Our next pick for best VPN of 2018 is IPVanish. The service permits torrenting and throws in a free Smart DNS service for all customers. The biggest downside is that it’s based in the US —not an ideal location since the NSA is notorious for its intensive and often illegal surveillance. To combat this, IPVanish doesn’t keep logs and does provide DNS leak protection. Despite being a little stripped-down, works very well.
If you connect to that same public Wi-Fi network using a VPN you can rest assured that no one on that network will be able to intercept your data—not other users snooping around for would-be victims, nor even the operators of the network itself. This last point is particularly important, and everyone should keep in mind that it's very difficult to tell whether or not a Wi-Fi network is what it appears to be. Just because it's called Starbucks_WiFi doesn't mean it's really owned by a well-known coffee purveyor.
These services offer many ways to connect, including without the service's client software; support operating systems and devices, such as routers or set-top boxes, beyond just the "big four" operating systems (Windows, Mac, Android and iOS); have hundreds, or even thousands, of servers in dozens of countries; and generally let the user sign up and pay anonymously.
But even if you know who’s behind your VPN, you shouldn’t trust a free one. A free service makes you and your data the product, so you should assume that any information it gathers on you—whether that’s an actual browsing history or demographics like age or political affiliation—is being sold to or shared with someone. For example, Facebook’s Onavo provides an encrypted connection to Onavo’s servers like any VPN, shielding you from the prying eyes of your ISP or fellow network users. But instead of promising not to examine, log, or share any of your traffic, Onavo’s privacy policy promises the opposite. Covering the service, Gizmodo sums it up well: “Facebook is not a privacy company; it’s Big Brother on PCP.” Facebook collects information about your device, other applications you use, and even “information and other data from your device, such as webpage addresses and data fields.” And the company “may combine the information, including personally identifying information, that you provide through your use of the Services with information about you we receive from our Affiliates or third parties for business, analytic, advertising, and other purposes.” That means Facebook can collect anything it wants, and sell it to anyone it wants.
If you’re not so keen to download a dedicated free VPN app, why not try the Opera browser? Since mid-2016 it has shipped with its own VPN, enabling users to easily bypass region blocking and keep their online transactions secure. It may not be the fastest VPN — and it’s unsuitable for streaming Netflix or torrenting — but Opera VPN is a very popular free choice. Indeed, we’re expecting other browsers to follow suit quite soon.
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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.

HTTPS is a powerful tool that everyone should use because it helps keep sensitive browsing private at no extra cost to the people using it. But like most security standards, it has its own problems too. That little lock icon in your browser bar, which indicates the HTTPS connection, relies on a certificate “signed” by a recognized authority. But there are hundreds of such authorities, and as the EFF says, “the security of HTTPS is only as strong as the practices of the least trustworthy/competent CA [certificate authorities].” Plus, there have been plenty of news stories covering minor and even major vulnerabilities in the system. Some security professionals have worried about those least-competent authorities, spurring groups to improve on the certificate standards and prompting browsers to add warnings when you come across certificates and sites that don’t withstand scrutiny. So HTTPS is good—but like anything, it isn’t perfect.
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.
Music streaming is one of the most common ways people consume music. The number of great streaming apps has grown in recent years, with popular options like Spotify, Pandora, Google Play, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Many of the aforementioned music applications are restricted in countries outside of the United States and Europe. Using an unlimited VPN is a great option to use to listen to your favorite music streaming app in the allowed geographic region and if you are looking for a VPN download for this purpose, you have landed at the right website. 

“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
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.
Users looking to download torrents and watch live video streaming will love ExpressVPN, which offers blazing speed and protects your device at all times, giving you a stress-free experience with unlimited bandwidth. And of particular concern for Torrent users, Express does not keep any logs, so you do not have to worry about them having any of your information. Either way, Express is based in the British Virgin Islands, so they are not subject to any data retention laws anyhow, so users REALLY c
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.
NordVPN operates out of Panama, which means it has no legal obligation to record any of the activities of its users. You're free to connect to any of the 5,000+ VPN servers in 62 countries, and you can use NordVPN on up to six different devices at once. I awarded NordVPN a near-perfect score in my review, focusing on the large set of extra features, like double VPN, P2P-dedicated servers, a DNS leak resolver, and a dedicated single IP address. Grab a year subscription for about $7 a month, go short term with a $12 monthly plan, or choose one-year or six-month plans to best suit your needs.
If your ISP blocks BitTorrent, or throttles video streaming from a competing service, as some have been reported to do, it could also decide to throttle all traffic that looks like a VPN on the off chance that the VPN is being used to circumvent its restrictions. Since the FCC rolled back net neutrality rules, there’s nothing to stop ISPs from throttling or prioritizing different types of Internet traffic, as long as they disclose that they do so somewhere in their fine print. At the time of this writing, we don’t have evidence that such policies are widespread, but there’s no guarantee that VPNs, even when disguising their traffic, will be able to keep the spirit of net neutrality alive.
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. 

SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol) is a suitable alternative to standard protocols in areas where VPNs are restricted because it can bypass most firewalls. SSTP is quite similar to OpenVPN but, unlike OpenVPN, it is owned by Microsoft, which means it is not available for independent auditing. Microsoft’s history of cooperating with the NSA does not inspire confidence in this standard.
Anti-Malware/Anti-Spyware Features: Using a VPN doesn’t mean you’re invulnerable. You should still make sure you’re using HTTPS whenever possible, and you should still be careful about what you download. Some VPN service providers—especially mobile ones—bundle their clients with anti-malware scanners to make sure you’re not downloading viruses or trojans. When you’re shopping, see if the providers you’re interested in offer anti-malware protection while you’re connected. For example, previously mentioned Hotspot Shield offers malware protection to its premium users. It may not be a dealbreaker for you, but it’s always good to have someone watching your back.
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.

Although the extent of the collection is unclear, you can be certain that your ISP will collect data on you, and that it will use that data to sell you things or to help advertising partners sell you things. (In 2017, Congress voted down proposed rules that would prevent ISPs from collecting or selling many types of information about customer activities.) For example, if your ISP is AT&T, it could collect data about your search for home security systems and aggressively promote its own offering to you. Or Comcast could use your online behavior to figure out how to get you to watch more Hulu, which Comcast co-owns, instead of competitors like Netflix. A VPN would prevent an ISP from easily collecting this type of data about you.

IVPN excels at trust and transparency, the most important factors when you’re choosing a virtual private network. After interviewing IVPN’s CEO, we’re convinced that IVPN is dedicated to its promises not to monitor or log customer activity. But a trustworthy VPN is only as good as its connections, and in our tests IVPN was stable and fast. IVPN apps are easy to set up and use with secure OpenVPN connections on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, plus a few other platforms. Extra features like automatic-connection rules and kill switches to block data on unsecured connections add protection and value that make it worth a slightly higher price than some competitors.


ExpressVPN's support for bitcoin payments, great after-sale service and a 30-day money-back guarantee are all big bonuses too. You probably won't need to use that guarantee though since you're getting access to an impressively large, speedy network of 1000+ servers across 100+ locations in 78 countries. Yes, this service is a bit pricey compared to what's out there (a year's worth goes for US$6.67 a month), but you're getting what you pay for.
IronSocket is a Hong Kong-based VPN provider, operating since 2007. It is also a good VPN for torrenting with no activity logs saved on any server. The speeds are some of the best we have tested. Furthermore, IronSocket supports a variety of features including SOCKS5 proxy, shared IPs, smart DNS proxy, and 3 simultaneous VPN connections. If you’re on a budget, you will be happy to hear that they are charging just only $4.16 per month with a 7-day money back guarantee. Bitcoin payments are also accepted.
Private Internet Access is very popular as a torrent VPN for many years. TechSpree, TorrentFreak and LifeHacker recommend Private Internet Access for completely anonymous torrenting. Private Internet Access also implemented VPN kill switch i.e. your internet connection drops if your VPN connection is not available so that you can avoid getting caught while downloading torrent files in the middle of the night. Private Internet Access has state-of-the-art “PIA MACE” technology that blocks site tracker, ads and malwares which I think a great feature for anonymity lovers. Also you will enjoy DNS leak Protection and IPV6 leak protection. If you want complete anonymity please confirm that you are using these features.
IVPN goes further than the other leading candidates we considered by being transparent about who runs the service and is responsible for your privacy. The company lists its core team on its website, and its small team has an online presence on a variety of platforms. In contrast, only one employee at ExpressVPN has a public face: VP of marketing Harold Li gave us detailed answers to questions about policies and internal security, but couldn’t tell us much about who else worked there. (We discuss ExpressVPN in more detail in the Competition section—that company was almost our top pick but for this issue.)
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.
The other concern with huge troves of data being collected and locked away is how often they tend to be unlocked. Data breaches at huge companies are so common now that the headlines aren’t even shocking anymore. If a database of Internet histories, held by an ISP or sold to a marketing partner, were to be publicly released, there’s a good chance even anonymized data could be tied back to real people. If you were to use a VPN, those logs would show only a single, steady connection from your home to a VPN server, and nothing else.
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.
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