a preferred server.
Hide.me's app falls into a weird space between being too simple and too complicated. Or rather, it's so simple that it becomes complicated. Basic actions, like changing servers, are almost hidden, but the app supports complex activities like fallback protocols and custom scripts. That's sure to excite security wonks, but average users aren't going to bother. In short, the app needs a refresh.
Better yet, a year's worth of PIA is very reasonably priced at US$3.31 a month, and we've had nothing but excellent customer service from them, too. PIA also comes with a rock solid no-log policy, crypto payment support to keep you protected when making transactions, proprietary anti-malware technology and a seven-day money-back guarantee if you get cold feet.
The Switzerland-based VPN offers some pretty neat features, such as its proprietary Chameleon security protocol which scrambles OpenVPN packet metadata to make sure it’s safe from deep packet inspection (DPI) and VPN blocking and throttling. But that’s not all folks, the list also includes auto-connect options if the connection drops, a kill switch preventing your sensitive data from becoming exposed in an event of a sudden connection drop, as well as the provider’s own DNS.
TrackStop – Ads are basically advanced tracking to record your browsing, so you can be hit with targeted ads based on your online activity. To protect users against this threat, Perfect Privacy developed TrackStop, which is a powerful filter that blocks advertising, tracking, and malicious domains at the VPN server level. It ranked the best among different VPN ad blockers I tested.
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.
Supported Client Software Android, Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows Android, Chrome, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows Android, Chrome, iOS, macOS, Opera, Windows Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows Android, iOS, macOS, Windows Android, Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows Android, iOS, macOS, Windows
The specific steps involved in setting things up differ from service to service. Your specific provider likely has a dedicated section on their website devoted to explaining how to carry through with the process. For example, here’s how to do this if you’re with ExpressVPN and here’s PIA. We also have an example demonstration of how it’s done on most DD-WRT routers on this page (near the bottom).