Consistent speeds and decent basic privacy features. Wide range of server locations. Chrome and Firefox extensions. Live chat support.
|7.7||Visit Siteat Purevpn.com|
Streamlined VPN for first-time users. Strong encryption & privacy features. Chrome and Firefox extensions. 24/7 live chat support.
|8.8||Visit Siteat Surfshark.com|
Good overall speeds plus a NAT firewall included for extra security. One of the better choices to beat censorship blocks. Live chat support.
|8.9||Visit Siteat Vyprvpn.com|
Fast speeds, strong privacy and security features. Chrome and Firefox extensions. 24/7 live chat support.
|9.7||Visit Siteat Nordvpn.com|
|6 / Most Popular|
Super fast, reliable and ultra secure. Powerful encryption. Great for HD/4K streaming. 24/7 live chat support. Outstanding!
|9.8||Visit Siteat Expressvpn.com|
A VPN creates a secure, encrypted “tunnel” over the internet between your computer, smartphone or tablet and whatever website or app you are trying to access.
This is made possible by redirecting your connection via a VPN server in another country, which makes it appear to a website or application that you are just another ‘local’ visitor.
You become effectively anonymous as your IP address (the numerical label that identifies your device’s online connection) is replaced with that of the VPN server.
All you need in order to do this is a VPN app on your device and an affordable subscription. The best VPNs work across laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets – even a Smart TV, with the aid of an ethernet cable or a Chromecast dongle.
When you want to mask your real location, simply launch the VPN app, select the country from which you want to connect then off you go! After that, simply use your browser and any apps as you would normally do.
Most of the time, this means using a VPN client (software) that you install on the device(s) you want to connect to the VPN with. The VPN client then will give the option to connect to a range of servers located around the world. The number of locations available will depend on the VPN provider you choose to connect with. By using a VPN, you are in fact setting up a secure connection between your device – a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone – and the server, network or other digital device you need to connect to.
Also worth knowing is that a VPN uses what are called networking protocols. This is the language the VPN uses to encrypt the information you are sending or receiving over the VPN (consult the dedicated protocols answer for more information).
The type of VPN you use will depend on how you want to connect to the Internet, and how secure you want that connection to be.
In most cases, you will be able to set up your VPN by downloading the setup software after signing up to a provider and installing it on your device. Most VPNs offer software for all major operating systems.
1. Privacy and Anonymity
When total privacy is needed, a VPN is the ideal solution. Unlike proxy services or applications that hide your device’s IP address, a VPN offers a greater level of privacy since a secure connection is made between your device and the server or network you are connecting to.
2. Enhanced Security
A very good reason for using a VPN is the added security that it brings. If you need to send or receive any sensitive information over the Internet, a VPN is vital. Match the level of security you need to the VPN protocol to ensure you’re always safe and secure online.
3. Access All Websites and Applications
A VPN offers unrestricted access to websites and apps that might otherwise be blocked, for example due to local censorship. No matter where you are located, a VPN will give you access to a number of servers located around the world, allowing you to access your favorite websites with ease.
There a numerous VPN providers around the world and many offer a free service. The issue is, what level of speed, reliability, security and support will these free services offer? As you will mostly use your VPN to stream content, speed and a reliable connection are key factors to take into consideration when choosing a provider. In addition, your VPN connection may be carrying what could be sensitive information, therefore it is important to ensure that it is transmitted with robust encryption over a secure and efficient network. Below is a summary of the important elements to consider.
Security is an extremely important factor when choosing a VPN provider. In most instances, free VPN services will offer a PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol) which is the easiest to set up (it is also the type of VPN protocol that all operating systems will have built into them). Some security flaws have been highlighted with PPTP, which can make these VPN connections highly vulnerable to attack. Paid services on the other hand, from vendors such as ExpressVPN and PureVPN, offer a number of VPN protocols including IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) and L2TP (Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol) that are inherently more secure than PPTP.
The protocols being used with the VPN are however just one element to consider when determining the efficiency of a VPN. Another very important factor is the bandwidth available on the VPN service. The reality is that free services will not have the revenue to invest in efficient connections to the Internet, resulting in poor and slow connections. Paid VPNs on the other hand have the funds required to invest in infrastructure and offer their customers more secure and much faster connections.
Coupled with security and bandwidth is the number of servers you can connect to. Paid VPN services have the income to invest in a vast amount of servers to ensure your VPN connection is always live and fast, allowing you to stream content without buffering issues or the connection dropping.
And paid services will almost always have much better customer service than free services. Free services will often require you to troubleshoot and fix your own VPN issues while Paid services come with built-in assistance to quickly resolve the problem. Paid VPNs also offer good customer service over the phone which may come in handy if you can’t fix the problem online.
Paid services therefore have a number of advantages over their free counterparts.
✔ More robust security
✔ Multiple VPN protocols to choose from
✔ Access to a larger pool of servers (and locations)
✔ Higher bandwidth for fast and efficient connections
✔ Professional customer and technical support services, often available 24/7
Generally speaking, most VPNs are available on more or less every device you are planning to use but please check that the VPN you are planning to subscribe to covers your operating system. For example, SaferVPN and CyberGhost support all of the leading operating systems.
The level of security you need will also mean choosing the right VPN protocol. You will see that VPN vendors will have different protocols available for specific operating systems. This is why you should take your time to assess the VPN protocol you want to use and then identify which VPN vendors offer this for the operating system you use.