We’ve tested 150 VPN applications to see which work best to get an American IP address and allow you to use the Internet from abroad as if you’re in the United States.
To find the best VPN to connect into the United States, we test for:
- A large number of US servers and server locations
- Access to American streaming websites and apps
- Fast speeds connecting from any country into the US
- A private logging policy and jurisdiction
- AES-256 and OpenVPN encryption, with no IP or DNS leaks
- As few restrictions as possible in terms of usage
To make our recommendations, we connect into the USA and analyze each VPN in four different categories, rating each out of 10. We then combine these category ratings to calculate an overall rating for the USA.
In the table below, we summarize how our top-rated USA VPNs are rated in each category, as well as their overall rating for the USA:
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the categories that make up our US VPN testing process, and how much of the overall rating each category represents:
1. US Streaming Services: 30%
Minimum Requirement: Can unblock one or more US streaming sites.
We Recommend: Accesses multiple US streaming services and US Netflix.
Many people want a free VPN to access US Netflix. Or they want to watch content from US-exclusive services like HBO Max and Hulu.
We test each free VPN with the most popular streaming services to check whether it can unblock your favorite US services abroad. We regularly test access to US Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.
It’s also an advantage if the VPN can access content from outside the country, for example if you’re in the US and want a VPN for Mexican TV or a VPN with a Korean IP address.
The more effective a VPN is at getting around streaming geo-restrictions, the higher the rating.
2. US Server Locations: 30%
Minimum Requirement: At least one VPN server located in the US.
We Recommend: Many servers on the US East Coast, West Coast, and Southern States.
We analyze each VPN’s server infrastructure to determine how many are US-based. The more there are, the stronger the rating.
Free VPNs are unlikely to have more than 10 US servers, but the more servers a VPN offers the better its overall performance will be.
The US is a huge country, so we rate highly the VPNs that have multiple servers spread evenly across the country from coast to coast.
3. Speed: 20%
Minimum Requirement: Download speeds of at least 60Mbps.
We Recommend: US download speeds of 90Mbps or higher.
All VPNs slow down your internet speed, but the best ones do so only a small amount. The lower the speed loss we record when running a VPN, the higher its rating is for speed.
We are constantly running speed tests both locally and internationally to determine what sort of speeds users can expect when connecting in and out of the US.
4. Privacy & Logging Policy: 20%
Minimum Requirement: Anonymized connection logs and no activity logs.
We Recommend: A strict, zero-logging policy and no data leaks whatsoever.
The US has some of the most invasive security laws in the world. So you need a VPN that will protect your privacy.
Security is particularly important when it comes to free VPNs. So many free services don’t protect your data. Instead, they sell your data.
We only recommend free VPNs that are reputable, certifiably safe, and private.
Simply put, the less information it collects, the better we rate a VPN. The ideal scenario is a zero-logs service, but those that do collect data should be transparent and detail exactly what data they store.
Data Cap Reduction: Up to 50%
Almost every free VPN has a data cap. Although free services can still perform well in our assessment, being limited to a data cap massively reduces your VPN’s capabilities.
To reflect this, we apply a penalty to the free VPN’s overall rating for the US based on how restrictive its data cap is:
- 10GB per month: -20% to the overall rating
- 500MB per day: -25% to the overall rating
- 5GB per month: -30% to the overall rating
- 1GB per month: -35% to the overall rating
- 200MB per day: -40% to the overall rating
- 500MB per month: -50% to the overall rating