Often dubbed ‘the leader of the free world’, the United States of America prides itself on its freedom and its technological innovation – but it’s not that simple when it comes to your online privacy.
Citizens and visitors alike may be surprised to know that a VPN is 100% essential within the US.
Net neutrality is weakening by the day, and the US government has almost total power to monitor your online activity.
Combine that with deregulated ISPs who can throttle your internet speeds and block websites and services at a whim and it’s obvious why anyone online in the US in 2019 needs a VPN.
The five VPN services on this page are the very best: super-secure apps, fast speeds, tons of servers, unlimited streaming, and more – we’re confident you’ll find the perfect VPN for you.
Read on to find out more about the top VPNs for the US, followed by answers to some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding them.
The Most Important Factors We've Compared
- Servers across many US cities
- Extremely safe and secure
- Privacy-focused logging policy & no IP leaks
- Fast download speeds with low ping
- Unblocks US Netflix at home and abroad
- Intuitive apps on a wide range of devices
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
See More Details on the Best VPN Services for the US
Do I Need a VPN in the US?
If you want to protect your personal information from prying eyes, using a VPN in the US is absolutely essential.
There are three key parties that you need to protect yourself against when you’re online in the US:
- The US government
- US ISPs
Sound like an exaggeration? Allow us to explain.
1The US Government
The US government has a wide array of far-reaching powers that allow it to strip away its citizens’ privacy almost entirely at will. Very little ‘due process’ is needed – if the US government feels like spying on you, then it can find a way.
The USA Patriot Act is probably the most famous surveillance law on the planet. Created after the September 11 2001 attacks as a means to combat terrorism, its reach has far exceeded its initial intentions.
In 2013 Edward Snowden revealed that the government was using the USA Patriot Act to collect enormous communications logs of all its citizens without good reason. It also allows the US government to tap any device you may use, with very little oversight or approval needed.
This is just the worst of an alarming number of mass surveillance acts currently in place in the US – you can see a full list of them here.
2US Internet Service Providers
It’s simple: when you sign a contract with an ISP you’re agreeing that it has the right to log virtually everything you do on its service. There’s nothing you can do to prevent that, it’s just a simple fact.
The real scandal, though, is that ISPs and mobile network operators have been found willingly and secretively cooperating with the US government’s notorious NSA to hand over internet and phone records.
A good VPN will shield your browsing habits from your ISP, and help keep what you do online private.
The United States accounts for 18.2% of all ransomware attacks worldwide – that makes it number one.
11% of all cyber attacks originate in the US – the second highest in the world.
Between 2015 and 2017 the US suffered 303 known large-scale cyber attacks – the most of any nation.
There are plenty more figures like this, but the point is clear: if you’re in the US (either as a permanent resident or just visiting) there’s a strong chance you’ll be targeted by hackers, snoopers, or cyber criminals.
It take a lot of vigilance to stay completely clear of them, but a VPN is a vital first step to take.
If you’re out and using public WiFi then you should always be connected to your VPN, but it’s important to use one at home, too. Some even have malware and spam filters built in to help add protection, too.
Are VPNs Legal in the US?
Using a VPN service in the US to protect your personal data and hide your true IP address is completely legal.
In fact, a lot of major companies use corporate VPN software to protect sensitive data from prying eyes, and also to allow employees to access company files while working remotely.
There are absolutely no laws that prohibit US citizens from connecting to a VPN server. The main purpose of a VPN is to keep your keep your online activity private, and there are no laws that state you cannot use one in the US.
The only legal consideration when using a VPN in the US is that it doesn’t mean you’re exempt from other state or national laws, especially those regarding copyright.
We don’t recommend doing anything while using a VPN that you wouldn’t do without one.
Some other countries aren’t so lucky, though. If you want to learn more we’ve prepared a guide to where VPNs are and aren’t legal around world.
What's the Best VPN for US Netflix?
The best VPN for Netflix in the US is ExpressVPN.
In fact, ExpressVPN is probably the best VPN for Netflix no matter where you are in the world, as well as being our best VPN overall.
Over thousands of tests we’ve never found ExpressVPN to fail, always unblocking the service with no issues.
Its fast speeds mean that your connection should remain relatively unaffected, streaming in buffer-free Full HD just like you normally would.
There’s no servers labelled for streaming optimization, but that’s fine – you likely be connected to one that works first time of asking.
ExpressVPN has servers in 34 US cities, meaning that wherever you’re based you’ll be able to connect to a server nearby.
Not only that, but servers in dozens of other countries all around the world you’ll be able to watch Netflix libraries from other countries like the UK, Australia, and Japan, too.
A good streaming VPN won’t just unblock Netflix, either – it’ll also work with Hulu, Sling TV, and provide an easy workaround for MLB, NBA, and NFL blackouts.
What's the Best VPN for Android in the US?
The best VPN for Android is ExpressVPN.
No VPN has scored higher in our testing, and this is a big part of the reason why.
ExpressVPN for Android is almost identical to ExpressVPN for desktop. You get the full range of 3,000+ servers, super-fast download speeds, and even a kill switch (an important feature often missing on other mobile VPN apps).
The only real difference here is that ExpressVPN for Android only lets you choose between two protocols: UDP and TCP, both of which are variants of OpenVPN.
We strongly believe OpenVPN to be the best protocol on the market, but for those knowledgeable enough about VPNs to enjoy making their own choice this may be a slight disappointment.
ExpressVPN couldn’t be any easier to use, has split-tunneling so that you can choose which apps are protected by it, and it won’t drain your Android smartphone’s battery life. It even works with Android TV devices.
Do I Need to Use a VPN for Torrenting in the US?
Naturally we recommend you use a VPN whenever you’re online, but we believe a VPN is especially important when torrenting.
Torrenting utilizes what’s called a ‘peer-to-peer’ connection, commonly known as ‘P2P’. This means that rather than download a whole file straight from one website, you instead download different fragments of that file from multiple other people.
This means that everyone you connect to when downloading a file can potentially see your IP address. There’s often more than 1,000 connections at once – that’s a lot of strangers to reveal your true IP address to.
By using a VPN before you open your torrenting client you’re assigned a new IP address, which will be the only one visible to other torrenters as well as your ISP.
Be sure to connect to a server near your true location though, otherwise your download speeds could suffer.
As always, we strongly recommend that you don’t do anything with a VPN that you wouldn’t do without one and adhere to all applicable laws regarding torrenting and filesharing.
Not all VPNs allow torrenting, though. Some will have restrictions on which servers can be used for P2P, while others will disallow it altogether.
We’ve found that ExpressVPN is the best VPN for torrenting thanks to its mixture of fast download speeds, watertight security, and P2P friendliness.
You can find more on ExpressVPN the rest of the top five VPNs for torrenting here.
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